It was 2019, and I was pleasantly surprised to see a region called Waichin Valley in Parvati Valley so far removed from the hustle-bustle of Kasol and the likes, and still intact with its virgin beauty. Waichin Valley is located at a height of 2,745 meters above sea level and because of its altitude, the Waichin Valley weather is mostly cold from October through March. When I visited in April, the snow hadn’t yet melted, giving us a wintery feel even in late spring!
The Waichin Valley trek is a short trek in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, somewhere in the beloved Parvati Valley – the destination to Indian hippies. Between the hyped-up Malana Valley and the rising star of Rashol Valley, lies Waichin Valley. Surrounded by the Pir Panjal mountain range and enveloped by the dense deodar forests akin to Parvati Valley, The Waichin Valley trek is truly one of the most offbeat treks in India. What is even better is that though offbeat, this is a great trek for beginners in Himachal Pradesh, and is perfect for those who are planning to start training for longer, more challenging Himalayan treks. This Parvati Valley trek is also one of my favourite places to visit in Himachal Pradesh simply because it is so peaceful unlike many other places in Parvati Valley where buildings have now surpassed the tree cover.
Apart from its magical beauty, stunning landscapes and rustic houses, this offbeat place is also known for its Waichin Valley hash which is supposed to be one of the best found in the Himalayas. Some even say that the quality of Waichin Valley hash even surpasses that of its neighbour – the much famed Malana hash! The valley also offers astounding views of higher mountains like Tiger Mouth Peak and Animal Pass. From Waichin Valley, one can even trek further to the base of Tiger Mouth Peak!
What's In Here
How to reach Waichin Valley
Delhi to Waichin Valley
Waichin Valley is a remote, offbeat destination in Himachal Pradesh where no roads exist. The distance between Waichin Valley and Delhi is about 526 kilometres. But the short Waichin Valley trek is the only way to reach this little slice of heaven. Waichin Valley is also one of the best treks near Delhi!
The starting point of the Waichin Valley trek is the Malana Dam. This is the nearest road head from where the uphill climb to the destination begins.
In order to reach Malana Dam, one must first take a bus from either Delhi or Chandigarh to Bhuntar. From Bhuntar, you have two options:
You can either take a local HRTC bus to Jari and then hire a taxi from Jari to Malana Dam
Or hire a taxi straight from Bhuntar to Malana Dam (about 32 kilometres)
Kasol to Waichin Valley
If you already find yourself in Kasol and plan to go to Waichin later, you can either hire an HRTC bus to Jari and a private taxi to Malana Dam or take a private taxi from Kasol to Waichin Valley starting point directly (15 kilometres).
Note: From Bhuntar, the road splits at Jari – one goes to Kasol and the other goes to Malana Dam.
Malana to Waichin Valley
From Malana Village, there’s a mighty flight of stairs cutting through the mountain that takes you all the way down to the bottom of the Malana Hill, then after crossing the bridge over the Malana stream, one can climb yet another flight of stairs on the opposite hill which takes you to the starting point of Waichin Valley trek.
Waichin Valley trek
From Malana Dam, the trek to Waichin Valley is about 4 kilometres uphill, and should not take more than 4 hours at most. The trek is a gradual climb with a steep ascent for the first few meters.
The trail is lined with rhododendron tress and March and April will be the perfect time to see these pink and red flowers comes to life. Rhododendron flowers are locally used to make juices and jams and are said to be great for heat prevention. Rhododendron is called buransh in the local language and can be found aplenty across the Himalayas including Uttarakhand, Sikkim etc.
Right after you cross the Malana Dam, there is a small cafe where you can fuel up on the basic bread omelette, Maggi or aloo paratha before heading uphill. It is the only places to eat on the Waichin Valley trek to your destination.
There is a stream crossing about halfway through the trek that may be a bit tricky for beginner trekkers. In the summer months, the locals put wooden planks to create a bridge to walk over the stream. But in the winters, a snow bridge is formed over the gushing water which can be slippery to walk on and quite dangerous if caution is not maintained.
Like most other times when a potential danger has risen in front of me, I miraculously had a local appear to help me through. I like to believe it’s the magic of the Himalayas and it was exactly this magic that helped us cross the snow bridge. An elderly local man happened to be going the opposite direction as us but turned around to ensure we crossed the bridge safely because he knew of the dangers it possess.
To test the bridge, he first threw a fairly sized rock and it went right into the gushing stream below, creating a hole in the snow. And I felt my heart sink. But he followed this method a several more times to ensure safety and when he found solid ice, he helped us form a human chain and slowly cross the section. I think of that man and his kindness often. I hope wherever he is, he is well.
Places to stay in Waichin Valley
Thankfully, this is one of the few treks in Parvati Valley which has proper homestays at the destination, and one need not camp. However, Waichin Valley camping is very much possible if that’s what you’re into. You can either bring your own tents or ask the locals to arrange camping in Waichin Valley for you.
There are no hotels in Waichin Valley (surprise, surprise!) but as of April 2019, there are only two homestays in the area. One of which is immediately visible as soon as you reach the vast meadow of the destination. For the other, you have to hike up a bit further but the view is unmatchable. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Waichin Valley, you can contact Sonu Thakur Ji at 8894407500. He has a beautiful wooden homestay built with wood, in the traditional pahadi architectural style. He has accommodation as well as food available. It’s a beautiful place to stay in Waichin Valley.
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A twenty-something solo adventurer, Avantika finds comfort in learning about various cultures, its people and listening to age-old folk tales. When not on the road, she can be found cuddled up with her dog in her room, with a book in her hand.