Why do we all crave some time away in the mountains? Is it about waking up to the sweet melody of the elated birds, the freshness of the featherlight air our lungs love to soak in, or is it the soothing solitude that our being yearns for? And then, there is this alluring beauty and warmth about them, the mesmerizing combo of greens and greys, the play of stars and mist, and the special gift of peace and joy. No wonder, each and every soul wants to find its way to the mighty mountains and some of us never really come back the same.
When I came to know about Jibhi last year, I knew I needed to see for myself. However, with Covid in all its glory, I couldn’t act on my impulse back then. So, as soon as we hit 2021, and travel scenarios started to loom hopeful, I packed my bags without further ado and left on a journey I had waited for a tad too long.
Here’s the account of my travel to Jibhi:
Delhi To Aut:
When I commenced my trip to Jibhi right from my place, I wasn’t certain if I would be able to board the bus in the first place. After my two cabs got canceled, when my third cab finally arrived, I knew my only chance of making it to the bus stand was if my driver could turn into Vin Diesel of Fast and Furious. And though my first impression of the cabbie, upon sliding in the car, wasn’t very encouraging, we did agree upon making sure that I don’t miss my bus and I didn’t!
–There is no direct bus from Delhi to Jibhi: You can take a bus To Manali, and get down at Aut (before the tunnel) and take a taxi from there to Jibhi. It’s a 12 hour bus ride from Delhi to Jibhi. And a taxi from Aut (2 hrs.) will cost you anywhere between INR 1500 to INR 2500. -And if you wish to get the taste of the local transportation there, you can board a local bus from Aut to the Banjar valley, and then a taxi from there to Jibhi.
Aut To Jibhi:
After an almost 13 hour long and tiring road trip in a semi-sleeper bus, which, by the way, turned out to be uber entertaining, thanks to the loquacious gang of guys sitting in front of me, I at last bid adieu to my bus buddies and disembarked before the Aut tunnel.
You know what’s relieving after an exhausting bus ride? It’s when your connecting ride is already waiting for you. That’s how I felt when I saw my cab driver waiting to take me to my homestay.
The drive from Aut tunnel to Jibhi is about 2 hour 30 min long. The road is pretty decent and the views are beautiful, especially around monsoon. So, I took out a pack of cookies, offered some to the driver, sat back, and munched through the ride.
Jibhi To Tandi:
And you thought that was about it! Where would have been the fun in that?
Jibhi has quite a handful of guesthouses to stay at, but main Jibhi wasn’t my destination. I was headed to a remote village in Jibhi, which is about 8km uphill drive from the Jibhi market, and is named TANDI.
You wouldn’t find direct buses going to Tandi from Jibhi, the only way up is by a taxi. You can hire one from the Jibhi market area.
Had it been any other time of the year, we would have taken our Alto straight to Tandi, but I was told that the place had witnessed fresh snowfall just a day before my arrival and so, the road ahead was all covered with a thick blanket of snow. Clearly, Alto wouldn’t have made it to the steep rise ahead, waiting for us.
So, I deboarded my second ride and hopped onto the third one, which was bigger, heavier, and noisier, but also snow ready with Tire chains and a seasoned driver behind the wheel.
The uphill drive shouldn’t be a conundrum for an experienced driver, that is, if you are visiting during anytime of the year but winter.
Whispering Pines Cottages: A Beautiful Homestay
I’d be honest, the journey from Delhi to Jibhi and further to Tandi, is a weary one. But then, if you are in pursuit of unexplored treasure troves, it’s implied you wouldn’t find them where they are easily accessible. And in the end, if you get to lodge at a perfect place like I did, all your exhaustion goes out of the window, like it was never there to start with.
Whispering Pines Cottages is magical, yes it is! Just look it up, if you don’t believe me. Whether you pick a cottage or a tree house, the views are enchanting. It’s a homestay owned by a local couple – Daleep and his wife Bhima. Both of them are warm and welcoming, and would try their best to take care of all your needs.Just don’t be too demanding!
Tandi doesn’t have tourist attractions in its immediate vicinity, but that’s the point, isn’t it! The place is tucked away from the frequented areas in Jibhi, which lets it stay pristinely beautiful. But that doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer. Tandi has striking views, cozy cottages, homelike comfort, warm and fresh food, and a little of exploration, if you like.
And If you feel the itch to explore Jibhi and the places around, go ahead, seek the assistance of Daleep. He would arrange a taxi for you and you can be on your way to places like Jalori Paas, Serolsar Lake, Jibhi Waterfall, Raghupur Fort etc.
Things To Know:
1. Vodafone doesn’t work there at all. Jio and Airtel, do. 2. The property has two dogs. Just in case you aren’t comfortable with the arrangement, do tell them to keep them on a leash, when you are in the open. 3. I would suggest, you ask Daleep to arrange the cab for you. I found it both convenient and economical too. 4. The place has everything one may need, don’t expect luxury though. 5. Book it on Airbnb.
It’s time you step out and experience the world, starting with Jibhi/Tandi.