While coming back from Malana, I was given a small preview when I hitched a ride to Kasol. Curiously I asked him if he kept any charas with him? And out came a black soap, I was stunned.
Read : Winds of Change in Malana
This was the land of Bob Marley and free love, I had been told by numerous people who frequented Kasol in Parvati Valley. In reality, it is a non-descript town on the banks of Parvati river, divided into New Kasol & Old Kasol at the rickety old bridge on the main road in Parvati Valley. There are mountain views on the other side of Kasol, the road is easy to miss amidst all the greenery.
Kasol shot into limelight for its infamous trance parties and unhindered use of marijuana. The law turned a blind eye for this natural drug that has been used forever by the locals. Hippie movement around the world meant tourists were quick to grab this opportunity with both hands, which would provide them a glimpse of India’s famed spirituality. It was a win-win situation for both, and thus it began.
Read : Goa in the monsoons – Top 5 experiences
Just 5 years ago, the crowd that frequented Kasol was mostly foreigners, a large chunk of them, Israeli. Globalisation and sharing of information on the internet has meant young Indians happen to have outscored the Israelis in number. College kids from Delhi, flush with money from the land banks of Gurgaon are known to make a beeline to Kasol with friends for weekend trips.
Read : Reminiscences from a two day snowfall
There are signboards in Hebrew and food is shakshuka, hummus & falafel; you would almost think this isn’t India. I happened to ask a bunch of Israelis ‘Why do you come to Kasol?’ Their simple answer was ‘After three years of the most disciplined existence in the world, we want to come to a place that has no discipline at all.’ The chaos that is India. They feel happy here and money goes a long way, plus they don’t have to worry about the police; least of it in Kasol. Although there is a big signboard proclaiming ‘Kasol is drug free’ on the taxi stand, there are sometimes instances of people smoking a chillum right beside the board.
I did not like the vibe of this tiny village lined with reggae bars and terribly boring music and was extremely lucky to find a local guy who took me to his home which resembled paradise. It was a Devdhar wood cottage in the midst of an apple orchard with the roaring Parvati River for company. There was a horse and a fluffy dog for company. I would walk to Manikaran Gurudwara for a hot water spring bath and lunch (Langar) in the community hall.
Read : Why Triund could be the perfect first Himalayan trek?
I loved the sound of the wind when it rustled through the trees, the thundering sound of the river, how schoolchildren would wander around the trees on their way back home. My host made me taste fresh honey from the 2 boxes kept on the roof, it tasted so sweet. The vegetables were fresh and the food that we cooked was amazing. It turned out to be so much better than what I had read about Kasol. This was peace of a different kind.
Where to eat : The cafés in Kasol dish out quite a variety of cuisines. There is a Little Italy, and Valentino’s does a mean pizza. Jim Morrison is tucked away in the jungle, Evergreen Restaurant is the new Indian favourite, yet Bhoj Restaurant in the main market retains its tag of the most crowded place with cheap thalis and the possibility of meeting other travellers.
Read : Heaven in Himachal Pradesh
Where to Stay : There are more guest houses in Kasol than homes of locals and finding cheap accommodation is not a problem here. The pretty location makes Alpine Guest House a preferred place to stay in Kasol.
How to Reach : Delhi – Manali Volvo, get down at Bhuntar. Catch any Manikaran or Barsheni bound bus, Kasol is hardly 30 kms from Bhuntar.
I have had numerous short trips to Kasol and I strongly recommend visits to Chalal & Rashol.
Chalal village is a 15 minute walk from Kasol and a much better and quieter place to enjoy the serenity; it lies on the path to Rashol village which has later turned out to be one of the top experiences that I’ve had in all of Parvati Valley. The trek to Rashol should take around 4 hours from Kasol and becomes quite an uphill climb in the end, but the views are worth it.
28 thoughts on “Tranquility in the hippie land of Kasol”
Loved this post 🙂
Omg the pics super comfort to eyes.
Indeed, the hills of Himachal are the perfect respite for sore eyes!
This brings back memories of Kasol. 🙂 Many of them spent in Evergreen restaurant stuffing my face with hummus [fiiine, I’m guilty of patronizing that new Indian favourite! ;-)] One time I was there, I trekked to the village of Tosh, which turned out to be one lovely afternoon and evening. Your local accommodation sounds amazing! That cottage AND Bhalu. 🙂
Hehehe, thanks for summarising it so well. Tosh used to be such a wonderful place until it was commercialised. I found Rashol to be beautiful and peaceful. Usually the case, farther we move from the road. Look forward to sharing our experiences in person someday, Ami. 🙂
Excellent images. Lovely place!
Thank you Indrajit.
This place looks absolutely surreal <3 Hope it's all been okay in the Indian wildfires that have been happening 🙁
It remains pristine and unaffected. All the wildfires were in the state of Uttarakhand, Parvati Valley is in Himachal Pradesh and here people have learnt to respect nature. Thanks for the concern 🙂
I was planning a trip to kasol. Reading your blog makes me want to leave everything and go to the hills. Bas!
Hahhah, best idea to go around that side right now.
All we need to know and how do we need to plan..everything together nicely put up. This will be of gr8 gr8 help for me ; have to plan soon !
Thanks Pooja and you must plan it soon 😀
Surely Shubham !
The pics are awesome… cheers backpackers
Thanks Vishal 🙂
wow…such a lovely writeup and beautiful pictures! can u please share the name/contact of ur guest house in Kasol. It seems amazing.
Hi Shubham… can u please share the name/contact of ur guest house in Kasol. I’m looking for something away from the crowds and it seems perfect
Hi Shaili. You could send me an email, and I will tell you the directions to the place.
🙂 Thanks. It was sure a wonderful experience to have found this lovely home of a local.