5 days guide to explore Parvati Valley under budget

Tripoto
2nd Feb 2018
Photo of 5 days guide to explore Parvati Valley under budget by Vivek Zode
Day 1

Kasol->Chalal->Kasol

31st Jan,2018 was my last working day in the company and before starting a new job I wanted a break. So along with my 2 colleagues, we planned a trip to Himachal.
We were so excited with the thoughts of exploring Parvati valley without any guide or without any proper planning and that too in winter. We wanted to keep the things unplanned and our main focus was adventure. Though we had some places in mind which we were going to explore.
In the evening we boarded a HRTC bus to Manali from ISBT Delhi. We needed to get off the bus at Bhuntar to travel further to Kasol. It generally costs around 1000-1200 per head for a AC Volvo bus. At 4 am in the morning we reached Bhuntar and then took another HRTC bus from Bhuntar.
Kasol is 35 kms away from Bhuntar and it takes around 1 and half hour for the journey offering view of beautiful snow peak mountains and Parvati river flowing alongside the road.
After reaching Kasol, we booked a stay at Green Valley hotel. We took a room for 3 and they charged us 1200 for a night.
We had a whole day in hand to explore Kasol. We decided to take a walk to Chalal village which is 2 KMS from Kasol.
Kasol chalal trail is very famous amongst the travellers. For this trail you need to cross the bridge on the Parvati river and walk alongside the river to reach Chalal village. It is a small village but having good and cheaper staying options. We spent some time on the banks of Parvati river in the evening. Temperature started dropping. We sat on the rocks with legs in the water, enjoyed some drinks with the fresh chilled flowing water of the river and believe me that was hell of an experience. We clicked few awesome pictures, tried rock balancing and by end of the day we were all tired but happy for the day well spent.
We still had some time to explore Kasol market. You can shop for warm clothes from the market. Another great thing about Himachal is you will get good and healthy food everywhere in comparatively cheaper price. Also never forget to try the famous rice beer (lugdi).
We reached back to our hotel all tired and sleepy.

Rock balancing

Photo of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Kasol-chalal trail

Photo of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Parvati river

Photo of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Chilling on the bank of the river

Photo of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

View from Kasol

Photo of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Literally on the rocks

Photo of Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode
Day 2

Kasol->Malana->Barshaini->Tosh

On Day 2, we got up early as we already had plan to Visit Malana. After breakfast we booked local taxi for to and fro trip. They charged us 1500 for the trip. Malana is 25 kms from Kasol. It took 1 and half hour to reach the point till which vehicles are permitted. You need to walk for another 2-3 kms to reach malana village. This beautiful remote village is having so many mysterious things associated with it.
It takes roughly an hour to reach Malana. You first need to descend and for second half you need to ascend to reach the village. You can immediately feel the difference in the culture.
'Malana is a village of taboos where there is untouchability.. the hash capital of India! Where people consider themselves as descendents of Alaxander.. Touching some restricted place attracts fine.. Cannabis plantations in acres.. Where main occupation is selling hash..
Have a different language which is not known anywhere.. have there own judicial system.. just few hours away from kasol but still isolated..
Weird and restricted place but nature has blessed the village with immense beauty.'
We spent some time exploring the village, capturing the beauty of Malana and also tried bargaining for the famous malana cream.
We reached back to the point where driver left us and convinced him to directly drop us to Tosh village for 500 more rupees.
It was fun travelling with our cab driver. He was localite so we got to know so many things about the Himachali culture. He also explained us the recipe to make rice beer. We had almost cancelled our plan to trek kheerganga due to bad weather but he motivated us saying it is possible to trek to kheerganga (which turned out to be one of the best experiences of our lives).
We also stopped for evening snacks at Barshaini village. He suggested thukpa and momos at his familiar place and it turned out to be best chicken thukpa I ever had.
This break was much needed as we had to climb for another km to reach top of the Tosh village.
Late in the evening, we reached Tosh. Pinki Didi's cafe was our home for a night. You can easily get a room for 3 in pinki Didi's cafe at Rs.500
Food is also very good. Overall a very good place offering 360 view of hills.
We could feel colder as compared to Kasol.
We slept early as we didn't want to get late for Kheerganga trek.

Malana village entry gate

Photo of Malana, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

On the way to Tosh(Barshaini village)

Photo of Malana, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Malana village view

Photo of Malana, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

At the top of malana village

Photo of Malana, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Malana village

Photo of Malana, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

View on the way to Malana

Photo of Malana, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode
Day 3

Tosh->Kheerganga

We checked out early at 9am and left for Barshaini village. You can easily get cabs from Tosh to Barshaini. You can also opt to walk up to Barshaini village. It is inconvenient to carry extra luggage on a trek so we kept our luggage at a restaurant where we had breakfast. We also rented hiking sticks which turned out to be good decision.
We started trekking at 11.30 AM. No guide, not sure about the weather and even not sure whether we are going to reach Kheerganga or not. Still we started our journey. Kheerganga is 14kms from Barshaini. Trek started with the beautiful view of frozen dam. We chose the route passing through Nakthan village. There were so many beautiful views on the way. First half of the trek is quiet easy. Still we took several breaks. After two hours we reached Rudranag waterfall which is halfway of the trek. We rested for sometime, freshen up with the chilled water from the waterfall. We had to cover the second half of the trek which is the toughest one. There is a bridge to cross the river after Rudranag, we got to know that we need to reach that point before 3pm so that they will allow us to go further as it is dangerous to trek in winter when it's dark. Hopefully we reached the point by 2.30pm and then started trekking continuously. I had never trekked this much that too in chilling cold weather, this was new experience for us. Enthusiasm to reach the top of Kheerganga and thoughts of having bath in natural hot springs kept us going.
The most adventurous part of the trek was the ice on the path. The path was slippery and we had to watch each and every step carefully. There was a patch with Frozen waterfall, that seemed impossible to cross. We even thought of returning but we were ready for the adventure and thank God we found a wooden block lying along the that frozen path. We somehow managed to cross that patch. Any mistake would have cost us our lives.
We witnessed such numerous patches and finally reached at the top by evening. We could see snow everywhere. There were only 5 people in that place that day. We found a stay (Dharamshala run by ram mandir in manikarn). It costs Rs.200 per head with food. We got enough place for 3. Room was having enough warm clothes and fireplace with woods. Due to bad weather in winter they fill up the stock of foodgrains in late September. From October to February there is no possibility of transporting the material.
First thing we did is bath in the natural hot springs. It felt like private pool as there was hardly anyone else. The whole area surrounding the pool was covered with snow and pool was having hot water. It was like a natural miracle. Whole tiredness was gone by the magic of that hot water pool.
We returned to our room, had the tastiest food, had drinks and joint sessions. Fire was keeping us warm in the freezing temperature of -5 d celcius. This is the life I wanted...
We met a guy who once came to kheerganga and it's been 1 year now that he settled in Kheerganga only. We got to know alot of intersting facts from that guy. It was really a strange experience.

1st pit stop of the trek #12km more to go

Photo of Kheer Ganga Hot Water Spring, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Frozen dam

Photo of Kheer Ganga Hot Water Spring, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Hiking stick

Photo of Kheer Ganga Hot Water Spring, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

River alongside the path

Photo of Kheer Ganga Hot Water Spring, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Kheerganga Shiva temple

Photo of Kheer Ganga Hot Water Spring, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Slippery path due to ice

Photo of Kheer Ganga Hot Water Spring, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Pinki Didi's cafe tosh

Photo of Kheer Ganga Hot Water Spring, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Hot water springs

Photo of Kheer Ganga Hot Water Spring, Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode
Day 4

Kheerganga->Barshaini->Manikaran

After the freezing cold night we got up in the morning and got the first news as weather may get changed and it may snow. This could have get us stuck in Kheerganga for couple of days so we decided to start the trek back as early as possible.
Though we did not forget to spend some time playing in the snow and clicking pictures. Temple was closed as it was impossible to reach there due to snow.
We started our journey back and we seemed more confident than yesterday. We did not find it that hard to cross those difficult patches.
We took some rest, had breakfast and then again continued our return journey.
By afternoon, we reached Barshaini, collected our luggage and boarded a bus to Manikaran.
Now Manikaran itself is a beautiful place situated on the banks of Parvati river.
It is hardly 20 kms from Barshaini.
We reached Manikaran by 5PM, got a room in Gurudwara. Now there are also hot springs in Manikaran. We got another chance to take bath in hot water pool. We had delicious dinner at langar and spent the evening exploring Manikaran market.

Photo of Manikaran, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Manikaran gurudwara

Photo of Manikaran, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Parvati river

Photo of Manikaran, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Kheerganga Shiva temple

Photo of Manikaran, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode
Day 5

Manikaran->Manali

After breakfast, it was time to say bye bye to beautiful Parvati Valley. We boarded a bus to Manali, distance is only 80kms but due to curvy roads it takes more than 4 hours to reach Manali. You can opt for private bus, HRTC buses or even cabs to reach Manali.
We almost had half of the day to explore Manali.
We checked in into a hotel near mall road, that costs us Rs.1000 for 3 people. We explored Mall road, hidimba temple and nearby monasteries but to be honest, Manali is nothing when you have explored Magical Parvati valley. I felt Manali a bit crowded and overrated.
We had already started planning next day to explore nearby points by bike.
So next day we hired a bike and directly headed towards Gulaba(30kms for Manali) and that was very wise decision. You have to travel via Leh-Manali highway to reach Gulaba. In Winter, it feels like the surrounding is blessed with extra beauty. Beautiful glaciers, curvey roads and chilling cold weather was enough to make that ride extra enjoyable.
It was not permitted to go beyond Gulaba as roads to Rohtang remain closed till early summer.
If you are seeking for some photographs then you can definitely get your best shots at this place.
Also when you're at mountains, never forget to have Maggie and momos(there's something special in the Maggie served in mountains).
We had bikes and that benefited us to explore more places, we covered few of the monasteries, manu temple and finally reached back Manali by the evening and it was our time to bid farewell to our week long trip.
We boarded a bus back to Delhi in the evening and this time a private volvo (costs around 1000 for manali to Delhi trip).
With all the happy memories we completed our journey back home.

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Hidimba temple

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode
Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Leh manali highway

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode
Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode

Gulaba view point

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Vivek Zode
Be the first one to comment