Scrolling through Instagram and merely staring at pictures of other travelers was finally starting to irk me. And one day, when I’d had enough, I roped in 3 of my friends and booked a 2 nights 3 days package to Kasol. With pure excitement in our hearts and less than 5k in our pockets, we set on an unusual journey to Shiva’s abode oozing unending charm and tranquility.
Trip Type: An awesome group adventure
Budget: INR 5,000 per person
Round trip journey & hotel cost: INR 2,000 + INR 1,375 (per person)
Amount left: INR 1,625 per person
I EXPLORED: The valley, the river, and the countless apple orchards!
Semi Sleeper coaches aren’t exactly comfortable, but you’re bound to forget all about your aching backs once your eyes are finally treated with views of a sun rising behind hazy mountains lined perfectly on either side of a roaring river. To an artist looking for a spot of inspiration, this was nothing less than magic!
An equally enchanting view was of our hotel, Negi’s Nest. Nestled snugly in the lap of Parvati Valley was our quaint hideout with lush hills rising on either side of it and the white river gushing just below it.
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The trek to Parvati Valley: Picturesque huts, apple orchards, & friendly locals
The pale, noisy stream sprayed our faces with cool, tingling water, while we took selfies in the backdrop of our stimulating surroundings. Then after a sprint at Kasol market, we headed back to our hotel. Post some delicious dinner, a seemingly endless session of long conversations over a few drinks & loud music, we finally called it a night.
Lunch at hotel: INR 125 per person
Bus fare to and fro Jari: INR 5 + INR 5 (per person)
Amount left: INR 1,490 per person
Long morning walks & bumpy bus rides
We woke up to the fresh smell of dew and decided to take a long walk in the light of the rising sun. Pulling our jackets close against the chilly morning wind, we walked higher and higher up the hill, refusing to go back, until our stomachs started screaming with hunger.
We were very graciously dropped off to the Jari bus stop by Mr Negi, the owner of our hotel. After a fun, bone-breaking ride on the bus, we got down at Manikaran & decided to pay the sanctum a visit!
Bus fare (Jari to Manikaran): INR 10 per person
Amount left: INR 1,480
Suggested Read: Kheer Ganga Trek: Whispers From The Parvati Valley
Manikaran Gurudwara & Temple: The spiritual connection, and the sauna!
The calm, peaceful interiors & the soothing ‘Gurbani’ of this famous Gurudwara are enough to lure you in. Add to it the rousing, energizing hot water steam! At the temple, we saw people cooking rice and chickpeas over a bubbling pool of the hot water spring. We paid our respects & left to catch our bus to Barshaini.
Bus fare (Manikaran to Barshaini): INR 20 per person
Amount left: INR 1,460
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I TREKKED: The treacherous trek begins, and so does a test of our strength…
Apart from high boulders, narrow lanes, steep, marshy grounds & a washed-out terrain owing to a recent landslide, the 12 km trek is blessed with breathtaking views, endless apple orchards, numerous thrist-quenching fresh water streams & tall maple trees all around.
Panting, we managed to reach Nakthan Village 3.5 km from Barshaini. We indulged ourselves in a delicious spot of lunch and then set off to explore the tribal village while the locals passed us by with smiling faces. We had just covered a little over 10 kms with our cramped knees & aching lungs when the sky began to get darker. Scared as hell, we walked the remaining distance with the help of a flashlight.
Lunch at Nakthan: INR 200 per person
Amount left: INR 1,260 per person
Suggested Read: Kasol In Winter 2019
A bonfire, some Hindi songs, scrambled eggs, and a blanket of stars
To say that the hurdles of the trek made up for what lay up there is an understatement. A tiny village with laughter and lights till where the eyes could see, bordered by layers of pitch black mountains, and a vast star-strewn sky overhead. The excitement doubled when the bonfire was lit, the glasses were filled, & some mainstream Bollywood numbers started playing on the phone while we mindlessly babbled away.
Overnight camp charges: INR 250 per person
Dinner: INR 150 per person
‘Chakna’: INR 25/- per person
Amount left: INR 835 per person
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A blissful morning at Kheerganga: The natural jacuzzi and Nutella pancakes
In the morning, I zipped down my camp & was greeted by the adorable faces of three little pups who thought they were in for a little treat! We clicked some pictures of the magnificent sunrise while our fourth friend chased a puppy down the valley who had run off with her sock.
A dip in the steaming, searing water of the natural geyser on top was perhaps the best thing to ease your muscle cramps after the mercilessly tiring journey. The unexpected, yet pleasant light-headedness you experience after stepping out will be better than any high that the notorious hash of Kasol can provide. We then hogged up omelettes, nutella pancakes, bun maska & tea for breakfast before commencing our trek back to Barshaini.
Breakfast: INR 100 per person
Amount left: INR 735 per person
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I SKETCHED: Preserving the dilapidated huts of Nakthan in my sketchbook
After I had found myself a picture-perfect spot in the charming village of Nakthan, I sat down with my pen and sketchbook, excited to begin the best and my most favourite part of the trip at last.
As I started, my hands shook out of exhaustion, but my zeal was fierce and impregnable
And soon enough, I had an onlooker
Who decided he wouldn’t leave till he’d seen the complete sketch
This piqued the interest of others
And stopped trekkers passing by in their tracks!
Soon, my audience grew from one little boy to what seemed like half the village in no time!
And the masterpiece was finally complete
Post lunch at Nakthan, I resumed my journey home.
Lunch at Nakthan: INR 175 per person
Bus fare (Barshaini to Bhuntar): INR 55 per person
Amount left: INR 505 per person
A bit of catching up with old friends, some dauntless adventure, and a delightful essence of art, such was the recipe of my quaint little getaway whose memories are sure to stay with me always.
High Points: Hotel location (right over the stunning Parvati Valley!), a totally unplanned visit to Manikaran Gurudwara, camping, bonfire, stargazing, a free jacuzzi, & live sketching in Nakthan Village (falling midway on the Kheer Ganga trek).
Best experience of the trip: Live sketching in Nakthan Village.
Tips for travelers: Use public transport for commuting, as cabs are really expensive there; don’t trek empty stomach; carry light luggage on the trek; start your trek well before 10 in order to avoid walking uphill in the dark; check your camp to ensure it’s not torn from anywhere
Nourish your craving for adventurous excursions by exploring the places known for its daredevil activities. Now here’s your chance to taste adventure and be one with Nature. Book an exciting weekend adventure through TravelTriangle and gear up for a daring expedition.
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