Kasol – A small and enchanting hamlet in the lap of nature
When you begin your travel, after visiting your very first place and having your very first communication with the travel community, you spend your first year planning all the places that you want to go, and from next year onwards you start your exploration. New places keep on adding but no existing place in your bucket list gets cancelled off.
Kasol had been one such place whenever we use to think of Himachal. And finally with pandemic striken lives confined in our own apartment, just like few other travellers, we also thought of getting out of the fear zone and shift our work-base to a serene place.
The place that was long pending in Ankur’s wish list was Ladakh, but the road trip to Leh from Udaipur makes you pass through Himachal, so we thought of spending some time here as well.
The only places that your mind wanders to when the name Himachal strikes are Manali or Shimla. Considering the good network and ample of stay options to choose from – these both places seem to be the most viable option for workation. We even thought of going to Manali in the first place; of course given the network and amenities required for longer stay.
But after reaching Chandigarh, we suddenly changed our mind and took the road to Kasol and that was one of the best decisions we ever made on this journey.
Kasol is nestled amidst the beautiful deodar and pine forest by the banks of River Parvati which flows here with all her charm. The beauty of this place and the gushing charm of Parvati would be inexplicable for us at least. Words won’t be able to justify the surreal dreamlike enchantment.
The moment you take a turn from Bhuntar towards Kasol, you enter into this magical world which mesmerises you beyond imagination. We were just spellbound with the beauty that unfolded infront of our eyes, with one side of the road offering these wondrous pine forests, while the other side accompanying the River Parvati never leaving you out of its sight.
We had booked a homestay “Colonel’s Dacha” which is 4 kms before Kasol in a village named Somaropa near Katagla. Again, an amazing choice that we made. Away from the hustle and bustle of the streets of Kasol, our stay came as a pleasant relief to us. And the best part of this stay was that we could hear the sound of the river echoing thought the forest all day long. It was just a 50 mtr walk to the River Parvati and sitting on it banks everyday, becomes your routine without a doubt.
Kasol has a charm which grows on you. A very small village, you find myriads of options to enjoy the place. Be it treks or just simple trails or good food or what not… Kasol has it all. There are bunch of options quite nearby and you always have something or the other to look forward to.
Here are a few of the places we are sharing that we think, a traveller would enjoy exploring –
Katagla and Chalal Villages
Almost 4 kms before reaching Kasol, there is a small wooden bridge over Parvati which takes you to the other side of the river to Katagla village… The location is again awesome – all thanks to the beautiful river flowing by the village. You will find some beautiful cafes and hostel accommodations in this area.
From here the hike of about 30 min takes you to the village of Chalal. An easy trail amidst the jungle takes you to this village where you will find many apple orchards along with a few Apricot trees as well.
Another small village at a distance of about 5 kms from Kasol which can only be reached by a hike of about 4-5 hrs. The hike is quite steep. So if you are up for some efforts then do visit this village. You will be welcomed by beautiful mountain views. Not many travellers visit the village, hence you might find some peaceful time around here.
One of the most beautiful village around Kasol, situated at a distance of about 8 kms from Kasol. The vehicles need to be parked before attempting a 2 kms of hike to reach the village. The route to this village goes through Kanawar Wildlife Sanctuary and one witnesses some beautiful vistas enroute. All in all its a trek of 4-5 hrs from Kasol to Grahan.
Grahan is also the base village for Sarpass trek. You will find lots of home-stays in the village and the people are very friendly. A little walk of about 10 mins takes to the nearby village of Pulgi.
Quite famous amongst backpackers and hikers, this small village is about 20 kms from Kasol. You need to take the Manikaran road from Kasol and go to Barshaini. Road is in a bad condition. You can either hike from Barshaini which takes around an hour or you can take your vehicle to the village of Tosh but beware of the road condition.
As you keep walking towards the village, beautiful snow clad peaks start peeking out and you start getting a glimpse of them. There are lots of cafes and Homestays to chill and relax and enjoy a good cup of coffee or binge into some good food. The same route will take you to the villages of Kalga and Pulga.
Malana Village and Waichin/Magic Valley
Situated at a distance of 16 kms, Malana is quite famous or infamous village. Though the village is more famous in the communities of “Dope Fiends”, but this village has much more to offer. The supposedly oldest democracy of the world requires an hour of drive to reach the gate of the village. From thereon it’s a hike of about 45 min to reach the village.
Cafes and Homestays are available outside the village for the travellers who want to stay there.
While if you drive 2-3 more kms, you reach the entrance of Waichin valley, also known as Magic Valley for its magical beauty. You need to trek for 2-3 hours to reach the valley.
One of the quite known treks around Kasol is Kheerganga which starts from Barshaini. This 12 kms trek takes around 5-6 hours to complete. It takes you through some amazing vistas opening up into the beautiful meadows. Kheerganga flows along with you throughout the route. You can camp there making it a 2 day trek.
One of the enchanting beauty nearby Kasol is this alpine lake. Situated at an altitude of 9000 ft, this is one of the must-visit places if you are around Kasol-Manali. It’s around 80 kms from Kasol and is a 4 hr drive.
The lake is situated in middle of vast meadows, named after Rishi Parashar. There is also a temple dedicated to the Rishi which is by the lake. The lake in itself is quite magical and mystic.
There is a small island within the lake which floats. If you are lucky enough you might it at one end on day 1 and at the other end on day 2. We were lucky enough to witness this magic ourselves and were taken by surprise. It’s a great experience to remember.
Manikaran & Gurudwara
Situated at a distance of about 4 kms from Kasol, Manikaran is famous for its Gurudwara and Sulphur Hot Springs. Gurudwara is well maintained and looks ethereal in the whole landscape.
As for the hot springs, the whole area is abuzz with them. Within the Gurudwara Complex, there is a big bathing area – both for men and women – where one can take a dip. But if you go around the village of Manikaran, you will find lots of places with the springs. Some of them have boiling hot water and people use them to boil potatoes or even cook the meals.
There is a small shiva temple located centrally in the village. Gurudwara meals are prepared in the hot springs present within that temple complex.
A small village at a distance of about 1 km from Kasol, this one has a picturesque setting. There is a small wooden dangling bridge over mighty River Parvati that you need to cross to reach the village. This tiny hamlet has recently got its share of popularity as an alternate place to stay if you are in Kasol. There are lots of Homestays to choose from.
You will need to park your vehicle on the main road and walk to the village. A lot of people miss out on this village but if you are around Kasol and have some time in hand, then do visit this pretty place.
If you are in Tosh, if you keep walking the route passing through the waterfall, a little further on the same route you will find the village of Kalga. This quaint little village has quite a few homestays to choose from. Nearby is the village of Pulga as well and together they give you a much needed respite from the crowds of Kasol. You can also reach these villages from Barshaini, which is the base to hike upto these villages. You will reach these villages if you follow Kheerganga trek route.
This was our list of the best places and weekend getaways in and around Kasol. You can pick and choose your options given the time in hand to make your trip a memorable one.
Hope that you liked our account of Kasol. In case you are interested in exploring more about Himachal, please check out our other blogs on Himachal.
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