Day 2: Sojha
hike- 10 kms drive and 3.5 hrs hike
In the mountains, if you want to be rewarded well by nature in its full glory, have must make an early morning start. The same
is true of this hike to Raghupur Fort meadows that overlook the Tirthan Valley in Kulu district in the West and Shimla district in the East. This five kms uphill drive
will test your car as well as your mountain driving skills! From Jalori, it is a level walk in the open for about hundred meters towards Sutlej Valley before it heads
straight into the forest on a well-defined trail. Half a kilometer later, a short steep climb takes one to a small meadow that offers a photo-op. A short rest and off
you go into the Oaks and Rhododendrons forest slowly climbing up and then shifting gear for a final steep climb of 15 to 20 minutes. Here the tree line finishes and we
move into a lush green meadow. A little up and we are rewarded with a 360 degrees view of The Himalayas, Dhauladhar and Kinnaur ranges, all of them in one sweeping
glance. All around you are swathes of lush green meadows that gently descend into the oak and blue fir forests.
Keep strolling and in a while we end up at the
dilapidated Raghupur Fort. The local people believe that an erstwhile king of Mandi province got this fort constructed hundreds of years ago. Theories abound as to why
this fort was constructed on a ridge where scarcity of water was a perennial issue. One of them will have us believe that this retreat was made in case the king had to
retreat in to the mountains in case his kingdom was attacked by the enemy forces from the plains. Yet another popular belief is that the fort was constructed for the
pleasure of the king away from the prying eyes of his family and subjects. Whatever the truth, the King could not have chosen a better location. One look and you would
not want to go back.
Back to retreat in the afternoon. The more adventurous ones can also hike up to a small waterfall in the afternoon if they wish. Evening
around a bonfire. Night stay in retreat.