There are some places in the world time and again feel irresistible. Hallan Valley in Himachal Pradesh is one such place for me. And its tranquil locale, a friendly atmosphere, and an away-from-the-tourist-trail charm are in fact, the reasons.
The first time I happened to visit Hallan Valley, it was a year and a half ago. I was returning from a solo motorbiking trip to Spiti Valley. But as I left Manali for Delhi, and rode about ten or twelve kilometres, towards Kullu (on old Manali-Kullu highway) I came across a dull-looking signboard on the left. “Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna“ it read, and pointed toward uphill, with a bit more information about the road length and other mechanical gibberish. I can’t remember what else it said, but the term “Gram Sadak”, that translates to ‘village road’ in English, felt quite assuring.
At 10 in the morning, the weather looked perfect to be riding on the Hallan Road (Google for where I’m talking about). At a winding pace, thanks to a smooth road, the continuous steep uphill didn’t bother much. With every kilometre, the valley widened a few more meters. A few tiny villages also fell on the way before disappearing with every quick turn. After about 5 or 6 km of a steady uphill, the road concluded in a village and that was it — in less than 15 minutes I explored Hallan Valley from its one end to the other.
Hallan Valley: Introduction
Perhaps one of the smallest valleys to explore, Hallan Valley comprises of no more than a dozen villages on its either side and stretches for about 6 km with a connected motorable road, before coming to an end.
There are literally no eating joints or any fully-functioning guest house in the entire valley at the moment, and the only option for anyone wanting to stay in Hallan Valley — as I always end up doing — is a basic homestay located in the village of Charanag (the second last village from the top) with a shared bedroom at your disposal, offering a maximum occupancy of 4 people.
There’s also not much to see and do here for a regular tourist, except for just relaxing and soaking in a laidback Himachali life.
So Why Even Bother Visiting The Hallan Valley?
Popular for its apple and red-rice farming Hallan Valley offers a rustic village experience, away from any hustle and bustle of a popular tourist place like Manali or Solang Nala.
Here you can spend your holidays blissfully, in solitude, or while interacting with happy villagers. Lacking any modern-day facility (even not matching with that of what you may find in the most offbeat corners of Parvati Valley or someplace else near Manali) Hallan Valley is a moreover only meant for travellers not interested in visiting places but experiencing a different way of life.
Hallan Valley, indeed, is a place for slow travellers.
I visit this place almost every two months (especially when I’m not travelling) and it feels more home to me than New Delhi does. I know more people in the village of Charanag than I do in my own neighbourhood.
Speaking of my typical day in Charanag, when I’m there, all I end up doing is accompanying the locals to their fields, crafting my own trek-of-the-day and exploring the nearby villages, playing with local kids after school, dining (and often getting drunk) in local families’ house, eating fresh apples from the fields, or relaxing and soaking up the fresh views from my homestay in Charanag.
[Further Reading About The Town Of Charanag]
Those looking for a more practical reason to travel to Hallan Valley, however, can visit a few centuries-old temples, with Vasuki Naag Temple being the most popular. Hallan Valley is also a great place for camping, with magical views of the adjoining Kullu Valley down below.
A few offbeat treks including the popular-among-locals trek of ‘Foota Saur’ — a place considered auspicious for its green-water late.
Though an unheard of place, Hallan Valley is well listed in Google Maps. Just Google Hallan Valley, that’s it, you won’t have any problem arriving in getting there. Also remember, you do not need to drive all the way to Manali (if coming from Kullu). Take the old-Kullu Manali highway from Kullu and you will come to the town of Naggar. At about 3 km from Naggar (towards Manali) the road to Hallan Valley will come on your right.
Those coming from Delhi or Chandigarh on a public bus can take a local bus to Naggar, from Kullu (so book your bus only until Kullu, and not Manali). From Naggar, a taxi will drop you anywhere in Hallan Valley in under 300 Rupees. From Manali, taxis take around 500 Rupees.
- Please note that there are two Hallan Valleys (Hallan 1 and Hallan 2) and we are talking about Hallan 1 here.
- Also, note that there are no cash points in Hallan Valley, so get all the cash you may need before you get there.