Organizing a Himalayan trek in less popular routes is not an easy affair. You have to work with your resources and collaborate with local men of the region. Ensuring conformity of service that aligns with utmost care for nature and it’s people is critical. This is every Trek Organizer’s mountain problem to solve.
Buran Ghati (also known as Barua Pass) in Himachal Pradesh posed a similar challenge. Nestled at the higher region where the Pabbar river originates, the Buran Valley was high in my exploration list.
After I separated from Indiahikes this October, I decided to head to Buran Ghati and explore its trekking potential. I arrived at my hometown Shimla and met a few of my acquaintances.
A plan materialized with few young blokes. A list of supplies needed for the trek was prepared with great enthusiasm. Everything seemed to be in place. We had confirmed local porters from Chirgaon. A reliable Jeep was at our service for a drop to Janglik, the base camp of the trek.
And then, disaster struck. The negotiation with local sirdar fell off. The assured gas cylinder became a herculean effort to arrange. With just a day left for the trek our plan fell apart.
In hindsight, we were wrong to plan Buran Ghati in post monsoon months. There are lessons that were learned.
1. Shortage of support staff is the biggest problem of this region. The district of Shimla and Rohru is predominately an apple belt region. The harvesting season of apples begins in the month of August and September. There is a huge shortage of labor. During the autumn months, the workers here command a hefty wage. Even if you find men to work as porters, there is no assurance they will show up for work. This makes running treks to Buran Valley very difficult for any trek Organizer.
2. Reaching Janglik the base camp of the trek is a harrowing experience. During post monsoon season, the roads are in shabby conditions. Battered by constant rain and a heavy influx of trucks offloading apples, it is not an enjoyable journey.
3. The local jeep operators charge exuberant amount of money for a drop from Rohru till Janglik as a private hire. Trekkers have an option of taking a shared jeep from Rohru till Chirgaon. One has to then wait for next availability of a shared jeep for a drop till Tonglu or Damvari village. The wait sometimes can be frustratingly long. Be prepared to sweat it out to get a seat. From Tonglu, one has to walk an hour on dirt road to read Janglik. No shared jeep goes till Janglik. This makes ferrying supplies and trekking equipment to Janglik a difficult and costly proposition.
Doing Buran Ghati in post monsoon month is a challenge for any Trek Organizer. Without local support staff, it is better to look elsewhere. I would advise trekkers to come here in the month of late May and June, the best time to trek.
Trek pictures: Nikhil Sharma