Khirsu – A Detailed Travel Guide

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Nestled in the Pauri, Garhwal District, Khirsu is the definition of an idyllic offbeat Himalayan getaway. As Uttrakhand is the less-explored, but equally beautiful counterpart of Himachal Pradesh, and because of that – the sights are unique, less trampled by the tourists and all in all provides for a tranquil experience. Today, let me share with you a detailed and comprehensive Khirsu Travel Guide which will help you plan your trip to Khirsu in a memorable way.

If your goal is to connect with nature and rekindle your romance with your surroundings, Khirsu will delight. Personally, I am a fan of exploring places that aren’t full of tourist-traps – getting to understand how the locals live and what life really is like in these quaint places is what makes the journey so much more special. This place, Khirsu, provides you a glimpse into the life-that-could-have-been had you been a native!

Khirsu Travel Guide

Khirsu is an offbeat destination, on the foothills of the Himalayan range with an amazing 360 panoramic views is sure to delight nature lovers. Looking upon on Trishul, Nanda Devi, Nandkot & Panchuli peaks is an experience on wonderment in its own. Khirsu is a beautiful village with lush green surroundings, asking you politely to match your pace with that of nature and not let the clock do your running. Enjoy yourself become a part of your surroundings and breathe in the way the countryside does.

Khirsu is covered all around by Oak, Pine and Deodar trees. From afar, the cobalt blue blanket of the sky and the greenery of the trees along with the old-world kaccha roads and beautifully constructed village homes will make you take a step back and reassess all that you stand for!

Interesting ReadA detailed day by day plan for an offbeat Kumaon Trip

Location

Situated at an altitude of 1700 mt above sea level, Khirsu is approximately 20 km from Pauri and 30 Kms from Srinagar, Garhwal. From Delhi, Khirsu lies about 365 km onwards and thus, makes for a perfect long weekend offbeat destination in Uttarakhand.

Weather

Summers are calm and enjoyable with March – July having a maximum temperature of 23 ⁰C and a cool 10 ⁰C at night, while the cold winter months of December and January observe a temperature of 5 ⁰C. The upward climb of temperature in Khirsu starts in March. Monsoon season is from June-September, and the roads reaching up to Khirsu might be tricky.

It is important to note that you can visit Khirsu in winter for experiencing snowfall near Delhi as well. So, yes, you can experience snow or snowfall in Khirsu.

Best time to visit Khirsu

April – October is the best season to visit Khirsu when apples are in full bloom and walking through the orchards would be an amazing activity. Of course, winter seasons are an interlude into white magic and have a charm of its own.

It is best to avoid the region, especially for novice drivers, in the monsoon season  (July – September) – thanks to the many landslides in the Garhwal region.

How to reach Khirsu

Traveling to Khirsu is pretty straightforward where you can either hit the road or take a train to nearest railhead. Let me share details of them one by one.

Nearest railway station: Rishikesh (132 km) and Kotdwar (140 km) are the nearest railway stations to Khirsu which are well connected with different parts of the subcontinent. The most economical way to reach Khirsu is via rail. Also, this would provide one with the opportunity to visit other beautiful locations of Rishikesh, Haridwar, Kotdwara. From all these cities, one can then take  local buses or even hire personal/shared taxis to reach Pauri (which is approximately 15 km from Khirsu)

Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun, 145 Km. Again, taxis and buses are available at Dehradun to reach Pauri. From there, a change of cabs will lead you to Khirsu. As of 2018, it costs around Rs 50/ person for getting a taxi from Pauri to Khirsu. From Pauri to Khirsu, the journey takes approximately 30 minutes and one is enveloped in a thick forest cover.

Road Trip to Khirsu

The distance of Khirsu from Delhi is approximately 365 km and takes about 9 hours by road. After crossing Meerut, once keeps driving north-eastward crossing Najibabad, and Jim Corbett National Park to reach Lansdowne and finally Khirsu (just before Shrinagar, Garhwal). Its landscape and the enthralling journey taking you across the majority of Uttrakhand and lots of green covers.

As Chopta to Khirsu is 72 km, some people plan a Khirsu trip along with traveling to Tunganath – Chandrashilla.

Local commute in Khirsu: Best way to explore any Himalayan town is on foot. Most roads connecting different parts of the village are kaccha roads. Hence, it is best to idyllically explore the town at one’s own comfortable pace.

Places to visit in Khirsu

Khirsu draws its natural beauty from the lush green dense forest covering marrying the beautiful panoramic snow-capped Himalayan peaks. The views are nothing short of breath-taking. On a clear summer day, one can spot over 250 peaks surrounding the tiny hamlet.

The best part of Khirsu is taking in the sights and walking around the village, building up a sense of the place. When one stumbles across hidden gems as the football field in the village, it is a place you’d want to camp out. Yes, I am well aware that that’s not the purpose of the field. Try hitting some balls for your merriment. And, if you’re lucky, you might run into a game and the locals might ask you to participate.

Farming: an integral part of the village life

The region is famous for its orchards and a delight to see. Similar to Thanedar, Khirsu has a charm of yester-years attached to it.

Also, the most enjoyable form of farming in the region is the step farming and the little farms set up. Also known as terrace farming, and contour farming helps in decreasing erosion as well as surface runoff. This also helps in ease of irrigation for various crops such as rice. Having a productive farming experience in hills is tricky business.

Dated as far back as over 2000 years ago, initially invented by Inca tribe of South America, step farming is done in mountain regions across the world. These steps, while the labor-intensive help in essentially creating and maximizing the growable land area. In hilly terrains, there is limited availability of water, and transferring water for usage in farming is labor-intensive. It also helps in combating water loss.

Thus, Khirsu provides a great opportunity to learn more about how the locals manage their difficult life and have developed practices in combatting the tough terrains.

Things to do

Khirsu also provides for easy treks or hikes all around the region. The difficulty would arise from the thick dense forest cover. However, the forest also tends to reveal some of its magic and secrets the deeper you go into the woods. Spotting birds species of about 300 kinds is a great way to be engaged in the wonder of nature.

The rural setting of Khirsu won’t be visible the deeper into the woods you go. This makes for an amazing excursion as when you walk out, the view tends to take your breath away. The Chowbatta trek is a famous hike in the region, taking you through Deodar, Walnut and Silver Oak jungles. You can also go camping in the woods of Khirsu.

Also, I must mention two points with the most beautiful views of the surrounding region – the Furkunda view mount is about 20 minutes from the GMVN guest house (more on that below) and the picturesque setting in unforgettable. The other vanity point is Chaukhambha viewpoint, providing excellent sights of the backdrops.

Lastly, there are a couple of ancient Prachin Temples in the town.

Food options

While Khirsu is an off-beat destination, it is not very well equipped with touristy spots. Thus, you won’t find lots of restaurants in the region. However, roadsides dhabas are aplenty. Do try your hand at the local cuisine.

Also, the locals are extremely friendly – get an invite into their homes and try the salt-of-the-earth amazingly delicious food. Uttrakhandi Pahadi cuisine, especially Kappa, Sisunaak Saag, Pahadi Raita, Bhaang Chutney are must-haves! Enjoy the culinary delights.

Stay options

There is two major train of thoughts when it comes to staying at Khirsu. One – it might be advisable to stay at Pauri, which is 20 KMs away and travel to all regions around – including a visit to Srinagar, Garhwal or Chopta, Chandrashilla, Deoriatal.

The second train of thought would be to indulge fully in the Khirsu region. One mainstream place to stay in Khirsu GMVN Tourist rest house. With an old world charm, laze around and enjoy the mountain fresh air all the while taking in the views. Also, they will take in your request for cooking specialty food – Mutton Curry is a non-vegetarians paradise, do try!

Even though the amenities are basic, the humming sound of the birds around and the beauty of nature along with the amazing Pahadi hospitality will keep you in awe. You won’t be disappointed. You can book the Khirsu GMVN guest house from the official website or visiting any nearby GMVN office.

Vikas Khand Guesthouse (9997862249), Badri Vishal Guesthouse (9410723484), Hotel Taj Himalaya (9927235950) are other options worth considering as well. There are very limited hotels in Khirsu, so, plan your stay accordingly.

Common Itinerary for Khirsu

Many people plan a 3-day trip to Khirsu which is both rejuvenating and relaxing. If you’re anything like me – you’d enjoy some adventure around here as well. You can cover the Pauri region along with a trip to Khirsu. It will offer some fabulous views of the almighty peaks of Trishul while also trudging along to Rudraprayag.

As I was traveling by train, I spent a couple of days in the beautiful town of Rishikesh, enjoying idyllic living of chilling by the Ganges and amazing cuisine of the region. When driving about, it is always a joy to stop and take in the sights, leaving behind a trail of memories.

People also visit Khirsu when traveling to Auli. It helps them break the journey from Auli to Delhi and let them visit an offbeat place in Garhwal region.

Other Tips on Visiting Khirsu

  1. While there is a single SBI ATM available, it might be out of cash. The best advice would be to carry enough cash when you come in to visit.
  2. Khirsu has a hospital along the Rishikesh road with basic amenities.
  3. The nearest Petrol Pump lies either in Pauri, or Shrinagar, Garwal. You must stock up in case you’re planning a further excursion.
  4. BSNL and Airtel mobile networks function the best in Khirsu. Vodafone and reliance might give you some trouble. Plan accordingly
  5. Handy: A good pair of walking shoes and a pair of binoculars.

Conclusion

Khirsu is a joy, whether you’re looking for a relaxing bout with nature or a longer duration journey across the region. This is a warm and inviting offbeat travel destination, always in search of tranquillity and sharing its quiet happiness. I hope you enjoyed reading this travel guide of Khirsu and it will help you make your upcoming trip to this offbeat place in Uttarakhand a very successful one.

Have a travel question?? You can follow me on Instagram and ask your travel questions in a direct message on Instagram too. I also conduct a weekly Q&A session every Saturday evening on Instagram, so see you there.

Please feel free to post any queries or doubts you might have in planning your trip. If you have been to Khirsu, I would love to hear your thoughts or suggestions as well in the comments. Please post any other information you feel will be worth sharing with other fellow travelers and prove helpful to them.

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About Author

Shefali spends most of her time day dreaming about her next big vacation. A happy-go-lucky personality, she is an amalgamation of all the places she’s lived in and experienced! She is always confused as to where to call home, having lived in Chandigarh, Shimla, Dehradun, Mumbai, Hyderabad in India and Vancouver, Abbotsford in Canada. Her love for travel is only challenged by her love for reading and eating delicious food! In order to sustain her dreams, she brought out her inner geek, got an MBA and has a job in the corporate world crunching numbers. Do follow @notravelplans on Instagram for updates on her next great adventure.

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