Experience nature at its most idyllic and pristine form as you witness new landscapes stretched out before you every day on the Pin Bhabha Pass trek. Considered a more picturesque and less treacherous alternative to the other nearby passes, the Bhabha trek also offers a river delta along it, which is a rare feature in Himalayan treks. As you cross the mountain pass that is perched at a mind-blowing height of 16,125 feet, you get to come wonderfully close to some of the most enchanting Himalayan peaks.
Unlike any other trek offered in the state of Himachal Pradesh, the Bhabha Pass trek will surprise you with its stunning beauty comprising a variety of landscapes that range from knee-deep white snow to a rush of abundant greens. The breathtaking journey commences at the meadows of Kinnaur and goes all the way to the sublime beauty of the valley in Spiti, covering the secluded and serene base point at Mudh.
The 8-day trek takes you not only across distinctive landscapes but also through varying Himalayan cultures including unique ways of life, structure of houses, and lifestyle. As you cross over from one side of the mountain to the other, you will stay in tents, walk through forests and apple orchards, experience unique cultures and communities that are a result of their environment.
Maximum altitude: 16,125 feet
Duration: 8 Days
Trekking distance: 48km
Trail type: This is essentially a crossover trail that runs through passes
Rail head: Kalka is the nearest railhead to Shimla
Airport: The nearest airport, Jubbarhatti is about 22 km away from Shimla
Snow Season: Best snow season is between June to October
Service from: Shimla to Manali
Base camp: Kafnu
Best season: If you wish to try the monsoon treks, the best months to go are from July to August.If you wish to go on the Autumn treks, the best months are September, October, and November
Region: Himachal Pradesh
Who can participate: Participants should be above 10 years of age. The expedition involves moderate to difficult levels of trekking and thus any previous experience in Himalayan trekking is welcome. You should maintain a basic level of fitness where you can carry a 10-15 kg backpack. You should also have sufficient stamina that enables you to cover a distance of 5 km in 30 minutes without stress.
Day 1: Shimla - Kafnu: 7- 8 hours drive.
Day 2: Kafnu – Mulling: About 6 hours trek.
Day 3: Mulling – Kara: climb up to the border of Kinnaur and Spiti.
Day 4: Kara – Phustirang: trek along the river’s left bank.
Day 5: Phustirang -Bhabha Pass – Baldar: ascend to Bhabha Pass and climb down on the Spiti side.
Day 6: Baldar - Mudh , Mudh – Kaza: reach the village of Mudh and then you will be driven to Kaza.
Day 7: Kaza - Kunzum La, Kunzum La – Chandratal: 3 hours trek from Kunzum La to Chandratal.
Day 8: Chandratal – Manali: 3 hours trek to road head and then you will be driven to Manali.
Drive from Shimla to Kafnu
Start your day early at around 7 AM and meet your trekking partners at the decided place in Shimla.
Board the vehicle which will take you from Shimla to Kafni. The distance of 208 km from Shimla to Kafnu is covered in approximately 7 to 8 hours by road.
The drive takes you through scenic spots like Narkandaand Rampur all the way to the quaint hamlet of Kafnu in the Bhabha Valley, Kinnaur.
Check in at a local hotel to spend the night at Kinnaur and start your Bhabha Valley trek the next morning.
Trek form Kafnu – Mulling (3,100m)
Enjoy a sumptuous breakfast and then commence your trek along the Bhabha Pass trek route.
Trek through scenic apple orchards and forested lands along a trail that is moderate in nature.
You will reach Mulling meadows in about 6 hours. Take the rest of the day to enjoy the spectacular surrounding beauty and abundant natural splendor here.
Spend the night on the meadows in sleeping tents.
Trek from Mulling – Kara
On this day the exhilarating Bhabha Pass trek will include some river crossings and walks through natural bridges.
Soak in the surrounding beauty, and sights of stunning alpine blossoms. You may also come across local villagers and shepherds attired in traditional garments.
After a steady upward trek, you will reach Kara. From here, the sights are simply breathtaking as you witness majestic peaks that are located on the border of Kinnaur and Spiti.
Spend the night under a starry sky in your sleeping tents.
Trek from Kara (3,550m) - Phustirang (4,000m)
Start you day at Kara and trek along the river’s left bank to reach Phustirang all the while enjoying spectacular views of the surrounding nature.
At Phustirang, you will be able to get a glimpse of the magnificent Hansbeshan Peak that towers at a height of 5,840 meters.
You will reach the camp ground around early evening which will give you time to unwind and relax.
Spend the night in tents on the camping ground.
Trek from Phustirang (4,000m) -Bhabha Pass (4,850m) - Baldar (3,900m)
Start the day with an ascent along steep paths and brave heavy snow until you reach the Bhabha Pass. The snowy areas can take more time than usual and will require some strength and effort.
Catch stunning views of magnificent mountains around you once you reach the top.
You can also get glimpses of famous mountain ranges like the Pin Parvati Pass.
Make a short halt here and then descend along the Spiti side. You will reach the beautiful valleys after a few hours of descent.
Spend the night in tents amid a mix of grasslands and mountains in a riot of colors.
Trek from Baldar (3,900m) - mudh (3,740m), Drive from Mudh - Kaza (3,800m) (2hrs)
Embark on a light trek to the charming village of Mudh along breathtaking terrains and marvelous landscapes
You can view purple hued mountains as you go along and see the Pin river curving through vast open spaces.
Once at Mudh, you will be driven to Kaza.
At Kaza, you will be put up in a hotel where you will spend the night.
Drive from Kaza (3,800m) to Chandratal (4,270m) via Kunzum La (4,550m)
Drive through picturesque hamlets and enjoy viewing distinctive mountain cultures along the way to Kunzum La.
Explore the views at Kunzum La and drive all the way to Chandratal Lake.
At Chandratal you will experience a stark change in landscape with mesmerizing views of crystal clear waters surrounded by high mountains.
Spend the night in tents surrounded by stark pristine beauty.
Chandratal (4,270m) – Manali (2,000m) (Trek and 6-7 Hours Drive)
Based on the situation of the road on the final day, you will have to trek to the road head for anything between 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Once at the road head, you will be driven to Manali via the popular Atal Tunnel.
This brings you to the end of your Bhabha Pass Trek.
The Bhabha Pass Trek is one of the most picturesque moderate-difficult trails and a must-visit if you are a mountain lover. The magnificent views you are greeted with as you pass along a variety of landscapes is an experience you would not want to miss. The vast valleys are covered with uninterrupted stretches of wildflowers in a riot of colors and lie in perfect contrast with the pristine white snow on the summits above. You can also walk through forests, apple orchards, along the river banks, and sleep under clear skies in tents. Each of the campsites such as Mulling, Karah, Phutsirang, and most importantly, Spiti offer unique settings, cultures, and experiences.
Carry a medical kit that should include
Trekking shoes: You need to carry sturdy shoes with a good grip, great ankle support, and one that can handle snow
Backpack: A trek such as the Bhabha Pass calls for a backpack with a capacity of at least 50 to 60 liters. Ensure that you pick a backpack that has good shoulder support, hip support, and great access pockets
Clothes: What will keep you most comfortable and warm in the high altitudes is layers. This will also give you the best protection against the elements. Moreover, as you find the weather changing continually in the mountains, it is easier to take off layers when required.
The base layer should comprise 3 t-shirts of which you should wear one and carry 2. Carry full sleeves dri-fit T-shirts which are collared if possible. This will keep you from getting sunburnt.
Insulation layers will comprise 4 warm layers of 1 pair of inner thermals, light fleece layers, 1 light sweater and 1 padded jacket.
Two quick dry trek pants with zippered cut-offs at the thighs should be enough. Wear one and carry another in case it rains.
3 pairs socks
A pair of trekking poles
Rain wear and cover for your backpack
A day pack with water bottle, rainwear, snack, emergency medicines, and a warm layer
Synthetic hand gloves
Do not try to cross streams on your own as the flow can be stronger than what it seems. Avoid any form of distractions during this time such as talking to other trekkers or recording your traverse with mobile phones and cameras in this section.
As you will be required to brave heavy snow and difficult trails, you will need appropriate shoes. You will also have to ensure that your microspikes are worn before you step on the snow. Keep an eye out for deep footholds that have been made by trekkers before you. Always put your foot on the footholds as far as possible as opposed to trying to make new paths of your own.
If you feel any symptoms of AMS, take adequate rest at a campsite before venturing further. If the symptoms persist you should head back to Kafnu immediately.
Wear layers as much as possible and include dry-fit t-shirts as they quickly dry your sweat and are easy to wash in case of a rainy day.
Go for pants with zippered pockets as they are quite handy when you need to keep things like phones, snacks, and handkerchiefs.
Do not take off your sunglasses in a snowy section.
Keep your head covered at all times and try to get sun caps with flaps since they cut out almost all UV leaks.
You have to first reach Shimla and then take an onward journey to the base camp at Kafnu.
By Bus: To reach Shimla you can take an overnight bus, preferably a government bus as they are most reliable and chances of delay are less. It Takes approximately 10 to 12 hours to reach Shimla by bus from Delhi. By Train: You can also take a train to Kalka which is the closest rail head and drive down to Shimla. If you are coming by train, it is best to keep a day in hand. The Kalka Mail leaves the Old Delhi Railway Station at around 9:25 PM and the Kalka Shatabdi leaves from New Delhi Railway station at about 7.40 AM
By Air: Shimla is well connected by air with the rest of the country and you can take a flight to Jubbarhatti airport which is about 22 km from the main city of Shimla
Reaching KafnuThe base camp of Kafnu in the Bhabha valley of Kinnaur is about 205 km from Shimla. You can reach here in about 6 hours by bus or cab from Shimla Old Bus Stand. It is best to start your journey early morning around 6:30 AM or 7:00 AM so that you reach in time for adequate rest before your trek the next day
July and August: This is the time when the entire valley turns green and covered with wildflowers in full bloom. The transition point at Phutsirang and further up the alpine regions has scarce vegetation but is in stunning contrast with the rest of the trek.
September: By this time the skies are much clearer with most of the intermittent showers having passed. You will find the trail beginning to change color during this time, especially the Phutsirang campsite which gets covered in various shades of yellow, red, and orange. While the middle of September is a great time to trek, by the end of the month it starts receiving snowfall blocking all accesses to the Spiti region.
How Difficult is the Pin Bhaba Pass trek?
The Bhabha Pass trek has been placed at the trek difficulty level 1, which demands a certain level of physical fitness to embark upon. Besides clearing the fitness criteria, if you have prior experience in Himalayan trekking, it is going to help you a great deal.
The trek is a moderate-difficult one and what makes it particularly challenging is the altitude which goes up to a jaw dropping 16,250 ft. Besides, the day of the trek when you go across the actual pass that involves crossing a 10 km long stretch to the next camp site, is the toughest of all the days.
From your starting point at Phutsirang, you have to go up approximately 2,500 meters of steep terrain over a distance of about 3 km all the way to the summit. You then have to follow it up with a steep descent for 2 km, a river crossing, and then a gradual descent to the campsite. The trek requires you to go through moraines and boulders and thus needs you to maintain a certain level of fitness to attempt it. If suffering from chronic illness, you need to consult your medical practitioner before embarking on this trek.
What is the total trekking distance of the Pin Bhaba Pass trek?
The Bhabha Trek is approximately 48 km long which commences at the Kafnu region in Himachal Pradesh’s Kinnaur region. You cover most of this distance on foot with the maximum of 16-18 km that you cover on a single day.
Is any electricity available on the Pin Bhaba Pass trek?
The last point on the Bhabha Pass trek where you will get electricity is at Kafnu. However, here too, you may experience long periods of power cutoffs and hence it is advisable to bring additional batteries for cameras as well as a power bank with more than 10,000 mAh to last you the entire trek.
Can I find an ATM on the Pin Bhaba Pass trek?
The last point on the route to Kafnu where you can withdraw money is at Rampur Bushahr. It is advisable that you keep some cash handy as you will find an ATM next only after you cross the Pass at Kaza.
Will I get mobile phone networks or internet connection on the Pin Bhaba Pass trek?
You will be able to find mobile phone networks only for Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL at the base camp. After that, you will be able to get only the Airtel 4G network, but that too only up to Kafnu. Once you cross the pass you will find a mobile phone network and internet connection at Kaza, although it is intermittent and quite unreliable.
What is the maximum age to attempt the Pin Bhaba Pass trek?
The Bhaba Pass trek involves significant challenges and requires a certain amount of fitness. There are days when you are likely to trek around 12-20 km with extremely steep ascents and descents. Hence, it is advised to travel between the age of 12-55 years with excellent physical fitness.