Jibhi is a little known scenic hamlet in the Banjar Valley or Tirthan Valley of Himachal Pradesh and can be approached from the Chandigarh-Manali Highway. I reached Aut after an overnight drive from Delhi. The small town of AUT can be reached after crossing a long tunnel on the highway. There is another route which is on the right just before the tunnel at AUT and one can take that road following the river and head further till Bajnar which is some 27 km from AUT and Jibhi is another 8 km further from Banjar town towards the Jalori Pass.The drive through this highway is extremely scenic with the river beas flowing along the gigantic Himalayan ranges which provide for some breathtaking views .This drive alone could be worth the entire journey.There are numerous dhabas and eateries on this route which one could enjoy while taking some pit stops.
Jibhi is located on one of the most popular routes connecting Manali to Shimla and passes through Banjar Valley (through Jalori Pass).Banjar is a typical Himalayan town grown in the middle of lush green valleys surrounded by alpine meadows which is also known for the Himalayan trout fish.
This dreamy town has some extremely beautiful and yet affordable Victorian pinewood cottages for people to unwind and relax. Backpackers and fishing and angling enthusiasts from across the world and specifically countries like Israel, Argentina, UK,etc make jibhi their home for months for its charm and proximity to various other Himalayan towns, before heading onto other places.
I chose Latoda hut and Pine wood home for my stay because of its ideal location besides the
stream flowing through the valley. This picturesque backdrop made for some quiet, lazy and serene settings.
Chaini Fort Trek and Sharingi Bagi Temple trek
Chaini Village located in this town is popular for its ancient structures which are inspired from Chinese art and archaeology. A 3 to 4 hours trek will take you to chaini. The trek starts from Chiladhar which is some 4 km from Jibhi on the way to Banjar. One can easily drive to chiladhar from jibhi and enjoy the breathtaking views on the way.There is a small diversion to Sharingi Bagi temple from Chiladhar which can be easily noticed from the car.This temple is a must visit as it is an important tourist attraction in this area.
There is a well outlined and beautiful trail to reach the temple so I could easily make it without much sweat. The trail passes through small villages, beautiful cedar forests, serene apple plantations and thin waterfalls which is soul soothing. I spent some time at the temple, soaking as much as i could and then started to trekking towards Chaini Village.There were two trails from the temple,Initially I took the wrong trail uphill and reached a different spot which was equally beautiful.I got a little glimpse of Chaini from there so i descended and took the other trail to reach Chaini.
Chaini had some stunning chinese architecture which made for some great pictures.Of all the architectures Chaini Fort was the most beautiful and it attracted me instantly.The rocks used in the foundation of this fort are not found in this region hence its early development is still a mystery for archaeologists. I took a quick tour the village, talked with locals, walked further up to take some more pictures. It was a delightful experience to visit this tiny unexplored village and I enjoyed every bit of it.An quiet settlement in the midst of rich nature and culture.
Jalori pass and Sarehul lake
Though Jalori at an altitude 3120 meters is not among high passes of Himachal Pradesh,yet it is quite significant as it connects Shimla to Manali via Banjar Valley. This pass does not witness heavy snowfall so it is generally open throughout the year. Jalori was my primary reason to visit Jibhi before i got to know about the hidden treasures of Banjar Valley.A 1-2 hour drive from Jibhi would take you to Jalori pass.I started early so that from the pass i could trek to sarehul lake by the same afternoon.
Sarehul Lake is some 6 km from Jalori Pass.The lake and its adjacent temple are highly revered among locals here. Hundreds of local pilgrims as well people from other regions of Himachal visit this temple every year. Pilgrims circle around the lake and pour Pure Desi Ghee on its periphery. This beautiful Trek to Sarehul Lake is largely flat with some steep patches in between and it can be easily trekked by a beginner. It takes around 2 hours to make it to Lake from Jalori Pass and you will see some breathtaking views during the trek.
The trail passes through dense patches of Himalayan Oak forests and covered with small patches of grasslands. Hillocks around the lake offer incredible view of the valley and of the snow capped Himalayas . Trekkers and travelers pitch in their tents around the lake for overnight stay and camping.Basic facilities such as accommodation and fooding are available at Sarehul Lake. Surrounded by thick forest, this lake is relatively small but blessed with picturesque settings.
Tourist Attractions around Jibhi
- Sharingi Bagi temple, Chaini Fort (Trek from Sharingi Bagi Temple),
- Jalori Pass (3225m), Sarehul lake (5 km gentle walk from Jalori),
- Raghupur Garh fort (3297 m, 4 km right from Jalori pass, short descend and then the steep climb)
- Trek (Forest Guest houses are available in all of these villages and can be done in 5-6 days) Jibhi-Ghiyali-Shoja-Jalori pass-Khanag-Taral-Margi-Shilla-Kullu Sarahan-Bagi pul (Bagi pul offers exit to Shimla via NH 22 across Satluj). Trek is also known as Dak Runner’s trail.
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