Jibhi: An Isolated Piece of Paradise in Himachal Pradesh

10:42 PM

A small hamlet dotted with a few guest houses, terraced mountains and a clear mountain river, Jibhi is an ideal spot for anyone who wishes to spend a few days in peace with nature. Various hikes that lead to meadows, waterfalls and temples, can be done from Jibhi.

When I first heard the name of this place, two things excited me; how this weird name almost guaranteed it being unexplored and untouched, and the striking eccentricity the names of such places have. As I would go on to find out, my expectations about Jibhi would be exceeded pretty well. The name kept me excited for a few weeks before our journey, kin to the excitement of a kid who receives a gift and is yet to open it, until I packed my bags and left from Chandigarh along with my colleagues.

Jibhi is tucked away in the isolated Banjar valley in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. We took a night bus towards Manali, with the goal of disembarking at Aut. I slept through most of the night; and surprisingly, in the morning I was woken not by my alarm, but by the cool breeze of the Himalayas caressing my face.

After disembarking at Aut, it is a 40 kilometre drive to Jibhi. There are plenty of buses from Aut to Banjar, which is 8 kms from Jibhi. One can take a taxi to Jibhi from either Aut or Banjar, which offers glorious views of the valley. A bubbling stream runs along the road, its seamless waters running across, thrashing the rocks in a haste to reach their destinations.


                             (The drive to Jibhi offers amazing views)


As we moved closer to Jibhi, it felt like going further and further back in time. The stories we used to hear as kids, of people staying in pinewood cottages amongst the woods, in closely knit villages, were all happening here in real time. Narrow dirt roads led to various cottages, each with its own unique Pahari architecture and the stories of the generations that had lived in it.

On one porch, a puppy and a lamb played together with a kid. It was almost like one day, time froze in this place and refused to go on further. Still untouched by society, and all the frills that come with it, the people here live a sustainable natural life. The folks are friendly as most Pahari people, and are used to seeing tourists. The animals had their own priorities; I met dogs, sheep and puppies, all of whom would sniff the bag of food I was carrying curiously, and then look up to me expectantly. The bag was considerably lighter by the time we found a place to dump our luggage and go out to explore. It was a beautiful little cottage by the stream which could be heard bubbling along.


(Typical Cottages in Jibhi)


(Interesting locals)

After quickly grabbing a bite to eat, we set out in search of the waterfall that locals had told us about. The hike to the waterfall led us through a dense deciduous forest. We crossed the river using a picturesque bridge towards the waterfall. With silence and solitude as our companions, we walked along a gorge as the sound of the water grew mightier. After some time, we came to a clearing, and there it was. The sunlight, the sound of the water, the engulfing silence, and the cold shock I got once I stood underneath the falling water, made it an experience for the senses which, I would cherish for a long time to say the least.


(Sitting there on a rock by the waterfall, in the arms of nature, felt so complete, so very real, so natural, we never noticed as the time went by.)

The sun was beginning to set, and it would be dark in a few hours.

We decided to explore a few of the villages around the waterfall. A feeling of wisdom, of completeness, of communion prevails here. Somehow, people in these areas seem more contended, more satisfied. The striking colours of the life which the people lead, and their culture, can be seen painting a unique picture. And what unfailingly strikes me every time I visit such villages is how this beauty is not a celebration, it’s not something happening for a few moments, or a day. It is something which has been existing, and will continue to exist. After all the travellers have left, and all the photographers have had their moments, and all the writers have mirrored it in their words, the place will still be the same the next day, and the day after.


(The local devta; Each village has one, and it is supposed to have magical powers which helps the village people.)


(Musicians and their instruments. The procession of the Devta is an explosion of colors, sounds and culture)

(Glimpses of the village life. The locals here have some really interesting stories to tell)

 After exploring these villages, we decided to trek back to our cottage in Jibhi at night. Walking through the trees at night opened up my eyes to another side of the forest. A side where I had to trust the dark, and walk into it, facing my fears as wrapped its arms around me. Nonetheless, we made it safely back to our cottage.

 There was just something about the waterfall which kept calling me back. So, the next day, we decided to go zip lining and rappelling by the stream. This stream is also used for angling by the locals. It was a first time experience for most of us.



{the morning flew by in laughter and screams of joy (including, sometimes, cries for help).}

After having a picnic in the meadow by the waterfall, we decided to visit Bahu Temple, which our host told us was famous for its typical Architecture.

It is a 10-12 kilometre drive from Jibhi before the trek to Bahu begins. The walk was, as expected, enchanting, and at one point it forked into two paths. One path led upwards, towards the ridge of a mountain, presumably. The other path was a considerably well beaten one, and looked easy to cover. It is used by cars to reach Bahu. We obviously chose the tougher one, and made our way towards the ridge. The walk wasn’t easy; we had to find our way through rocks and boulders, ultimately being rewarded by the glorious view of the valleys all around once we made our way to the top. It also was a moment of pride for us, having discovered the path to the ridge on our own. At least until we found out that there was another, easier path we could’ve used.




(Jibhi is a hiker’s paradise, offering fairy-tale landscapes at each turn)

The temple could also be seen from the top, and it was a short way down. The timeless vibe which the entire area resonates is magnified by the temple and the surrounding meadows. We also found a baba near the temple, in the middle of nowhere, meditating.





After spending some time there, we decided to return to our cottage in Jibhi. We took the path which the cars use while walking back to Jibhi. The stars were shining bright (all like crazy diamonds) by the time we were back.

 The night sky in Jibhi is something else. Living in the city, we turn on our lights when it’s dark, but it often results in us missing out on the lights up above. Lying down on the top of a mountain, in utter darkness, and looking at the infinite stars and the infinite worlds that might exist within them, is an experience which one must experience at least once in a lifetime.

Our nights during our stay in Jibhi consisted of intense stargazing sessions, singing, and delicious Pahari meals. And then there were times, when we would just sit, in silence, listening to the sound of the river flowing by; wondering how beautiful life is, and how we sometimes tend to get too stuck up in the little things, and miss the beauty that exists all around us.



This was the feeling that stayed with me the next morning while we were packing up to leave Jibhi, and through the entire journey back to Chandigarh. I like to think Jibhi reminded us to appreciate the beauty in the simpler things and to be at peace with everyone, including our own selves. And while the memories might fade away with the years, this lesson will stay with us, always.



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Find more information about Jibhi here

About the Author

Apurva Bhardwaj - contibutor @ untravel.com

Academically a biotechnologist, Apurva is quarter century year old who wishes to paint her life through her words. A frequent contributor on our website, Apurva untravelled to Jibhi, an experience which inspired her to write this blog.

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7 Comments

  1. Loved the post.. will soon travel to this place

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  2. Amazing pictures and quite a neat description. Has motivated me to untravel to Jibhi . Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Our very own Jibhi,Himanchal Predesh. Beautiful place, Beautifully narrated.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have almost covered all hill stations in this part of the countrybe it Shimla, Manali, Rohtang with my friends and family but never heard of Jibhi. Looks like an interesting place, Thanks for covering this and really excited to go after reading your post and seeing all these beautiful pictures of Jibhi.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What about mobile network over there?

    ReplyDelete

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