Situated at an altitude of 2835m above sea level the Shirui Kashong (peak) in Ukhrul, Manipur is quite an adventure lover’s delight. With spectacular views, green meadows, and clouds hovering above the hills every now and then this trek was indeed very beautiful. The Shirui Peak at Ukhrul is also very famous for the Shirui Lily flower that blooms during the month of May-June.
This is also the reason the hill is named Shirui Peak. Shirui Lily is also the state flower and it is found only on this peak. Thus you will see most adventure lovers and trekking enthusiasts going for the Shirui Peak trekking during the months when the flower blooms.
A brief introduction about Ukhrul, Manipur
Ukhrul is a picturesque town situated in the Ukhrul district of Manipur. Despite the fact that Ukhrul is in Manipur, since the very beginning Ukhrul has been home to the Tangkul Naga Tribes. This name Tangkul was also given to them by the Meiteis.
Even though you are in Manipur when in Ukhrul you will get a glimpse of a typical Naga village. There are lots of Churches some of which are centuries old, spell bounding views of the hills, caves, waterfalls, etc. Nature can be said to be in full bounty here. It’s an amazing getaway for its scenic beauty, fresh air, and breathtaking views.
How to Reach Ukhrul
To reach Ukhrul you can board a bus or winger from the Imphal Bus terminus, ISBT, Khuman Lampak. They will charge Rs100 per ticket which is quite cheap. We got off the bus at Gandhi Circle where our guide received us. Imphal is connected by air to Guwahati, Kolkata, and other major airports in our country. The best time of the day to start Ukhrul is as early as you can in the morning.
We boarded the bus at 5 am in the morning. But something very unfortunate happened and our bus broke down in the middle of our journey. We had to wait for around 45min to board another bus. All the buses and other public transport comes fully packed from Imphal so it was very difficult to get a seat in one. When we reached Ukhrul and met our guide he said that it would be better if we had boarded a winger rather than a bus. The bus takes a much longer duration to reach.
It was in the month of April 2022 when we reached Ukhrul it was slightly drizzling. Seeing the rain slightly upset me as we were about to go for the Shrui Peak trek on the same day. We reached Ukrul at around 10 am and dropped our luggage at the hotel. For the Shirui Peak trek, we contacted CHIKO ADVENTURES. They had arranged our stay at 25 Degree North Hotel, which cost us Rs 1850 per night, and also a guide to take us to the Shirui peak trekking.
We reached the base of the trek in a Maruti 800 car and bought some snacks for munching and water bottles from a small shop there. The starting point of the trek is around 13 km from Ukhrul’s main town area.
You can also book a taxi to reach that point. On way to the base point, we crossed the Shirui Village which looked so quaint and peaceful, that I wished we could stay for some time but time was short and we had a huge trek to complete.
We were already late for the trek due to our morning bus adventure and we had to make up that time. I already started to get tired after such a hectic journey and I had doubts about whether I should commence with the trek or not.
But it was my husband and also our guide who motivated me saying “We will take a long pause and stop wherever you want to take rest my husband went one degree ahead tempting me “I shall click you lots of pictures”. So what else did I need I got my energy immediately boosted and I made up my mind to go for it.
Shirui Peak Trekking
At the beginning of the trek there we lots of very steep stairs I don’t remember the exact number but I am sure there were hundreds of steps. Climbing these steps was very difficult and tiresome. I shall rate the Shirui Peak trekking as moderate to difficult. If you are a frequent trekker then it will be just like walking on a cake but for occasional trekkers like me it was difficult at some points.
Unfortunately, the Shirui Lily flowers had not yet started to bloom since it was just April. The peak is famous for this Shirui Lily as I had already mentioned above. Still, we were not disheartened as the views we started getting when we began to ascend were compelling enough to do the trek.
Lush green meadows, clouds coming by and going everything made it like a dream. Once we completed the stairs the walk became a little easier but it was quite steep. Some places were plain and some parts of the trek were muddy. As we started to climb higher we could have a distant view of Ukhrul town which too looked quite spectacular indeed.
On way we chatted with our guide, he was good company. He told us about the people of Tangkul and how hospitable they are towards guests and visitors. Previously he had visited this Shirui peak some 20 times which left me stunned at how to fit this person is. And also he was very passionate about his profession.
We hired a guide only for this purpose so that you get to know a lot of inside details and a company on this unknown land. The trek is otherwise very easily accessible you don’t need a guide if you are comfortable being on your own.
There are in total three phases to reach the top of the peak. It took us around two hours to complete each phase. When you reach the highest point which looks like the highest point as you can from the bottom, you realize it’s not. From that point, you shall again descend to the bottom which is a plain land and you can walk easily. From that point again you shall start ascending.
It was like literally walking on rolling hills, once you reach the top again the base again the top. So in this way, there are three phases before you reach the topmost point of Shirui Peak. There is no change of views once you reach the point, it is throughout the same. But it is really very cold and windy as you start climbing higher. So carrying light warm clothes or a windcheater jacket or a down jacket will work fine for this purpose.
Since the view was the same and there were no flowers blooming on the topmost point we returned from the second phase. Just an hour more of the trek and we would have reached the top part but we decided to stop there and turn back.
It has also started to rain slightly and I was feeling very tired. It took us around five and a half hours to go up and climb down.
On our way, we also met a group of men who were local Meitei people of Manipur and had come for the trek. They looks middle-aged and were quite passionate. It was really nice to meet them.
The Shirui Peak trekking was indeed a memorable experience and a great test of my strength and energy level. The trek was in total 12km of which we completed approximately 8kms. It takes around 4hour 30min for those who are regular trekkers to complete the trek. For us, it took a total of five hours to go up and come down. It’s definitely not an ordinary trek and you need a lot of strength. Sometimes it starts raining making the trek slippery so it’s always better to remain cautious.
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Some important points to remember for the Shirui Peak Trek
- The Shirui Peak trek is of moderate to difficult level
- You can hire a guide or do it on your own. Taking a guide will be expensive.
- Carry some light refreshments like biscuits, chips, energy drinks, etc
- Also, carry your raincoat as slight to heavy rainfall is unpredictable in the terrain
- Also, carry your water bottles.
- Carry light warm clothes and wear proper shoes meant for trekking. I wore my trekking shoes from Decathlon.
- The initial 1km is a steep climb consisting of hundreds of steps so be prepared for it. Coming down is equally difficult as going up these steps.
- There is an entry ticket of Rs10 for the trek.
- The place is also a famous picnic spot
- Even if you do not want to go for the trek a visit to the Shirui Village is highly recommended
- You can turn back from any point on the trek as the view is the same everywhere once you reach up, especially when the Shirui Lily isn’t blooming.
- During the Shirui Lily blooming season, only a climb to the topmost point will enable you to witness these beautiful flowers.
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