Nestled in the Parvati valley, this Himalayan hamlet is a haven for backpackers. A very popular destination among Israeli tourists, Kasol offers peace and tranquility like nowhere else. It is a small village, located near Manikaran. This is a perfect place for you to just slow down and enjoy the high hills.
Best time to visit: Feb to May and September to November.
- Take a walk. Kasol is just perfect for taking a stroll along the Parvati River, basking the nature. You can get around on foot anywhere in Kasol as it is very small. Even an hour in the nature will relax you to the core.
- Famous for its hippie cafes, you can experience lip smacking Israeli food and maybe some of the ‘mountain herbs’ here in Kasol.
- Visit Manikaran. A place of pilgrimage for Sikhs, Manikaran is just 4 km from Kasol. Set on the bank of parvati river, Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara offers you a place for worship and tasty langar food. The sight of the tall mountains and the roaring river will make you revere the place even more.
- There is even a hot spring inside, where you can take a dip.
For the backpackers and trekkers this is the ultimate place to be in. Below are some treks you can do while in Kasol.
- Trek to tosh: Filled with picturesque landscapes, the trek to the village of tosh starts at Barshaini and takes 2-3 hours to complete. Tosh is a quaint little village that oozes peacefulness. The trek itself is easy but steep. You can reach Barshaini from Kasol by hiring a jeep (cost- Rs 250).
- Trek to Malana: Believed to be one of the oldest democracies of the world, Malana is a himalayan hamlet isolated from the rest of india in terms of culture. The people living here consider themselves to be direct descendents of Alexander the great. This tiny village is famous for ‘malana cream’ a type of hashish which is one of most expensive hashish outside India.
To reach Malana, you will have to get down at Jari (local bus cost- around Rs 30) and begin your trek from there. It is a 2 hour of steep climb to Malana.
- Kheerganga trek: A trek covering hilly terrain, numerous waterfalls, and a daunting forest, Kheerganga trek takes you through a joyous trip amidst all the green landscape. It’s a 12 km long trek starting from Barshaini and takes around 6 hours to complete. There is a hot spring at the top which will take away all your tiredness of the journey. There are also a lot of cafes at the top offering delicious food and a soul soothing view.
It’s a two day trek. You can find tents on the top. They cost around Rs 100-200 and include blankets and bedding. The cafes there cost Rs 150 (average).
- Apart from all these you can shop on the main market of Kasol. You will find really creative bong and pipes here. Believe me, I found one shaped like a dinosaur skull.
Where to eat:
- Visit Jim Morrison café for lip smacking Indian and Israeli food. You have to trek a bit to get here but the food totally makes up for it. Cost- Rs 200(approx)
- German bakery: A must visit café in Kasol. They provide fresh baked goodness that seems to come straight out of the heaven. You must try lemon cake here. Cost- Rs 80-100
- Craving falafel and hummus? Go visit King Falafel.
All these eating joints are located near the main market road and can be accessed on foot.
How to reach Kasol:
- By air: The nearest airport is in Bhuntar. It is 31 km from Kasol. From there you can take a local bus (Rs 40) or hire a cab ( Cost-Rs 300).
- By road: Buses for Bhunter are available from Kashmere Gate, Delhi. From there take a cab or bus for Kasol. (Cost- Rs 600)
Places to stay:
Accommodation is pretty cheap in Kasol. A lot of families offer home-stays and there are hostels available here, apart from hotels. Some of them are:
- Blue diamond hotel: It is just a 5 minute uphill walk from the main market. The balcony provides a picturesque view. Cost- Rs 1300 per night.
- The hosteller: Located in old Kasol, it is very popular among backpackers. They only provide accommodation, so if you want a luxurious stay, this is not the place for you. Cost- Rs 300 per night.
- Kasol doesn’t have many sight-seeing options, so avoid it if you’re looking for that.however it’s a great place to just relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
- It is not advisable to visit in winter as most of the cafes and home-stays shut down at that time.
Budget- approx Rs 3500