Barot is a small village in Himachal Pradesh, around 60kms from Mandi. It was developed in the 1920s by the British as part of the Shanan Power Project. While the majority of the project lies in Jogindernagar, a diversion dam and tunnel lies across the hills in Barot which redirect the waters of Uhl river. They also constructed an elaborate funicular trolley system to ferry the men and material between Jogindernagar and Barot. Interesting thing is, there was no road into the valley even after 20+ years of Independence. No wonder, this place still feels like left in a time warp.
Always on the lookout for less frequented places, I was thrilled with the prospect of visiting this smallish village. The dead-ends on its either side and a bit of history, were the added attractions. It may not have a crowded mall road, swanky cafes or luxurious hotels, but it offers something much beyond these things – unspoilt nature and total peace!
How to Reach Barot
The road from Mandi to Joginder Nagar is in good condition and after travelling for about 40Kms, you will come upon a turn for Barot. This road passing through some thick Deodar forests, is an adventurous drive in itself. The highest point on this road – Jhatinkri has a couple of shops/eateries and a beautiful ground surrounded by tall Deodars on all sides. The road isn’t in particularly great shape and one cannot average more than 15-20kmph on this leg.
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Exploring barot and beyond
Just across the river from Barot, on the opposite bank, lies the town of Multhan. There are plenty of stay options available at both the places now. At the time of our visit, the water levels were pretty low in the reservoir, it being the winter season. So we did not spend much time near them.
A few meters beyond the reservoir, passing through a narrow path, we come upon the remains of the fenicular trolley system. In fact the narrow path on which we drove, actually shows the signs of rails. It used to extend right upto the second reservoir back in the day. Also tried to climb up a little on the tracks. But gave up, soon after 🙂
Right opposite this trolley station, is an under construction bridge. We spent quite sometime here, enjoying the views and the clear waters. None of us dared to enter 😀 , being winters. But we enjoyed the calmness nonetheless.
Dead End One – Bada Gram
2 roads fork out from Barot – one towards Lohardi, the other towards Bada Gram. With itchy feet, we treaded on both to as far as the car would go.
The road to Bada Gram is longer (~25kms) and offers some spectacular views en route. It also gains some altitude. The road ends a few hundred meters before Bada Gram, and you need to walk rest of the distance. The village is very beautiful. Houses are made up of rocks and wood – in the traditional style. The lower floors are dedicated for cattle and storage. The living quarters are upstairs. When it snows, this construction ensures the residents aren’t snowed in.
It was a truly humbling experience to visit this village and interact with the residents. In a few years’ time the road from Bir Billing will connect to it. The village will then surely get a steady flow of tourists and visitors, and might even become a good pit stop!
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dead end two – Lohardi
The road towards Lohardi, is equally picturesque but rather short (~12kms). Compared to the Bada Gram road, it stays at the river level going by it’s side for the entire distance.
A power plant project is coming up a few kms beyond Lohardi and that is the current dead end. The town of Lohardi is very pretty and the Uhl flowing through it unrestricted, looks even prettier. The waters though a little turbulent, are crystal clear. It makes for a perfect evening, so camp here, on the banks with a good bunch of friends or that special friend (you pick!;)) and you will not want to return.
Summing it up
Like I said earlier, Barot is a special place. There are no crowded markets to roam around or posh cafes to hang out in. There is just the nature to enjoy. Unspoilt and pristine – gurgling streams, tall Deodars, chirping birds etc. The calmness and peace is something that cannot be described in words. You need to experience it for yourself. Head out here if these entice you. I, for sure, will head out sometime again, pretty soon!
Keep rocking, Keep roaming!!
Have you been to this beautiful, peaceful village? How was your experience in Barot?