Amidst Tall Cedar Trees: Glamping at Tirthan Nature Camps

by - August 13, 2018

I was lucky that Stay On Skill chose me as one of the experts for their anniversary meetup in Tirthan Valley. I have always been fascinated by their concept and looked forward to working with them.

Stay On Skill is an online platform through which you can stay at a property in exchange for a skill you possess. For instance, if you're a guitarist or even a social media marketer and looking forward to staying in a nice, cosy homestay absolutely without shelling a rupee, then it is possible. You just have to share your skill with the hosts and stay at their property for free (psst! if you're lucky enough, you get to taste the local cuisine as well). I really think this is a fab way to travel and to learn more about the native culture really up close. Know more about Stay On Skill and their brilliant concept on their website

The main reason Stay On Skill organised this meetup in Tirthan Valley was to help the locals in maintaining the virginity of the valley and to promote sustainable and responsible tourism in that area. At this meetup, we came across a certain Bharti father-and-son duo, who happily offered a stay at their campsite and homestay. After devouring delectable Himachali food at their Tirthan River View Homestay, it was then the time to spend a night at their Tirthan Nature Camps property.

I was particularly thrilled to camp on this trip because I had never slept outdoors in Himachal Pradesh before. Instead of a mountaintop, we camped amidst the wilderness, in a forest, by the riverside. 

A tempo was arranged for us, which was our ride for most of the trip. We were dropped near a cliff from where we had to walk for a few metres to reach the campsite. On lighting the flashlights and descending through a forest, we saw yellow lights glistening afar. As we were nearing the campsite, we saw Mr Khem Bharti (the father) standing with a flashlight himself and welcoming us with an “Aao ji!”

The beautiful spherical lights and the way the tents were spread delighted each one of us. The bonfire caught our attention and we spotted a Spanish couple having a jamming session near it: one of them was strumming the guitar, while the other guided with the notes. On that, Mr Bharti had a story to share; he told us how the Spanish couple was camping by the riverside and how he invited them in. When the couple expressed their lack of money, Mr Bharti replied they could pitch their tent in the periphery and use the toilets whenever needed.

After the allocation of tents, we sat on the outdoor dining set. Chai was served and it soothed me as it slid down my throat. We played music on Abhishek's speaker, which we jokingly termed as his extended body part, and listened to his soulful playlist consisting of songs by The Beatles, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, and other legendary rock bands.

Sitting amidst tall trees at Tirthan Nature Camps
We approached the Spanish couple and joined them in their jamming session while encircling the bonfire. Rohan, the guitarist, started playing some beautiful numbers; he played those songs he had missed during the guitar session from the previous night. Our live music was paused as we were called for dinner...

Any meal in Tirthan Valley always equalled to winning some more opportunities to taste more Himachali delicacies. It is believed that the food cooked at the Tirthan Nature Camps is the best you would find in the whole of the valley; Mr Bharti's wife is said to be the best cook and her recipes are often compared with.

Keeping that in mind, we approached a sheltered dining area. For our guts, there was paneer sabzi, roti, rice, chicken curry, and kadhi. We spent the meal time discussing veg and non-veg eating practices and I was shocked to have a company of seven more vegetarians. (Usually, I am the only vegetarian in a group.)

We went for a post-meal walk towards a river stream, which was close to the campsite. We sat on the rocks, enacted the scene from Bhool Bhulaiya, where I was playing Monjolika and Rachita––a fellow traveller and my newly made friend––was playing Akshay Kumar. Sarthak, the amazing, recently-turned-18, videographer, was behind the camera and the rest were the audience.

Since it was past 11:00 pm, we couldn't make a noise, thus adhering to the forest laws. After about 20 minutes of fun and drama, we went back towards the campsite. The rest of the night was spent talking about our fears and sharing stories about how we conquered those fears. And then, till about two in the night, Rohan played his guitar softly, while we hummed along. In the end, only the four of us were awake and rest all were deeply asleep in the tents. We packed the guitar and went towards our respective tents.

Each tent was spacious. The one I was sleeping in had a capacity of five people. Few of the tents even had an attached bathroom.
We laid ourselves on the mattress, which was warm and comfy and drew the blanket on our tired bodies. Luckily, there were neither mosquitoes nor insects that disturbed our peace. The only sound I could hear was the delicate flow of the river stream and ah, it was so beautiful that it acted as my lullaby. I fell asleep shortly thereafter and it was, doubtlessly, one of the best slumbers.

Campers rushing for breakfast inside the sheltered dining area
Next morning, we woke up around 8:00 am and after freshening up, were served with tea. Few of us were transferring pictures and videos from our Tirthan Valley trip to a common laptop and few were walking towards the sheltered dining area for breakfast, which included gigantic sized aloo parathas. They were so huge that I could eat only three-quarters of one paratha. The fresh curd and spicy pickle alongside, made it the perfect first meal of the day. After thanking Mr Khem Bharti and his wife, we sat for a brainstorming session.

The one night spent at Tirthan Nature Camps was our last in the valley but was beyond perfection. Credits to the amiable hospitality and a stunning campsite nestled among tall cedar trees. Glamping at its best, I must say. Ideal for nature lovers, birders, and those seeking for adventure.

Along with a stay at Tirthan Nature Camps, indulge in a number of adventure activities like river crossing, rappelling, birding, trekking, and trout angling. 


Take a Manali bus and get down at Aut, which is the nearest bus stop. From here, you can hire a taxi (Contact: +91 98057 84599, +91 70182 41799) and reach Tirthan Nature Camps.


Mobile No.: +91-9459101113, +91-8894902613, +91-8894329970

Picture Credits: Niharika @ The Iffy Explorer

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