It was our last night at Kasol (a heaven truly unexplored). This is mini Israel of India as one can find more Israeli’s than Indians here. We were staying at Parvati Kuteer, a resort situated at the banks of Parvati River. I was sitting alongwith my wife and 1 year old daughter on the porch of the resort facing the Parvati River. Cool breeze was flowing and kissing our cheeks. One can hear the sound of river hitting the rocks.
We were a group of 6 friends including two couples. It was our second night at Kasol. Kasol is an ultimate heaven situated at the banks of Parvati River. It is also famous for Marijuana and other type of joints like the famous Malana Drug. Although it is rightly said that places like Kasol are meant for solo travelers but believe me if a couple wants to enjoy the utmost beauty of nature then Kasol is for them.
How to Reach?
My personal preference is to avoid travelling by train because nearest station is also 143 km away from Kasol. Better travel through Road.
One can book a Cab or Bus to reach Kasol from Delhi and Chandigarh. Once reaching Bhuntar, one road goes to Kasol and other goes to Kullu Manali.
Where to Stay?
Once in Kasol, one has not many options to choose from. If one wants to chillax under the lap of Himalayas she/he can opt for Camps. You can find many camping sites just besides the Parvati River, in the thick vegetation of Deodar. I had a misconception that staying in a camp would be difficult but when I saw the facilities inside the camp I was amazed. There are many websites/online portals from where you can book different types of camps. You can even bring your own tent and find a place to install the same.
Apart from Camping there are few budget resorts and hotels where you can stay. We all planned to stay in a Resort as staying in camps with small children would be difficult. Hence, we chose Parvati Kuteer as our abode. It is a cottage situated on the banks of Parvati River. They have their kitchen where you can get delicious food. They have arrangements for bonfire and surround sound DJ System. For groups this could be an option. The only drawback is that there is no nearby shop. Kasol main market is also 2 -3 kms away.
Upon reaching the resort we all planned to have bonfire dinner with loud music in the night. In the evening we went to the market. We all were very eager to reach back and have fun. But it was our hard luck that as soon we reached back it started drizzling again. We came to know that bonfire can’t be done as the area dedicated for bonfire was wet. We felt very disappointed. One of my friends suggested that why not have our dinner on the porch in front of our rooms, there we have an option of DJ also. We all willingly agreed and ordered our dinner. We switched on the DJ system and started grooming. It was a night to cherish.
In case you are not on a tight budget you can book The Himalayan Village (5* Resort). Its among the most recommended option.
Things to See and Where to Eat?
Kasol is famous for its treks. One of the most renowned trek is the Kheer Ganga Trek. Here is a small brief of how we divided our tour and what all places we visited. This will help you to plan your trip accordingly.
But before going further I would like you to keep in mind that places like Kasol are for rejuvenating one’s mind and soul. There is no use of visiting a place when you can’t spend leisurely time and Kasol is one such place known for its beauty. You have to indulge yourself in the aura to enjoy fully. One last thing, if you want to visit all the places, you need to plan for atleast 4 days or else tick mark the places as per your availability.
We reached Kasol by afternoon and after checking in we decided to visit famous Kasol Market.
‘Khaali Pet to Bhajan bhi nahin hota!’ one of our friends cried. We all started laughing. We decided to have some taste of Israeli food before starting our trip. We already had a list of famous restaurants which include the Evergreen, Moon Dance Café, Jim Morrison Café, Stone Garden Café and Panj Tara Bar & Grill. We decided to go to the Evergreen. The ambience was superb. We found many Israelis sitting there having booze and hookah. We ordered our lunch. Kindly note that whatever you eat you will get a taste of Israel. Hence, if you are not into experimentation then decide accordingly. Make sure to try some local handmade noodles.
We then headed towards the Nature Park, located on the main market road itself. It’s a beautiful park alongside the Parvati River. There are few adventure sports. Park has an area where you can sit and enjoy the flowing river. We clicked many pictures (posted in the gallery section) It was an ultimate experience. Being in a group we had lot of fun.
Since it rained last night, the next morning when we went outside our rooms we found ourselves surrounded by clouds. It was a scene not to miss. The clouds were so dense that we were not able to see the river. If you can get up early I would suggest you to go for Chalal Trek (way starts from the Kasol market), a simple 40 min trek on the banks of Parvati river. We all gave it a miss.
We decided to go for Manikaran, one of the must visit places. It is famous for its Hot Sulphur Bath (so damn hot that its impossible to take bath). We were amazed to see people having bath in it. It is said that the water have healing properties. We also found some negligent people washing their clothes despite being prohibited. It made us feel disgusted. Anyhow, next there is one Cold Cave and a Hot Cave (must visit). The cave is so hot that it becomes difficult to pass through it. The hot cave leads to the main Gurudwara.
There is a Shiv Parvati Temple also. Here you can witness people cooking kheer and channa in the natural hot spring.
After spending an hour in Manikaran we headed towards Village Tosh, a village built on hill. Whole village is a trek in itself. To reach Tosh we need to reach Barshaini first and hire a cab from there. The way to Barshaini is a bit tricky as Landslides are very common. We experienced two landslides on our way. Although the road gets cleared by the JCB but still it becomes very irritating and time consuming. Finally we reached Barshaini and from there it took us 20 mins to reach the base of Tosh.
Disclaimer: As far as possible remain with your group as there is signal problem in Tosh. We made a mistake by dividing in group of 4. Both the couples (including ours) were in one group and rest 4 in another. Since we had small kids with us and the trek was steep we could not make it to the waterfall. The other group went ahead and reached the waterfall (pics of the waterfall are in the gallery). When the other group returned back they informed us that there was one shorter way also that we missed. So, whenever you plan to go to Tosh waterfall ask for the shorter route.
Now comes the best part for which Kasol is known for ‘The Kheerganaga Trek’. I suppose many of you will actually be here for this only. But sorry to disappoint you guys, I won’t be going into deep details of the trek. I will only tell about the things to keep in mind. For detail overview of the trek there are many amazing YouTube videos available.
The most important question that comes to mind that how difficult is the trek. If anyone has told you that the trek is easy then do not believe them at all. The trek is actually difficult as you have to cross narrow paths and if it’s raining it would be more dangerous. Moreover, you need to spare atleast 13 – 15 hours to complete the whole trek with 7 hours of going up and 5 hours of coming back. But yeah once you reach the top, the picturesque view will completely mesmerize you. You will find that your hard work was actually worth it. You can have dip in the natural hot water swimming pool, surrounded by beautiful snow-capped hills, which will relax your body.
Things to keep: Carry a stick to balance you on the narrow paths. You must have high grip shoes and an extra pair of clothes. Also keep some food items and water bottle to keep you hydrated. You have camping options as well at the top.
Finally on your return back journey to Bhuntar you can visit Malana Village and Bijli Mahadev Temple. Malana Village is famous for two things (i) Malana Drug and (ii) Magic Valley – Waichin Valley.
Trek to Magic Valley is very picturesque. But it is a time consuming trek (3 -4 hours long). Both Magic and Waichin Valley has no village but only campsites. This is a place for those who want to spend quality time with themselves without any modern comforts.
Moreover, a person on consuming Malana Drug won’t be requiring any worldly desire. J
At the end I would say when in Kasol just do what the Israelis do Eat, Drink, Relax! Don’t forget to share, like & comment.