Kulluvalleydays – part 2: Burwa, Bus and Balu

6. – 9. October 2023



Another good tour recommended to me was the start of the ascent of Friendship Peak. The peak is 5,289 m high and means an expedition with camps beforehand. You can walk nicely along the river in this direction, enjoy the beautiful scenery and turn around if you don’t want to go any further. The problem: right at the beginning there is a huge construction site where they are digging around in the river. We suspected that our guests wouldn’t like that at all and thought we’d better look at something else. This tour, which would start at 2,800 m, is certainly a beautiful tour, the landscape promised a lot. And so for the time being I trusted that I could integrate the hike into tour plans without having hiked it myself.


Further down, at 2,400 m, we had spotted another interesting option. In Burwa is the ski centre of the Kullu Valley, where paragliders were flying through the air in summer. The gondola station looked a bit fancier inside than the ones in Gulmarg and Auli. And in paragliding, not only were tandem jumps offered, but one also saw people eagerly practising to be able to do it on their own.






Gondolastation inside








Burwa is also the starting point for a short tour to the Anjani Mahadev temple. Anjana is the mother of Hanuman, the monkey god. According to legend, Anjana was a high reincarnation of a deity, but was cursed and thus reborn as a monkey. After she gave birth to a monkey child named Hanuman, the curse was over and she was no longer a monkey. Not so convenient for baby Hanuman, who nevertheless grew up to be a splendid boy. Mahadev translates as great god – and that means Shiva.


You hike up a bit of beautiful countryside, then up many stairs and sprinkled by a waterfall there is a lingam with a bull in front of it. On the way back, you have a very pretty view of the whole mountain world.












It is definitely a nice excursion, where there is a bit to see, you can look at the great landscape – and because it doesn’t take so long, you can combine it well with another destination.


But what was also special about the day was that we travelled in 2 buses (HRTC = state buses) and in both I, as a woman, only paid half as much as Sonam, as a man. Compensation for suffering? Animation for women to expand their radius in public?




The following day was just a bit of roaming around, discovering a new nice path (by the way, maps.me is rather suboptimal here, google maps too, but as a combination you always find your way somewhere) and further temple exploration in Naggar. We also met the clients and chatted. Sonam now felt well equipped to accomplish his task – and I was also very reassured.






Naggar Temple I


Naggar Temple II


I moved to Old Manali because I wanted to restart my plan to travel to Spiti. The weather was exceptionally good and so there was a good chance that the pass would be free. In the meantime, the Israeli war had started and the Israelis, the largest group of travellers staying in Old Manali, had left for home. So it was even emptier and I felt very sorry for all the empty shops, restaurants and accommodation. But I didn’t want to leave without doing a day trek to Lamadugh. There you go up and down over 1,000 m and can start directly from Manali.


First it was a steep climb through a lot of beautiful coniferous forest.










There were not many people on the way, some gentlemen with their cows, an eagerly filming uncommunicative young man with a porter and 2 hastily trudging up friendly Indians. And then suddenly Vanathi came along the way, approached me and suggested we walk together. So we did.


me and Vanathi


She is from Chennai and usually spends 1 month in Himachal with her husband, where they partly work online (she is a yoga teacher) and partly walk around in the mountains. Now they were just back from a multi-day trek across Hamta Pass, Chandertal to Baralacha-la. And impressively, they carried everything themselves (they are pretty minimal travellers) and had neither guide nor porter. Both are very athletic, running longer than marathon distances and cycling long distances. Unusual. Almost “typical”, however, is their other story, i.e. the simultaneity of extremes. They are from different castes, he is higher than she, and both parents are totally against marriage. But after 8 years of relationship, they thought during Corona that they would just do it and thus get married. Her parents were reconciled to their decision, but his father was not. He still doesn’t talk to her, doesn’t ask about her and doesn’t touch any of the food she has prepared. Despite everything, he feels obliged to his father and does not really break with him. The mother seems a little nicer, but still more attached to the father. So the two are happy together, she lives with the circumstances even if they continue to hurt and he juggles back and forth. Neither of them wants children (they are 35 and 40 years old). From me there is only a shake of the head. We met him and his buddy at a view point and got a bun with jam.


jam buns


Shankar and Vanathi


The two gentlemen hurried on, wanting to climb another 1,000 metres. There are 2 ways to get to Lamadugh – this is the more popular path. I actually wanted to take the other one back down, but Vanathi warned me: there would be a bear on the way. Also here, she wasn’t so sure and called out loudly “Balu, Balu” several times to keep him from coming closer. It was of some use, no bear to be seen.


high vegetation


other trees




And then we were in Lamadugh and I was highly disappointed. I thought it was a summit or a meadow with a great panoramic view, but nothing there, just a kind of hollow with a shelter and lots of trees around it. It wouldn’t really do any good to go any further, or if I really wanted a view, I would have to go a lot further. But that was too much altitude for me.




You can go much further from here with overnight stays and I think it’s a really great trekking area – but as a day trip alone – I’m not really enthusiastic. However, the viewpoint further down was great. We descended again, had a bite to eat and then I was pretty tired.




again viewpoint


So I would possibly recommend the tour only as far as the viewpoint. But I was glad to have done it, because now I a) knew more, b) had moved properly and c) got to know Vanathi.


I’ve heard nothing but good things from Sonam and the travellers so far, which makes me very happy. And now nothing stood in the way of finally travelling to Spiti. Or was there? Clouds had gathered in the evening….