Travelling to Jalori Pass can be a really good experience for travellers visiting Kullu. This is a high altitude motorable pass in Himachal which is not frequented by tourists and travellers but is one of the most picturesque places in Himachal.
Now if you know a thing or two about High-altitude passes, they mostly close by November but not this one. Jalori pass is one of the very few passes which closes late and is the first one to be thrown open. It offers a panoramic view of the mountains, the beautiful Deodar forests below.
Travelling to Jalori pass was quite an overwhelming experience for me. If you are a Deodar/Pine forest fanatic like me then this journey to the pass will surely leave you awestruck. So, through this Jalori pass blog, I intend to help all the fellow travellers and backpackers to make a budget-friendly trip to this beautiful destination.
Travelling to Jalori Pass – 9 Things you need to know
Himalayan passes have always intrigued me. Just the sheer journey leading to the top of the pass through the narrow serpentine roads is enchanting and enough to excite me.
The views that you get from High-altitude passes like Jalori are otherworldly. The journey from leading to the pass is extremely picturesque. Just the bus ride from Banjar to Jalori was enough to leave me spellbound. The narrow serpentine roads give way to beautiful hamlets of the valley.
Kullu District, Himachal Pradesh
|2. Pass Elevation
|3. Weather at Jaolri Pass
Pleasant but slightly cold in summers and monsoon, very cold during spring and Autumn, Sub-zero in winters.
Jalori pass is accessible all-round the year. However, please note that in the peak winter months due to heavy snow one can only reach by foot from Shoja from Kullu side.
|5. Short Hikes from Jalori Pass
Serolsar lake and Raghupur fort
|6. No of days needed for the visit
Day trip is enough. But if you want you can stay at a few camps at Jalori top. (At night it gets very windy)
|7. Public transport
HRTC buses and local buses available throughout the day from Banjar side and from Rampur Bushar side.
|8. Where to eat?
There are a few local dhabas at Jalori top. Kadhi-Chawal is must try.
|9. Cost of Visiting
200-250 INR including travelling and food if you make a day trip and hike around.
3 Reasons Why should you visit Jalori Pass?
For those of you who might not have heard of Jalori pass, let me shed some light on it. Jalori Jot is a mountain pass nestled in the beautiful valley of Seraj, Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. This route is also known as old Britishers route which can act as an alternative route to the Shimla district. Britishers used this route often for commute which is way the name. The beautiful hamlets of Jibhi, Shoja, and Ghiyagi fall on this route.
So, once you cross the pass from Banjar side (Kullu), you can either head to beautiful places of Shimla district like Narkanda, Theog, etc. or you can head to the High-altitude tribal district of Kinnaur via Rampur Bushahr or you can come back the same way.
Here’s why you should visit Jalori Pass:
- It’s way less crowded than the other popular passes: Unlike Rohtang or the triple passes on Leh-Manali highway, this is not one of the more famous passes in Himachal Pradesh. Now it is not very obscure and offbeat place anymore, but it still remains less crowded even during the peak summer season when most of the domestic travellers flock to Rohtang pass which is notorious for its traffic shenanigans.
- The views are spectacular: The entire ride to the pass is breathtaking. Once you reach here, you are rewarded with the spectacular view of the Pir Parnjal ranges.
- Head on to other adventures: From Jalori Pass you can head on to small hikes.
How to Reach Jalori Pass?
There is no direct Chandigarh or Delhi to Jalori pass bus. You have to break your journey in order to reach the pass.
As there are multiple ways that you can reach, I have assumed that you choose the route which goes via Aut and Banjar from Delhi. I’ll also mention briefly about the other routes.
How to reach from Kullu to Jalori Pass using Public Transport?
Travelling to Jalori pass is very easy from Banjar or Jibhi and is pretty cost-effective. So first to reach Banjar or Jibhi you need to reach Aut. Now there are several private and HRTC Volvo and normal buses plying from Delhi and Chandigarh, you need to board a bus which is going towards Manali and get down at Aut.
Aut is where you get the buses for Banjar or Jibhi. The road to Banjar diverts to right from the start of the Aut tunnel, but you might not get a place to sit in the local buses, so I would recommend to get down at Aut and catch a bus from the town itself.
Once you reach Banjar, there are a lot of buses going to towards Jalori pass. Banjar is just 20 km away from Jalori pass and Jibhi to Jalori pass is just 13 km.
|Buses to Jalori Pass
The first one is at 7.30 AM then there is one at around 9-9.30 AM, another on at 11.00 AM and finally the last bus is at 12.00 PM. There are buses throughout the day till 3.00 pm from Jalori pass to Jibhi and Banjar for people wanting to return after they are done exploring the pass.
So yes, it could be a bit inconvenient for some to change buses, but this is the most cost-effective way of travelling to Jalori pass.
Reaching Jalori Pass by Public Transport – via Shimla and Rampur
Travelling to Jalori pass is also possible from Shimla and Rampur Bushahr. HRTC buses do ply on both the mentioned routes at regular intervals.
Reaching Jalori Pass by Self-driving cars or Private Cabs
Now if you are in a big group then travelling by Self-driven cars or hiring private cabs makes sense. The route is pretty straightforward from Delhi and Chandigarh.
Also, you don’t have to change buses and it also saves a bit of time as compared to buses, but it is not the most budget-friendly, and I always on a lookout for budget-friendly ways to travel to places so I emphasize public transport.
One thing I would like to mention is don’t miss the diversion to Banjar at the start of the Aut tunnel while coming from Delhi or Chandigarh. The diversion to all the valleys like Tirthan, Sainj is just before the Aut tunnel starts. Do not make the mistake of entering the tunnel as you’ll end up in the Aut town.
Total distance from Delhi to Jalori pass is around 526 km while Chandigarh to Jalori pass distance is around 263 km
|The route to follow if you would go from Banjar assuming you started from Delhi
Delhi – Karnal – Ambala – Chandigarh – Bilaspur – Sundernagar – Mandi – Aut – Banjar – Jibhi – Shoja- Jalori
|If you are coming from Rampur Bushahr then this would be the route you would need to take
Rampur Bushahr – Anni – Khanag – Jalori
|From Shimla, you would take the following route assuming you started from Delhi.
Delhi – Karnal – Ambala – Chandigarh – Kandaghat – Shimla – Narkanda – Anni – Khanag – Jalori
Please note that during winters the pass is closed for vehicular traffic after few heavy spells of snow and only opens in March end or Early April depending upon the amount of snowfall. Hike to Jalori pass is still possible from Shoja. Shoja to Jalori pass trek distance is about 5 km.
Travelling to Jalori Pass by Air
Bhuntar is the nearest Airport to Jalori pass. But the flights here are quite infrequent so flying directly what be an expensive affair. Once you reach Bhuntar you can either Local board buses going towards Banjar, or you can hire a cab. Banjar is around 45 km from Bhuntar,
How much does it cost to visit Jalori pass- Budget & Cost Breakdown?
Travelling to Jalori pass from Jibhi or Banjar is usually a single day affair and light on pocket thanks to HRTC and local buses which always comes to the rescue of budget travellers.
You don’t have to stay at Jalori pass you can easily hike around the pass and still make it back to Jibhi or Banjar before the dark. You can easily make a day trip to Jalori pass in just 200 INR.
|Cost for travelling in a Bus to Jalori pass from Banjar
It takes 80 INR for the return bus ride from Banjar and the food would cost you just around 100 INR.
|Cost for travelling in a Cab to Jalori pass from Banjar
If you take a private cab, then it will cost you around 1000 INR.
*Taking a taxi increases your cost significantly and only makes sense if you are in a group or not on a strict budget.*
|Cost of Staying at Jalori Pass
Now if you are hellbent on staying at Jalori top, then tents are your best bet as there are no hotels or guesthouse at Jalori top.
Staying in tents would cost you around 1000 INR all meals included.
* I would recommend against it as it gets extremely windy and quite cold during the night at Jalori top. As I said earlier you can easily start from Banjar or Jibhi hike around and still make it to back before the dark*
Itinerary for Jalori pass
Nobody exclusively does the Jalori pass trip, most of them include Jalori in their Itinerary either to Tirthan valley or Jibhi or both. Of course, you can even plan in such a way that you enter from the Kullu side and exit from Shimla or even vice-versa. But for the ease of understanding, I am assuming that we follow the Banjar and come back the same way.
Board an overnight bus going towards Manali from Delhi Kashmere gate
Get down at Aut. Board a local bus going towards Banjar or Hire a private Cab. Explore Jibhi or Banjar wherever you decide to spend the night.
Board a bus going to Jalori from Banjar as per your convenience. But if you want to hike around then I would recommend taking the first bus which is at 7.30 AM. If you are at Jibhi then the bus which starts from Banjar would eventually come to Jibhi. You can hire a private as well. Return back to Jibhi/Banjar. The last bus is at 3.00 PM from Jalori going towards Jibhi.
Explore places around Banjar and Jibhi during the day and reach Aut in the evening to board overnight buses back to Delhi.
Where to stay near Jalori pass- 4 Accommodation Options
As I mentioned earlier almost nobody exclusively does the Jalori pass trip. For most of the travellers its an excursion on their trip to Tirthan valley or Jibhi. It can get quite windy and cold during the nights at Jalori top as Jalori pass height is around 10,000 ft, plus there are no guest houses or homestays at Jalori top.
Since it is well-connected and is only 1.5 hours’ drive from towns like Banjar and Jibhi, therefore just making a day-trip to Jalori makes much more sense instead of staying at Jalori pass which has very few options that too in terms of just tents.
1. Stay the night at Banjar town
Banjar is the biggest town in the Seraj region. There are a lot of guest houses, hotels and homestays in Banjar. You can easily get accommodation here from anywhere between 500-1000 INR. But hands down one of the best places to stay in Banjar is Blue Sheep Tirthan.
The hosts at Bluesheep Tirthan are amazing and very amiable. They are the locals of Seraj valley and know the place in and out. They’ll help you and guide you to some of the most picturesque places in Seraj valley. They have private rooms along with the dorms. I stayed in a dorm which was priced at 500INR. But I must say, I had an amazing time here and I would recommend you to stay at the Blue sheep Tirthan if you are travelling to Jalori pass.
2. Find reasonable accommodation at Jibhi
Jibhi is one of the prettiest hamlets you would see in the entire region. It is one of the fast-growing and upcoming travel destinations. As a result, you’ll get a lot of budget guesthouses, hotels, homestays, camps, and even Hostels. You should be easily able to accommodation from anywhere between 500 to 1000 INR as per your budget. Jibhi to Jalori pass is just 16 km.
Hostels are best for Backpackers and Solo travellers looking to budget travel. For budget travellers, there are hostels where you can easily get a dorm bed for 350-700 INR in the hostels below:
- Mudhouse hostels – Although it is a little on the expensive side, but really worth the price.
- Hostalgic Jibhi – Hostalgic is the cheapest of the three hostels but is a great option to stay in Jibhi.
- Treesouls hostel – The location is close to the riverside and the hosts are really nice.
3. Stay at Shoja, the closest hamlet to Jalori Pass
Shoja is the closest place to Jalori where you can get good accommodation. Of course, there not many options when compared to Jibhi or Banjar, but there are enough. Jalori pass is just 5 km from Shoja. There is an amazing hostel named Livfirgun which has just started recently, so you can stay here if you want to be as close to Jalori pass and save time on travelling.
4. Stay at Jalori Pass during Summers
Except for tents and camps, there are no other options like guesthouses, homestays at Jalori top. During summers though you would find a lot of operators running campsites. Also, if you love to camp then Jalori pass camping trip sounds awesome. You can carry your tents and pitch it anywhere as there vast stretches of meadows around Jalori top.
In case, you don’t have your tents then you can opt for the camping facility around the Jalori area. Camping at Jalori pass will cost you around 1000 INR including all the meals. There is one campsite just where the trail to Serolsar lake starts which quoted me the 1000 INR price. Surprisingly, it was open even In December’s first week but then again, the region had experienced only one major spell of snow.
5 Wonderful Things to do in and around Pass
Hiking around the Jalori pass can be a wonderful experience as there are a couple of famous short hikes starting from Jalori top. One of them is extremely easy and is perfect for beginners, the other one is an arduous uphill climb but can also be undertaken by beginners who are fit enough.
1. Be mesmerized by the panoramic view of the Pir Panjal range
Jalori pass offers you a panoramic view Pir-Panjal range. This is truly a sight to behold.
2. Explore and hike around Jalori Pass
Take a walk around Jalori pass and explore this beautiful terrain. You will be stumped by the beauty of the place.
3. Trek to Serolsar Lake
Serolsar lake is a beautiful lake situated around 5-6 km away from Jalori and can be reached only by foot. Apart from a few treks near Kasol, this is one of the easiest treks you’ll find in this region. It doesn’t have too many ascends or descends, and the trail is mostly a level walk and is perfect for beginners looking to commence their trekking journey at comfortable altitudes.
It will take around 2 hours to complete. The trail starts from the Jalori top itself and one can easily spot it. You can ask for the directions at the Dhabas and they should be able to guide you properly. The major part of the trail is very scenic and passes through dense oak and cedar forests.
The views are very rewarding when compared to the efforts one needs to put in. There is a small temple of goddess buddhi Nagini located near the lake which is considered sacred by the locals. Even the lake is considered sacred by the locals. Hike to Serolsar lake is a must if you are visiting Jalori.
During the winter months the trail will be buried under snow once it has snowed heavily and the area around Jalori pass receives heavy snowfall each year.
I visited Jalori pass in December and there had been just one major spell of snow before I arrived. There was a lot of snow on the trail, but it was navigable. But I did not complete the hike as I was alone, and it didn’t want to risk it with snow on the trail, Though I would most probably make it to the lake. If there is snow on the trail, then I would recommend having proper snow boots like these.
4. Trek to Raghupur Fort
The hike to Raghupur starts from Jalori and is some 3 km from Jalori top. Unlike Serolsar lake hike, this one has is an uphill climb. The vistas and landscapes seen are said to be even more amazing than the ones you observe at the Jalori top.
If you love to camp, then the area around Raghupur fort can be a wonderful place to camp at. During summers you can even carry your own tents. If you don’t want to carry your tents, then you can do the hike with a trekking operator. There are numerous trek operators which operate this trek except for peak winter months.
5. Just Sit back & Relax
It might sound boring, but just sitting back and relaxing at Jalori pass gives you an immense feeling of tranquillity. Doing nothing and just admiring the serene landscapes is a rewarding experience in itself.
What’s the Best Time to visit Jalori Pass?
Barring peak winter months when there is heavy snow around the Jalori area, it is a motorable pass. The landscapes appear different in each season and every season has its charm. So, the best to time to visit would depend on what kind of landscapes and what kind of weather you want to be in.
Visit in Peak Summers for spectacular views
Summers (May- June) is one of the best time for travelling to Jalori pass. As all the snow is melted and with dry weather most of the time, it is the perfect time to hike around Jalori Pass. You can get a spectacular panoramic view of Pir-Panjal, Dhauldhars and Kinnaur ranges from the Jalori pass due to clear weather around this time.
The valley appears lush green during this and the temperatures are also very pleasant around this time. You’ll also find a lot of people on the hikes around Jalori pass since this is the peak season for travellers as people look to escape the plains due to brutal summer heat.
Enjoy the lush greenery during Monsoon, but be CAUTIOUS!
Himachal Pradesh receives a considerable amount of rainfall during July – August. So, expect a lot of cloudy weather and rain if you are visiting in monsoons. Due to constant rains, the valley is lush green. Due to a considerable cloud cover and fog, you might not get a perfect view of the mountain ranges during monsoons.
One should be quite careful while hiking around Jalori pass during monsoons as trails tend to become slippery due to incessant rains. Serolsar lake hike wouldn’t be such a problem but since Raghupur fort involves an uphill care should be taken while hiking.
In recent time, there have been instances of extreme weather conditions causing flash floods during monsoons due to climate change. Broken roads, Swollen rivers, loss of lives, damage to property are the results of such kind of extreme weather events. So, during monsoons please check the weather conditions beforehand.
Autumn’s the best time to hike
Autumn (September-October) is one of the best times to get the panoramic views of the mountain ranges and for hiking around Jalori pass. The skies are very clear due to dry weather hence the conditions are very favourable for hiking and camping around Jalori pass. It is also one of the best times for Star-gazing, of course, you’ll have to stay at the Top. The landscapes start to turn golden brown as the winter starts to approach.
Visit in Winters to experience Snow
As Jalori pass is situated at around 10,000 ft, the winter sets in early during mid-November. If the western disturbance approaches anytime during November it can start to snow. It experiences harsh winters as the winter storms dump several feet of snow during the winter months.
Though you still might be able to visit Jalori pass by vehicle during the first week of December, after 2-3 major spells of snow it will be closed for vehicular traffic due to heavy snow.
|The pass closes by December end and then only opens somewhere in Mid-March. Once the pass closes for vehicular traffic you can still hike from Shoja on the motorable road in the snow.|
Peak winters are one of the best times to visit and experience snow. After a few spells of snowfall, the pass is covered in a thick blanket of snow as are all the mountain ranges which appear from Jalori pass. The sheer drive from Jibhi would be surreal.
If you are visiting the pass in peak winters, then please pack at least 3-4 layers of warm clothes to protect you from the brutal cold at Jalori pass. If you happen to visit Jalori pass when it is closed for vehicular traffic, then please wear snowshoes, you can also hire them from Shoja.
Spring is full of colours
After brutal winters Snow starts to melt as the spring (March- April) arrives. Flowers start blooming as the temperatures rise, but still, it can snow anytime if the weather turns bad and the storm is active in the region. All the mountain ranges are still covered in a thick white blanket which results in spectacular vistas if the weather is clear.
Generally, the frequency of the storms keeps reducing once the spring approaches result in clear sunny weather perfect to hike around the pass.
The rhododendrons bloom only during spring and it is a sight to behold. This is also one of the reasons why hiking around Jalori during springtime would be quite an experience. Raghupur fort trek does have rhododendron trees on the trail.
Is Jalori Pass Safe to visit – Safety Tips & Concerns
Jalori Pass is very safe, in fact, the entire Seraj valley is very safe irrespective of gender. One of the very reasons why people love to travel to Himachal is the fact that it is one of the safest places to travel in the country. Even solo travellers including women can freely explore the valley without any hesitation and reluctance.
The locals here are extremely helpful and approachable. They will go out of the way to help you if you are stuck in any kind of problem. So, don’t hesitate to take help from the locals if required.
Since Jalori pass well connected by public transport. It is completely safe to travel to Jalori pass in local and HRTC buses.
Though I would like to mention a few things you need to be careful about.
- Hiking near Jalori- While hiking anywhere in the forests near Jalori make sure you complete your hike before the dark or Himachal in general, there have been instances of bears being spotted along with the other wild animals.
- Winters are better in a group – During winters if you happen to hike around Jalori pass then make sure you are with someone or if alone don’t trek all alone be in the vicinity of some group.
- Solo Travellers, inform someone– If you are travelling solo, then please inform somebody at the place you are staying so that they know where to look for you in case of any unfortunate event.
6 Super Useful Tips for travelling to Jalori Pass
- Hike on the motorable road from Shoja if Jalori pass is closed for Vehicular traffic
During peak winters the pass will be closed for Vehicular travel but you can still hike on the motorable road from Shoja. The roads are open till Shoja during peak winters and Jalori pass is just 5 km from Shoja.
- Pack light whenever Backpacking
This is one of the most essential things as you might need to hike with your Backpack and if you have unnecessarily stuffed a lot of things then you will have to Hike with it which may tire you out.
- Travel by public transport
Jalori pass is well connected by public transport from Banjar, Jibhi. As the distance is very less travelling by public transport makes sense even if you are not a strict budget. So, I would recommend you to use public transport. It also reduces your carbon footprint
- Complete your hikes before Dark
It is very essential that you complete your hikes like Serolsar lake or Raghupur fort before the dark as there have been instances of wild animals being spotted in the forests around Jalori pass. You surely do not want to have an encounter with a bear on your hike.
- Eat at the Dhabas
Dhabas at Jalori top serve lip-smacking food and Kadi-Chawal is a must-try if you are at Jalori. Honestly, there are not many options apart from these Dhabas. The food is very nominal and is perfect for people on a shoestring budget.
- Pack Warm Clothes
Jalori Pass is cold pretty much throughout the year. Even in summer, the nights can be cold, and temperatures will easily drop down to 5-7 Degrees. So, it’s good to carry warm clothes. In winter the temperature hardly goes above freezing point, so a good winter jacket is mandatory winter.
Be a responsible Traveller- 3 Easy Ways you can be one!
Responsible travel is the need of the hour with ill-effects of climate change becoming more and more conspicuous with each passing day in recent years. I can’t emphasize how important this aspect of travelling is.
- Take your trash back– I believe in leaving the place as it was before leaving no trace whatsoever. Take all the trash back with you in a carry bag and do not litter around which is the least we can do to preserve the beauty of such amazing places.
- Don’t Litter – I have been to quite a lot of places in Himachal recently and it’s sad to see the current state of some of the places. There is plastic everywhere, on the roads, on the trails. High-altitude places are very sensitive in terms of the environment, so littering them with plastic is the last thing we want.
- Avoid Plastic Bottles – I have completely stopped using plastic water bottles during my recent trips. I carry 2 bottles along with me and each time before leaving the place I am staying, to explore the valley I make sure I refill my bottles So that I don’t need to buy plastic water bottles. There are a lot of pure water sources from where you can refill your bottles in the mountains. So if possible, please do not buy plastic water bottles at all.
Jalori pass though is popular and is such an underrated travel destination in Himachal when compared with let’s say Rohtang Pass. There is a lot you can do around here like hiking or relaxing and admiring magnificent mountain ranges. If you love being in the mountains amidst dense forests, then this is a perfect place to be at.
I hope that through my Jalori Pass blog you might now have a got fair bit of idea on how to travel to Jalori Pass and are able to plan your trip without any hassle. So, pack your back and head to this beautiful mountain pass.