The place needs no introduction.....on google session and you would be flooded with the information. Here, i wish to share a few things beyond the usual.Firstly, don't go in a rush. The typical trip, beginning on the night of a Friday at New Delhi or some place in North and finishing on the morning of Monday back at the same point, will not be able to do justice to the place. Two days+one night is of no use. Plan on a longer weekend or take a whole week off if not a fortnight or you would be depressed while leaving the place.
Secondly, Kasol is a beautiful town that is (unfortunately) no longer as quaint and peaceful as it used to be a few years back. Too much of construction, too much of litter, too much of insensitive crowd.....and yet the place remains beautiful with all its sadness. It is good enough for a walk, a bit of shopping, some great meals here and there and coffee breaks BUT stay???? A big NO.So, you need to look around to find a good place to stay and enjoy what this area offers the best - nature in all its splendor. Some details HERE .
Thirdly, having understood that Kasol is just a reference point and there is much more to see, absorb and soak, categorise the things you want to do. A quick darshan at Manikaran (must have the langar in the holy Gurudwara) may help you do away with the accumulated guilt of the trip. If you are staying at Katagla (best option) or Suma Ropa (equally good) or Chalal (its OK), take a walk to Kasol through the forest that runs along the far bank of Parvati River. If you are not based at Chalal, you may reach Kasol from Parvati Woods Cottage or Katagla Forest Retreat in an hour or so, lounge around and have a cup of coffee or a glass (or two) of beer and a meal and catch a bus to get back. If you have come from Chalal, you will have to go back same route (that is why other two places offer more variety). You may venture into Grahan Nalla or Rasol or areas overlooking Katagla Village or Kheer Ganga or even Malana next. Do take a guide with you. There is not much of wild life (but you never know) and crime rate is zero (unless smoking grass is a crime) and yet knowledge of the terrain is a big help.
For the guys staying at Katagla/Suma Ropa, a hidden treasure in the form of a huge waterfall awaits them. The fall is what makes Jai Nalla near Suma Ropa but teh route is tricky and guidance is strongly recommended.
For those with stronger legs, Sar Pass, Chanderkhani Pass and Pin Parvati Trek are the options but these need time and professional help of good standards. A visit to famous Malana Village, however, is no big deal now that road is just about one hour away. It used to be more than 10 hours of trekking earlier.
Most importantly, while all those walks and treks are happening, find time to have longish sessions of 'do nothing' types. Just sit in the balcony with your legs resting on its railings and soak in the views. For that matter, very few properties can beat Parvati Woods Cottage and Katagla Forest Retreat.
A day or two at Tosh will add to the fun. Snow bound for more than four months in a year, it is a small village beyond the present day road head. Tosh Rooms is a well-managed property there. A day long trek to Kheer Ganga can be done from there. Starting and finishing at Tosh saves time and makes it more user friendly. Relax in the evening and get back to wherever you want to be the next day.
Villagers around Kasol, even Malana and Katagla, have their rich traditions and culture. Many villages don't allow visitors wearing leather goods. It is, thus, better to go with a guide so as to maintain sanctity of such beautiful places.
This post was originally published on 'What to do in Kasol (HP), India'.
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