Whenever you think about taking a vacation in the mountains, Manali in Himachal is one of the first few place that comes to the mind. In my recent visit to Manali, I noticed that it expectedly becomes super crowded at the peak of the season. There are massive traffic jams, tourist spots are flooded with people with no place to walk or sit and enjoy the view, cafes and restaurants have waiting and the air quality becomes unhealthy. I spent three months (Oct-Dec 2020) in the town and saw both sides of it. The spots that were absolutely quiet, serene and peaceful in Oct and Nov, were super-crowded in December with tourists. In our attempt to getaway from the crowds, is when we discovered Sethan.
Sethan is a small village situated at an altitude of 2700m (approx 700 m higher than Manali); located in the Hamta valley of the Pir Panjal range. From the village you can see the mighty Dhauladhar range and river Beas diving the two valleys. The residents of Sethan are primarily Buddhist and originally migrants from Spiti valley and Tibet. They used to come to Hamta valley as horse herders and hence were allotted this land by the govt to live. There are just 15 houses and 7-8 families that reside here. There is no mobile network in the village and one has to walk little before or ahead of the village to get any signal (Jio or Airtel). However, a lot of places have installed Internet through wireless broadband and hence give wifi connectivity to their guests.
Best time to visit
The weather is ideal in Sethan between March – June, but you can plan a trip anytime around the year.
How to reach
You can take an overnight bus from Delhi to Manali. Sethan is located just 14 kms from Manali and takes about 50 mins by road. There are 35 hair pin curves and it can get little difficult to drive as the road condition is bad and at places it is too steep. Hence it is advisable that you hire a local gypsy to take you there. (You can contact Sunil bhaiya on whatsapp for pick up and drop, his mobile number is 9817959576)
Things to do
A lot of people visit Sethan to see the igloos. It was the first place in India to build igloos for tourists to stay overnight. You can also enjoy playing in snow, specially in winters when Rohtang pass and Gulaba are closed. You can hire a snow suit and gum boots from one of the many shops in the village. It also has a lot of winter adventure sports activities like Snowboarding, Skiing, Snow Trekking and Ice climbing. In Summers, you can go trekking and camping. Treks like Hampta pass, Deo-Tibba Base, Beas Kund, Thumsar pass, Kareri lake can be done from Sethan. Or you can just enjoy a peaceful stay enjoying the most gorgeous sunsets from a nearby viewpoint (walking distance from the village), relish the local Himachali cuisine, maggi or momos and chit chat with the locals who are very warm and welcoming by nature.
Places to Stay
Sethan Bouldering Hostel – They have a 4 people shared accommodation and an independent room all year long. Igloos are available only in the winters. You can select basis your priority and budget. The owner, Sunil Bhaiya and his entire family are very friendly and welcoming. They also have a cafe where you can have your meals (delicious homely food!)
To book, contact Sunil on whatsapp/call – 9817959576
Woodland Chalet – This one is the last house in the village. They have 2 rooms, the interior is wooden and hence, with one hour of running a heater or blower, the rooms get warmed up and stays cozy throughout the night. It is located beside an Apple orchard. When it snows on the apple trees in the winter, the view gets very mesmerising. You can have your meals at any shop in the village.
To book contact Animesh on whatsapp/call 9459437927
Tushita Camps – It is the first house in the village owned by Poonam didi. In summers they have camps and in winters they have a room on a 2 people shared accommodation basis. They also have a cafe with an amazing view of the mountains.
To book Contact Poonam on whatsapp/call 9805018055
Himalayan Igloo Stay – Whenever you hear the word igloo, eskimos is one thing that comes to your mind as igloos are used by people residing in extremely cold places like Arctic, Greenland etc. However, now Igloos are a big tourist attraction in Sethan too. They provide you with proper blanket and bedding, along with a hot water bag to keep you warm in the night.
To book contact Pawan on whatsapp/call 9418082628
I hope you find my blog helpful in planning your trip to Sethan.
The Seeking Soul