How I escaped monotony of life in the Himalayas with the help of a sketch book

17th Sep 2016

Day 1 - All my bags are packed and I am ready to go

A journey began as uncertain as our destination. Little did we know where this journey will take us as we waited for our bus on that night in Delhi.

Vidhan Sabha Bus stop, Delhi

Photo of Delhi, India by Chithkala Ramesh

Our minds filled with questions and curiosity. What is it that we longed for? Answers? Closure? Or is it just a change, a window of opportunity to getaway from the monotony of life? Unsure we packed our bags and all our emotions and set on a journey.

A backpacking trip to the Himalayas. For there is always an answer there!


Day 2 - Riverside camping at Kasol

First stop Kasol. After getting lost, hitch-hiking and a 16hr bus ride, we managed to get ourselves to Kasol.

A fraction of a second was all it took for Parvati Valley to take our breath away. We found ourselves in the backpackers paradise. Surrounded by beautiful and wild mountain rivers, pine trees, mighty Himalayan mountains and people from all walks of life and culture.

Riverside camping at Kasol, Kasol Camps

Photo of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Chithkala Ramesh

In the midst of all this was our campsite. We drowned ourselves in the magic of Himalayas and all of a sudden everything seemed to fall in place. The hours spent staring at river and the mountains seemed endless and precious. This day was a perfect confluence of culture, nature and food.


Day 3 - Surprise encounter with 2 ponies in the middle of nowhere

No holiday is perfect if you don't start sleeping in and that's exactly what we did. After being awestruck by the adventures of previous day, we indulged in extensive sleeping, a late but heavy breakfast that involved eating everything on the menu.

On our way to Chalal, Himachal Pradesh

Photo of How I escaped monotony of life in the Himalayas with the help of a sketch book by Chithkala Ramesh

Words are never enough to describe our 2 hour trek from Kasol to Chalal, the neighbouring town. We walked along the river for hours following the wild paths of the forest, unaware of the fact that we were getting lost not once but twice. Lost in the beauty around us. We spent half the time taking breaks to admire the nature and the forest around us.

In between all this we even spotted few ponies which led us to our destination, the Nirvana cafe. Our campsite for the night.


Day 4 - Langar at Gurudwara

The laziness crept away making way to new ambitiousness. We left for Tosh with multiple stops and treks planned for the day and we accomplished all of them. Tosh is a quaint village at the far end of the Parvathi Valley.

Langar at Gurudwara, Manikaran

Photo of Manikaran Gurudwara, Gurudwara Path, Manikaran, Himachal Pradesh, India by Chithkala Ramesh

Enroute we stopped at Manikaran, famous for it's Gurudwara and a hot water spring. We took the local bus from here to Barsheni which is the last stop for all the buses heading in this direction. Tosh is further 3 km uphill from Barsheni. One can reach Tosh by either hiking up the hill or by private transport.

After having mouth-watering Langar at Gurudwara we had all the energy we needed to hike our way uphill with our heavy bags for the next 2 hours to Tosh.


Day 5 - Tosh and it's pretty little houses

Tosh is a beautiful small village with pretty wooden houses. It looks like these houses were planted in the middle of nowhere just to add to the beauty around it.

Pretty house at Tosh, Himachal Pradesh

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Chithkala Ramesh

We stayed in a house at the far end of the valley with a view to kill. A walk through the village is a pleasant experience where one can experience the simple way of life and joy in small things. Its a common sight to spot kids playing football in the compound of the temple in the evenings.

Beautiful wooden houses with slate roofs

Photo of How I escaped monotony of life in the Himalayas with the help of a sketch book by Chithkala Ramesh

Untouched by urbanisation, this place is a paradise for artists. One can never get enough of the pretty houses or the beauty of this place.

Eat, sketch, travel

Photo of Valley View Guest House, Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Chithkala Ramesh

Day 6 - A 6 hour hike that ended at a hot water spring

From the moment we started our travel plans, we had heard time and again from multiple sources that we must head to Kheerganga. And that's exactly what we decided to do - The Kheerganga trek!

Like midgets next to the tall pine trees, we walked through the forest with the river by our side. While hearing tales of wild bears and local herbs, we trekked through one of the most refreshing treks, creating memories that would last a lifetime. At the end of all this the hot water spring made our 6 hour trek worth every single second. It was a unique experience to unwind ourselves in a bath overlooking the mountain. This place has so much to offer and keeps you wanting more.

Hot water spring, Kheerganga

Photo of Kheerganga - Sunshine Himalayan Camp, Khir Ganga, Himachal Pradesh, India by Chithkala Ramesh

We camped out there that night and dined with the locals and made new friends around the bonfire. Surrounded by pleasant views and the friendly mountains with the full moon singing tales of its own, the day seemed endless and we couldn't find it in us to call it a night till 4 am.


Day 7 - Chai with the mountains

With a heavy heart and the reasoning that only comes from being a grown up we left Kheerganga. Our way back was refreshing. Filled with endless chai breaks, long conversation about everything and nothing, all the while stuffing our faces with juicy apples that we bought from the local kids.

On our way back to Barsheni

Photo of How I escaped monotony of life in the Himalayas with the help of a sketch book by Chithkala Ramesh

The trek down was a lot more easier that the previous day and before we realised we were back at Barsheni and heading back to our favourite base camp Kasol for the night. We surely missed the mighty mountains.


Day 8 - Goodbyes are the worst

We finally reached the dreaded day of our travel, the last day at Kasol. From now on everything we do would take us one step closer to home and one step away from the place that we would love to call home.

Last day of our trip

Photo of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Chithkala Ramesh

Even though goodbyes are sad, we brought back priceless memories with us. I will miss the mountains on a daily basis, but I'm sure it will be a part of me wherever I go.

In this journey I have experienced and learnt great lot of things. I have met such amazing people and gotten better at making friends, talking comfortably to strangers, to unwind, relax, be easy going and the most important of all how to be happy. It helped me see the world as a brighter place.

Travelling adds perspective to life and the situation we face in life. I can't wait to plan my next adventure!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Copywriter - Sandhyashri Venugopal (Someone who puts my thoughts into words)