Although it’s nestled away in the heart of Himachal Pradesh, Tirthan valley is easy to reach. It’s a short plane ride from Delhi or Chandigarh and a day’s drive or bus journey from the capital. There are also many different options and combinations of modes of transport, if you want to try something out of the ordinary.
Bhuntar (also known as Kullu-Manali) is the closest airport and Air India currently operates daily flights from Delhi and Chandigarh. Flights are approximately 90 mins from Delhi and 40 mins from Chandigarh. Prices vary. Taxis are easily available at the airport and the journey to Tirthan from Bhuntar takes around 2 hours and will cost about ₹2000. If you don’t mind a much longer drive, there are also flights to Chandigarh (7 hours away) and Dharamshala (6 hours).
Air India http://www.airindia.in/
Car or Taxi
The primary route to Tirthan is along the Manali highway (NH21) via Chandigarh. En route, you will enjoy the mountain terrain and great views of the Gobind Sagar Lake near Bilaspur. You turn off the NH21 at Aut just after Pandoh and before the tunnel, cross the Sainj river and drive alongside the Tirthan river. Keep following the river, take the turn a kilometre before Banjar, and you are in the Tirthan valley. The trip is 480km (10–12 hours) from Delhi and 265km (7 hours) from Chandigarh.
By taxi, this will cost you ₹12000–₹18000 from Delhi or ₹6,000–₹9000 from Chandigarh depending on the type of car.
There is an alternative scenic route via Shimla, which is longer (525km and 13 ½ hours from Delhi). However, it does allow you to cross the stunning Jalori Pass. Please note if you are planning this route that the Jalori Pass can be cut off in bad weather (such as snow or heavy rains), so check beforehand if the pass is open. This route would be ₹6000–₹8000 by taxi from Shimla.
A third route is via the Kangra valley. This runs on NH154 from Pathankot via Nurpur and Palampur to Mandi and then follows the main NH21 already described. Variants that follow a similar route include coming from Dharamshala or Joginder Nagar (if you have travelled there by narrow gauge train from Pathankot). The journey times are 8 ½ hours from Pathankot, 6 hours from Dharamshala and 4 hours from Joginder Nagar.
There are a number of different bus options depending on your starting point, but the overnight Himachal Tourism (HTPDC) Volvo bus that goes to Manali is recommended. It is reliable and safe. (Cost ₹1500 and 13 hours from Delhi.) Get off the bus at Aut where you can take a taxi. Or if you contact your homestay in advance, they will get a pre-arranged taxi to pick you up.
Himachal Tourism http://www.booking.hptdc.in/
The nearest railheads are quite distant from Tirthan, namely Chandigarh, Shimla (the famous ‘toy train’ from Kalka) and Pathankot (or Joginder Nagar if you take the narrow gauge train from Pathankot). However, you can take the train to any of these destinations and then continue your onward journey by taxi.
Indian Railways https://www.irctc.co.in/nget/train-search