Do you know that the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is also home to the Pandava Gufa (cave)? If not, you must be known about this fact that this mountainous state also has the glory of owning it.
Passing through breathtaking meadows, fir groves, thick woods, fascinating glimpses, a mysterious cave, and small ponds, a day trek with its distance of 5.6 km offers the tremendous natural charm of the Karol Ka Tibba, the highest hill around the town of Solan in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. During this type of short day trek, adventure lovers get the golden chance of paying a holy visit to the Karol Temple, devoted to Goddess Kali, located atop the Karol Ka Tibba. The scenic and charming glimpse of nature can be taken from this ancient temple. The renowned Pandava cave (Gufa), which is believed to be the longest and oldest cave in tremendous mountains of the Himalayas, also occurs along this trekking route.
About Pandava Gufa (Cave)
Greatly mentioned in legends and myths, the ancient Pandava Gufa (cave), which is situated close to Solan, is very fascinating for its visitors. As per the belief of the people of the locality, this cave, which has its length of approx 28 km, is the longest and oldest cave in the region of the Himalayas. During the exile, the Pandavas are also believed to have meditated and resided in this strange cave. A temple, which has been built near the cave, has the religious importance. As per the belief, the other end of the cave is supposed to be at Pinjore in the northern Indian state of Haryana.
The cave itself being forbidden, damp and dark, a few bats have made the first cavern their residence and their flutter increase the charming ambiance. The cave becomes narrow to a fissure after the 2nd part of the cave, so visiting the cave can occur to be a challenge. A low tunnel that is only large enough to let one person to pass through occurs after the fissure opening up in a small cavern. While trekking, one has to creep and scrape the walls to squeeze in but after the distance of a few feet, one has to find the route chocked by some fallen stones. In case of sadly unprepared for a long round of spelunking, adventure lovers turn out to be a blessing in disguise. By ascending ahead, one reaches the Karol Temple.
The trek commences from the Rani Lakshmi Bai statue at Chambaghat, a small suburb, situated at a distance from the city center of Solan on the Shimla – Chandigarh National Highway. After the national highway, proceed to a narrow concrete by a lane that is home to the State Bank of India ATM and a Yamaha motorcycle Agency. To your left at a distance of 100 m along the concrete path, you will pass by a Gurudwara (Sikh Temple). As you leave population behind and begin a sharp ascending, the concrete path rises sharply beyond the Gurudwara. The concrete way easily changes into a trail paved of brick after moving the distance of 500 meters. After the steep concrete way, it is a welcome respite and a gentle slope is found on this brick trail. Offering several viewpoints over the city of Solan, the trail of brick meanders its way through a charming grove of trees of fir.
The trail of brick changes to dirt and stone after the continuity of the brick path in the northeast direction for another distance of 800 m. Along with a bifurcation in the trail, you can find a lone house after moving the brick path with its distance of two hundred meters. Along this bifurcation pointing that the road to the left goes to the Karol Temple, you can find a sign. As directed by the sign, you can follow the trail to your left for the Karol Temple. As the path winds along the contour of the hill, you proceed for a while after the bifurcation. You will find the Karol ridge, straight ahead to your north just after completing this turn. On this thing, you can select to follow multiple reaches that proceed up to the top of the ridge. You proceed in the right direction as long as you head towards the highest points on the ridge. One of the most famous routes, which are often used in the GPS logs, has been listed. Till the top of the ridge, the terrain is meadow interspersed with a few trees.
A panoramic glimpse over Solan can be taken from the top of the ridge. The Churdhar range can also be viewed on a clear day. Heading to the north, a broad and well used trail crosses across the ridge at the top of the ridge. In stark contrast to the south, the north side of the ridge is situated. The north is a meadow enriched with thick trees jostling for space, while the south is a grassland covered with an avenue of trees. After meandering along a dried out pond, the trail enters a thick wood. After the forest, this trail emerges into a small meadow after a water pond and an ancient run down house owned by a ‘Sadhu’. Using this house for his meditation, the Sadhu belongs to Varanasi. Being a pleasant fellow and loving to talk about religion, he is quick to offer a cup of tea for the visitors. By keeping the run down house to your left, you can follow the trail into an even thicker forest along the side of the house. This trail finishes at a concrete water tank after approx five minutes of walking. Crossing the water tank, you can arrive at the Pandava cave (Gufa), located after a temple devoted to Lord Ram.
You can find a well marked paved stone path that leads uphill by making your way back to the water tank for paying a visit to the Karol Temple from the Pandava Gufa. Being a meter wide in most places, this 1600 m paved stone path is capped with pine needles and fallen leaves. You should ascend the trail as it winds uphill through a dense glade of rhododendrons and firs. While facing no bifurcations and by making an easy thirty minute walk, you can approach the Kali Mata Temple, situated at ‘Karol Ka Tibba’.
Main Points of Trek
Difficulty: – Moderate
Duration: – Chamba Ghat to Karol Temple, 3-4 hours (ascending – ascent) and 2-3 hours (descending – descent)
Distance: – 5.6 Km (one way)
Max Elevation (above mean sea level): – 2237 m
Start and Finish: – Chamba Ghat near Solan (Himachal Pradesh)
How to Reach There
Along the busy national highway passing between Chandigarh – Shimla, Chamba Ghat is situated. From the town of Solan, an auto rickshaw can be hired for INR 50/- All the buses, which regularly run between Shimla and Chandigarh, take a halt at Chamba Ghat. One can easily find late night taxis and buses. The Kalka Shimla narrow gauge railway can also be used to reach Solan. After alighting at the Solan Railway Station, one can rent a taxi / auto rickshaw to Chambaghat.
In Solan, one can find hotels for every budget.
Normally being the highest point near the town of Solan and being windy in summers, the Karola Ka Tibba, which is situated at an average altitude of approx 2237 m above the mean sea level at a higher altitude than Shimla, gets an excellent quantity of snowfall.
While trekking for the Pandava Gufa, you must carry at least two liters of water per head as there is drinking water on the way. Adventure lovers are recommended downloading and carrying GPS logs on their GPS / smart phones as the trek may be confusing.
In the case of planning to go for caving one should carry essential equipments such as three independent sources of light, two of which should mount on your helmet; helmet with a chin strap; knee and elbow pads for crawling; reflective markers for making the retreat, a rugged clothing, and extra water and snacks. For the pushing of the thorny bushes and brambles away, trekking poles are helpful. On a warm day, sunglasses and cap must be used. One should carry two liters of water per head. In case of straying from the desired route, you can use GPS logs for the route as a backup.
Thus, it can be rightly said that the trekking to the Pandava Cave and the temple on the top of the Karol Ka Tibba (hill) offers thrilling experience to the adventurers. If you are also willing to do this activity, you can book Himachal Pradesh Holidays. All of these tour packages, which are available at reasonable prices, can also be customized as per the requirement of the clients. To know more about the holiday packages, visit us online at: www.himachal-tours.com.