The Stoner’s paradise to a nature lover’s dream destination, Kasol proves to be a perfect place for every kind of traveler. The beauty of gushing river of Parvati to the Trans music, everything about Kasol is alluring and mesmerizing. The first-timers usually have two types of experiences. Either they feel that there is too much to explore and see or they just remain confined to the main streets of Kasol forming a dusty image of the town in their minds. The most beautiful trek in the Parvati Valley also starts from this hippie town of India.
I have been in love with this town since the time I heard about it. The visit and exploration just added to my emotions for it.
Stay in the woods, not on the streets
Your experience in the town totally depends on where you stay. The hotels on the streets are just too boring and costly. Hike up from beside the Moon Dance Café or take left from the Market Square to get better options.
If you just don’t want to stay in the hotels, you can take the permission from the private properties and pitch your tents. The Hosteller – Kasol, also provides you with the tents to pitch in their apple orchards.
Straight on the road to Manikaran, Kasol Camps also have the mind-blowing location right on the river bank and you could fall asleep listening to the soothing musical flow of the river.
Hitch-hike in a truck or a machine to Manikaran and walk back just before Sunset
Manikaran is a religious town located just 15 kilometres away. So hitch-hiking in any vehicle won’t be either risky or tiring. You get to converse with the truck drivers who travel far and wide in the mountains and get to know many secret places safely kept away from the tourists.
Moreover, it’s fairly easy to get the drop due to continuous movements of the vehicles and generous nature of the Himachalis.
The reason why I recommend walking back at the time of sunset is just for the mesmerizing view of the valley with snow clad mountains blushing with the crimson rays of the sun and playfully spouting waters of the Parvati River.
Serve Langar at Manikaran Gurudwara
We all at some point in our life would have loved eating the ‘Free-Food’ at langars in Gurudwaras. The Sikhs at Manikaran Gurudwara also serves a full meal at any time of the day to the hungry souls irrespective of their caste, creed, colour or nationality. They would happily embrace your request to lend your service for the auspicious task. Feeding the hungry and proud smile of Sikhs who would keep praising you for your service, is something you would remember throughout your life.
When I along with my group had volunteered for the same, we were happily embraced and encouraged by the workers. The rules of cleanliness will surely open your eyes to how devotional and auspicious, the principle of ‘Langar’ is.
Weekend makes Kasol a horrible place to be. With traffic jams on the roads to flooded hotels and restaurants, Kasol loses its peace for a while. But, this Party hub has secret gateways that are easy to reach. You can always opt for a short hike to the villages like Tosh, Pulga, Malana, Chalal or Grahan(Read more about Grahan). You can enjoy the tent stay in the lap of nature while enjoying the best of the cannabis. You don’t need any guide to reach these places. Just hitch-hike till the motorable roadways and then join any local moving up to these villages. Good and cheap home-stays are also available at these villages.
Dump all the restaurants for the street food
The restaurants at Kasol will tempt you with the pictures of finely garnished dishes and amazing décor. But, if you are in search of some really lip-smacking food then you must try veg/chicken Momos at Shambhu’s who stations his stalls at one of the ends of the bridge near the market area. If you have Punjabi taste buds and do not want to try the bland Pahadi food, you must head to street towards Buddha Palace. This street has many Paratha stalls that serve the parathas with a lot (Like a kilogram 😛 ) of butter.
The secret of Kasol also lies here, the Thupka stalls that can serve you the best thupkas, siddu and momos, they can also provide you with the flavour fermented rice water called ‘Lugdi’ that claims to have a warming effect on your body. So, now you know where and what of the hash town ‘Kasol’. 😉
Taste the best of the Lebanese and Israeli food
I always find the Ginger Lemon Honey Tea of ‘Evergreen Café’ to be mind-blowing in a real sense. It makes you feel high (No, it is not intoxicating) with the yummy pure honey poured into the perfect mixture of hot lemon water and ginger. Be assured that whatever you would order at this place, is not going to disappoint you. I would personally recommend it as the best café in Kasol for a foodie. And Falafel King Café comes the next. With a warm ambience near the fire place and a separate smoke room, this restaurant also provides you with a few of the best hummus and falafels. And yes, Evergreen Café might also have the best Himalayan Herb for you. 😉
You can also satisfy your sweet tooth with the waffles at the Moon Dance Café.
Shop the Hippie stuffs
Kasol inhabits maximum Israeli tourists and thus, the local artisans have mastered themselves in making cool winter wears and accessories. No doubt, Kasol is a way too expensive than any other place, but the items produced here would hardly be seen at any other market. Bargaining is a little tough in the mornings and weekends. But when the business is a little low, you might get lucky to get some discounts.
Other Special Tips:
- There is small clinic near the market square which is supposedly only one clinic in the vicinity.
- Cobblers might be available during the evenings near Moon Dance Café.
- The cheapest option to stay at Kasol is the hostel. (200 INR per night)
- Guest houses away from the main roads would be available at cheaper rates than the hotels on the main road.
- Quechua store is also available for any of your trekking gears. (Bargaining here is possible, Yes you read it correct)
- How to Reach:No direct buses are available from Delhi/Chandigarh.
- Option 1: Take a bus from Chandigarh to Kullu, Get down at Bhuntar. Sharing Taxis and buses run continuously from Bhuntar 6 am onwards.
- Option 2: Take any bus going to Kullu. Direct buses from Kullu to Kasol are available 7:24 am onwards. (Frequency is very less)
- Option 3: If you reach early in the morning to Bhuntar, a Punjab Roadways bus would take you to Kasol by 4- 4:30 am
So, Bhuntar is the only way to reach Kasol.
Have you found out any other secret of Kasol? You are free to share it in the comments.
And if you like to be in the woods, you must also visit this Himalayan Hamlet in Uttarakhand.