If you have a map of North India before you, you will notice that the road to Tirthan Valley, from Chandigarh, passes through Bilaspur, Mandi and while the main road turns left and continues through the passage of the tunnel at Largi, onwards to the Hill stations of Kullu & Manali, a branch goes straight ahead and takes a U-turn over the left bank of river Beas at Aut, and continues along the river through Chalogi, Bali, Targali, Sidhwa & finally arrives via a sharp hairpin bend to Sai Rupa. Half a mile beyond Sai Rupa is the Basera, run by the owners of Citrus County, Hoshiarpur.
From Dharamsala the driving time to Tirthan should not be more than 4 or 5 hours, over some very picturesque roads .
The location is superb, right on the banks of river Tirthan with fabulous valley views. The ridge running east, meets the Dhauladhar ranges several miles to the west of this spot, with an open expanse of the valley facing the resort, a high cliff, several hundred feet, dotted with age-old Deodar & Kail, beautifully visible from the Basera cottages!
The greenery is amazing with fruit trees of Apricot, Apple & Walnut spread all along the road and open glades.
When we arrived at Basera on the last day of April, it was bright sunshine, and we sat down to tea & biscuits, with the fresh air of pine fragrance in our nostrils and riverine sound in our ears!
The cottages, five in number, are well-spaced for privacy, over an acre and half, with raised plinths & verandahs affording great views of the river & valley. The rooms are spacious and tastefully furnished. The walls are plastered with mud & wheat straw to give the interiors an ethnic look. The bathrooms have all modern amenities, spotlessly clean, with running hot & cold water. We were offered the Family Cottage which has two side-by-side bedrooms, attached toilets, with two separate river-facing verandahs.
The dining hall has beautiful views of the river as well, and well decorated.
As it was still about three hours of daylight left, we quickly went to the nearby Fisheries Department for purchase of permits (Rs. 100/- per-rod & spinner) for fishing on the morrow. From there we took a hike, crossing the river over an old narrow iron bridge, arriving back in time, for a wash and dinners. The food was delicious home-cooked!
Armed with our light tackles, early next morning at 7:30, we descended from the Resort on to the river, which at this point has fine shallow and deep pools. We managed to catch a couple of Rainbow Trout, on our Mepps-Aglia spinners! Climbing our way back to the Resort for a hearty B’fast. Later, we left for Gushaini to take a hike in the Great Himalayan National Park. After partaking of lunch, we were back on the river, half a mile up-stream, at Nagini, and though we saw some fellow sportsmen catch fish, our luck was out that evening!
The evenings are extremely pleasant at Basera with the sun setting over at the head of the valley, forming a great mountainous amphitheater.
IMO, the best time to travel to Basera at Tirthan would be late September to mid December & again from March till the advent of the monsoons. The property is very well suited for longer stays by artistes, painters and writers, due to its seclusion. For a sportsman, Trout fishing can be had, in superb environs in the months of May & June. A light tackle with 0 or 1 # spinners, preferably single hook, is all that is required. A gillie can be arranged by the Basera Resort, with advance intimation.
(Blog by VP Singh)