After a few lazy nights in Charanag, in Hallan Valley — a small town tucked away from the crowd of Manali, in Himachal Pradesh — it was time to relax, and lose myself in oblivion, yet once again. And Sethan sounded like a perfect name.
Located approximately at a 45-minute drive from Manali, Sethan is a place for slow travellers – particularly during winters, when snow claims its ground and any movement beyond this tiny Buddhist town, becomes impossible!
In the month of March, and with mercury still falling beyond zero for most of the hours in a day, the valley was draped in white. Little flakes of happiness were everywhere!
From Sethan, one can see the towering Dhauladhar ranges surrounding the village, and the river Beas flowing right next to it – perhaps a few thousand feet down.
The inhabitants of Sethan are the original migrants from Tibet and Spiti Valley, representing a Buddhist community who share their roots being horse herders in their past. They were given land in the surrounding areas by the then Government of India when Himachal Pradesh was still a part of Punjab.
During winter, most of them move to the lower altitude towns in Kullu Valley, leaving Sethan a beautifully deserted town, before moving back in summer again, and resuming their usual farming business. But with its less than 20 houses and a couple of tourist homes Sethan, around the year, remains a beautiful offbeat location meant to relax, unwind and just be!
Things To Do In Sethan
Since Sethan sits at an altitude of over 2700m above sea level (almost 700m higher than Manali) it offers a combination of winter and summer adventure activities. One can compare it with the likes of Solang Valley minus the crowd.
Between December and March, Sethan receives heavy snowfall making its grassy land ideal for skiing, snowboarding and snow-hiking. And thanks to its offbeat location and no chair-lift, the chances of bumping into a fellow skier are always next to none. Though you may bump into a bear, if you’re that unlucky, but rest assured, you will enjoy the exclusivity of the place. During the summer, the place is ideal for camping and trekking.
[Also Read: My First Snowboarding Experience In Sethan]
I was told that the land around Sethan is of high religious significance too. Around 2 kilometres from the town lies Pandu Ropa – a place where Pandavas (before the time of Mahabharata) stayed and meditated. They also used a part of the land to grow crops, making it no less auspicious for the believers. If you move further and dare to trek for a few days towards the east, you will end up at Indrasana Peak (6200m) which is believed to be the throne of Indra (or the Rain God).
Where To Stay In Sethan
Since Sethan is a small town housing no more than 20 properties, the accommodation is fairly limited. You can either choose to stay in a real Igloo, which of course sounds a bit interesting, but it costs you a whopping seven or eight thousand Rupees per night per person (and is only available during winter, provided that it snowed heavily).
Or, you can stay in an adventure campsite, that I’ve started under my own brand name ‘FootlooseCamps’ and keep the experience raw, natural and more real.
Here’re a few pictures of the campsite Footloose Camps and some views, in all weather:
How To Reach Sethan
Located in Hamta valley, Sethan village is easily accessible from Manali, throughout the year. Get a night bus from Delhi to Manali, and from Manali, readily available taxis can take you from Manali to Sethan in around 1000 Rupees per trip. Share the taxi among 4 people or more, and it won’t cost you a fortune.
If you’re driving, however, you don’t even need to go to Manali, just take the old Kullu Manali highway (from Kullu) or the Nagar road, and reach the town of Prini (located 3 km before Manali). From Prini, you will find a detour towards Hamta. Just take that for the next 12 km (and 35 hairpin bends) and you reach Sethan.
For easy navigation, search on Google maps as ‘Footloose Camps’. Or contact me on Instagram: ‘instagram.com/footloosecamps‘, and I will be happy to help!
Also Read: Offbeat Destinations Near Manali