Jalori Pass - Hike to Sirolsar Lake
At a height of about 11000 feet, Jalori Pass is a popular destination. The pass connects Shimla with Kullu valley. One can go to a few hikes from Jalori Pass. A fort on a hilltop at a distance of three kilometers, for instance. Sirolsar Lake is at a five kilometers hiking distance.
Jalori pass, itself is quite small, has about seven or eight small eateries and two temples. The more interesting bit about the pass is the spectacular 360 degrees view of the surrounding mountains – many of them snowcapped.
In my two trips to Jalori pass, I discovered one does not need to go to a definite destination from there. A walk up to one of the hills while crossing light green meadows and surrounded by snowcapped mountains is an experience in itself. There are many small temples on top of some of the hills. Villagers visit these hilltops occasionally or on what they believe as auspicious days to offer puja at these temples. My first trip was in 2012 when I hiked to a hilltop covered with such a beautiful Himalayan green meadow and had a small temple. We met a group of villagers who came to offer puja that day. It was both relaxing and fascinating.
On my second trip, in April 2015, I chose to hike to Sirolsar Lake at a height of nearly 12000 feet. The hike was mostly on uneven but not too steep hilly path. At a few places, the road became steep or narrow. In some places the road was broken. I found a few ice-covered stretches too. Including 45 minutes spent at the lake, it took about four-and-half-hours.
The lake had clear, slightly greenish water. There were quite a lot of snow still on the slopes of the hills around the lake. The lake a boundary fence and solar light posts on all sides of the lake. Next to the lake was a temple. The area was mostly empty except for some young boys who were playing by the side of the lake and two villagers sitting next to the temple.
The boys were giggling mischievously. When I asked them what were they up to, they started laughing loudly. Slowly I understood they were drawing coins from the bottom of the lake using a magnet tied to a string. People throw coins in the lake after visiting the temple to make a wish.
Then I chatted with the villagers. They asked whether I like the lake and explained the place is even more beautiful in summers when the surrounding landscape becomes green. I learnt from them and my guide that the locals have a different name for the lake.
I went inside the temple, stayed for a while. A place like this instills gratitude and awe.
Afterwards, I climbed up the hills around the lake and soaked in the ambience. Soon it was time to head back to Jalori Pass with a sense of accomplishment and contentment.
Text and photos: Sanchita Chatterjee 2015