Getting to Barot
Closest Airports:Bhuntar airport at Kullu and Gaggal airport near Kangra.
Barot is 127 km from Bhuntar airport near Kullu. The airport is served by Air India Regional (formerly Alliance Air), Jagson Airlines, Kingfisher Airlines and MDLR Airlines, all from Delhi. Please be aware that the frequency of the flights is very low and changes depending on season and traffic. It is always prudent to check the individual airline sites to get details. A car ride from the airport to Barot will be around 4 hours.
You can also reach Barot from Gaggal airport near Kangra, approximate distance is 97 km. The airport is served by Jagson Airlines and Kingfisher Airlines from Delhi. You can reach Barot in about 3 hours from Gaggal Airport by road.
Taxis are easily available for hire to Barot. Just beware of exorbitant charging. The rule of the thumb for a small passenger car is to add up the total kilometres of the journey (both ways irrespective of whether you are coming back by the same car or not) and multiply by 8-10 INR. This is based on the current prices of gas and could change as and when oil prices fluctuate.
If you are driving from Delhi, take the NH 1 up to Ambala and then branch off towards Chandigarh. The drive is 250 km, takes around 4 and a half hours. From Chandigarh, take the NH21 up to Mandi. The road passes through Kiratpur Sahib, Swarghat and Bilaspur. The distance to Mandi is around 200 km, 5 hours drive. From Mandi, take NH 21 towards Dharamshala. 44 Km from Mandi on NH21, you will reach Ghatasani, take a right towards Barot. Barot is 25 km from this point and the drive could take up to an hour because the road is very narrow and winding. If you are not used to driving on mountain roads, ensure you take extra care and drive really safe. Another note of caution. While the road is decent quality and you will be able to find puncture fixing shops, ensure your car is in good shape. A breakdown on mountain roads off the National Highway is the last thing you would want.
Buses serve Mandi regularly from Delhi and Chandigarh. You are better off taking a night bus from Delhi. Himachal Roadways runs a pretty comfortable Volvo service to Manali via Mandi. The fare is a very reasonable INR 950. You can find the itinerary and book tickets online at http://hp.gov.in/hrtctickets/. Once you reach Mandi, take any bus towards Dharamshala, Palampur, Kangra and get off at Ghatasani. Around 6-8 buses serve Barot daily from Gahatasani, equally interspersed in the day, so the wait wont be long.
Since this is not an official trek trail, it is not way-marked. However, locals often use these routes and a few queries around will help you get the routes to all the places mentioned. The key words are Bada Gran, Plachek, Luhardi, Panihartoo, Bada Bhangal. You will get around easily with Hindi. If you are not a Hindi speaker, try broken English with place names, that should work. Either way, you will always find a few English speakers in Barot. From Barot on, preferably keep to keywords. Overall, the locals will be pretty helpful if they see a non-local and will help you get around. In case you are keen to hire a guide, you can try and get some local. There are no professional guides available but then this is no arduous trek and you actually do not need a guide except for leading you on the way. Since this is not an official trek trail and no professional guides are available, what you pay the guide purely depends on who you get and how well you negotiate. You should look at paying not more than INR 300-400 per day to the guide provided you do not make him carry your stuff.
Places to Stay:
Barot has 2 rest houses run by government departments and a privately owned rest house. The government rest houses are run by HP Public Works Department and HP Forest Department. While the primary intention is to provide officers of the respective departments with places to stay when they tour the area, these are also open to reservation by non employees if not already booked for departmental uses. Contact numbers for each rest house booking are provided below. While these are current at the time of writing, they may change over a period of time.
The privately owned guest house is called 'Sachin Guest House'. You will find waymarkers to the place as soon as you enter Barot, not that you really need them in a village of 400 people.
The Way Back:
Bir is close to the world famous paragliding site, Billing. It is connected to NH21 by a link road. If you are going to Delhi, you drive from Bir to Bir Road (4 Km), take a right onto NH21 and drive towards Palampur, on to Chandigarh via Palampur, Kangra, Una and Kiratpur Sahib. If you are heading towards Manali, take a left from Bir Road and take the NH 21 upto Mandi. In case you use public transport, Bir is connected by several buses in a day, which can take you in either direction on NH21. The Gaggal airport is in Kangra, around 50 km from Bir.