Parvati Valley | A Walk in the woods

Tripoto
19th Mar 2017
Photo of Parvati Valley | A Walk in the woods by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

With summer around the corner and temperatures soaring as high as forty degrees, what could be better than getting away to quaint villages in the mountains with scenic backdrops far from the blistering heat of the plain land? This is where Parvati Valley has made a name for itself in the recent years and is perfect for a weekend getaway from Chandigarh or Delhi

The valley stretches from Bhuntar to Spiti and lies in the district of Kullu. This valley is home to many scenic treks. These trails pass through thick forests of Pine, Oak and Cedar. Most of these treks will require you to start from Kasol. Kasol(1640m ASL) is the connecting village for most treks and lies on the banks of the river Parvati. The Parvati river originates at Mantalai Glacier and makes its way through the valley and meets River Beas at Bhuntar. Nature is in abundance here. There is a lot to explore in the valley for the adventurous kind. Kasol offers splendid views of the river with snowcapped peaks in the backdrop. When you're here, spend your time shopping in the market, try the different delicacies of Israeli and Italian cuisines which are available throughout the valley or pick an isolated spot on the river bank and relax.

The food here is one of the most astounding aspects of the valley. You wouldn't expect to find restaurants that serve such delicious and well cooked food in an area so remote. It takes time for the food to be served but it is worth the wait.

Photo of Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

A stroll through the woods leads you to this spot. Kasol.

Photo of Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

Reaching most of the villages in this area will require you to trek since there are no motorable roads. Only places connected by roads are Tosh, Barsheni, Manikaran and Malana. The closest village to Kasol is Chalal. A thirty minute walk across a bridge, into the woods by the Parvati River will take you to Chalal. Pick a spot in the wild to pitch your tent or stay at one of the campsites or guesthouses in the village if independent camping is not your way of spending time outdoors. Away from the light pollution of Kasol, the night sky here comes alive with a million stars. The main occupation of the local people in the valley is Animal Husbandry and cultivation of Cannabis since Cannabis is abundant and Hemp is their main source of livelihood.

View from our tent.

Photo of Parvati Valley | A Walk in the woods by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

Sundown over Parvati river.

Photo of Parvati Valley | A Walk in the woods by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

Spot found. Set for the night.

Photo of Parvati Valley | A Walk in the woods by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

The next village we hike to is Rashol, a village comprising of 150 households, a school, a waterfall and wonderful people. To get here one has to go through a four hour trek. The trek route is craggy and scenic. This village is nick named Magic Rashol by many travellers because of the magnificent views it has to offer both during night and day. There's magic unfolding here all twenty-four hours of the day. A place where you just sit tight and watch time pass. Being a small village tucked away deep in the hills, there is nothing much to do here. If you don't want to sit around in the village, you can explore further and take the short treks to Rashol top or Virhim which generally takes not more than 2 hours.

Elevation: 8497ft ASL

Thirty minutes into the trek.

Photo of Rasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

Rashol

Photo of Rasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

The Milky Way. Our home.

Photo of Rasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

This had to be done for the sky was lit up at night.

Photo of Rasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

The last glow.

Photo of Rasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

Rashol Vibes. Stargazing sessions on a clear and cold night.

Photo of Rasol, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

To the northwest of Rashol, on the other side of the same mountain range lies Malana. The people here consider themselves superior to outsiders and hence avoid physical contact with them. The only people they consider equals are people from Grahan, another village 10kms from Kasol. The local language spoken here is Kanashi and is apparently spoken exclusively by people from Malana. To get here one can either choose to trek through Rashol Pass or Chanderkhani pass. However the easiest way to get here is from Jari via cab which cuts down your trekking time to two hours. Crossing over from Rashol Pass will take you around 5-6 hours and 5 days via Chanderkhani Pass starting from Naggar.

Elevation: 8710 ft. ASL

Malana.

Photo of Malana, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

A bright and sunny morning after a really cold night. The sun did not last for long.

Photo of Malana, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

Also don't miss out on Kheerganga. It is a six hour trek with only 3-4 cafes on the way for refreshments. Once you reach here, you cannot help but be mesmerized by the vast lush green meadows and the close proximity of the gigantic snow clad peaks. There are 3 routes that lead to Kheerganga i.e. from Tosh, Kalga and Barsheni. The route from Kalga is short and steep. It's also the most scenic route amongst the three. Another highlight of this place is the natural sulphur spring which supposedly has healing properties. A dip in the hot spring is an absolute bliss. The name Kheerganga is derived from the white sulphur particles floating in the water which is referred to as the KHEER. You can trek to Spiti through the Pin Valley from here. This is the starting point for the trek.

Elevation: 13,051 ft.

Mountain goat at Kheerganga.

Photo of Kheerganga - Sunshine Himalayan Camp, Sosan, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

Sundown | Kheerganga.

Photo of Kheerganga - Sunshine Himalayan Camp, Sosan, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

The geothermal spring | Kheerganga.

Photo of Kheerganga - Sunshine Himalayan Camp, Sosan, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

Spring in the valley.

Photo of Kheerganga - Sunshine Himalayan Camp, Sosan, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

Sundown.

Photo of Kheerganga - Sunshine Himalayan Camp, Sosan, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

On the way to Kheerganga.

Photo of Kheerganga - Sunshine Himalayan Camp, Sosan, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

Moonrise | Kheerganga

Photo of Kheerganga - Sunshine Himalayan Camp, Sosan, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

Grandeur.

Photo of Kheerganga - Sunshine Himalayan Camp, Sosan, Himachal Pradesh, India by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

If you're interested in organic farming, Kalga is a must visit. Most of the crops grown here are organic except for the apples as they yeild the most profit. Kalga has a lot of mint plantations around the village; so don't be surprised if the minty fragrance fills up the air. An ex IAF pilot staying at Kalga has been practising organic farming for quite some time now and if you manage to track him down, he will be more than happy to show you around his farm and familiarize with the different kinds of crops he cultivates which include a wide variety of tea and mint.

Kalga at night.

Photo of Parvati Valley | A Walk in the woods by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

Ambient light on a full moon night | Kalga.

Photo of Parvati Valley | A Walk in the woods by Bappaditya Bhattacharya

Getting there:

●Nearest airport is Bhuntar.

●If you are planning to go by road, Himachal state transport busses from Kashmere gate ISBT can get you to Bhuntar from where you will need to switch bus to get to Kasol.

When You're there:

● Dine at Evergreen. Killer food, Killer vibe and reasonable rates. Try the Shakshouka or the Sippudim.

● Eat at Sambhu's. He makes the best momos. His stall is on the bridge connecting New and Old Kasol.

● Camp around. Pick a spot in the wild and pitch your tent. Talk to/inform the locals though if you are camping near a village.

●Visit the German Bakeries around Kasol to satisfy your sweet tooth and also for pure Yak cheese.

● Get back locally made souvenirs that are sold in the market.

● Indulge in Trout fishing. Permissions from the forest department are required for this.

2 Comment(s)
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hi. is the trekking and camping in parvati valley safe?
Fri 04 21 17, 21:49 · Reply (1) · Report
Yes, trekking and camping is safe. Where all do you plan on visiting ?
Sat 04 22 17, 09:11 · Report
which did you visit?
Fri 04 21 17, 03:02 · Reply (1) · Report
I visited all the places mentioned in the post. Are you looking to visit the valley ?
Sat 04 22 17, 09:10 · Report