You think your mind needs rest?
Or you just want to visit a nice place, in the laps of Himalayas and close to mother nature?
Then, let me Welcome you to Barot.
Barot stands at a height of 2200+ meters, almost equal to altitude of Shimla but it looks more natural than Shimla. Yes, subtract the Mall Road, CCD and other city like attractions but if you want all these things, then Gurgaon or Noida is the best place, why come out of there.
Now that you have subtracted the above mentioned things, feel free to add a huge water reservoir, continuously running water, navigating through control gates, canals and diversion tunnels and did I mention the trout fish [and its taste?]
Barot happens to be the last village [panchayat/ग्राम पंचायत ] of district Mandi touching the Kangda District. Geographically, Barot is a very interesting place. River Uhl, originating in the Bada Bhangal region of Dhauladhar Ranges forms a very complex mathematical equation for Barot. Prior to the formation of Himachal Pradesh as a complete state, this region belonged to Punjab State. Now, as the land belonged to them, obviously they had the first right over the water of this region too. So, interestingly, river Uhl in Barot belongs to the Punjab State, even the water reservoir and its maintenance is duty of Punjab State Power Corporation and not to mention, the power generated in Barot also belongs to Punjab. The reservoir in Barot is sent to two power plants, one in JoginderNagar and the other one is Bassi.
So, you can rent a room in Negi Guest House, located in District Mandi, buy a bottle of whiskey/rum/vodka from the ‘theka’ located on the other side of river, in district Kangda. And if you want to go fishing, the fish will belong to Punjab and as a matter of fact, fish here has a strong built [sizewise], which happens to be a characteristic property of Punjabis.
So, if you drink too much and create trouble in the Punjab State Land/Water, you will be prosecuted under/by the Punjab Police Laws [Punjab Police have their own laws and they never hesitate to implement those laws]
However, all this was just general knowledge, major attraction of Barot remains water. One of my friends, who has visited Barot many times and soon he will be given permanent citizenship of Barot, told me that he has never seen so much water in the Uhl River. Probably this year God had some leak problem and that has flooded the rivers across the country.
Flowing water creates psychedelic magic and if you keep looking at it, I am 100% sure that you will feel dizzy and feel yourself moving along with the water which might prompt you to jump into the running water. However, the flow of water is so fast that you will not come alive out of it for sure. According to the guard of the reservoir, one can do almost anything inside the campus but not click the photographs. He further explained that you can enjoy liquor, fight, shout, dance but photography is strictly prohibited there, some crazy rule made by some crazy engineer which all the crazy people are following till date. So, effectively you can go in, watch the lonely boat dancing to the tunes of rapid currents of water, watch the water making noise and moving effortlessly, but you cannot click the images. Yes, you can disobey the rules when no one is watching but at a place like Barot, one must stay honest [to him/herself], because Barot is what it is because of honesty, honesty of people and honesty of nature.
Another interesting fact about this village is the the British constructed a railway track here back in pre-independence days, if chasing away the Britishers [only] meant gaining independence. The railway track is just outside the premises of the reservoir area and from there you can click photographs. Outside, you can sit on the railway track and keep looking at the water, for not more than 5 minutes continuously, or even less because effortless flow of water is something out of this world and aliens have always scared humans.
There are numerous ways to reach Barot, however NH-20 remains the lifeline to reach Barot. Those who know/want to trek can come through The Bhang Trek, or name-it-anything-trek, in case if you are lost, just keep moving downhill, you will definitely reach a village, ask for the name of village and name it the X Village trek.
The trek is not very difficult and you can reach Kullu Valley but as I do not much about it, I would rather not speak about it.
So, if you are a motorcycle enthusiast, which you ought to be, there is nothing soothing than road to Barot. The road is too good, first few kilometers are uphill climb and the last few kilometers are steep downhill track.
If you are coming from Mandi -Manali, leave the NH-21 and join the NH-20, move 48 kilometers towards Palampur and there you reach at Ghatasni (घटासनी) , take a right from there and there you embark on a journey that takes you through the waterfalls, watermills, watery roads, and by the time you reach at Barot, your mind will be all watered.
On your way to Barot, you will see little kids selling wild, local vegetables, usually they work in post-school sessions, hence the work-while-you-study is not an American Concept, it is a desi invention, just the way we invented almost everything from bulb to gravity. [Who is Newton?]
Yay! we again proved that we are the oldest and originals and Americans suck 😛
Other way(s) to reach Barot :
From Shimla: NH-88, Shimla-Hamirpur-(State Highway 39) – Sujanpur-Palampur-Baijnath (NH-20)-joginderNagar-Ghatasni-[Take Left] – Barot
From Dharamshala: NH-20, Dharamshala-Palampur-JoginderNagar-Ghatasni-Barot.
Barot is 25km from Ghatasni and it takes[usually] one hour to reach Barot from there.
When you reach Barot, you are welcomed by a sleepy town, surrounded by water and disturbed by a noisy river. However, the noise caused by the river has become an integral part of the town and without the river it is hard to imagine existence of the town. During the night, you ought to sit and relax by the banks of the river. The mind goes blank, I tried very very hard to think of something but could not think of anything, such is the beauty of Barot. Mindlessness, that is what you experience at Barot. There is a dhaba in Barot [in the Mandi District Side, Shiva Dhaba I guess] and that guy makes awefuckingsome Black Tea. Even the food was too good and even the pricing was very unlike tourist spot pricing.
6 kilometers into the wild towards the Bada Bhangal, you reach a village called Lohardi [लुहाराड़ी]. That is the first place I have seen in Himachal where road actually ends, dead-end you see, well Chandrataal was the first place. 46 kilometers into the further wild and you reach the paragliding havens of Himachal Pradesh, The Bir-Billing. It was a nice site to see a Health Center, BSNL Phone-booths and higher secondary school in that village. Even the newly launched 108 ambulance was available there.
The trip culminated but to experience the mindlessness , I have to go back.
The receding waters are crazy, always.
P.S: A for ‘Amazingly Beautiful’ Barot
Photo Courtesy: Jaipal Mandyal