If you are an 80s or a 90s kid, I am sure you must have seen ample disney cartoons and read alluring fairy tales and wondered if such places shown as "Enchanting woods" even exist! Well, the answer would be Parvati Valley! From Lush green Mountains to a distant view of huge snow capped peaks. From beautiful trekking paths to the most heavenly camping sites. From mesmerizing Dancing clouds to an enticing Parvati river. From ridiculously beautiful small villages to food that gives your taste buds an orgasm. Be it a sunrise, the sunset, night sky or a chilly drizzle. Be it the wind, the bonfire, the small cafes or the music. Everything about this part of Himalayas is Sheer Magic!!
Location and Access: Lying in the lap of Himalayas, Parvati valley is a paradise of nature stretching from Bhuntar, Kullu to Spiti valley. It can be accessed through Bhuntar in Kullu district from where you can easily get a Cab or Bus which connects with Kasol for 50 bucks and Barsheni for 75 bucks. Cabs are a little overpriced in this stretch. There's an easy access to Bhuntar via Volvo and Buses from Delhi, Chandigarh and rest of Himachal. It also is home to the Kullu airport. If you are a hardcore trekker, you can also have an access to the Valley through the Pin Parvati Pass connected with Spiti Valley.
Brief about the Fairytale Land: Once you leave from Bhuntar towards Parvati, you will start disconnecting with the rest of the world on your own. (Don't worry, The network will be there.) The friendly locals speak good Hindi, English and some even speak Hebrew and welcome you with an open heart. Locals here are self sufficient and mostly have farms or make woolen clothes for their living. People from different parts of the country and world keep coming here for long sabbaticals and become one of the locals, they engage in creative stuff like Jewelry making, Knitting dreamcatchers, Painting, Cooking at Cafes etc for their living there.
Parvati Valley is pretty full with Stoners (People who are high on Hashish/weed and some forms of drugs), Trekkers and Backpackers (It has numerous beautiful trekking trails.) But that's not all. It has a gift for every visitor. Recently its gaining popularity among solo travelers as its pretty safer and cheap. It touches your soul!
A brief of my trip: As my first solo trip, I chose to romance with nature at Parvati Valley.
Day 0: Reached Delhi in the Evening and directly took a cab to Kashmiri gate ISBT where I had my bus till Bhuntar. Boarded the bus and the journey with unseen avenues begins!
Day 1: Waking up to a little sunlight peeping through the bus window is the best way to get up. Reached Bhuntar and took a bus till Kasol which after a breathtaking picturesque journey dropped me at Kasol Chowk around 10 AM. Through a Facebook update, I found out that a friend of mine was in Kasol and decided to join him. We walked till Chalal as our camp was there. Unwinding, relaxing a little and getting fresh we again left for Kasol and spent an Amazing time in the awe of nature. After long walks and exploration, satisfied the hunger with yummy delicacies from good eats at Kasol. Listening to a random band playing amazing music was an icing on the cake. After a little shopping at the local joints, we headed back to Chalal by late evening. Amazing conversations and unlimited travel stories around the bonfire with strangers by the side of Parvati river. What else can one ask for! Also we came across an engineer storyteller gypsy guy from Delhi, popularly known as "Mowgli Baba", who now paints and does basic chores as a living at different parts of Parvati valley.
Day 2: Before I could absorb the magic of an amazing day at Kasol, the next day began, after a sumptuous breakfast and dancing to the tunes of "Atrangi Yaari" We left the campsite at Chalal and back to Kasol. A little more exploration and decided to hire a cab till Tosh. Enroute stopping at Manikaran Gurudwara for a quick darshan and amazing burgers from "Bittoo bhaiya", we headed for Tosh, a short conversation with a sherpa taking his mountain goats downhill was good enough to enlighten the moods. The ever changing views will give you wandergasm! After every 5 minutes I wanted to stop the cab and click pictures (which ofcourse wasn't possible). The cab took us till Tosh village. and a very small walk led us into the village. We walked uphill till Pinky di's guest house and were smitten at the view from there. My friends left for Kheerganga trek and all I had was my soltitude and this spell bounding valley! After both food for stomach and soul, I went for a walk around the village. A stunning little hamlet this village is! I wished I had more time to spend here. Trying my hands on some more cafes around and some chit chats with locals and peddlers, I headed back to my guest house. Enjoying the night sky with dinner and a nice chat with the friendly Pinky di and her business, I decided to end my day. Honestly, the night was a little spooky. A secluded guest house with nothing but trees around and some groups of stoners listening to Badshaah songs, it was pitch dark outside and I was reminded of all the horror films i had seen in recent past. "Hanuman chalisa" and my bestie to the rescue, I somehow slept and woke up just in time for sunrise!
Day 3: Witnessing the most beautiful sunrise of life (maybe cuz i was glad I was alive ;p) I began my day with another small walk around the village. I was supposed to stay at Pulga tonight as there would be a psy party but it was cancelled which means there would hardly be any people and after last night at Tosh I wasn't pretty comfortable about spending a night at a secluded village alone. I decided to reach Manali as I had plans further ahead from the next day. Luckily the people with whom I was sharing a cab till Barsheni were going till Kalga and I decided to tag along. The cabby was a sweetheart and he took us to highest possible point from where I had to hike till Kalga. on reaching the village my heart skipped a beat. I wanted to stay there for like forever. Beauty in the most Raw form! I had plans further ahead, else would have definitely stayed a day or two here. Chilled at a beautiful cafe as i breathed in some nature and quenched the thirst for my soul. Left with a heavy heart and my cabbie took me down to Barsheni where I got a bus till Kasol. collecting my backpack from Kasol, I bid adieu to this magical land for the time being and off to Bhuntar-Manali.
Parvati Valley isn't just about smoking up or eating at the cafes. Neither is it about the treks for adventurist. Its about falling in love.. with your own soul. With nature.. With the being that we are! It quenches the thirst of your soul and satisfies the hunger of your stomach and heart! You may or may not meet amazing people. You may or may not discover yourself. But you will discover inner peace here. And Parvati valley isnt the place which remains etched in your memories and you make plans to visit here again atleast once in life. It becomes the home to your wandering soul which beautifully haunts you! And you are enticed and thrive to return to this land again and again!!
A little about the Places!: