Kasol, India: The Perfect Place to…Chill Out

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Kasol, India: The Perfect Place to…Chill Out

The city lights and the sky-high buildings of Delhi and Mumbai are surely a spectacle to see. They speak of the development India has seen and the architectural talents we boast of…but deep down, we just want to feel at home. We want the primitive powers of nature to catch our fancy and rejuvenate our wounded souls. So we look for solace in nature, in it’s hills and valleys with their steep inclines and untouched beauty. That is the reason Kasol, a peaceful hill station located in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh, is frequented by so many – foreigners and Indians alike.

The faraway lands of the Parvati Valley, where Kasol is nestled, are replete with an uncanny, unworldly calm – something hard to find in our fast-paced life today. There’s no rush and no hurry for things to happen, and this is why so many musicians, writers and creative souls find this place an ideal haven.

Kasol lies on the banks of the mighty river Parvati, which tends to surge during the monsoons. I decided to travel here during the monsoon, overlooking the risks of landslides and flash floods as I was aching to visit. I had heard tales of this place from my friends. They said the waves bring music to your ears as they strike against the mighty rocks on the banks of the river, and you can just sit for hours, unaware of time flowing past you.

Himachal, also known as the Scotland of India, has an incredible international appeal, and the inherent innocence of its inhabitants is evidence of the purity of this pristine state. Kasol, the mini Israel of India (as popularly known amongst travellers), has welcomed and embraced people from faraway lands, giving this place its much needed diversity.

If you want to experience the new age, chilled-out, accepting and nonjudgmental life of Kasol, I suggest you spend at least a fortnight.

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Unlike other parts of this country – where judgmental eyes may constrain you – this place has stoners, hippies, rastafarians, thinkers, adventure seekers and revellers, all coming together, fully basking in wanderlust.

The region is famous for its hashish, which is a banned drug, although somehow everyone manages to get a hold of it. The multitude of cafes in the main town make for an ideal environment to get intoxicated – if you so choose.

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Kasol – Cricket Match

The cafes in Kasol will remind you of Amsterdam, with trance and underground music playing in the background and plenty of stoners. Couches and mattresses are the most popular seating arrangements and the vibe is such that you’ll just have to ask a kind stranger for a light. You won’t be the only one – within an hour the entire cafe will be smoking the same joint/cigarette.

Israelis right out of the military spend a considerable amount of time here and add to the party spirit. Many have even opened up cafes and restaurants with art and psychedelic themed interiors – and the popular hummus and pita specialties. They say that this place actually feels like home to them.

A few kilometres ahead of Kasol is a Sikh holy site known as Manikaran Sahib, which has a natural hot water spring known to possess healing properties. In fact, the food served during langars, or communal meals, in the Gurudwara Manikaran Sahib is actually cooked using the water of the spring. You can even take a dip in the waters to cleanse your soul. Trust me the experience is out of the world.

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Kasol – Hiking

A strenuous trek will take you to the adjoining regions of Kheerganga, Rasol, Tosh Valley and many other picturesque summits offering breathtaking views of the Himalayas – those majestic peaks, sometimes covered in snow and sometimes sparkling with lush greenery.

Accommodation is pretty reasonable, with a wide range of guesthouses to choose from, but I would suggest renting a hill cottage to fully experience the Himachali life here. 

If you want to experience the new age, chilled-out, accepting and nonjudgmental life of Kasol, I suggest you spend at least a fortnight. I was restricted by college commitments and could only spend a week here, which was just not enough to absorb the glory of this magnificent town. But I will visit again soon, and this time I will stay long enough to explore the details and charm of Kasol.

Aishwarya Sharma

Aishwarya Sharma

A dentist by profession, and a writer, traveler and musician by passion - I never fail to explore some of the most underrated aspects of India. I have a special love for the hills as I grew up in the small, quaint hill town of Dehradun. I never leave out an opportunity to explore any landscape, whether it's the hilly terrains of Himachal Pradesh, the breezy beaches of Goa or the regal environs of Rajasthan. There's a pride I carry in my heart because I belong to one of the most diverse, fulfilling and vibrant regions of the world, India.

1 Comment

  • Erika
    Erika

    What an interesting place – the Amsterdam and Tel Aviv of India. We will have to visit.

    July 23, 2017 at 10:13 pm
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