The Sainj Valley in Himachal is a hidden treasure to retreat in the Kullu Valley just 45 Kms from here. This less sought serene hide-away in the lap of Himalayas is a valley that is quite literally the heavenly abode amidst nature. Situated in the lower ranges of the Great Himalayan National Park, the valley provides a set of peaceful, breathtaking, and mind-absorbing experience of a lifetime. As all travellers who come here often say, it is one place you must visit at least once in your lifetime.
Although there is a thermal power project in the place, it preserves the natural beauty in its full glory. This quaint little valley consists of several villages that attracts both nature lovers and trekkers alike, looking to taste the fresh mountain air and experience a bit of adventure. If you’re interested enough to start exploring the beautiful Sainj Valley, read through the complete guide to get all your questions answered.
How to Reach Sainj Valley?
Resting at the foothills of the Great Himalayan National Park, you find the serene beauty of Sainj Valley. Although we have a few more villages in the Kullu valley, Sainj will sure leave you awestruck. This is unlike any other place to experience bountiful nature and all its life forms, a place to relax and rejuvenate! You can get here from all popular modes of transport.
One can drive their car to Sainj but it is a 10 hours’ drive from Delhi covering a distance of almost 480 kms. You will have to take NH 44 to Chandigarh, and from there head to Shimla and onward. The road has tolls, but a petrolhead will surely enjoy the drive. You may break journey at Chandigarh and move ahead, or break journey at Shimla and proceed further. Both locations have good places to stay overnight and B&B (bed and breakfast).
One will have to take a bus to Aut in Himachal, which is on the Delhi-Manali route, and go to Sainj by taxi. The valley is close to Aut and you will not be spending much, may be Rs 500 per person. You can also take another bus to Sainj village from Aut depending on your convenience; but there is no direct bus.
One will have to fly to Kullu-Manali and then take local transport or taxi. The nearest airport is Kullu-Manali, and Sainj is a 95 min drive from there. However, one can also fly to Chandigarh or Shimla and then drive from there, but the drive will be longer, at least about 7 hours on the mountain path.
There are no railway routes to this tiny village.
Best Time to Visit Sainj Valley
The average annual temperature in Sainj is 20.6 °C and gets about 1,387 mm of precipitation annually. As the place remains cool and rainy, one has to check weather forecasts before making the decision to visit any given time. April and May are the months with no precipitation, but, as a place of beauty, you get to see some amazing snow-capped mountains in January and February. July to September is also good time to visit if you’re okay with monsoons.
1. Sainj Village is itself such a breath-taking place where one can relax and be lost in the surroundings. As a place that isn’t hounded by too many tourists, it’s virgin scenic beauty is unmissable.
2. Meadows of the Shangarh is a place of pre-historic importance, where the Pandavas are supposed to have spent their 13 years of exile and Lord Krishna is supposed to have visited them. The Shangarh meadow is definitely worth your time and trek. Apart from being enthralled by the lush green meadow, if you are lucky enough, you can visit the local fairs organised in this part. There is a temple dedicated to Lord Mahadev, also called the Shangchul Mahadev temple, which is an important attraction in the Kullu valley.
3. Pudrik Rishi Lake is a place of religious importance to the locals. You are not permitted to touch the lake water though. And neither are boat rides and any pleasure activities allowed here. Locals tell us lot of interesting divine stories about the Lake, worth a listener’s ears.
4. Great Himalayan National Park Trek: This will be a trek of your lifetime, an experience worth all that you want from a getaway. The Park stretches over 1,170 sq.Km. You will realise that you have ventured into a heaven with a flora of more than 830 plant species and about 400 fauna. The lowest altitude of the National Park happens to be 1,500 meters above sea-level and the highest being 5,800 meters above sea-level. That will explain the long treks that one can relish for a minimum of a single day to a maximum of 9 precious days. Get your trek suits ready, but be adviced, some treks are really hard and not everyone’s cup of tea.
5. Sighting waterfalls in Himachal: The Kullu valley, famous for its waterfalls, presents its pristine natural beauty through not only flora and fauna, but the ever spectacular numerous waterfalls dotted across the valley.
The Sainj valley overall is an awesome place with hospitable locals and awe-inspiring beauty that can never be missed by a discerning tourist to the Great Himalayas.
Stay Options at Sainj Valley
Although there are not many hotels, one may have to book at GHNP Guest House in advance. Alternatively, you can find some hospitable homestays in the village, where you can savour the tasty local cuisine and enjoy the humble hospitality of the loving villagers who will leave a lasting impression on your minds.
GHNP Guest House:
There is a beautiful guest house in Ropa/ Sainj, at the banks of River Sainj. There are 5 deluxe rooms and 2 dormitories with 10 beds each for night stay; and the charges are Rs. 500 for Indians and Rs.750 for international guests. Facilities available are cook, kitchen, guide, and attached bath with water.
The great Himalayan National Park also has a guest house where there are more deluxe rooms and dormitory for 50 guests. Other rest houses and transit accommodations are available near the Park along with homestays.
Things to Remember
In order to have a beautiful and well-planned trip, do remember the following important pointers:
• Be clear about the mode of transportation for reaching Sainj Valley. If you choose to take the car or bus route, make sure to carry enough food and beverages.
• Make sure you make prior reservations for your stay, either with GHNP Guest houses or homestays, to avoid facing difficulties.
• Avoid traveling to Sainj during monsoons, and also the cold months of winter. These months have their own challenges which isn’t for everybody.
• Carry a first-aid box, as you might find it difficult to get one there.
• Carry your walking or trekking suits if you plan long walks in the meadows or the national Park.
• A camera to record your escapades, a torch, and plenty of fluids are also a must-have.