Kasol – This Village Has A Peculiar Hash Like Smell
Kasol: Away from your office cubicle, lies a village on the top of a hill guarded by the mountains. A village that may lack big shopping complexes but definitely not missing the feeling of warmth is Tosh. At far end of Parvati valley, this village has a peculiar hash-like smell.
Kasol, located in Himachal Pradesh, has now started to become a hub for backpack travelers. Also a base for Himalayan trekking, a trip to this little village proves to be a budget travel. Not only does this place have an ample number of cafes to visit, but each café in itself gives you an entire new trip!
The most popular stop in the parvati valley (and the easiest access to the world’s best charas) can be a little disappointing. Especially when one has to through one of the narrowest-steepest roads to reach there. Hugely commercialized and very populated on the weekends, owing to its nearness to Punjab.
Way To Kasol
We got up early in the morning an were on our way to Kasol. We started early as we wanted to avoid the early morning rush with become a pain while crossing Manali.
After filling the gas tanks, we headed to Kasol from Manali. The scenic road from Manali to Kasol tempts liberal breaks for tea and pictures. Mountains have always intimidated me—the magnitude of the Himalayas, the silence & stillness, broken only by the occasional, reassuring song of insects. It was the rustic life in the mountains, stories of the Greek lineage of the inhabitants of villages located in the valley, a desire to visit Tosh (the last village in this part of Himachal).
Road till Bhuntar is good, with little dread stops on the road. It’s the mountain area after Bhuntar, with no proper roads, which makes is difficult to drive.
It took us almost 3 hours to cover a distance of 80 Km’s to Kasol. Mountain was much to blame along with our photography session where ever we stopped. The journey was fun though, as we had a local guy with us. Hemant was along with us for the entire trip.
After driving for more than three hours, we had nearly given up on ever finding Kasol. We thought of heading back to Bhuntar, or calling it a day and sleeping in the car. But luck favoured us and we finally saw a road sign that said ‘Kasol 1 km’. We accelerated onward without a second thought. Tired and hungry, we arrived at a crowded road full of cars, bikes, hippi crowd, loud music and food vendors. it was early evening and the place we checked in took away all the tiredness in us.
Checked In To Buddha Place…………!
With the likes of Che Guevara and Bob Marley donning their walls, you instantly like the place. Buddha Palace is not a regular restaurant. You might have to wait for a simple “Maggie” for a some time, but you can! While away your time dancing to the trance music and lighting. An intense, mystical mind-journey in Kasol is not that uncommon now, huh?
Kasol has a few nice hotels by the Parvati River, and a small cluster of shops and bakeries. It’s ideal for a quiet stay of a few nights, with walks to neighboring villages and short trips to nearby peaks, geysers and temples. Some tourists did not appear very comfortable with the hippie culture in town while others happily mingled with the ‘smoking gang’, which was ready to roll what looked like local weed. It appeared to me that the average age in Kasol was just 22 years.
Our stay in Buddha’s Place, lasted for about an hour. We were all hyped up and geared up to go to “Tosh”. The idea was to stay for the night in Tosh and then come back to Kasol the next day in morning.
Road to Tosh
The last village in the valley, Tosh is at a height of 7,874 feet. It is a land blessed by Shiva, they say, and the local priest asserts to visions of the lord with his consort Parvati when snow falls. The drive from Kasol to Barshaini, which is the last stop on the bus route to Tosh, is fairly smooth, but from then on, the path is treacherous. The last few kilometers to a destination are often the most exciting as its beauty comes into view. However, here we felt like dolls bobbing up and down the uneven road. In some places, we had to abandon our vehicle and literally run to save ourselves from loose stones falling from above.
It’s also possible to trek to Tosh from Barshaini in about 45 minutes. Thanks to the road, and the trekking trail that passes through irregular growths of cannabis, Tosh is a preferred destination for hippies. We just needed to breathe deeply to get a whiff of marijuana.
Way To Tosh
We hadn’t realized that Tosh was at the heart of the Parvati Hydro Project and faced severe threats from mining and deforestation. One part of the landscape looked like a huge construction site, with some mountains dug open. Instead of the unique flora they once had, all we could see was concrete mixers, trucks, drillers, and men in yellow caps. Snow across the vast mountain chain managed to mitigate the unflattering sight. A dark green Parvati was winding through the landscape far below. From the top to the valley below, I gazed upon the most spectacular landscape I’ve ever seen. I stood as tall as the mountains, and meadows rolled beneath my feet.
Now you wont find any lavish resorts or hotels here. The locals have converted their home’s into hostels sort and give them to the tourist. Friendly people, although we could not find any vacant place to stay in Tosh, because of over booked season. The stroll through the village is amazing with scenic beauty.
I was able to vlog while coming pack to the parking lot, when we could not find any place to stay.
Check my face book page to see the real Tosh.
With no shelter for the night, we retreated back to Kasol.
Second warm welcome given by Buddha’s Place. Our staying arrangement was one of a kind. This time it was not about cozy rooms and room service. Our shelter was in a tent which we got for 1000 RS/night for 4 people. Pretty cheap, and thanks goes to Hemant again.
We enjoyed the dinner and drinks, in the light of a small bonfire to wrap up the proceedings at Kasol. Post our dinner we dozed off in our tents for our next adventure back in Manali.
Things to see & Eat
Meditate to the sound of the Parvati River and, also see the colors of the rocks change with the position of the sun. Furthermore head to the Gurdwara Manikaran Sahib, as it is at 20-min drive from Kasol, also loaded with hot water springs. Also not to mention, it gets quite crowded. Walk around the Kasol Mall, to study the architecture of wooden houses. They have some of the best designs and colors. Bhoj Café, Moon Dance Café andLittle Italy are definitely worth a visit.Try the momos and thukpa available at most restaurants. The German Bakery has some delicious cakesand pastas (and the outlet outside ithas the best momos).