Kasol: Idle away in nature's lap

Kasol: Idle away in nature's lap

Travel Tales

Tucked in the lap of Parvati Valley, Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, is a safe haven for those who love their peace, silence and privacy. The valley is full of quaint little villages, friendly, warm and different from each other in their own special way.

Kasol is one place which you should surely visit if you want to spend a relaxing vacation. You can spend days in this town by just idling away your time, doing nothing and just enjoying the sun, the beautiful scenery and the quiet easy pace of life. You can also pump up your adrenaline by going for long treks from one town to another, without feeling the fatigue, reveling in the bracing mountain air and living out of your backpacks. And this is exactly what I did.

The topography of Parvati Valley is very rich; the calm and serene ambience complemented by the sound of the Parvati river flowing. The lush greenery and the beauty of Nature can transport your mind to a state of nirvana.

The serpentine roads and the steep slopes keep you on the edge as you wind your way through the calm and quiet of the valley. Apart from Kasol, places like Manikaran -- a pilgrimage destination with hot springs and temples; Malana – the ‘little Greece’ in Himachal and Kheerganga – Shiva’s meditation site, can be reached by trekking for a mere three-four hours.

Situated a good 750 km away from the nation’s capital, Parvati Valley can be reached by an overnight bus journey from Delhi. The bus drops you off at Bhunter, which is in Kullu, from where you can take a bus or pool a Mahindra Jeep which takes you to the first town, Kasol, in about an hour. Another option is to take a flight to Kullu and then hire a cab or take the bus for which you again have to reach Bhunter.

Kasol, also popularly known as ‘Mini Israel’ is the first town you will encounter. The town is bustling with foreigners, mostly young Israelis and the backpacking enthusiasts, who seem to have found the valley an ideal place to bust stress and rejuvenate.
The hotel and cafes here mostly serve European cuisines, which will make you feel that you have landed in some retro European village! The hotels offer comfortable and cheap accommodation ranging from Rs.250-600 per day. Also, there are camp sites for those who love to live around nature. But, be careful, as in the great outdoors there are always bugs and sundry creepy crawlies around to disturb your calm. 

Another astonishing fact about Kasol is that a considerable number of hotels and cafes are owned by Israelis. And you can get delicious Israeli dishes, the popular ones being Shaksuka with hummus, pita and falafel.

Shanti’s Café is another haunt where people gather to sip on the hot masala chai on a cold morning. Other café’s include Moon Dance café, Little Italy, Shiva Mama Café, which are the most visited ones.
Interestingly, though the town is an Indian tourist destination, it is the foreigners who crowd the place with only a sprinkling of Indian brethren. The reason for this is the town’s ‘other face’, the ‘trippy’ part, due to which foreigners (especially hippies) haunt this place.

Peace loving and ‘trip seeking’ hippies are a familiar sight in the town looking for a place to do drugs. Rave parties are a regular every night to keep the tourists happy, who love dancing the night away. In the quiet of the night the low volume distant beat of the drums and the guitar carries far and lulls you to sleep every night.
So, hurry up, pack your bags and get ready for a lazy vacation at a town which has been to known to help you relax and bask in the warmth of your inner peace.

As told to Mayank Verma by Raju Karki, a Delhi University student and travel buff who has notched many miles across the country.

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