Exploring Rashil- Unearthing the charm of offbeat Himachali villages

Photo of Exploring Rashil- Unearthing the charm of offbeat Himachali villages by Manikuntala Das

We stopped our car at the edge of the cliff, I stood there, the Chandrabhaga River, commonly known as Chenab, was flowing gracefully right in front of me. My heart skipped a beat as I saw that red roof on the other side of the river on the cliff. The scenery was so picturesque, it almost fell like a dream. ‘That’s Zostel Rashil!’I screamed to my friend with joy.

Rashil, Himachal Pradesh

Photo of Exploring Rashil- Unearthing the charm of offbeat Himachali villages by Manikuntala Das

Well, this was not the first time I was admiring the grandeur and greenery of Pattan Valley. I visited Rashil for the first time in June 2022, during my one-month long workation in Himachal. I had booked my stay for two days, but such captivating is this place that I ended up extending my stay for a full week.

Where is Rashil located?

Firstly, Rashil is a name unknown to many. And I am sure, if you know about this place, you either have already visited this place or it is high on your bucket list. Located 85 km from Manali, Rashil is a quaint village in the Pattan Valley of Himachal Pradesh. One of the least explored valleys in Himachal Pradesh, Pattan Valley is a sub-valley in Lahaul and Spiti district. It starts from Tandi, the confluence point of the Chandra and Bhaga Rivers, and continues along the Chenab River and ends somewhere after Udaipur.

Tandi- Confluence point of Chandra and Bhaga Rivers, forming Chandrabhaga (Chenab)

Photo of Exploring Rashil- Unearthing the charm of offbeat Himachali villages by Manikuntala Das

How to reach Rashil?

By Car:

If you are starting from Manali, drive along the Leh-Manali Highway (NH3) for around 24 kms crossing Palchan and Solang Valley to reach the South Portal of Atal Tunnel. A paradise awaits you on the other end of the 9 km long Atal Tunnel. The tunnel opens to a majestic view of gargantuan mountains and the meandering Chandra River. After crossing the tunnel, head towards Tandi which is around 29 km ahead of the North Portal of Atal Tunnel. Tandi is the confluence point of the two main rivers in the Lahaul valley- Chandra and Bhaga. One route from Tandi heads to Leh following the course of Bhaga River till Baralachla Pass, you need to skip that. Instead take the left turn on Tandi-Kishtwar Road after crossing the Tandi Pul and start moving towards Udaipur. The Chandra River will be on your left. After a one hour drive, you would reach Jobrang Bus Stop. Instead of continuing on the highway, take the narrow road that leads you down to the bridge crossing the river. Cross the river and then take a left to head up towards Rashil, continue for around 15mins and you would finally reach Rashil.

By Cab:

If you are looking for an easy and comfortable option to reach Rashil, opt for a cab. It takes around 2 and a half to 3 hours to reach Rashil from Manali. Cab fares start around 3000 rupees for a one way drop, and can go up to 5000 in peak seasons. If you are ready to spend some bucks, this is the best way to reach

By Bike:

Another option is to rent a bike. Bike rentals are budget friendly in Manali and range from 600-1500 rupees depending on the model and the season. If you love riding, do take this option as this is one of the prettiest roads you would be riding on.

By Bus:

The third option is travelling by the highly famed HRTC bus. There is no direct bus from Manali to Rashil. You have to board a Manali-Keylong bus from Manali and get down at Tandi Bridge, the junction of Chandra and Bhaga Rivers. After Tandi, you have to board another bus towards Udaipur. Get down at Jobrang bus stop, from here, Zostel Rashil is a 3km walk, or you may ask the host of your homestay to arrange a pick up.

Things to do in Rashil

Photo of Exploring Rashil- Unearthing the charm of offbeat Himachali villages by Manikuntala Das

Well, first and foremost, if you are planning a vacation where you want to absolutely do nothing but seek peace, this is the place to be. Rashil is one of the best places to experience the slow life in the Lahaul valley. Lie down and laze around with majestic views all around or get to know about the local culture and traditions of this place.

Exploring Nearby Villages: You can get an experience of the life and culture in Pattan valley by exploring the nearby villages on foot. Rashil in itself is a very small village and you can cover ends of it by hiking. Rapey and Jobrang are two other nearby villages that you can explore on foot within a distance of 3-4 kms. Both these villages are located on the left bank of Chenab River.

Photo of Exploring Rashil- Unearthing the charm of offbeat Himachali villages by Manikuntala Das

From Rapey, you can hike up to a beautiful pond surrounded by huge mountains overlooking the valley. This is a 15-20 minute hike. Take the road that goes in front of the Govt High School Jobrang, and after a bit of a steep climb, you would reach this most scenic place.

Chenab river, also known as Chandrabhaga

Photo of Exploring Rashil- Unearthing the charm of offbeat Himachali villages by Manikuntala Das

For a beautiful sunset, hike down to the river bed near Rashil. To reach there, you have to climb down the cliff near Zostel Rashil which is around a 20 minute walk. This is the best place to spend your evenings in Rashil

Rashil Waterfalls

Photo of Exploring Rashil- Unearthing the charm of offbeat Himachali villages by Manikuntala Das

Majestic Waterfalls: Pattan Valley is home to numerous stunning waterfalls. There is a waterfall in Rashil itself, apart from that you can visit Dara Waterfall and Lingar Waterfall

Where to stay in Rashil?

As of now, there are only two homestays in Rashil. I have always stayed at the Zostel Homes Rashil. The other one is Musafir HomeStay.

Zostel Homes Rashil

Photo of Exploring Rashil- Unearthing the charm of offbeat Himachali villages by Manikuntala Das

Zostel Homes Rashil is an experience in itself, with the host being extremely amiable ensuring you have the best stay possible!

If you are unable to book accommodation in Rashil, you can consider checking nearby towns like Tandi, Sissu, Keylong or Jispa for the stay.

What to Eat?

Do not expect fancy cafes and luxury restaurants if you are planning a trip here. Being a tiny hamlet far from the bustling towns, you would have to mostly depend on homestays for your food. There are a few small shops in nearby towns, where you can get momos, maggi, thukpa and chowmein. One of the most unique items I tried in Rashil, was the Lingdi Pickle, made using fiddlehead ferns.

Dinner at Zostel Rashil

Photo of Exploring Rashil- Unearthing the charm of offbeat Himachali villages by Manikuntala Das

The food at Zostel Homes Rashil is homely and pure- exactly what you would require in that serene setting.

Nearby places to visit from Rashil for Day trips

Udaipur, Himachal Pradesh

Photo of Udaipur, Mandi Division by Manikuntala Das

Well, I am sure you have heard about Udaipur in Rajasthan, but did you know that there’s a Himachali namesake as well. Lahaul Valley’s Udaipur is located around 35 km from Rashil, roughly an hour’s drive away. Search for ‘Mini Manali Eco Trail’ on the map and go to this amazing riverside spot surrounded by pine trees- no crowds, just you and nature! This picturesque hamlet on the banks of River Chenab is also home to two ancient temples, the Markula Devi temple and the Trilokinath temple. 

Lahaul is home to some of the highest Himalayan passes, one of them being the Shinkula Pass which is located at a height of 16,580 ft. This pass connects Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul Valley to Zanskar in Ladakh. Located at a distance of 95 km from Rashil, it is a 3-4 hour drive. After starting from Rashil, head towards Keylong and Darcha. The road bifurcates right after Darcha, and the left one takes you to a place called Chikka. The road then ascends to above 16,000 ft taking you to the Shinkula Pass. If time permits, visit the mighty Gonbo Rangjon in Zanskar. However, be cautious of the steep descent after the pass which drops from 16,000 ft to 10,000 ft in less than 10km. The entire journey offers stunning views of the barren mountains, snow-capped peaks and the serene beauty of the Himalayan landscape. 

Another high-altitude pass to explore during your trip is Baralacha La. Perched at 15,910 ft above sea level, this pass is the first one on the Manali-Leh highway after crossing the Atal Tunnel. Located around 102 km from Rashil, it takes around 4 hours to reach here. You have to follow the course of River Bhaga to reach Baralacha La. Deepak Tal and Suraj Tal are two of the must-stop locations on your way to the pass.  Also, stop at Zing Zing Bar for some chai and Maggi. 

Both Baralacha La and Shinku La are unique for their summer snow. I visited Baralachla in May 2022, and Shinku La in June 2024, and received fresh snowfall both times!!

If you are planning for a longer stay duration, consider adding places like Miyar Valley, Pangi Valley, Sach Pass, and Zanskar to your itinerary. 

Tips to keep in mind while travelling to Rashil

- If you are travelling to Rashil during the peak tourist season, it is always advisable to leave from Manali as early as possible. The traffic congestion between Manali and Atal Tunnel can be severe, with delays of up to 3-4 hours

- If you are travelling by bike or car, the nearest petrol pump is located at Tandi

- Vodafone connectivity is unreliable in the Lahaul Valley, so it is recommended to use a Jio or Airtel SIM card for better connectivity. There would be no network connectivity after Darcha, if you are planning to travel to Shinkula and Baralach La

- There are no nearby shops in Rashil, so you may have to travel at least 3-4 kilometres to find one. It’s advisable to carry essentials that you might need during the stay, eg. medicines, snacks, and other necessities

- Check Lahaul and Spiti Police page for latest updates on roads and weather conditions