Galu (or Gallu) – of chai shops, secret waterfall and goats
If you like swimming in natural pools as much as we do and like hunting for lesser known little wonderlands, then you will absolutely love reading about this place! Bonus: interesting chai shops with breathtaking views and some nosy goats that love to pose.
Asia –> India –> Himachal
First of all, the name of the place is written as “Galu” but it should be “Gallu” because the locals stress on the “L” the most. It’s pronounced like “Mallu” with a G. For the sake of my sanity, I will refer to this place as Gallu not Galu in this post to reflect how I say it in my head.
So what is this place about?
Gallu is the name of one of the many Goddesses and this part of Himachal is nothing but a small temple (Galu Temple) with a few shops around on top of a hill that overlooks the valley on two sides with some amazing views. There are only two places to stay here – Sagar’s Residency and Tiger’s Crest (or was it Tiger’s Nest). We stayed at Sagar residency where a double room with an attached room and a balcony overlooking the valley costed us INR 500 in 2012.
Gallu and Beyond (amazing chai shops, walking trails, small treks and a secret waterfall):
Gallu is a good base if you want to trek to Triund. It makes more sense to stay here because the trek to Triund is only 3 hours from here. You can read about our Triund experience by clicking here because I will not be talking about it in this post. As you must have read about the most amazing food experience in my blog post about Dharamkot, I must mention, Gallu has really simple food and completely different from Dharamkot because the options are limited. Simple but good. There are only two places where you can eat – Sagar Residency for parathas and the chai shop under Tiger’s Nest that was our favorite spot to sit because of the view. Below is a picture of our favorite chai shop – cute, isn’t it?
If you walk a little further down the chai shop, there’s a beautiful walking trail that leads to the woods. It’s in the opposite direction of Triund. If you walk on this trail for 10 minutes at a leisurely pace, enjoying the sights and the sounds, you will reach another beautiful chai shop called Sunset Point. It is apparently run by the brother of the first chai shop owner in Gallu. The stunning views from most of these chai shops in the Himachal make me want to quit my job and open a chai shop of my own here.
If you keep walking on this trail beyond Sunset Point for an hour, you will reach the most beautiful waterfall in the area. The first time I went to this waterfall was in 2012 and my second visit was in 2015 and I saw a water pipe along the path which you can use to hold when yourself because the walk to the waterfall is very slippery. Being an idiot that I am, I did this walk or “mini trek” wearing flip flops both the times which can be risky. One of the locals mentioned that one of the travelers slipped down the valley and lost her life while clicking a picture here a year back. Please wear good shoes if you plan to visit the waterfall and please do not click selfies in the places where you can fall down. Also, I suggest you keep your hands empty because you will need them while climbing so please carry a super light backpack where you can keep a water bottle.
Unlike Triund, the path to this waterfall is not crowded because not many people know about it. Most of them head to Bhagsu waterfall instead which is extremely crowded so it has lost it’s beauty to me.
There are several tiny natural pools here right under the waterfall and the water is refreshingly cold. We waited for the other group of travelers (a group of teenage school boys) to leave and as soon as they left, we took off our clothes and jumped into the water with our underwear. We did not want to provide a show for those school boys. To our delight, the sunlight was strong enough to dry our inner-wear very fast.
We refilled our empty water bottle directly from the waterfall as we saw locals doing and drank the most delicious water. After our swim, we were surrounded by the most adorable goats and soon there were too many of them everywhere. We clicked a picture of a goat and realized these goats really knew how to pose! We ended up clicked a bunch more. Here are two of my favorite pictures.
Back in 2012, the person who was running Sunset Point chai shop had accompnied us to the waterfall as well and had taken us to a beautiful cave near the waterfall which he had converted into another chai shop. I couldn’t find that cave in 2015.
On our way back, we befriended a local who walked back with us. He was carrying some interesting looking coiled up medicinal plant which he claimed is only found near the waterfall area. He said, this plant if cooked and eaten, can relieve joint pain and makes joints stronger. He said the local name was “Longur“. See picture.
The area around Gallu is full of interesting looking plants, but be careful – there’s a plant called Stinging Nettle in this area, or commonly known as “Bichu Buti” in Hindi which means – scorpion plant if directly translated to Hindi. Do not touch this plant as it causes an irritating stinging sensation which stays for a few hours. I do not know if it’s poisonous but I did not enjoy the sensation when I accidentally touched this plant’s leaves as a child.
Apart from the waterfall, there are some more small hikes around Gallu. Just ask one of the locals and they will guide you. We chatted a lot with Sagar, the humble man that owns Sagar residency and does almost everything there along with his staff. He was well traveled, well read and had the most amazing stories. He said something that always stay in my head – “The best way to travel is to travel alone. If you find a companion to travel with that matches your pace, that’s amazing. Try avoiding traveling in a group of 3 or 4 because you will end up spending more time with each other instead of getting lost in the culture of the new place. Never ever travel in a group bigger than 4.”
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You might also like:
Triund Trek of Himachal Pradesh, India
Dharamkot – a hippie village in the Himalayas