Blissful stop over en-route to Spiti Valley: Sarahan, Himachal Pradesh
Sarahan is a tiny and remote Himalayan village known as the gate way to Kinnuar district in Himachal Pradesh. This small village of Sarahan is located at an altitude of around 7,589 feet above sea level and about 7 km above the River Satluj.
To reach the village of Sarahan there are no direct buses from New Delhi, so the only option travellers have is to either take a direct bus from New Delhi to Reckong Peo and get off at Jeori and then hop onto a local bus from Jeori to Sarahan which is a 17 km uphill ride. The journey from New Delhi to Sarahan via Jeori takes around 16-18 hours covering 564 km on mountain roads.
The other option is to break journey in the state capital of Shimla and then take a connecting direct bus to Sarahan which leaves early in the morning. It is advisable to confirm the bus timing the previous evening at the HRTC bus station in Shimla. The first travel option is surely not for the faint hearted because the bus ride is nothing but a back breaker.
The main attraction in Sarahan is the Bhima Khali temple which is over 800 years old and is located in the heart of the village. The Bhima Khali temple reflects the glorious past of Sarahan between India and Tibet during the trade days, with the temple exhibiting statues of both Hindu and Buddhist deities. Locals claim that during the early part of the 18th century human sacrifices were a very common occurrence in the temple premises, but this act of cruelty ended with the British rule in India.
Sarahan being a tiny village is best covered on foot, walking around the village post tea time is the best way to experience the village first hand since this is also the best time to get a chance to mingle with the village folks who are returning back from their day’s work in their apple fields. The villagers are extremely friendly and love to chit-chat with travellers. Don’t be surprised if you are invited by a villager for a cup of hot chai after a brief chat on the road.
Accommodation in Sarahan is pretty good for a village which is relatively unknown. Sarahan has a few guest houses and a couple of hotels. The Bhima Khali temple also has its own guest house which sublets rooms at very minimal price. Most of the guest houses also serve food which is normally very basic vegetarian thali which consist of dal, rice, vegetable and rotis. It is better to dine in the guest houses since the food available in the dhabas around the temple is not very good and also over priced.
The best time to visit Sarahan is during the summer months from April to mid June, when the weather is pleasant and the roads are safe.
Sarahan is an important stopover for traveller’s en-route to the Trans-Himalayan cold desert of the Spiti Valley and is the only village with decent accommodation and is the ideal place to break journey before the actual climb to Spiti Valley begins.
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