22.03.2012 - 24.03.2012 15 °C
The first hour of our journey to Jibhi was familiar to both of us as we were simply retracing our steps from Kullu down the valley to a small town called Aut. Ffion got a bit worried when the bus headed through the town and into a tunnel but it turned out that the big reservoir which had been under construction when she was last here had (unsurprisingly) been finished and had caused a small change in the route. We climbed slowly but surely up into an offshoot valley and, after another 2 hours, arrived at the small village of Jibhi. We stayed at the charming Doli Guest House which was where Ffion had stayed when working in a local school and orphanage with The Kullu Project 7 years ago. We were greeted warmly by the owner, Mr Rana, had settled down in the garden for chai and a sandwich. At first glance Jibhi looks like it consists of only 25 houses, a school, 3 shops and a bank but it actually spreads further with houses and small holdings sparsely scattered along the mountainside.
The only tourist activity available in Jibhi is walking so we spent our two days in this unspoiled village attempting to do short walks to local points of interest. I say attempting because our first walk to ‘the waterfall’ (marked on Mr Rana’s hand drawn map with no scale or key) took us around 2km up a very steep set of concrete stairs in the middle of a forest before we realised we’d probably taken a wrong turn at the beginning of the forest. Our second walk was going to be an all-day affair up the side of a very steep mountain finishing at a fort. After less than an hour we realized we didn’t have enough food, water, strength or stamina to reach the top. Instead we ticked off a small temple where we got giggled at by a group of small children, one of whom was clutching a lamb, and took a stroll through the forest and a small village before returning to the guest house. Our third walk was to a village and, again, the lack of scale on the map caused us some issues. We reached the bottom of what looked like a short flight of stairs up the side of a mountain to a temple. After climbing for about 20 minutes and not finding the temple we asked some young boys who’d obviously just come from the temple where it was and they pointed to the very top of the mountain. We decided we’d probably seen enough temples that week as it was so wimped out and walked back again. Although we failed to find most of the things on our map we weren’t too bothered as breathing in the crisp, clean air and wandering around the forests and villages was a pleasant enough experience in itself. After just two nights it was time to move on but we were sorry to leave Mr Rana, his staff, the guest house and the village.