I woke up pretty early, clutched my jacket and headed out with my camera. A morning in the Himalayas isn’t meant to be a lazy morning. Reaching Kasol after a 17 hours drive, I was in a tizzy, partly out of hunger and partly out of the happy Himalayan wind. But then, some hours of sleep was enough to get me back in action mode in the morning.

I headed straight to the riverside to catch River Parvati wildly flapping its way across this tiny Himalayan village. The Sun was just coming out. A shepherd was getting his sheep across the river on an old, rickety bridge. There was wind in my hair and I was content in that one moment of awe. There was nobody around, other than a dog who was looking into my camera screen – very intently at that.

Riverside in Kasol

A mountain dog lost in some reverie by the river in Kasol

Quite famous for its hash, Kasol sees a lot of trance parties and the lovers of it. But yeah, there is more to it. A lot more to it if you are as city-sick (sick of city) as I am. Surprisingly quaint, Kasol has snow-laden Himlayan peaks for its horizon, a few good cafes, unobtrusive tourists, rows of shops selling tailored clothes (check out for some interesting hippie pants, wraparound skirts, jackets and bags), a few bike rental points and the customary momos stalls.

Kasol-5

A good number of budget hotels and camps in Kasol has already made it quite a hit with tourists, so you wouldn’t have to worry for one. I stayed at the Alpine, but there was not much to it except dirty linen (no pun intended) and startlingly slow service. But then, who stays inside the hotel when the said hotel is in the Himalayas. Here’s your to do list for Kasol if you’re wondering what to do here –

Hotels in Kasol – Reserve a hotel only if you must. The village is lined with a number of hotels, camps and a government rest house as well. Check those up once you land here. The riverside camps are the best bet if you do not want to stay in the more bustling village centre.

Restaurants in Kasol – Bhoj Restaurant is a strict no – bad food, plates that were stinking, slow service and really bad music – eating at this one is more of a traumatic experience. Little Italy is a great place – efficient staff and they must be having a great chef.

The Evergreen is another great place to eat at in Kasol – perfect if you love a quaint place. Other than these, the bakeries in Kasol are luring and would not disappoint you. Nibble on cheesecakes, lemon cakes, brownies (make sure they are/aren’t hash brownies), yak cheese, muffins and more.

What to do in Kasol? – Kasol is an ideal base if you want to do the Kheerganga trek. Other than that, you can take up smaller treks to Chalal village that lies across the river, visit the much-revered Manikaran Gurudwara (the one with famed hot water geysers – so hot that the floor around the geyser is scorching and I had to make a dash), visit Malana village – a place with its own tales; the village folks believe themselves to be the descendants of Alexander and thus wouldn’t mingle with you!

 

I’m home. #Himalayas #Kasol #Himachal #travel #mountains #snow #altitude #life #truelove #wanderlust #footloose #fun

A photo posted by Shikha Gautam (@nomadscribblings) on

If you ask me, I would rather take a walk by the gregarious Parvati river and listen to some good old-fashioned music. Or else, roam around in the lanes, marvel at the sheer magic of the Himalayas, smell the wild flowers, gaze at the snow-capped peaks, listen to the rustle that starts from somewhere deep in the pine woods here.

Kasol is magic, get ready to be enthralled.

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