We Have Ruined Kasol Forever. But Is It Too Late To Save Parvati Valley?


I have never considered myself an environmentalist. Not because I have stupid problems with the name, but because I use plastic, don't always recycle my garbage and don't even attempt to do the many things that can save our environment.

But I have been taught to travel responsibly.

Growing up, summer vacations meant going to Himachal to my mother's hometown and staying in the village where we ate fresh rotis made on a chulah. My grandmother would let us carry maggi after much insistence, and teach us how to cook on the wood-fired chulah.

Photo of We Have Ruined Kasol Forever. But Is It Too Late To Save Parvati Valley? 1/6 by Sreshti Verma
This is kind of how my nani's village looked.

Growing up, many things slip our minds. Picking up after ourselves and not throwing that wrapper wherever our heart desires, has to be inculcated all over again.

But a hefty chunk of the crowd flocking to Kasol has absolutely no manners.

On my first day there I saw a group of city kids giggling and teasing each other (no issues with that). The boys became highly inventive and decided to throw empty juice boxes at the girls. I tried to give them a literal death stare, but it was to no effect. So when the second box hit the ground I went inside their circle of stupidity, picked up the boxes and put them in my bag.

Most of the 20-somethings crowding the streets find Kasol an ideal place to get high. Staying in a trance, for them, includes treating the mountain village as their private bin. Roll a joint, throw the cigarette, get high, throw that packet of chips along with the butt of the joint right there.

Photo of We Have Ruined Kasol Forever. But Is It Too Late To Save Parvati Valley? 2/6 by Sreshti Verma
The line at the ATM which went all the way to the taxi stand.

I have nothing against people smoking up, but every time you re-purchase a plastic bottle of water, you are adding to the dump here.

The stream that flows through Kasol has become a dumping ground for riverside cafes. And often people who climb up the rocks for pictures, end up throwing a lot shit into the water.

Photo of We Have Ruined Kasol Forever. But Is It Too Late To Save Parvati Valley? 3/6 by Sreshti Verma
This is how it looks now.

Chalal is a beautiful village parallel to Kasol. It still maintains a bit of its essence as there is no direct road leading to it.

But the path to Chalal is littered, a sight painful to see. Right outside a local home, I saw a pile of Lays packets and Pepsi bottles. Why should the people who call this land home pay for our passiveness?

Photo of We Have Ruined Kasol Forever. But Is It Too Late To Save Parvati Valley? 4/6 by Sreshti Verma

And now, a plea against portable speakers.

I am sure the trance music after a marijuana high is one of your favourite things in the world. But when you play that music out loud while walking through the jungles, you are violently attacking the quiet of the mountains and its creatures.

Photo of We Have Ruined Kasol Forever. But Is It Too Late To Save Parvati Valley? 5/6 by Sreshti Verma
I tried hard not to channel my inner Nana Patekar.

The locals and animals of the forest don't like it. Even you wouldn't like it if someone came to your home and blasted random electronic sounds.

To escape Kasol, we went further up to Tosh. This village is relatively less violated as the local houses outnumber the guesthouses and hotels. But we could anticipate a similar future for it if irresponsible travelling is not put to an end.

Photo of We Have Ruined Kasol Forever. But Is It Too Late To Save Parvati Valley? 6/6 by Sreshti Verma
The valley is a beautiful place. Let's take care of it.

What you can do:

1. Take a garbage bag with you. Bring back your litter. The metropolitan cities are much more capable of processing that garbage than small mountain villages.

2. Please don't use portable speakers in the open or on a trail. Use headphones instead. In your hotel at a decent volume, it is still fine.

3. Refrain from buying more than one or two plastic bottles. You can get them re-filled from any dhaba or a home on your way. And no, river water won't kill you.

4. Try not to take your car to places where public transport is in abundance. Not adding to the current load of vehicles really helps. And a bus journey is a road trip too, you know.

Just do not litter. Not in river. Not on the trail. Not even out of the bus. Not ANYWHERE!

If you liked this, check out I wish I was here for some good travel content.

23 Comment(s)
Sort by:
i went to kasol twice in 2015 and in may 2017, but man this place is completely ruined now. on my second trip i went to chalal village and seriously i was so disheartened to see that the whole path which leads to chalal is full of litter. the whole valley is now full of plastic waste. Its my plea to all the people pls respect our nature respect our motherland. Parvati valley is the most beautiful places in India but with the kind of garbage treatment we are giving to it very soon it will be out from the travel list of many people. respect nature respect your motherland.
Wed 08 16 17, 11:44 · Reply · Report
I remember seeing piles of plastic bottles in a crevice near Kaza. Turns out that was done by the locals who were busy building hotels for the rush if tourist to their once silent land. Took up this issue with the tourism department of HP. But not much was done. But I do hope they understand the consequences before its too late.
Tue 04 11 17, 18:16 · Reply · Report
Agreed with this portable speaker music thing.If u are in mountains then u must enjoy​ the beauty of Mother-Nature and sound of forrest & birds.Also playing music in these parts may be dangerous for u cause u may attacked by wild animals & u never know them coming because of sound of music.So enjoy the beauty of journey and play music when u reached ur destination.Enjoy responsibly guys !!
Tue 04 11 17, 15:27 · Reply · Report
Very well said..responsible travelling and mountaineering is always good for people who visit behind and locals too..littering always spoils the beauty of the place and peace..
Sat 03 25 17, 01:05 · Reply · Report
This was the second time I traveled to Parvati Valley, and I felt that it was time to look for a newer place. Back then, there were hardly any FB posts asking people to visit Kasol, now there are. Littering is common and it was visible in Tosh too.
Sun 08 28 16, 22:14 · Reply · Report
Show More Comments