Monday, January 6, 2014

Kasol - India's Amsterdam

If you know Kasol, you probably know what I mean. You know the phrase grass is greener on the other side? Kasol is the other side. It is greener and happier. Oh well, it is the mother of all happy places.
Parvati River - Kasol

It was that time of the year. When age and I were at loggerheads. I was supposed to step into a new decade, and I clearly did not want to. S was trying her best to make upbeat plans. I had shot down the idea of a birthday cake. Lest my friends' sense of humor comes into play and they decide to light a whole lot of candles.

Anyhoo, this post is fast moving away from being a travelogue. So, Kasol.  Not sure how the place came in the picture, since all planning had been handed over to friends. All I know was right before my birthday, Noopy, S and I were headed to Delhi. We met up with the very dear pen friend and husband and the group of five was all set.
The group
We started from Delhi early in the evening. The plan was to drive as far as we could and stop somewhere midway. Our car's braking mechanism did not comply with the plan. A good two hours were spent there. Not much of a chink in the armour considering our plans never run on time. Next pitstop was Chandigarh for I kid you not, butter chicken. While I have always written really good things about  Chennai, the one thing they can't dish out is butter chicken. And how I crave for it! We stopped at Tehal Singh for butter chicken and it was the best I have ever had!
The broken down car

Butter chicken!



Brilliant food and a bit of vodka always gives a false sense of anything-can-be-accomplished. Thus, we decided to drive through the night, so that we reach Kasol early morning. It obviously was a very bad idea. The drive turned out to be absolutely exhausting! The high point of the drive was entering Kasol as the sun rose. Even to the zombie like bleary eyes, it looked surreal.
Sunrise in Kasol
Now, Kasol is the kind of place where you go to do absolutely nothing. We stayed in one of those quaint cottages next to the Parvati river. Weather was chilly and just perfect to sit in the sun. There isn't much I can write about where to go and what to do. The small town has quite a few Israeli cafes with eclectic food. One of the cafes served the best hummus and garlic nan I have ever had!
Where we stayed


The cafe which served awesome hummus

Garlic naan and hummus

We spent three very hazy and lazy days there. It kept raining one of the days, so that one was spent inside the many cafes there. Rest of the time, we walked around, soaked in the sun, had umpteen cups of coffee and well, just did what folks do in Kasol. :) We wanted to do the trek to Tosh, but ran out of time and good weather.





My verdict for the place - excellent if you have 2-3 days to spare and you love the mountains. Not much of a crowd. Extremely peaceful aura. And some of the nicest hikes around this place. My birthday was exactly how I had thought it would be. Quiet and in the warmth of good friends. The instruction for no cake was followed so religiously by my friends, that one of them almost ate up the one slice of carrot cake that was around at 12 am. The birthday morning was warm and sunny. Rays lit up the snowy peaks beautifully. Probably it was a hint of the year to come. :)
My birthday morning :)
Well, one of those Kasol pics ;)

31 comments:

  1. Hey awesome post and love the pics. n belated happy birthday to you!. Coincidentally, I also celebrated my birthday in December and in Kasauli, also a sleepy hill station in HP!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Read the post on Kasauli. :) Quite a coincidence!

      Delete
  2. Kasol sounds and looks interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Chicken & A/C Family Hall" lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey planning to travel to himachal in may.....
      I have ample of time to chilll
      like 2 months
      Any suggestions ????

      Delete
  4. Great pictures and story. Seems like the perfect peaceful getaway.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Best part.. Of ur life .. I gues.. Travelling and soothing ur nervous system..lovely place and pure stuff.. Again going to kasol n then trek to manala..love der. Boom shankar..

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Admin,

    I am interested to publish my content on your website, I have Travel, Places to see, Restaurant, Hotels related content. At least 5 articles for your blog, can I send them to you here for your review?
    All are unique, fresh. Hope I will get a good response soon.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  7. HI We are planning to go to kasol this week! and i love the guest house you stayed in!!!!!!!!!!! Do you have a name for this place or a contact number? Please revert. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey i am plNning a trip to kasol . Anyone interested for 4days .

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hey...do tell the name of the cafes you visited and the place you stayed in.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Kasol is such a delightful little place. I was there with my Hubs for about 10-12 days, in which we managed to cover Tosh, Chalaal, Manali and around. We'd visited in May so obviously some of the places were crowded, but our trip was nothing short of fabulous.

    BTW, even we stayed a couple of nights at Alpine (can see from the photos that's where you stayed).

    As for Tosh, well it's not much of a trek, we drove almost up to the village. Parked our car right across a little bridge, crossed over and were welcomed by the gorgeous scenery. However, the roads were by far the worst I've seen.

    And looks like I've written a mini essay here! Haha!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey there.. wonderfully written post about the place :) Some of my friends and I are going there in the next week. Could you tell me the place where you guys stayed? It looks beautiful, by the river. You can mail me at shubhkirtisinha@gmail.com. Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Lovely post and beautifully written. Kasol is a the place for those who want spend some quite time doing nothing away from the city life. When it comes to Kasol hotels, there are not much of them. But, all the hotels offer scenic views of surroundings.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Amazing pictures... I plan on taking a trip to there in march 16. Looking forward to it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Amazing pictures... I plan on taking a trip to there in march 16. Looking forward to it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anyone going to kasol for trekking this month? i am looking for a trek buddy as i am traveling there solo. contact/whatsapp me (8288000105).
    Regards,
    Himanshu.

    ReplyDelete
  17. it must have been an interesting journey. Kasol is a small village on the lap of nature in Himachal Pradesh. places to visit in Kasol are hypnotic and can hold a tourist’s attention for long.

    ReplyDelete
  18. hi, nice log. I will add some inputs.... Kasol town is getting too crowded and is headed for the same sad destiny as that of Manali and Simla. There are issues with parking, with garbage disposal and such like matters. Even though the town retains its charm because of its natural beauty and a vibrant crowd, you may not really like to stay inside the town for long. Room rents have also gone up because of an ever tilting demand-supply ratios over past two years. A better option, therefore, would be to stay 'around' Kasol and walk around the area, including Kasol town, instead of plonking yourself inside the town.

    The actual fun lies across the river. There is no motorable road that runs over Parvati River in and around Kasol and that is why the area on the other side is peaceful and serene. The area across can be divided into two parts - first is area of Village Chalal (bang opposite Kasol). Himalayan Camp is run by Om Negi (9805716616 ) there. The tented camp offers basic food and basic accommodation but the location is too good. One has to walk for a Km or so reach the place. There are other properties like Chalal Cafe, Shiva Cafe, Shanti Cafe, Greenpark Cafe, Maya Cafe and Guru Cafe. All these are cafe patronised by Israelis and accommodation is very basic. Stress is on 'Shiva's Regal' rather than Chivas Regal and associated brands. Many of these places also involve long walks though area is beautiful to walk through. A call can be taken by you in this regard.
    The second chunk of area, and the one that we would rate higher than Chalal, is to the West, ie, across the river but short of Kasol. It is roughly opposite Parvati Kuteer. The area is called Katagla. The access is through a footbridge over the river. The drop off point is Temple at Jai Nallah (all bus guys know it). From there, you get down to the river, cross it to reach Katagla area (though actual Katagla Village is slightly ahead). Musik Cafe is to your left as you step on terra firma across the bridge while there are few good places to the right of the bridge..... White Cafe is the biggest of all in the area but has a concrete building, is patronised by Israelis and their attempts to create a pool inside the property has run into a legal hassle. Ahead of it is a hidden treasure called Katagla Forest Retreat - a traditionally constructed property of wood and slates with its own restaurant. It is 'hidden' from the view and the entry into the compound itself feels like a little adventure. The entrance is through thick cover of trees and then the compound opens up. The property is run by Prakul (9805275343 and 9990992220) Anshul 9899171787/9805767073)- same guys who run Parvati Woods Cottage on the other side of the river. A total of ten rooms (including three that you need to sneak into!) and a restaurant and a lawn that has apple trees in it and unbeatable feel - that is how the package is. Ideal for groups and even solo travellers, the property can host about 40 of a group or 35 otherwise. They charge nothing for the third person if the room is shared for 1000/- a night. The bigger rooms can accommodate four for 1500/-. .


    (d) For those seeking adventure and some real backpacking, Tosh - a village ahead of Barshaini and Manikaran- offers some good options. Anshul and Prakul have a property (Tosh Rooms) there too. The area is frequented by foreigners more than their Indian counterparts though.

    ReplyDelete
  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi, I was wondering if you would let me know the name of the place where you stayed? I heard that Alpine guest house is really good, but unfortunately its full. Or you can suggest some other good places?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow that's a wonderfull blog having all details & helpful.I am impressed! If you are interested, here is some for your information too open it Rajasthan Tour Packages

    ReplyDelete
  22. When I first entered Kasol, I thought this is the worst decision bcoz firstly, it was a village and wasn't happening place at first place but but but that place is no short of heaven... Also, you can check out my article on Chalal and Kasol and my crazy experiences http://rrishijain.com/trekking-chalal-kasol/

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hey.. Amazing post. Can u please tell the place where u stayed in kasol..

    ReplyDelete