‘To the place where we belong and leave our troubles at home come with me…….We can go to a paradise of love and joy a Destination Unknown’. In the song ‘Destination Calabria’, doesn’t Alex Gaudino say that in search of love and joy, one should travel to unknown destinations?
In this travel piece, I will take you through an unknown destination of Himachal Pradesh with lesser-known facts. Yes, I’m talking about Kasol – a tiny village in Parvati Valley on the banks of Parvati River that has been one of the talks of the town in the past five to six years among the youths.
Kasol, a fascinating village in the Kullu district of Himachal, beholds some untold facts and stories. The place was not so popular ten years back, but thanks to the social media and modern-day travel bloggers, the destination has grown immensely. Previously, people mainly from Israel, the Netherlands and Russia used to visit the place in search of peace and serenity.
Adoringly called ‘Mini Israel’ because of the growing popularity of the Israeli population, one would find people from the Middle Eastern country, soldiers and cafes all over Kasol. But the place is in demand for its famous Malana Cream that attracts foreign tourists and the youths of the country.
Places to visit in Kasol
Kasol is a heavenly destination for all the backpackers around the world. Along with the Israeli culture, the place is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, beautiful mountains, rivers and amazing weather throughout the year. If you are in Kasol or planning a visit in the future, here are some facts and information and Dos and Don’ts that one has to keep in mind during their stay.
Malana, a place near Kasol with a distance of 20km, is one of the most cryptic places in the Kullu district and often called as ‘Village of Taboos’. It’s hard to get into the village but if you manage to get permission then one should follow these guidelines — you can’t touch any property, not even you are allowed to visit the local temple of Jamlu Devta. And, if you do so then you may be charged huge fines which may even go as high as Rs 5000 and more. Apart from all these obstacles, Malana village is one of the most talked-about and beautiful places in the Parvati valley. For your information, Malana Cream is referred to as one of the best hashish in the world.
A charming village with a scenic view surrounded by Pine forest and Parvati River and can be an easy hike for about 30 min to 40 min from Kasol. The place is famous for its beautiful cafes and amazing parties hosted by some of the globally known DJs. Challal will serve you the best Israeli and local Himachali food.
Pulga, Kalga & Tosh
Kasol is not only about the scenic valleys, Malana cream or hot springs but also famous for its unexplored hills and mountains. People across the country and around the world are coming in huge numbers to explore these unexplored mountain trails in the midst of Parvati Valley. First you have to reach Barshaini which is almost 17km from Kasol (can hire a bike or a car from Kasol). From there you can decide where to head further. Pulga, Kalga & Tosh, all these villages are almost over 9000 ft above the sea level with an easy trek of 30 min to 45 min each from Barshaini.
You will witness an amazing view of old wooden houses and homestays, beautiful cafes, fairy forest and apple orchards. During winter all these places are covered with snow and that is what attracts the tourists more. You will find homestays with a range of Rs 600 to Rs 1500 per night. Though these places are gaining popularity for a couple of years and more, they are yet to be discovered. If you are planning a trip to Kasol then I will suggest you to spend at least a night at all the three villages.
Manikaran is located at a distance of 4km from Kasol and is one of the sacred places in the Parvati Valley. Both the Hindus and Sikhs have their own beliefs regarding this place. The Sikhs believe that once Guru Nanak Ji came to this place with almost 1500 pupils after some time one of his men felt hungry. At that time Guru Nanak Ji lifted one huge rock and hot water spring came out and in that hot water, they cooked food. Whereas the Hindus believe Lord Shiva’s wife Parvati once dropped her earrings in Manikaran which later led to the rise of a hot water spring. A large number of tourists across the globe gather at this holy place to enjoy the hot water spring.
Kasol is considered one of the Hippie junctions of India and because of the hippies the Kheerganga (trek) has gained its popularity over the years. Nestled down in Parvati Valley, Kheerganga takes you along a journey to discover more about the place. Dense forest, beautiful scenic view of the valley, a calm and clean village with a less population and a height of 2700 mts, Kheerganga has many mythological stories and rich history.
It is said that once Devi Parvati wanted to cook rice pudding (kheer) for her son Kartik and the water where she had prepared the food turned into hot water and that led to the rise of a hot water spring. In Kheerganga, this hot water spring is one of the attractions of the tourists along the trek. The Kheerganga trek starts from Barshaini and it takes 4-6 hours with a distance of 12km. I would recommend you to take the Tosh or Kalga route for the Kheerganga Trek. You will get reasonable homestays and hostels (only bed) within Rs 500 to Rs 1200 per night and you will get some yummy local food here.
Best time to visit in Kasol
The place is blessed with lovely weather throughout the year. The best time to visit is summer and monsoon as you can enjoy the lush green forest and beautiful landscapes along with the Parvati River flowing underneath. But if you want to witness the snowfall then December and January are the time to visit. In short, the temperature and weather are beautiful in all the seasons you visit.
Some important tips for the trip to Kasol
- Villagers are very friendly, but without prior permission don’t take pictures, try to be respectful and follow all the guidelines especially when you are in Malana village.
- Kasol is a place for hashish and cannabis, but in our country, it is not legal yet, though the locals consider this as a plant. So, be careful that you do not indulge in any unlawful activity on your trip to Kasol.
- Kasol has not developed yet, though ATMs are available, I will recommend you to carry cash for the billing and other stuff.
- If you are planning to do a trek in the trip, then you must carry proper trekking shoes, water bottles, backpacks and essentials to stay hydrated.
- Try to keep the place and the nearby villages clean during your stay.
Distance chart from Kasol
Kasol to Bhuntar – 32km
Kasol to Manikaran – 4km
Kasol to Barshaini – 16km
Kasol to Malana – 20km
The earth is a lovely place and the beauty is everywhere, you just need to find it. Kasol is such a peaceful place where you can spend time, relax and forget all your worries. If you are planning a solo trip or a trip with your friends then this is the best place, I will recommend you all to experience it once.