There is much more from Tea Gardens, Shoba Singh Art Gallery & the majestic Dhauladhar standing right ahead the town. Birni Devi is among best trekking routes in Palampur city.
My journey started at 6:00 PM from Pathankot. I boarded a HRTC from ISBT Pathankot which took around 4-5 hours to reach Palampur. Moment I reached, I started getting more concerned about my stay for a while. Time was clicking at 11:00PM & by 11:30, I finally managed to get into a decent motel.
By morning, packed up everything back together for Birni Devi. You first, have to reach Langha which is around 6 kms from Subhash Chawk, Palampur. However, Bus facilities are available for Langha or you can hire a MaxiCab from Subhash Chawk. In my case, I chose to walk till Langha. Yes! I do not have a specific reason for that, but thats what I opted for.
This wasn’t my first choice though. Buses were late or already departed & taxis were overcharging. One of them asked me for 500 rupees for Langha when I could see a milestone ahead for 6 kms. Apart, they were faking things as if Langha is too remote & no Taxi driver wish to go there, which was insane.
Starting from Subash Chawk, it took me another 2 hours to reach Langha. In the middle, I kept asking locals to avoid missing the correct route. Best thing about Langha is that they have got 4G, in area people usually call a remote one.
In above conversation, Aunty was likely warning me for Birni Devi. But then I met the person who had actually built that temple. I found him roadside while asking for the route. Initially, his reaction was a bit wierd when I askdd him for route.
It was like, “Birni Devi? Why do you want to go up there? By the way, how do you know about that temple when you are from Pathankot?”. I had to tell him that it was the internet who told me & then suddenly “Internet? Who put it over Internet?”. “Well, I Don’t Know” – I replied.
“Our home is right beside the temple & it was me who built it up for our Kuldevi. We usually live there in summer & right now we are staying in Langha. Do you have water with you? Food?” – He kept on telling me many things.
I was actually missing a water bottle. He asked one from a home nearby & then showed me the trail from there itself. This was a great help & you can always expect such things from Himachali’s.
I must say that my start was not that good. My trek was getting bushy & thin every next minute. Finally, at a point, I realised that I misunderstood the directions & its time to get back to try the other route opposite to the hill.
Initially, you start with a clear hill which starts getting denser as you move up. I was solo, security was a concern for me. Holding a bambo stick was helping out to some extent though.
If you ever want to see whole of Palampur in one sight, Birni trek is the best option. As you keep climbing, view gets wider & wider. Only thing which does not get in sight are the majestic Dhauladhars. But, they gives you a surprise when you reach the top. However, Trek is quite adventurous & rocky at some points.
February-March are the best months to trek Birni Devi in case you love the snow. But its an all time spot for camping.
Upper part of jungle was filled with the state flower of Himachal Pradesh “Pink Rhododendron”, locally know as “Bhraas”.
Palampur was right behind & front were Himalayas, leaving all the mess & getting into the nature. Intrestingly,you see it hapenning. You see it from every point, even when you reach Birni Devi.
Oh halfway, you will find 3-4 homes of Gaddis. This is the place where you can fill up your water bottles.
From here, temple gets in direct sight & the waving temple flags. Although, rest of route is also going to be the scariest one. Scariest for a solo treker.
For a moment, I thought about getting back. But, that thought could not stay any longer. It was all about the zeal, energy & blessings of Mata Birni Devi by now.
While climbing through the rocky trail, few meters ahead, were the cemented steps. An indicator of reaching the destination. And then, there was a small temple ahead with 3-4 flags waving on top.
There was a Gaddi’s house on downside – left of temple.
On front was Dhauladhar Range which also goes to Truind and right on my back was the beautiful Palampur Valley.
Overall, it was a moderate level trek and one can even try it out with his/her family, kids. When it comes to camping, I bet camping lovers would definitely admire this place. There is plenty of water available on top. You can freely use those homes over here if no one is living in, otherwise, you can ask them for accomodation & definitely they do not hesitate in helping out.
When it comes to my experience about Birni Devi Trek, I wish that I could set up my tent & make a stay up there.
I never go to temples regularly but when I go, I trek up to them like this one. There is way too much difference in going to temples of cities & like these. Right after Birni, I had to go to Mansa Devi in Panchkula, Haryana. Believe me, there were so much crowd that two police men were standing near pujari & were not letting people stand for more than 5 seconds. I mean really?
Is that the real purpose of going to temples? Just ringing a bell & getting away chanting Jai Mata Ki? Come on!
I can tell you what I felt when I reached up there at Birni. First thing is that I was all alone, so there was hardly any chance of getting distraction. There were no Pujari’s, Police nothing. Just a small bell hanging on top from inside & couple of pictures. Moment I ringed, closed my eyes & let everything get out of my mind. I tried my best to be at present, avoiding any thought that could come in. Sat there for almost 5 minutes & this was the best part. I never prayed in such a concentration. At a level, I literally though that I am talking to god or atleast god is listening to me. I have no idea if god really exist, but if you are at such a place, you can never deny it too.
There is another ancient temple known as Jahni Devi temple dedicated to Mata Latti Jakhni. It is just 3-4 kms from Langha village. You can read more about it here.
Jai Mata Birni!