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Exploring Jibhi valley happened by chance as we were looking to break our journey from Rampur Bushahar to Dharamsala. Our research pointed us towards an off-beat location in the Banjar Valley that was supposedly still hidden from the tourist map! The Jibhi valley is surrounded by the lush green pine forest and is a perfect place for camping and experience solitude. The location is easy to reach and is also just one hour away from the Great Himalayan National Park.
This valley is situated at an altitude of about 6,000 feet above sea level. It is a tranquil and new place for all travellers. It is a great place to visit with the family. This valley is also perfect for small adventure activities like paragliding, river crossing, Angling, rappelling, and Trekking.
Our stay at Mudhouse Hostel in Jibhi Valley
For our accommodation, we looked for a budget stay since we were only going to be spending two nights there and got to know about Mudhouse Hostels. What we liked about this hostel was that it is situated at a spot in the valley that not many know of, and this makes it the perfect hidden gem that backpackers are slowly discovering.
It sits right next to a stream, and just a five minute walk away from the Jibhi waterfall. Apart from 12-bedded dorms, the hostel has two private rooms with attached balconies that overlook the stream. They also have a duplex cottage that can comfortably accommodate a group of six and is perfect for a family, too. We got one of the private rooms located on the upper level of the dorms and had our cute little sit-out.
The rooms are comfortable for a budget traveller but the only thing lacking is an attached bathroom. The washrooms are located downstairs, in the dorms, and need to be shared with the others. Luckily when we were there, only 4-5 guests were at the hostel, and it meant that we wouldn’t have to line up to use the toilets.
The hostel didn’t have a kitchen, but luckily there was a dhaba right outside the property with a limited variety of dishes. You will easily get Maggi, paranthas, tea/coffee and snacks, and some essential meals for lunch and dinner. But the food was quite palatable and not very expensive. However, they close early during winters, and an in house kitchen is undoubtedly something that Mudhouse needs.
Who should visit Jibhi?
We’ll say it out aloud that Jibhi Valley is not a family destination. With the presence of backpackers, Israelis, and budget student travellers the destination is built to accommodate that kind of crowd. In simple words, the Jibhi Valley is another Kasol or Tosh in the making. The influence of the hippie crowd is loud and visible, and sadly the natural environs of the valley have taken a backseat in the name of development.
Although Jibhi is a beautiful place, the presence of numerous homestays, hostels, hotels along the town, and the river spoils the aesthetics of such a gorgeous location. However, for the young budget travellers, it’s a great place to spend a couple of days, even a month, as the room rates are staggeringly low. I guess it’s designed that way to keep people there longer.
Before visiting the Jibhi valley, we had thought that it was an off-beat destination, but once we were there, we realized it wasn’t so! Overdevelopment and overcrowding will take a toll on the place, and if the mushrooming of cheap campsites and hostels isn’t stopped, we will lose one more natural spot to over-tourism.
But if you don’t mind visiting crowded places, and are ok with staying in campsites and hostels, then the Jibhi Valley is a good place for a short holiday as there is plenty to see in and around.
Places to visit in Jibhi Valley
This is a small waterfall located near Mudhouse and can only be reached by a short walk. Just ask any of the locals in the village, and they will point you towards the trek that leads to the waterfalls.
You can either trek all the way or drive up to about a kilometers before the waterfall and then walk the rest of the way. There are wooden bridges built over water streams and a cemented pool around the waterfall. The flow is quite steady, and if the water is cold! But a bath feels heavenly in the pristine waters and the natural surroundings!
Also known as Chaini Kothi, it is a small village known for a sizeable tower-like structure that is believed to have been built in the 17th century. This is one of the tallest structures built in traditional local architecture in the entire state. To reach the village, ask around and keep an eye out for the stairs leading to Shringa Rishi Temple. Leave your vehicle on the road, climb up to the temple and then walk 3 kilometers on the trail to Chehni Kothi.
Shringa Rishi Temple
Shringa Rishi is the ruling deity of Banjar valley, and the temple is dedicated to him. It is a three-story temple with amazing views of the valley around. It is located on the same trail as Chehni Kothi.
Sheshnaag is another presiding deity of Banjar, other than Shringa Rishi. This temple is believed to be over 500 years old and can also only be reached by a short trek from Jibhi Valley. It sits amidst a picturesque location deep inside the forest, and the trail is a scenic one as well.
Sarehul Lake is located close to Jalori Pass and the lake and its adjacent temple are highly revered among locals. Hundreds of local pilgrims, as well as people from other regions of Himachal, visit this temple every year. A trek to Sarehul Lake is mostly flat with some steep patches in between, and a beginner can easily do it. It takes around 2 hours to make it to Lake from Jalori Pass, and you will see some breath-taking views during the trek.
When considering the places to go in Jibhi Valley, how can one forget the infamous Tirthan Valley! Named after the Tirthan River, which flows through it, this valley is spread across the 20km distance between Banjar to Bathad. It overlaps several villages like Nagini and Gushaini. The abundance of greenery surrounding this freshwater river provides a beautiful and soothing view.
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. A 1-2 hour drive from Jibhi valley would take you to Jalori pass.
Best time to visit Jibhi Valley
The best time to visit the mesmerizing valley of Tirthan is between March and June, which is the spring/summer season. The weather stays pleasantly cool and is apt for exploring flora and fauna, especially the lush green meadows and the apple orchards.
The winter season, between November and February, also could be an excellent time to visit the valley, especially for those who are looking for a location that receives snowfall and can handle icy conditions.
The monsoon season begins in June/July and lasts till August. The region gets moderate to heavy rainfall and turns into a beautiful location but is not quite convenient for the explorers as the visibility decreases substantially.
How to reach Jibhi Valley
By Air – The closest airport is in Bhuntar in the Kullu district, 60 km/2 hr from Jibhi. For a group, a more economical option is to fly to Chandigarh and take a taxi to Jibhi.
By Rail – The closest railway station is at Shimla, 150 km/6 hr south of Jibhi. There is no direct service from Delhi to Shimla, so passengers need to change trains at Kalka, but there are plenty of connections for the comfortable ride.
By bus – The most straightforward way to travel to Jibhi is to board a bus for Manali from Delhi and disembark at Aut. From Aut, arrange for a taxi pickup through your accommodation or take another bus to Banjar, which is 8 km before Jibhi, and get a taxi from there.