How to get there: From Chandigarh one can go Manikaran via bus or taxi, its a long journey one might want to take a break at Kasol or Manikaran. Distance between Kasol and Manikaran is approximately 4km.
Kasol offers the much needed respite for young Israelis desperate for a break after their compulsory military service. With a sizeable Israeli population, it hardly comes as a surprise that the signboards outside shops are also written in Hebrew. Manikaran is famous for the natural hot springs which is said to possess curative powers. Many pilgrims take a dip in the holy water to wash away their sins.
Day 1, we started our journey around 12 noon which starts from Barshiani, which basically is a Dam construction site. First thing that you will need is a good pair of shoes and a backpack. But if you plan to stay only for one night then carry less luggage (Unlike the mistake we made and carried a huge bagpack with extra stuff). So thank us later and travel as light as you can with only essentials, or no need to carry anything at all while you are on trek, except a water bottle as the heat can take a toll on you. Along the trek you will find good number of shops which serve Maggi, omelette, tea, snacks etc. The recent inflow of Israeli tourists has triggered mushrooming of restaurants, hotels and shops catering to their needs. Cafes and restaurants serve Israeli cuisine along with local dishes.
As we started our journey we met Farhan Ansari, a solo traveller from Mumbai. It was a great experience with him. It's the essence of this place that you meet so many strangers on your way, most of them super friendly, and you keep crossing ways with them here and there that they don't look strangers anymore.
The Jungle along the path was so dense that sunlight hardly reached the ground. By growing a canopy to hog on sunlight, trees also create vital oases of shade on the ground. But despite of all the danger of walking through a dense forest, we couldn’t stop ourselves appreciating the beauty of this place. The human races innate attraction to forests is due to a phenomenon known as "biophilia" which is still in relatively early stages of scientific explanation. We know that biophilia draws humans to water, woods and other natural scenery, and exposure to forests in particular, has proved to boost creativity and encourage meditation and mindfulness. The human spirit yearns for places where nature is preserved and has not been rearranged by the hands of mankind.