Gushaini, about 60 kilometersfrom KulluManaliAirportin Bhuntar, is located on the boundary of Greater Himalayan National Park (GHNP), headquartered at Shamshi inKulluValley, Himachal Pradesh. Gushaini, known as “Trout Country”, is not only ideal for angling but also a starting point for various treks meandering through the park and its nearby eco zone. Gushaini-Shilt Thatch-Gushaini trail is one of them. This approximately 30-kilometer long trail, running along theTirthanRiver and its tributaries, is perfect for a weekend break during September – November and February – June.
Gushaini (1, 500 meters)
This small placid town in the TirthanValleyboasts orchards of apricot and an excellent epitome of composite-roofed temple. The DurgaTempleat the foot of the Bashlau (Bashleo) Pass, a single storey wooden structure, is surrounded by a spacious veranda on all four sides. The timber walls enclose small dark sanctum. Gable roofing of the sanctum is veneered with slates. The wooden carvings denote fine pahari folk style. The theme of the carvings revolves around archers, dancers, geometrical shapes, Hanuman, musicians and peacocks. You may seek blessings of Durga goddesses before proceeding for Shilt Thatch. If you are non-vegetarian, you may catch a trout.
Gushaini-Shilt Thatch-Gushaini Trail
An easy track of about nine kilometers, running along theTirthanRiver, takes you from Gushaini to Rolla (2,100 meters). From Rolla to Shilt Thatch (3,100 meters), it is a seven kilometers uphill trek through blue pine, Himalayan fir, kharsu oak and spruce forest. Do not just walk; look around attentively to spot some colorful birds. Be careful, as bears’ territory lies beyond Thatch.
If you have time, walk north of Thatch up to Rakhundi Top (3,622 meters) via Chhordwari waterfall. Both Shilt Thatch and the waterfall are located withinRakhundiProtectedForest, which is home to monal pheasant (kardi and bodh-local names), western tragopan pheasant (jujurana-local name), koklass peasant, Himalayan griffon vultures and lammergiers. Alpine grassland Rakhundi Top, lending itself to sweeping views of snow-covered mountains, is punctuated with stunted junipers and alpine shrubs. While climbing to the grassland, you will find vibrant alpine flowers, including blue “kadva tosh” used for stomach disorders, and occasional bhojpatra trees.
Follow the same trail to return to Gushaini.