Have you ever travelled solo? Have you ever experienced backpacking with no fixed itinerary, nor stay bookings? Kasol Himachal can definitely be the place to do this. Located in the district of Kullu, guarded by snow mountains all over, lies this peaceful village. It has become a hub for backpackers from all over the world and is on everybody’s bucket list.
Breathtaking view at Kasol Himachal
You would be anxious to know what brings people from all over the world to this un-famous village!? If you just wanna spend a few days away from the city life, sit amidst the picturesque mountains and hear the flowing river, Kasol is the place to be.
Mountain view from Kasol Himachal
However, majorly the most classified and undisclosed reason for visiting Kasol is: it happens to be a stoners paradise and is infamous among cannabis smokers. One can find the finest qualities of the hash in the world here.
Cannabis plants at Kasol Himachal
How to reach Kasol Himachal
The cheapest and most preferred way to reach Kasol Himachal is via railway and bus. The nearest railhead is Pathankot which is nearly 150 km from Kasol. Chandigarh railway station (290 km from Kasol) is preferred over Pathankot due to its better connectivity to other Indian cities.
From Chandigarh, catch a bus to Manali, though you don’t have to travel till there. You need to get down at Bhuntar (48 kms before Manali), which is 31 kms away from Kasol. From here, you can catch a local bus to reach your destination.
Note: – Kasol does not have direct connectivity by bus/train from major cities. I took a bus from ISBT Kashmiri Gate Delhi to reach Bhuntar.
For a couple of years now, I had heard a lot about Kasol. It was hard to believe, that a small village as this one, could occupy a significant space in the heads of a whole lot of travellers. It was this curiosity, which compelled me to visit Kasol. As I set foot in this peaceful place, I knew that the next few days were going to be amazing and full of surprises.
Parvati river Kasol Himachal
Kasol reminded me of the paintings I used to draw in my childhood. It felt as if my drawings came to life. There were mountains in the vicinity, a river flowing across the village and dense forest cover with few huts.
Awesome view at Kasol Himachal
Kasol is a part of Parvati valley which stretches from Bhuntar to Kullu. The entire valley is covered with a blanket of snow in winters and carpet of green in summers.
Time for campfire at Kasol Himachal
Kasol has carved up quite a reputation for itself, as the “Mini Israel“, “Stoners Paradise”, “Amsterdam of India” and so on. About 60 % of travellers to Kasol are folks who have served in the military of Israel. Parvati valley becomes an escape way for them.
Himalayan range as seen from Kasol Himachal
A lot of youngsters visit Kasol solely to get high as Marijuana and Hash are easily available. Even the air faintly smells of Hash. The livelihood of the locals hugely depends on selling weed.
I am only trying to lay facts here; good or bad depends on readers. If you are someone who enjoys smoking up, I hope you take care of yourself. If you are someone who doesn’t, it isn’t bad either. Moreover, the beauty of this place can easily overshadow other irrelevant things.
Amazing Parvati valley Kasol Himachal
A walk across the river with the Himalayan range in the backdrop is a memory to cherish forever.
Where to stay in Kasol Himachal
With the rapidly increasing number of visitors, numerous stay options have come up of late. You needn’t really book in advance. To enjoy your stay to the fullest, I would suggest you ditch the luxurious hotel and stay in a tent. They are available in the range of 300 INR per person for a night. I opted for Surya camps.
Also, recently many hostels have opened up in Kasol. Hosteller, a backpacking hostel chain has its branch at Kasol. They provide quality accommodation at a budget friendly price and hence would highly recommend them.
Dog at our stay place in Kasol Himachal
You can put up at Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara which is at a distance of about 5 kms from Kasol. For more details check Sarai bookings. Accommodation alternatives are available at Chalal as well. (3 kms from Kasol)
Our stay place at Kasol Himachal
Carry enough cash
There is only one ATM in Kasol which is either cashless or out of service most of the time. Hence, it’s advisable to carry enough cash, to avoid paying a 5% surcharge for cash withdrawal from any currency exchange booth.
On way to Tosh from Kasol Himachal
Best time to visit Kasol Himachal
Now, this depends on what you want to experience. To witness the snowfall November to January is the best time. Remember, it is treacherously cold and most of the hotels/camps remain closed. During the monsoon season there are frequent downpours and dangerous landslides due to hilly terrain, hence July to September isn’t the best time to plan your travel.
My take on this would be to visit from April to July as the climate is really pleasant, rarely dropping below 15 °C. Sightseeing and other activities like camping and trekking are most enjoyable during this time.
Houses at Kasol Himachal
Food options at Kasol Himachal
Apart from the whiff of the hash in the air, Kasol is a great place to dine. There are many cafes which offer lip-smacking Israeli and Tibetan food, with seating arrangement under the star-lit sky. Pink Floyd, German Bakery, Shiv, Evergreen, Bhoj and Little Italy are few of the popular café.
On your trip to Kasol Himachal, you could explore the nearby Manikaran, Tosh and Kheerganga trek as well. For Tosh, you can check out my earlier post on Tosh, Himachal – The Last Hippie Village in Parvati valley.
Manikaran near Kasol Himachal
Ideally, Kasol is one of the places; you would love to strike off your bucket list before you get married.?
Are you looking for some essential travel gear? Check out my blog post on What’s in my Backpack.
Hope you would have enjoyed reading this blog post. To get regular updates on upcoming blog posts from On a Cheap Trip, please subscribe by entering your name and E-mail address in the Newsletter below. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest as well as on Twitter.