Hampta Pass: Exotic walk into exotic land

Hampta pass drives its name from the Hampta Village which is located in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. This five days trek has gained quite popularity in fast few years due to its striking beauty of Kullu and Lahaul Valley. The trek starts from Jobra in Manali and ends at Chattru in Lahaul. Where the Manali side valley is adorned with lush green forest, grasslands, wild flowers and lot of streams and waterfalls, the Lahaul’s Chandra valley presents the contrasting beauty of the cold desert and barren mountains.
The highest point in this trek is at the altitude of 14,039 feet. The Hampta pass serves as the gateway connecting the Kullu valley with that of Lahaul valley. The route is quite famous among the shepherds who retreat to the higher passes in search of rich grasslands during summer time. The 35 km long trekking route takes you through dense forest, wide grasslands, stream crossings and waterfalls and not to miss, the snow covered pass crossing and finally ends at the barren stony land of Chandra valley in Lahaul.
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Manali to Jobra to Chika
Manali to jobra is a 15 kms long drive through the road and jobra is the starting point of the trek. Jobra is a small village situated near the hydro power project and have some small dhabas for the afternoon refreshments. The way from Jobra leads to the dense forest of Oak and Pine and small streams along the way. The view opens up to tiny grassland, hanging valleys of Chika and pristine stream flowing in the middle of the valley. The gradient from Jobra to Chika is quite gradual and gives ample time for a trekker to acclimatize for the coming days.
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Chika to Balu Ka Gera
Chika to Balu Ka Gera finds distinctive mention due to numerous stream crossings. The land is dissected with numerous streams that carry freshly melted glacier water and one has to cross these streams bare feet under sub zero temperature. Got some adrenaline rush? The Rani River brings lot of sediment deposits and rich mineral soil with it, as a result the terrain is adorned with bright colourful flowers during spring season. The initial way from Chika to Balu Ka Gera lies through some boulder crossings and eventually leads through the grasslands of Jowra. The main highlight of the day is Rani Nala, which swells up considerably during monsoons. The river crossing though bone chilling water posses some difficulty but is doable. The hike from Chika to Balu Ka Gera is moderate and the trail is extremely beautiful. Balu Ka Gera marks as the base camp for Hampta Pass and is a wide open land between the valleys of Kullu.
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Balu Ka Gera to Sheagoru via Hampta Pass
The Climb from Balu Ka Gera to Hampta Pass is the most arduous and difficult one in the whole trek. The weather becomes unpredictable and is prone to sudden changes at such high altitudes therefore the pass crossing day start quite early in the morning. The initial terrain is all about moraines and loose sand which slowly changes into huge boulders as one approaches the pass. The land mass is totally deprived of any kind of vegetation and one may experience a slight dip in the oxygen level. The huge boulder patch leads to a snow bridge that marks the starting of the pass. The path from Hampta to Sheagoru is a complete downhill trek. The trail becomes really challenging during monsoon season but can be doable with utter caution and taking necessary safety measures. After negotiating the steep descent from pass, one reaches Sheagoru, the most beautiful camp site of this trek. Sheagoru is situated alongside the stream that flows through the Lahaul valley and is known for extremely cold temperature due to strong winds.

Sheagoru to Chattru to Chandratal
The trail from Sheagoru to Chattru largely consists of steep descents through rocky patches of Chandra Valley. The stream crossing in sub zero temperature marks the start of the day and gradually leads to the barren valleys of Chandra. The descent from Sheagoru to Chattru would roughly take 3 hours and is of moderate level.
If time permits, one can visit the Chandratal lake, also known as Moon Lake which is located at the distance of 29.7 kms from Chattru. Chandratal Lake is famous for its crescent moon like shape and is one of the high altitude lakes situated in the Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh. The pristine blue colour lake holds mythological values for the locals hence bathing and swimming is not allowed. Locals worship the holy lake and consider it to be the abode of God. The blue water of lake with the backdrop of brown barren mountains makes picture perfect scenery for the tourist and nature lovers. Chandratal Lake is a retreat to one’s eyesight and is a perfect way to end the Hampta Pass Trek. Spend evening by the lake side and as the night drops, head back to the Chattru camp site.
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Chattru to Manali:
Chattru to Manali is 82.7 kms long road drive that takes approximately 4 to 5 hours to due sharp turns and dangerous road conditions. Enjoy the drive from Chattru to Manali alongside river Chandra and watch the low hanging clouds playing hide and seek with the high end mountains of Chandra valley. The drive with lead to Manali via Rohtang Pass, which is another breathtaking pass that attract tourist from all over the country.

Hampta Pass can rightly be termed as an ideal trek as it gives a glimpse of nearly everything that one wishes to experience in a trek. From the view of dense forest, stream crossings, barren lands to the snow covered pass and that too is just five days. Not to miss, the trek ends at enormously beautiful Chandratal Lake that is famous for its picture perfect landscape and the serene mountain breeze.

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