Before you step in the aura of the Parvati Valley, it is difficult to presume that tranquility and peace can waft through the air. Well, the Parvati Valley circuit is the perfect brew to calm an agitated soul. The crisp mountain air, coupled with the delicious Israeli food, with the smell of burning herbs coursing through the otherwise unpolluted air, make up the so-called “Amsterdam of India”. Before you make any presumptions about the hippie paradise, you ought to slow down and enjoy the slow pace of life in one of the loveliest Himalayan Valleys in India.
Here is a comprehensive guide to your next trip to the Parvati Valley, and how you can make the most of a trip to these trippy hills.
Chill by the riverside in Kasol:
Set on the banks of the Parvati River and amidst picturesque mountains and the Parvati valley, Kasol is the backpackers’ paradise. Come to the valley, chill, relax by the river, eat in Israeli cafes. Kasol is visited by lots of foreign tourists, especially Israelis. Several of the signs in the little town are in Hebrew and this gives Kasol a unique, almost out of the mainlands kind of feel. The Israeli food options here are sure to entice and melt many-a-heart!
Immerse yourself in the spirituality in Manikaran:
Famous all over for Manikaran Sahib (Gurudwara) and its hot sulphur springs, Manikaran is a retreat to feel peaceful and spiritually rejuvenated. The hot springs are hot enough to boil rice, and locals claim that is powerful enough to treat diseases of the nasal tract like rheumatism and bronchitis.
Distance from Kasol: 5 kilometers.
Throw on your sneakers and hike to the villages of Chalal, Tosh and Malana
If you thought Kasol was nice and offbeat and less crowded, wait till you get to the villages around Kasol. There is the mysterious Malana, whose people believe that they descended from the army of Alexander the Great and do not allow any kind of contact with the outside world. There is Tosh, which is quiet and quaint, pleasing and peaceful, a small replica of Kasol. Then there is Chalal, which is the hub of the psychedelic parties in the Parvati Valley. Trance-y music wafts from the diminutive village, and people intent on parties and some smokey peace make Chalal their home for weeks on end.
All of these places, although different in their own stead, have one thing in common – the cannabis that is heavily cultivated here, and a love for the same. Malana Cream, a kind of hashish that is cultivated in the Malana village mainly, is one of the most sought after drugs here, and the motivating factor for half the hippies who flock to the valley.
The beauty that lies beyond the picturesque hills is remarkable and each day is beautiful in its own way. The tiny, quintessential Himachal villages will make you feel relaxed and make you fall hopelessly and irretrievably in love with Himachal!
Treat your tummy to an excess of delicious food
Kasol and the Parvati Valley are an amazing experience, gastronomically. Given the huge numbers of Israeli settlers in the Parvati Valley, food is flavoured largely by mid-western influences. Be prepared for a lot of continental food, meats cooked to perfection, some great fish because of the proximity to the river, and a lot of perfectly blended middle eastern sauces. Stoners grow to love food in Kasol all the more because of the irrepressible hunger that nags in their tummy after an ode to the intoxicant, and non-smokers enjoy the food too, because food in Kasol is pretty much awesome! Our picks are – the Evergreen cafe, the Shiv Shanti Cafe and the Jim Morrison Cafe.
For a place that has peace and pot both wafting through its atmosphere, music forms an extremely important part of its culture. Every so often, there are music festivals held in Kasol, which although very dimly advertised, draw a lot of visitors from within the Valley as well as visitors. Keep your eyes and ears out if you’re here in the months of May and June, or September and October, and you might witness very happening music festivals, with killer DJs belting out amazing tracks.
The Israeli habitat which is turning into a wonderland for cannabis users and traders alike, also sees many rave parties being conducted throughout the year. If you’re in the Valley during the best months of the year, you’ll witness parties that turn wilder with the passing of days, and an assortment of nationals from various countries, all intent on having another crazy experience in a trance-like state.
For the adventurer in you: Trekking and Rafting
The Parvati Valley is also home to a few of the most beautiful treks in the Himachal. Kasol and Barsaini serve as the base villages to the treks in the region, and a lot of visitors go through Kasol to unleash the adventurer in them. Kullu is a holy grail for rafters who wish to delve into roaring waters.
Trek among the snow-capped peaks, explore the pristine forests and even take a dip in the Hot Water Springs that are known for their medicinal properties. Camping amidst the meadows and waking up with the world at your heels and ice cones towering all over is going to be an experience worth remembering!
Great Himalayan National Park Trek:
The Great Himalayan Trek only gets bigger and better. If you have a stomach for heavy adventure, you can trek upto Tirthan Valley and experience the wonderful transitions between the Sainj and Tirthan Valley. Accommodation can be arranged in the park’s accommodation. The Pin Parvati Pass is a wonder to behold with its snowy crevices.
Rafting in Kullu:
Sitting in the lap of nature, Kullu is your ultimate two day retreat in beauty and peacefulness. You can sit back in your hotel room and do absolutely nothing, or you can get in your sneakers and explore the pretty Himachal town. Adventure enthusiasts have the option to go river rafting on the Beas. There are also beautiful little temples like Raghunath Temple and the Hadimba Temple.
Distance from Kasol: 36 kilometers.
Feel the spirit of wanderlust tickling you out of your reverie? Look no further…
P.S: The post has been compiled by studying various sources of information. The author and Holidify are not trying to promote or encourage the use of recreational drugs or defame the Parvati Valley by writing about it.