Kasol, located 42 km east of Kullu between Bhuntar and Manikaran in Himachal Pradesh, is a beautiful remote village situated in the Parvati valley, some 230 km from the state capital Shimla. The mesmerising view of the valley, complete with beautiful mountain peaks, pine trees, colourful flowers and the cool breeze gave me goose bumps once I touched base at Kasol. The snow clad-mountain peaks looked so calm and peaceful.
Kasol has many things to offer — from trekking to camping to different types of cuisine, as well as shopping from the local market. Apart from its scenic beauty the local people are also very warm and welcoming to visitors.
It is also famous as the “Mini Israel” of India because of the large number of tourists from the West Asian country. The locals say they come to Kasol to unwind after finishing their compulsory military service in Israel. This influx has seen an explosion of restaurants and shops catering to their needs. Thus, one can easily get a variety of Israeli foods in Kasol.
To check that out, I ventured into the Sasi restaurant, situated on the banks of River Parvati. I glanced through the menu and ordered Shakshouka — an Israeli dish made of poached eggs in tangy tomato gravy along with hummus and pita bread served with a glass of fresh watermelon juice. Quite a treat it was! Apart from the amazing hospitality, Kasol is also trending on social media sites for its long and short distance trekking options for casual walkers and the hardcore ones alike.
There is, for instance, Tosh, a village on the slope of a mountain 18 km from Kasol, which involves a 16 km walk on a bumpy trail and a two km hike. With its small population, the village can be explored within a day. It also provides a 360 degree view of the Parvati Valley and one can sit back and enjoy the beautiful view and sunset. It was even more vibrant than a smoky party!
Another trek is from Tosh to Kheerganga, 2,960 meters above sea level. This is a moderate trek of 14 km and takes fit and regular travellers about six to seven hours. The place remains snow-covered during winters. At the highest point, there is a little pool with natural hot spring water. According to local people, it is believed to be “holy” and also has healing powers. The pool is divided into two sub-pools separately for men and women.
On the way to Kheerganga, the village of Nakthan and the temple of Rudra Nag are ideal places to take short breaks. The sunrise and sunset are a must watch in the mountains. The sound of chirping birds, the silence of the valley and the majestic view of those snow covered peaks will surely rejuvenate you.
Then, a short-distance night trek to Chalal after dinner is a must do for all those travelling to Kasol. It takes around 20-30 minutes and it is advisable to carry a torch for a better view and safety on the road.
Unlike other popular hill stations that offer equally majestic views, Kasol appears to be much more serene and tranquil. So, get your bags packed and start exploring Kasol and the region around it!
By Vivek Singh Chauhan