Our life is a representative of daily hustle-bustle tangled in weirdness! Every day, we strive for materialistic pleasures that would showcase us being superior to others and sustaining a lifestyle that is an epitome of; we living well!
But all that changes when it comes to travel. Well, at least for me!
I recently went to Katagla; a small town near Kasol, Himachal Pradesh, to play in one of the music festivals. Now, my genre being Psychedelic, hills are the best place to unravel all those crazy tunes on people who appreciate it and love it. But once we (the artists), are done with that, we look for our own solace away from the crazy atmosphere of hundreds and thousands of people around. And that takes me to Tosh, a small village about 2 hours drive away from Kasol; every year!
Situated above 2400m above sea level, Tosh can be best described as a virgin, that never wants to get married, but host visitors who would just admire her and not try to sleep with her. I say so, because, like it or not, we city people have a tendency to destroy every beautiful and scenic place for our pleasure. Tosh; does not need any of it!
You can either take a pre-paid taxi from Manikaran till Tosh (which would cost you around INR800) or take a bus till Barsheni and then walk a trek of about 90 minutes (approximately 4 kms), to reach Tosh, stairs for which can be found right opposite of Shiva Temple. I would any day opt for the trek from Barsheni for two reasons. One just to live a bit longer with the nature and its beauty, second, it is a very simple trek that allows you to soak everything that is around you.
Our first stop after entering the village was Pinky Auntys’ cafe. A place owned by a mid-aged woman; Pinky, famous for its amazing food and hospitality. The café also has a guest house, which is booked, almost all the time throughout the season. So if you want a room there, you better call them a couple of weeks prior to your visit or you would fail to find a bed for your butt there. We ordered few snacks there (that included butter bread, tea and Maggie) and believe you me, those were one of the best bread-butter that I have ever had. I don’t know if it’s that restaurant or just the vibe of the place, but you just want to eat more and sit there for as long as you can.
We did visit the place the next day too and had a proper meal there with countless number of varieties ordered between 6 guys. Afraid that it would cost us a bomb, we were I for a surprise when the bill that came was just of INR 1900. You can actually have a blast of an eating session there at a very low cost. Oh, you must try their Pizzas, which would shame all the leading joints here in Delhi.
The houses in Tosh are mostly made of wood and have slate roofs, with few modern houses with tar roofs visible in between. There are certain families that offer you home stay too, but those are limited in numbers and you might find it hard to find a place there, because people have been visiting this village for long and such homes are generally reserved for regular visitors who go there often.
Me and my friends, stayed at The Hill Top, which is one of the more organised hotels there, along with Blue Diamond.
The rooms there would cost you no more then INR700 with up to 3-4 people able to share it, thus bringing your staying cost down! The view early in the morning is absolutely majestic, with the sun rays falling onto the mountains covered with snow. So my suggestion would be, get up at around 5am in the morning and do live that experience, which we don’t get to in our city life.
We decided to have our dinner on the first day at Pink Floyd, a restaurant right adjacent to The Hill Top, and believe you me; the food there is absolutely cracker-jacker.
The café remains open to orders till around 11:30 with everyone talking to everyone. Pink Floyd, is always busy and crowded with people who do not mind hanging out even with strangers. You definitely need to have their Lazania and hot potato chips, which are absolutely delightful and satisfy your taste-buds in the best possible manner. For me, I had a veg-platter to go with fresh pineapple juice, which was heavenly to say the least.
There is a temple of Jamdagni Rishi at the centre of the village which is opened only once a year either in the month of January or February and only one primary school in the village, which means the older kids, have to trek down to Barsheni, for higher education.
Green pastures, snow-laden treks during winters, and friendly people, these are the general traits of Tosh, which to me is the synonym to peace.
Before I sign this post off, I want to share a beautiful memory with you!
While walking down to Pinky Auntys’ café on the second day of our trip, I saw few kids playing in the compound of the primary school. I started talking to a kid randomly about his curriculum in school and asked him to recite a poem, if he could. Once he started the other kids soon joined the gang and in no time and suddenly we had around 25-30 students, singing their class poetry at their loudest volume.
And then came the moment of the trip!
I asked them if they could sing the national anthem to which one kid just started singing it and soon it was around 30 kids singing our national anthem at the top of their voice.
That one moment of selflessness and that one moment of being an Indian, who is away from the craziness and materialistic life of the cities, made my whole trip a different experience altogether. One that we (me and my friends), had never experienced and might not; ever again!
PS: All the pictures in this post are taken by me (Sandeep Verma), Maneet Gogia and Vaibhav Malik