The trippy dreamland of Kasol and Tosh!

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Photo of The trippy dreamland of Kasol and Tosh! by Anindita Nayak

Feeling stuck, watching the glass window, staring at my laptop screen, tired from my mundane life I finally decided to go for a vacation. My immediate choice living in Bangalore, during the month of May, should have been a hill station in south, but wanting a week long vacation I planned my trip to Himachal Pradesh which turned out to be the most relaxing and amazing trip ever!

I took a flight till Delhi. From Delhi, I took an overnight bus to Bhuntar which I had booked through Redbus. It was a 12 hour journey with 2 rest stops in between. One at around 11 PM for dinner and the other at around 7 AM for breakfast. From Bhuntar, I took a shared cab along with 5 other people for 1500. For 4 people, you can get a taxi at 1200. One can even reach Kasol from Bhuntar through local bus. But unsure of their frequency, I preferred taking a taxi.

The journey from Bhuntar to Kasol was purely exhilarating and filled with such beautiful views that made you grateful for the pair of eyes you own. It is an hour long journey through Taxi and by bus it takes around 1.5-2 hours. The taxi driver was kind and friendly and told us about all the places in and around Kasol. Also, I got to know the many uses of the marijuana plant which Kasol is very famous for. Apparently, everybody takes it. Even the kids especially during winters. It is mixed in small quantities in food that doesn’t affect a person in any other way but just to provide warmth to the body.

After reaching Kasol, I had to decide for a place to stay. There are a lot of cafes, guesthouses and hostels where you can stay. I stayed at Turquoise inn and café. I got a room for just ₹650/-.

The inn was located just by the Parvati river which is a continuously flowing river and I could watch it from my balcony. You can hear the sweet sound of the gushing water. The mountains which surrounded the inn were covered with deodar tress. Ahh, just the mere memory of it makes me want to go back.

I decided to freshen up and go to Chalal village which can only be reached through a small trek of roughly 30-40 minutes. Through the way, you just had to follow the river upto one point and then go the other way. The whole trek was covered with tress and beautiful scenic views. There was particularly this one mountain range that you could see which was covered in snow. The birds soaring high in the sky makes you wonder how can some living creatures have so much liberty above others, especially over we human beings who think we are so very supreme and free to do whatever we want. After reaching the village, I went up to a small eatery which had tables and chairs in the open. Under the clear sky, mild wind caressing my cheek, I had the most satisfying lunch ever, a simple veg thali which was scrumptious to the last bit!

The trek back to Kasol took half the time it took to trek upside. Along the way, I encountered a drove of donkeys. The locals use donkeys here to carry things from one place to other as the shortest route from one village to other is by walk. After coming back to the Kasol village, I rested at the moon dance café. One must have a meal here atleast once as they serve delicious varieties of food covering most of the cuisines from all over the world. I had chai there and chatted with a fellow traveler who had come all the way from Guhawti on a solo trip. I also got to know about the trek to Grahan village which was a similar trek to that of Chalal. One could also trek to Rasol from Kasol which was a less commercialized version of Kasol.

The next day, I decided to relax and indulge myself in the true beauty of Kasol. How many times do you actually get to see such marvelous beauty from your office window? That’s right. Not even once! So, I spent most of my day walking along the river. Also, I ended up going to Manikaran which is very famous for its Gurudwara. To go to Manikaran from Kasol, you can take a taxi or the local bus which is very cheap and costs 10 per person!

I came back to Kasol by bus again and had a delicious meal at Jim Morrison’s café. I found this café the best in Kasol! Mind you, it’s a vegetarian café and to reach here you have to make a small trek upwards for about 5-10 minutes. But the view from this café and the tasty food they serve is worth it.

The rest of the evening, I spent galivanting in the lanes which were covered with different kind of stalls in every street. There were clothes, bracelets, keychains, “om mane padme hum” cotton flags, trippy paintings, shawls, mufflers, hand bags and sling bags made from marijuana plant and a lot more to see and buy and take a small piece of this place with you! There were stalls serving Maggi, momos and other kinds of snacks everywhere. There are also some liquor shops around.

The next day, I decided to head to Tosh. To go to Tosh, you can again take a taxi or a bus till Barsheini and a shared taxi from there. I found the latter a better option as it was cheap. Mind you, Barsheini is also the point from where you can begin your trip to Kheerganga! Along the way till Barsheini, we encountered very thin roads where my heart skipped a beat, but the cool winds blowing and the views were worth it. Tosh is at a height of 2,400 meters where as Kasol is at a height of 1,580 meters. So the temperature and air just gets cooler as you go top. From Barsheini, I took a shared taxi with 10 others and at a cheap price of ₹40/- per person.

Tosh is a very small village which is surrounded by snow clapped mountains and the higher you hike the greater the view. At the top, there’s tosh glacier but you need to trek for that. I stayed at Pink Floyd Café which is quite famous in Tosh. The view from my room was heavenly. All you could see was the snow clapped mountains, the tall deodar trees, the Tosh waterfalls which looked so tiny because of the height. And you knew you were at a great height, when the birds flew below you! Ah, what a tiny slice of heaven it was. Combine it with some Maggi and chai and you could definitely taste heaven. Even at such a great height the café has non-vegetarian options too. And tried and tested, they are delicious!

There’s not much to do around here. When I went to the café most of the people were stoned and happily chilling. Everyone seemed very friendly. You could just sit there and they would strike up a conversation with you. There were people from all over the world. One could see trippy pictures and Bob Marley’s pictures too and understand the influence of him there. After all, everybody knows what Kasol and Tosh are famous for its hashish production. For adrenaline junkies, you can make the Kheerganga trek and spend the night here in Tosh.

The next day, we came back to Kasol. After having the last lunch in Kasol at Jim Morrison’s, I took a bus from Bhuntar till Delhi!

The only thing you need to take care of while coming here is carry warm clothes as the nights are chilly here even during summer season. I visited in May and the night temperature fell to 8 degree Celsius and with rain on top of that it got even more cold!

This place is meant for everyone. From adrenaline junkies to stoners, solo trippers, couples or your gang! It is a picture perfect place, a place from somewhere in dreamland. The gigantic mountains, the deodar trees, the Parvati valley with the continuous flowing River Parvati and River Beas, the chilly and fume free and dust free wind, Maggi, momos and chai, cuisines that range from Indian, Italian, Chinese, Israeli, Continental and more, the trippy plant, the generous and friendly folks and so much more! While I was heading back to city of software engineers, I understood why people come to spend a few days in Kasol and end up staying for Months! With that I promised myself to go back again someday soon. When are you planning to head there? Happy tripping :)

River Parvati!

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

Picturesque!

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

Chalal village

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

Lots of bridges in Himachal!

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

Jim Morrison's Cafe! :)

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

This is the Jim Morrison's Cafe! Doesn't look like a cafe does it?

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak
Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

View from the bus till Barsheini!

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

Magical Tosh :)

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

The height of Pink Floyd Cafè, Tosh.

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

What a beauty, Tosh!

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

Gurudwara at Manikaran.

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

Shop here at Kasol market.

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

View from Pink Floyd Cafè, Tosh.

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

Momo, chai and tranquility.

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

Yum to the last bite :)

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak

Trippy Pink Floyd Cafè.

Photo of Tosh, Himachal Pradesh, India by Anindita Nayak
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