This is an experience that is sure to refresh and revitalize you. Shoja is a little village, which is just 5 kms from Jalori pass 3223m, which links Shimla to Kullu district. With the advent of summer, the whole drive wears a festive look with blue Iris in full bloom, gently forcing the mind to outline the plan to the next visit. While the drive to the retreat is a pleasure in itself, the numerous walks and treks in the surrounding forests and meadows are a special feature of the area. The Banjara Retreat is a solid cedar wood house in the local architectural style tucked away amidst thickly wooded forests from which you can get a panoramic view of the snow covered Himalayan ranges in the distance. Shoja boasts dense forests of Deodar rich in wild life i.e. Deer (Black & Brown), Barking Deer, Musk Deer, Leopard, Jungle Hog and Monal (The State bird of Himachal).
(3 nights 4 days)
- Day 1: Delhi - Sojha Fly into
Bhuntar/ Chandigrah. Drive for 2/ 8 hrs to Sojha. Check into Banjara retreat. Acclimatization walk to Sojha village in
the afternoon. Evening around a bonfire.
- Day 2: Sojha - Raghupur Fort -
Sojha - 10 kms drive. 5 kms trek/ 3-4 hrs We hike to Raghupur Fort Meadows that overlook the Tirthan Valley in Kullu district in the West and Shimla
district in the
East. Drive to Jalori pass and walk in the open for about hundred meters towards Satluj valley
before it heads straight into the forest on a well-de ned trail. Half a
kilometer later, a short steep climb takes
one to a small meadow that o ers a photo-op. A short rest and o you go into the Oaks and Rhododendrons
forest slowly climbing
up and then shifting gear for a nal steep climb of 15 to 20 minutes. Here the
tree line nishes and we move into a lush green meadow. A little up and we are rewarded
with a 360
degrees view of The Himalayas, Dhauladhar and Kinnaur ranges, all of them in one sweeping glance.
Keep strolling and in a while we end up at the dilapidated
Raghupur Fort. The local people believe that an
erstwhile king of Mandi province got this fort constructed hundred of years ago. Theories abound as to why
this fort was
constructed on a ridge where scarcity of water was a perennial issue. One of them will have us
believe that this retreat was made in case the king had to retreat in to
the mountains in case his kingdom
was attacked by the enemy forces from the plains. Yet another popular belief is that the fort was constructed
for the pleasure of the
king away from the prying eyes of his family and subjects. Whatever the truth, the
King could not have chosen a better location. One look and you would not want to go
back. All around you
are swathes of lush green meadows that gently descend into the oak and blue r forests.
The meadows also happen to be the favourite ground of local
shepherds. It is a sight to behold with hundreds
of sheep and goats munching around with not a worry in the world, with at least couple of shepherd
dogs in attendance.
Early mornings and late evenings provide an excellent photo opportunity. Hike back to
Jalori pass and onto a waterfall. Picnic lunch by the fall in the afternoon. A
short rest and hike back to retreat
- Day 3: Sojha - Serolser lake -
Sojha - 10 kms drive. 12 kms hike/ 5-6 hrs Himachal Pradesh, with most of it lying in the lap of Himalayas, has an abundance of lakes. One such lake is
valley (Kullu District) located 11 kms (5 by car from our retreat to Jalori Pass and 6 kms from there
to the lake) from Banjara Retreat in Shoja. A drive to Jalori pass
will take 15-20 minutes from the retreat.
From there a well-de ned trail takes one to the Lake. Few hundred meters on the trail and then you get in to
the Oak forest. The
sun rays ltering through the tree cover, the blue of the sky through the foliage, the up
and down of the trail, an occasional sight of a bird, a clearing showing the
huge green vistas cascading
down to the Sutluj valley, all of this and more will keep you an enchanting company all the way to the lake.
The lake makes up in crystal
clear clarity what it lacks in size. The local belief is that no one has ever found a
leaf oating in the lake though leafy trees surround the lake itself. Nearby is a
small temple beyond which
the meadows start.
A couple of teashops regularly come up between April-October. They have also some local sweets and
savories- worth trying.
During summer a lot of Gujjars come with their bu aloes and cows to these pastures.
An average person may take about one and a half to two hours to cover the 6 km trail
from Jalori pass to the
lake. An early start will get you back to the retreat for the hot lunch. For people who would like to spend
more time with the chirping birds, we
will be too happy to provide you with a lunch hamper for you to enjoy
an al fresco lunch on the banks of the lake.
- Day 4: Sojha - Delhi Drive to
Bhuntar airport to y back to Delhi.