Kasol or also known as mini Israel is a village in Himachal Pradesh, northern India. It is situated in Parvati Valley, on the banks of the Parvati River, on the way between Bhuntar to Manikaran. When you will reach there you’ll mostly see Israelis, German bakeries, and shops whose names are mostly written in Hebrew. It is located 42 km east of Kullu. As you start a trip with your friends, it becomes a whole lot different experience. So was this trip. A 14 hour journey from Delhi. We were pretty psyched about it. We had the option of traveling by train or drive ourselves, but we chose bus. Private buses are comfortable and it becomes an ‘amazing’ experience when they have provided you the facility of LCD that shows a 3 hour movie which you’ve already seen.
So, moving on, we sat in the bus at 7:30Pm IST and reached there around 10:30Am. Night journeys are more preferable as compared to day journeys as you don’t have to be awake for 14 hours in daylight getting bored. There were several stops in between. As the journey continued, we got to see amazing views of Mother Nature and first of all we stopped and reached-
- Mandi– About 90km away from kasol, stoppage at Mandi was a place to freshen up, to have a little breakfast. The breath taking mountain views. A place so silent, you can actually hear the sound of Parvati river which was soul relaxing.
- Bhuntar– Reached Bhuntar which is 31km away from kasol. Here too we either had the option of local bus or we could hire a taxi. We chose a sharing taxi which costed us 165INR per person from Bhuntar to kasol which took us around 1 hr 30 min.
- Kasol– We finally reached our destination around 10:30Am and we were stunned by the amazing views. We mostly found Israelis there. The bikers club inspired you to travel like them on Harley davidson. Away from the noisy and polluted city, we were having a great time. Hotels there vary from 3k-500 INR. We found a great hotel at a very reasonable rate. This day was only for relaxing and next day we had to leave for trekking.
- Manikaran– 5km away from Kasol, we left for Manikaran. Manikaran is a pilgrimage centre for Hindusand Sikhs. The Hindus believe that Manu recreated human life in Manikaran after the flood, making it a sacred area. It has many temples and a gurudwara. We went to Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib and and had langar. Natural hot boiling water was a rare sight. We left from Manikaran towards Kasol by foot. As we were walking, we saw a Domino’s pizza delivery man and bought 2 pizzas. The road was beside the parvati river, we got down and sat at the banks of Parvati river. Cool breeze was soothing, the rushing and strong flow of Parvati river seemed frightening. As we walked towards our hotel, we talked to the locals and they were friendly.
- Back to kasol– As we reached our hotel, it was night and everyone was hungry. We entered a café named “Mama’s Café”. Its specialty was Israeli food but served Indian food too. We ordered Indian food and it took ages for them to serve it. Poor service and sky rocketing rates. It was a disappointment. We reached our hotel’s terrace and saw something which you don’t get to see in the polluted cities, STARS. Millions of stars and many shooting stars. We just lied down and enjoyed the view.
- Beginning of the trek to Kheerganga– Located about 18km away from kasol, our journey from Kasol to Barshaini started, we caught the bus at 7Am and reached Barshaini from where our trek started. It was a 6 hour long trek but the weather was not in our favor and it took 8 hours for us to reach the top. Constant rain became a headache. We were wet, cold and miserable but also psyched, excited and energetic. Dogs were ahead of us showing us the way, friendly dogs. Locals told, due to heavy rain there was a landslide and we didn’t cared much. The moment we reached at the landslide, we were literally shocked. It was a death path we had to cross, a local helped us. We successfully crossed the landslide and felt like some threat players.
- The compact and charming Kheerganga– Kheerganga is situated in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. Popular for the hot springs and scenic views of the Himalayan mountains. Hotels there were pretty cheap too ranging from 300-1000 INR. Trekking through the dense forests and heavy rains, a bath in its hot water springs was a refreshing experience. People came there with only one purpose, Getting High. Highness was in the air. Next day we started our downward journey where we had to, again, cross the landslide which was even more bigger due to heavy rains, but again, we successfully crossed the death path and had a kind of feeling of proud. It took 5 hours to get down back to Barshaini.
- A detour to Manali- Getting back to Barshaini, and staying one more night at Kasol, next day we left for Manali which was about 85km. We didn’t stay much at Manali we just found another café where we had some food, beer pints and hookah. It was time to get a little high. After staying around 6 hours in Manali we left for Delhi.
This became the best experience of my life which I’ll never forget. The people, place, mountains, rivers, friends, ups and downs made it never forgetting experience.
A famous quote says-
“Traveling is about finding those things you never knew you were looking for.”