I had never been to Himachal Pradesh before. Although, I’d heard a lot about it from a friend who belongs to the place but somehow was never able to set foot on the land. However, I recently managed to do so and boy/girl (I didn’t want to be gender biased :P), was it worth it!
There are some places that you might dislike, some that you find bearable, some you like and then some that you absolutely fall in love with. Himachal for me was the last one. It was a place I travelled to after a long time and at a time I needed to go somewhere the most.
I’d gone for this trip with a close friend. We caught a volvo bus to Bhuntar from Delhi (ISBT Kashmere Gate bus stand) at night and reached the place early next morning. At Bhuntar, we decided to have some tea as it was very cold and we anyway, had to travel again. We caught a local bus from here that went to Kasol. While we waited for the bus to fill up, we soaked in the cold and fresh air and waited with bated breath for the second phase of the journey to begin.
The bus started rather late after making us wait for at least an hour. Although I hadn’t been able to sleep properly throughout the time spent in the bus the previous night, I realised I couldn’t afford to sleep now either. The roads, the hills and everything around was so beautiful. In fact, we noticed how even the people of Himachal are naturally beautiful – everyone from young kids to elder folk.
We reached Kasol around 1 and a half hours after the bus started from Bhuntar. As the bus had many stops on the way, it took more time than it should. The air was cold and extremely fresh here and an absolutely welcome change after the polluted air in Delhi.
Since we’d not booked a hotel in advance, once we got off the bus we began inquiring in various hotels that seemed decent. We finally found a room for Rs. 800/night, however for the heater the Hotel guy charged us Rs.250/night extra. We didn’t opt for staying in tents as my friend wasn’t very keen on doing the same given the chilly weather (I’ll surely stay in one next time round though :D). There is cheap and seemingly decent accomodation available at Manikaran too, which is a short distance away from Kasol. So in case, you plan to go budget travelling to Kasol, do check out Manikaran for accomodation.
After we finalised a hotel (Hotel Sun ‘N’ Wind) and got ready, we decided to go around the place and discover Kasol. We started with breakfast at the Moon Dance Cafe.We tried the Israeli platter here and it was good 🙂 After this, we just walked around the Parvati River a little and took in the natural beauty around.
Once we were done hogging delicious food and lazily walking around Kasol, we decided to catch a bus to Manikaran and visit the gurudwara there (Gurudwara Sahib Manikaran).
The Gurudwara at Manikaran has a natural hot spring which is considered to be extremely holy and a dip in it’s water is said to treat various skin ailments. You can read the full story about this place in the pic below 🙂
The langar (communal kitchen) at the Gurudwara here serves food cooked using this water and in fact, you can even see people here cooking small pouches of rice (you can too) to take back with them. We feasted at the langar (the food was simple yet good), prayed for a while and then decided to just randomly walk around until we were tired enough to call it a day.
On our second day at Kasol, we decided to go to Malana. We took a local bus to Jari and since we initially weren’t sure how long it takes to trek to Malana from there, we started walking towards the place. Around half an hour later, we realised that the walk to Malana would take around 5 hours so we decided to turn back and take a cab instead.
We finally got a cab from Jari. After a lot of asking around, we realised that there is one taxi association that exists here and that they all charge the same rate so unless you’re sharing your cab with someone, there’s no scope of a discount. I don’t really remember how much we paid for this journey. Since we’d opted for a round trip as we had planned to continue staying at Kasol throughout the trip, I think it costed us Rs. 1200. Thankfully, we found a fellow traveller on our way and he agreed to share the ride with us 😀
The cab dropped us approximately 4-5 kms. away from the Malana village. We began our trek from here, it was beautiful yet extremely tiring at the same time. After trekking for what seemed like an eternity (it might have been half an hour though :P), we finally reached what seemed to be Malana. But then we found out that beyond the small restaurant that we’d just encountered and which we thought was a part of the village, there lay a path which we needed to tread to go further to reach Malana.
It was almost 4 pm by the time we finally reached the village, this left us with hardly any time to spend in the village. I realised that we probably should have stayed the night here. We had some yummy parathas and Maggi at a small restaurant here in a rush since we had to go back to our cab before it got dark.
This village has a unique charm to it. I’m not sure what makes it more magical, the fact that you can’t touch anyone or any building in this place or that you will see a lot of grass remnants in the open everywhere. The people here are very friendly and many of them including little children got excited looking at the camera in my hand 😀 Turns out they’re open to getting their pics clicked even if they don’t like being touched. They consider themselves to be descendants of Alexander and that they are superior from everyone else in a way so do respect their beliefs when you do visit this village and keep your hands to yourself 😛
There is also an extremely interesting temple which has wood carvings and is extremely ancient, outsiders are not allowed to enter or touch the building and in case you do happen to do that, you’ll be charged a fine of Rs. 1000.
After we roamed around and clicked pics for around an hour and a half, we began our trek back to the cab. As this time, there was less amount of climbing plus our tummies were full, we took lesser time than we had while going to Malana.
In totality, Malana was a very fascinating experience, our trip to this village was mostly good though something bad happened too on this day. But I’ll not get into the bad part as some things are probably meant to remain a secret and hence, this will too 😛
Anyway, the next day being my birthday and the day we go to Tosh was something to look forward to. I’ll cover that in the next post 😀 Until then, stay happy and stay high! ❤