So, the key to having a perfect 4-days trip does not stick to the To-Do List, or for that matter not making one is the best option. And this applies even more when you’re planning a trip to the mountains; as reaching there is itself a task. Moving on to “The Place”, I went to Jibhi before it got the internet’s attention and when there were fewer travelers. It is an advantageously situated village in Banjar Valley where there is no direct bus from Delhi. Why I referred non-connectivity as an advantage because this is the only thing that, I believe, is keeping Jibhi/Banjar/Tirthan from becoming another Kasol or in other words becoming commercialized.
How I reached there?
I took an overnight Volvo bus to Kullu-Manali from Kashmiri Gate ISBT. No, I didn’t go all the way to Manali, there is a place called Aut which lies 3 hours before Manali and 10-11 hours away from Delhi. I informed the conductor well in advance that I need to get down at the bus stop so that he could inform me (just in case I oversleep). A bus stop is in the middle of the Kullu-Manali highway, so my first reaction was “Did he just drop me in the middle of no-where, just because I was bugging him constantly?” But after crossing the road, which took a while, I asked the locals and they assured that it is, after all, Aut; these generous people also guided me to the bus stop which is just down the road. After this, I made a mental note for never bugging the conductor for obvious reasons.
Now from here, I came to know that there are two options to reach Jibhi: Wait for the local bus till Banjar bus stop or book a cab for INR 1,200-1,500 till Jibhi. Being a budget traveler I straight away went for the first option and within 15 minutes I was on the bus by the window seat with a total stranger and her drooling 1-year-old. This was approximately a 2 hours long journey till Banjar Valley.
When I reached the Banjar Valley, I was left with two options which were to wait for the local bus or to book a cab for INR 200 and guess what I chose? Surprisingly this time I went for the cab, mainly because I couldn’t imagine a bus going through that narrow road (Gully) and obviously because I wanted to stop in between the journey and make videos, which was only 7-9kms long. Only 2mins into the journey I was proud of my decision, it was a spectacular route and my cab driver was kind enough to stop wherever I asked him to without showing any tantrums.
What I did when the Jadoo of Jibhi hit me in the eye
So, my supreme concern was “Is there any ATM nearby?” which my super kind cab driver took care of by showing me one in the main market area. The hostel I booked was just 400-500 meters away from the main market, which means it was walking distance and a straight road. As soon as I reached my destination I was in the awe of the beauty and warmth the place has to offer. I checked in to the hostel “The Mudhouse” (the best stay) and the day just couldn’t get better as I was the first one to reach there, hence I got a chance to choose my bed, and mind you I’m generally the most unlucky person in the room. Due to all these reasons, I fell in love with the place already.
After much R&D, I chose the best bed and went out to explore the place. The host told me that there was a rainbow waterfall at a walking distance (5mins walk). I got super pumped and ran my way up there. And I must tell you that the path towards the waterfall is the perfect amalgamation of nature and manmade beauty. The Jungle, endearing little bridges and finally the fall, it all took my breath away. Only later I realized that the rainbow in the waterfall is only visible in the morning (8-9 am) for obvious reasons. But I was not disappointed because that area was so overwhelming, to an extent that I went there every morning for the next 3 days.
By now I was really hungry, so walked my way to the main market and found a few cafes/Dhabas as it was not so commercialized 2 years back. Mudhouse also has a cozy café, a river stream flowing right next to it and a bunch of fellow travelers with amazing stories. This is what makes it a perfect stay.
By the end of the day, after much consideration, I decided to do the same the next day as well. And that’s exactly what I did, only this time I was lucky enough to get a glimpse of the rainbow. I wandered around, patted countless dogs, followed the river, spotted a natural pool and found myself a peaceful spot to sit and gaze flowing water.
The next day I went to Bahu village which is a small hike and a perfect place to take an afternoon nap. Later I went to Chehni Kothi (Fort) which is more like watch-tower that is roughly 7 km away from the Jibhi village. For the first 5 miles, I took a cab and the rest 2 miles were a steep but beautiful hike through a spectacular village and panoramic views.
The last day I decided to go to Tirthan Valley, and visit the Chhoie waterfall which is again an hour trek and a challenging one. As cliché as it may sound, it was all worth it. The path dramatically reviled the waterfall and I instantly felt so tiny. This was the most enchanting experience of the whole trip and if it was not my last day there I would’ve stayed there longer. But sadly like any other trip, this one also came to an end, as it is rightly said that reaching Himachal is hard but leaving it is even harder.
Note: Just like countless memories and photos also take back the plastic with you to the city as you may find the dustbins but there is no proper disposable system. Be a responsible traveler and think about the consequences of everything you do when in the mountains.