Known For : Parvati River Kheerganga Trek Manikaran Gurudwara
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 is 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!
Best Time: October to June
Known For : Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara Shiv Temple Manikaran Manikaran Hot Springs
Famous all over for Manikaran Sahib (Gurudwara) and it is hot sulfur springs, Manikaran is a retreat to feel peaceful and spiritually rejuvenated. The hot springs are hot enough to boil rice, and locals claim that it is powerful enough to treat diseases of the nasal tract like rheumatism and bronchitis.
Distance from Kasol: 5 km
Best Time: October to June
Chalal is the hub for psychedelic parties in the Parvati Valley. Trance music wafts from the diminutive village, and people who intend to party and smoke in peace make Chalal their home for weeks on end. While Kasol gets the spotlight amongst the villages of the Parvati Valley, one can enjoy the true serenity of the magical Himachal Pradesh by trekking a little further from this major town to the quaint little village of Chalal. Situated at an altitude of over 5300 feet and a 30-minute trek away from the tourist hub of Kasol, Chalal has managed to retain its old-world mountain village rustic charm.
Popular for its cannabis plantations, the tranquil village of Tosh is just another example of the unparalleled natural beauty that Himachal holds within its bounds. Located at the far end of Parvati Valley, Tosh is untouched by modernisation and fast-paced life. With its gradual terrain and the waters of river Parvathi flowing through its bosom, the trek of Tosh is the go-to expedition for all adrenaline junkies. The hippie culture and otherworldly vibe of this village will surely transport you another world.
Malana is an ancient solitary village in Himachal Pradesh in an isolated and charming plateau by the side of the Malana River. Known as Malana Nala, it lies in Parvati Valley which is a quaint corner away from the rest of the world. One of the unique aspects of this destination is the strong culture and beliefs of the locals, who follow their rules with the utmost tenacity. According to them, Malana is the place where democracy is best followed with the well-organized parliamentary system, guided by their deity Jamlu Rishi. It is believed that Jamlu was worshipped during the pre-Aryan times. It has been the subject of various documentaries like Malana: Globalization of a Himalayan Village and Malana, A Lost Identity. Their court system resembles the Ancient Greek System as they believe themselves to be the followers of Alexander the Great. Wait no further and bring out the adventurer in you! Malana Cream is rumoured to be the reason why most hippies flock to Parvati Valley.
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 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.
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!
The Great Himalayan Trek only gets bigger and better. If you have the stomach for heavy adventure, you can trek up to 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.
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 km
Feel the spirit of wanderlust tickling you out of your reverie? Let us know if you have questions or views on these things to do on your next Parvati Valley trek!
This post was published by Pallavi Siddhanta