Churah valley, as the heading of this blog represents is a lesser-known but magnificent destination in Himachal, and is famous for its apples and other organic products like honey. The word Churah means four paths as it is a gateway to four major places like Chamba town, Pangi Valley, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir.

Churah valley is the perfect place to spend a few days to refresh your mind and body amidst snow capped mountains, wilderness and the orchards. Its history, lifestyle, dance and music styles, handicrafts, memorials, palaces, temples, cuisine, costume and language present a glowing glimpse of the glorious culture and heritage of this region.


Himachal Pradesh is a fascinating place. There are many places which are unexplored, yet have great potential in terms of scenic beauty and adventures that lure the travelers to visit and explore this region. Before I get lost in the fond memories of this place, let me provide you with an overview of this lesser-known but magnificent destination of ‘Churah Valley’.

Churah Valley

Churah Valley came into limelight when Sach Pass was opened for travelers, especially bikers. Churah Valley is a must-visit for explorers, as its landscape is waiting to be explored by travellers. Its stark and raw beauty will leave you baffled.

Churah Valley: An Overview

Churah Valley being hidden from normal travelers, has many fascinating places to touch the wanderlust of backpackers. The local folklore, cuisine and other native things will make you fall in love with this place.

Location

Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, North India

Headquarter

Bhanjradu village

Best time to visit

March to June

October to February

Ideal accommodation options

Home stays

Budget hotels

Government guest houses

Ideal means of transport

HRTC buses

Private vehicle

Cab

Functional mobile operators

Jio 4G

Airtel

BSNL

Vodafone

Places to explore

Gadasaru Mahadev Lake

Devi Kothi Temple

Goiya Naag Valley

Jatbagga Meadows

churah valley

This is me, in love with Churah Valley and Chamba. The cap I’m wearing here is a traditional Hiamchali cap. Traditionally worn to protect oneself from chilly winds, it has now become a cultural symbol of the state. If you want one, you can pick it up in Chamba.

Places to Explore in and Around Churah Valley

Not only the mountains but the wilderness and fragrant orchids give travelers a great sense of satisfaction and refreshment at Churah Valley. If you’re in the region for a short trip, the places listed below can surely be covered by you.

Let’s have a look at them –

Sach pass
Devi Kothi Temple
Gadasru Mahadev lake
Goiya Naag Valley
Jatbagga Meadows

The places mentioned above are the prime locations, where you get to test your physical and mental abilities along with a touch of Himachali culture.

There are no fancy hotels or malls to spend time in, but the valleys, fresh air, orchids, rich culture and the local tales are sources of never-ending thrill and entertainment for travelers.

How to Reach Churah Valley?

Churah valley is well-connected with the major cities of Himachal Pradesh, by a good network of roadways. Let me elaborate on the details of transport in the region for your convenience as a traveler. 

Nearest Airport and Railway station is at Pathankot, which is approximately 160 km from Bhanjradu/Tissa.
Direct buses to the headquarters of Churah Valley i.e Bhanjradu/Tissa can be boarded from Shimla, Pathankot and Chamba District respectively.
Churah Valley is 62 km away from Chamba Town, and it takes almost 4 hours to reach Tissa by bus and 2.5 hours by car/bike.
If you are traveling from New Delhi, the best way to reach is to take the direct bus to Chamba and from there, board the Chamba-Tissa bus as early as possible.
Having prior knowledge about buses and other modes of transport is a must for all travelers. Traveling amidst the mountains is very different from traveling in the plain regions. So, staying aware is crucial.

A Description the Must Visit Places in Churah Valley

Let me now throw some light on the must visit places of Churah Valley by elaborating them more for you as a traveler.

Sach Pass

Situated at an altitude of 14,500 Ft, Sach pass awaits you for a complete adrenal rush. Often mentioned as ‘World’s most treacherous road,’ it is on the top slot of for travelers and bikers.

It connects Churah valley to the Pangi Valley of Chamba district. Also, it provides a gateway to the mecca of bikers ‘Leh and Ladakh’.

It is the shortest and toughest route to Pangi (170km) and Leh-Ladakh (670km).

The pass opens from mid May till October only. It’s a treacherous and slippery road where even the most experienced drivers do not dare to drive faster than 10 kmph at any point of time.

The scenery is sublime and limitless charm beholds the eye at the top. A view of Pangi valley is obtained from these passes. Snowy valleys around the pass, add mystique and an awe-inspiring dimension to this place.

Churah Valley

A bridge on the way to Sach Pass. The roads to Sach pass are treacherous. If you’re driving or riding by yourself, take lots of precautions. In addition to dressing appropriately, it is important to know your vehicle well in case something goes wrong.

Devi Kothi Temple

As the name explains, Devi Kothi means Goddess Palace. It is a temple dedicated to goddess Chamunda, and is located 35 km from Tissa at Dei Kothi village beneath the mighty Pir Panjal mountain range.

The Devi Kothi shrine was built in 1754 by the King of erstwhile Chamba province. The major attraction of the temple is its wall paintings, which depict historical and religious Hindu figures, and the traditional ancient style woodcarving.

Every year, during the month of April, a festival is organised here dedicated to the Goddess Chamunda during the time of “Bishu” or Baisakhi. People gather around and perform Himachali nati (folk dance of Himachal) in order to make the goddess happy.

I recommend you all to witness this festival once in your lifetime, and don’t forget to ask the adventurous and historic tales related to this temple from the priest.

Gadasru Mahadev Lake

In the vicinity of Tissa, there are some very scenic mountain lakes that can be easily approached on foot. The glacial lake of Gadasru Mahadev is one of the most visited places by travelers.

Located in the north of Upper Churah Valley, there is a unique place in the skyscraper chain of Nosrahar Mountain Range, a wonderful place of Lord Shiva, “Gadasru Mahadev”. It is situated at an altitude of 3,470 meters and is spread over an area of about 2 km.

This is a 3-day long trek and the difficulty level is medium. The scenic view along the trek attracts everyone by itself. Fragrant flowers make for a surreal sight which relieves travelers from all the exhaustion.

There are no special tours organised by any external travel agencies here, so you’ll have to venture out on your own.

A festival is held there annually where the local people gather and celebrate. Traditional Himachali cuisines are served to the people visiting there.

“Goiya Naag Valley” or the Valley of Snakes is a scenic place in Churah valley, and is a perfect spot for camping. The meadow exists in the zenith of the skyline, and flourishes with rich flora.

You can see snow-covered mountains just in front of your eyes which presents a very magical and astonishing sight. The Valley is accessible by car till “Shahuaa Village” and from there, it takes 2-3 hours of hike to reach the top.

Prayer Flags Himalayas

The colourful prayer flags fluttering away in the winds. Traditionally, they signify wisdom, peace, and strength. These flags are generally found at higher altitudes, and at locations where the winds are strong. They’re not supposed to touch the ground.

Jatbagga Meadows

Moving on to the next location, Jatbagga Meadows is truly a paradise for travelers. Some places can’t be found on google maps – you have to explore them by yourself. The Jatbagga Meadows will take you back to the ancient times – there is no internet connectivity, no electricity and no luxuries. Visit there to experience true rustic life.

This place is accessible only in summers and can be reached by trekking for 4-5 hours. When the temperature rises in the mountains, local people move to more higher altitude along with their cattle and sheep. These people stay there till winters.

This is a long age tradition which they still follow.  You can live with them for a few days in their temporary houses, which are generally made up of stones and listen to their folk stories.

Don’t forget to carry your sleeping bag and a few essential medications.

Local Living

Living with the local people on such an altitude without any basic facilities is a real challenge, but this is what a mountain trekker should pursue – a sense of solitude. Away from chaos and close to nature is the ideal retreat.

2-3 days are enough to explore this region. The top provides a breathtaking 360-degree view of the entire Churah valley. You can witness most parts of the mighty Pir Panjal range from there. Even Dalhousie is visible from there, but the best part is living with locals and gaining a lifelong experience. This is something you won’t be able to explain to someone else, unless they themselves visit there.

Churah valley

A view of the Jatbagga Meadows. This place is really unknown, and you problably won’t find it on Google maps. This is what makes it all the more beautiful, and unexplored. Here, you can live with the locals, and experience the real and raw local life.

High Altitude Lakes – The Paradise for Hikers    

Churah Valley consists of certain high altitude lakes with magnificent views.

There are many glacial lakes in Churah Valley. Most of them have a holy significance and are hiked to as a Yatra (spiritual journey). Whether you’re religious or not, I highly recommend that you visit these lakes. 

They are present in their purest form amidst the high mountains, and will leave you mesmerized.

Let me share the names and altitudes of these lakes with you –

Gadasaru Mahadev Lake 13,278ft.
Khundi Maral Lake 13,260ft
Chamunda dal lake(Enthann Lake 15,000ft
Mehalwar Naag Lake 14,500ft
Tithh Naag Lake(Himgiri) 11,000ft
Mahakaali  Dal Lake 13,450ft

Famous Passes of Churah Valley

As a traveler, you may have heard about Sach Pass, but how many of you know of the other passes present in Churah valley?

By means of my blog, I intend to introduce you to the other passes as well –

Pass and Altitude Gateway region
Sach Pass

14500ft

Killar
Chainni Pass

14250ft

Mindhal
Kahlo Pass

14990ft

Chamba- Lahaul Spiti
Draati Pass

14860ft

Tandi
Maddu Pass

14300ft

Tandi
Mehalwar Pass

14300ft

Bhaderwah
Makkan Pass

1400ft

Bhaderwah
Padhari Pass

9906ft

Bhaderwah
Daangri Pass

12552ft

Bhalessa
Bharari Pass

12100ft

Bhalessa
Narangwadi Pass

14742ft

Nili-Bhalessa
Dhantaaru Pass

14750ft

Kishtwar

As you have the list now, grab your backpack and book your tickets to Chamba.

A whole new adventure awaits you!

I’d like to mention here that the altitudes above have been taken from my Uncle – Mr D.S. Dewal’s book. These are the official altitudes. 

Churah Valley

The adrenaline pumping Sach Pass, that finds itself at 14,500 feet. The pass only remains open from July to October, because during the rest of the months, the path is obstructed with heavy snowfall. To get here, take the bus to Dalhousie or Chamba.

Now, let’s talk a little about the safety of travelers especially women. It is important to discuss this.

Is Churah Valley Safe for Female Travelers?

We all are aware of the growing intolerance in society towards women but mark my words, the mountain people are very respectful, honest, helpful, and peaceful.

Therefore, Churah valley is totally safe for female travelers even if they wish to travel solo to the region.

Churah Valley

Chamba as a region is quite safe for travelers. This is a capture from Kahlo Pass, that is situated at a towering 14,990 feet. 

FAQ’s on Churah Valley

How much time does it take in the bus to reach Churah Valley from Chamba?

 Almost 3 hours

Why is Churah Valley still not very popular?

One of the main reasons for Churah Valley still being an offbeat destination is its location. In fact, Chamba itself is quite distant from the rest of Himachal and so, it doesn’t come on the priority list of most travelers.

Initially, Churah valley was mostly known to hardcore trekkers who came to cross its difficult and adventurous passes. It was only after opening the Sach Pass, that Churah Valley started appealing to bikers.

Thousands of bikers visit Sach pass every year. Now, it’s the time for this wonder to be explored by other travelers as well.

Are hotels available at Churah Valley?

 Yes

How are the road conditions there, any risk factors?

The roads are wide and properly tarred.

During the Monsoon season, and when during winters (when it snows), the roads remain closed. This is because around this time, landslides are common.

It’s highly advised to get the precise-updates about the weather and roads before visiting Churah Valley.

Are guides available there?

 No. But you can ask the locals over there. They will surely show you the places around.

Which government guest houses are available there?

There are PWD, IPH, Electricity and the Forest department’s guest houses available. They need to be booked in advance from their website or simply by visiting their office in Chamba town.

Can I rent a bike at Tissa?

No such service is available there. Private Cabs are available which you can hire easily. Alternatively, you can rent a bike from Dalhousie.

Churah Valley is the ideal travel destination for those that want to explore the offbeat places in Himachal. This region will offer you tranquillity and quietude. Not to forget, surreal views that will stay in your memory forever. 

It’s high time that as travelers, we made Churah Valley in particular and Chamba, in general, more mainstream. Don’t wait any longer. Pack your bags and explore the region with your own eyes.

Happy wayfaring!

About the Author

Avdhesh Pandit hails from the beautiful town of Chamba in Himachal Pradesh and is a ‘Pahadi’ by Birth. He is pursuing Medicine and has an immense love for the Himalayas and the hill culture. His efforts for preserving the culture and tradition of Himachal Pradesh has earned him a name of ‘Himalayan Soul’ in his region. An avid traveler and explorer, he believes in visiting new places to know their culture, language, food and moreover the problems that they face. He prefers ‘Chai’ over coffee and ‘Naati’ over DJ songs. He wants to inspire fellow travelers about respecting and maintaining the serenity and cleanliness of the mountain regions.

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