Barot valley is a visually stunning place. The crispy sound of cold river water hitting the rocks. Bright sunshine playing hide and seek with cotton candy clouds. The feeling of quietness, being silent and being at with the surroundings. Majestic deodhar trees standing tall surrounding you like a blanket giving you comfort. This is not a fable but a reality sketched by nature itself in a small place known as Barot in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.
Barot valley is a classic case of mixed identity. On one hand, the place feels like heaven with deodhars surrounding the valley accompanied by multi-hued terraced fields. On the other hand, during the summer season, the place becomes crowded with families from neighboring Punjab state and nearby districts of Himachal Pradesh. Barot has everything for everyone, outdoor activity enthusiasts, trekkers, family, laid-back personalities. You can find a few shops selling groceries and essentials. There are also a few medical shops, a couple of eateries, and a cooperative bank.
Despite the influx of foreign influences resulting from the tourism boom, locals still manage to keep their culture intact. One can easily come across men and women in their traditional attires. Do not feel surprised when you see a mountain woman carrying her child on her back, tied with a shawl.
Villagers still prefer to live in their traditional skillfully crafted wooden homes. Domestication of animals is integral to village life. Villagers design their house in such a way that ground level shelter is for the animals. Experiencing such homes took me back to an old world charm.
baby with the mother
Activities to do:
There are many activities one can do but the real charm of the place is in doing nothing and soak in the surroundings. We are so used to working all the time that we forget that doing nothing sometimes is also an exercise, for the mind and the body.
Trout fishing: Very popular in the region. Fishing is legal with pre-conditions. A popular trout breeding center in the region.
Trek to nearby villages: Want to enjoy more deep-rooted cultural traditions of the mountain people? Just use your own legs and walk. Lohardi, Chota Naya Gaon, Bada Nayaa gaon are some of the nearby villages.
Register yourself at the Trout Farm Office Barot has turned into an attractive destination for anglers since the clear waters of the rivers are great for trout fishing.
Listen to the water: Nothing else, just sit by the riverside. Do nothing or read a book, or just simply close your eyes. Don’t worry you will not drown if you respect the river. There are few spots on the riverside to engage in such calming activities. One of my favorite spots on the riverside can be seen below. Yes, I have spent a countless number of hours by this river. Sometimes reading a book, just taking a nap or playing with small stones nearby.
fishing at river Uhl, Barot
*Mind you, swimming in the river is not safe given the strong water current.
Watch and play with school kids:
You will find government schools along the way as you trek and explore the place. No entry barriers, interact with the kids, laugh with them, play with them. Be a child again.
school children in happiness