Kasol is situated deep in the heart of Parvati Valley. It has emerged as a getaway destination for the hippie crowd all across India and the world. The once quaint hill station is now full of people backpacking around Himachal Pradesh, wanting an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily routine. Kasol’s market offers an array of collectibles, which are not available in the regular markets around the country.
Starting from things made out of hemp to glass bongs, a whole collection of rastafarian clothing line awaits you in the serene hippie paradise. People from all across the world can be found here and a major chunk of the foreign tourists are from Israel. You can trace their existence at the local cafes and shops that have signboards with Hebrew written on it. The culinary theme of the valley is also influenced by the Israeli cuisine.
How to reach Kasol
Famous for it’s greenery and natural resources, Kasol lies in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. One can reach Kasol via the Delhi route or the Manali side-route. There is only one road that leads to Kasol and it passes through Bhuntar (between Mandi and Manali).
The road till Bhuntar is a part of the national highway and the road adjacent to Parvati river meanders through the Paravati Valley, exploring lush and galvanizing rugged yet serene mountains.
Delhi to Kasol Bus
There are private as well as government buses available for Delhi to Kasol. Himachal Pradesh Roadways or private Volvo buses ply from ISBT Kashmere Gate and private bus stands at all times. The cheapest ticket for non-Volvo buses begin at 750 INR and the Volvo buses start at 1,100 INR.
You can purchase the ticket offline at the ISBT depot or book online from various bus booking apps or websites. For the most part, you will find very few buses have Bhuntar as their final stop, most buses embark from Delhi and rest at Manali. Bhuntar is a florishing village in between Delhi and Manali, so you need to get down at the Bhuntar bus depot and catch a bus to Kasol.
However, if you find that you are not getting a bus that directly goes to Kasol, then you can take a bus from the Mandi depot. You will find a lot of buses plying from Mandi to Bhuntar/Kullu-Kasol.
Chandigarh to Kasol Bus
Chandigarh has two bus terminals and more often, when you to take a bus to Chandigarh from Delhi and plan to reach Bhuntar, you are asked to change the bus at the terminal. The frequency of buses departing from Chandigarh to Bhuntar is quite high and you will find no trouble finding a seat during the peak time. There is one bus that runs directly to Manikaran from Chandigarh, so if you are able to catch it, you will directly reach Kasol like a hero, saving both time and money.
Bhuntar to Kasol Bus
There are a lot of buses between Bhuntar and Kasol all the way till Barsheini. The bus operators charge up to 80 INR till the Kasol bus stand and 50 INR extra till the Barsheini stop via Manikaran. Today, a lot of buses are privately run, however the service provided the HPTC is also pretty good and cost-effective during inter valley travel.
Roads of Himachal
The road conditions have significantly improved in the valley but due to recent construction projects you might find some stretches rugged and bothersome. For some hidden comfort, there are constant landslides and tree falls on this route. So if you have a delay don’t get excited, it’s all a part of the life here.
Taxis are also available between Bhuntar to Kasol for most of the time and they charge a nominal 600 INR for a decent ride from Bhuntar to Kasol. The distance between Bhuntar to Kasol is approximately 30 km, so buckle up for a little more!
You can also trek near the village if you ask the villagers for permission and pay the owner of the land a little sum of money. You can ask for permission to use their toilet and buy cooked food from them.
Cafes in Kasol
Kasol has definitely emerged as one of the top dogs in the today’s Café culture (after Manali in the state of Himachal Pradesh). There are all kinds of Cafes in Kasol depending upon your budget.
It is located right in the middle of the market near the Kasol bus stand and has a very take it easy vibe to it. It has both indoor and outdoor seating areas and an attached Bakery with it. Here, the menu is quite exquisite, serving continental delicacies. Nutella banana pancake is a must try here.
Other must-try mentions:
1. Buddha Palace Café
2. Evergreen Café
3. Little Italy Café
4. Bhoj Café
5. Sunshine Café
Hotels in Kasol
Due to increased tourist influx, Kasol is experiencing a turbulent mixture of good and bad vibes that cross this beautiful valley. Most of the stays in Kasol, during peak season, are occupied, whereas you can find your accommodation in the nearby villages of Chojh, Katagla and Chalal.
So, rather than conforming to your proximity bias, stop finding hotels in Kasol during your stay in the Parvati Valley. Here is a list of quintessential stay options for you:
1. Highland, Chojh (contact number – 098052 25732)
2. Mahi Home Stay, Choj Village
3. Whoopers Hostel, Katagla
4. Nomads Hostel, Chojh
Shopping in Kasol
As mentioned earlier, Kasol is a paradise for shopaholics. You get a plethora of options for a lot of different things, browsing through the market. It will literally blow your minds away. The hippie clothing available in Kasol is one of the most sought thing in the market, as a lot of tourists in Parvati Valley like to flaunt hippie clothing. And, it adds to the vibe of the place.
Artists in Kasol
Among other collectibles, dreamcatchers are also available with all kinds of dreamcatchers having both quality and good aesthetics. Other fancy items to buy are exotic stones, crystals , hand painted neon posters by local and foreign artists.
Bike Rentals in Kasol
Meandering Roads Ahead
Riding a bike in the mountains is one the most liberating activity one can do. Unanimously, Royal Enfield is a better choice for most bike enthusiasts. Bikes for rent are available in Kasol as well as in Bhuntar. But the suggested option is to rent a bike from Kasol, as you can ride the rental to Barsheini or Tosh Village and return the same day.
Once you reach here, you will find many shops here for the rental service. You can negotiate the rental price with the owner of the rental shop. (prices are subjected to inflation)
1. Pulsar/Avenger : 1000 INR
2. Scooty (activa) : 800 INR
3. R.E. Classic 350 : 1300 INR
4. R.E. Himalayan : 1600 INR
Documents required : Driving License for two wheeler and Aadhar/PAN card
Temperature in Kasol
Kasol is a hill station located at an altitude of 5185 feet, so it gets cold in Kasol during winters. In the summer time, a t-shirt is a fine clothing to adorn during daytime. However, you might need a light sweater or a pull-over at night. Temperature in Kasol varies from anywhere from 20 degree Celsius during day and 10 degree Celsius at night. Springs and Autumns in Kasol are relatively cooler than summers.
On the onset of winters, temperature in Kasol gets chilly and heavy winter wear is required at night. If you have carefully monitored the weather conditions here, you can enjoy the western disturbances with a breathtaking snowfall in the background.
Treks around Kasol
Kasol is the base stop for a lot of treks in the Parvati Valley. People find different routes to traverse to known and off-beat places in the valley, either they go solo or with a group of fellow trekkers accompanied by a guide.
All treks, ranging from easy to difficult from Kasol, are listed below:
6. Chanderkhaini Pass
FAQs on Kasol
Q1. Which is better Kasol or Manali?
Ans. Kasol and Manali are very different in terms of their functionalities and size. But the overwhelming crowd that visits Manali is far greater in number and rowdiness. So, people you want to express their love for meeting new strangers can go to Manali, where as peace loving crowd flocks here.
Q2. What is the best time to visit Kasol?
Ans. Many travel blogs and websites offer the tag of best time to visit Kasol as their fodder to the SEO world. But few of them actually know about it. To revel in the heart of Parvati Valley, visit Kasol in the span of September-November.
Q3. Why Kasol is called the Mini Israel?
Ans. Tourists from across the globe flaunt to the hippie hamlet of Kasol each year. Yet, the most promising group of visitors are from the devout country of Israel. Many visitor found peace and purpose in this valley and they have opened their own Cafes and Homestays to exude their culture onto the beautiful crowd of Kasol. Due to crossed paths, this place eventually came to be known as Mini Israel.
Q4. How much does a trip to Kasol cost?
Ans. Comparatively to other remote villages of Parvati Valley, Kasol is a more expensive destination for travelers. There are various shopping centers as well as good eateries to explore. So, for backpackers it will cost around 4000 INR for a 3-day trip and for leisure travelers it will cost around 8000 INR (rest easy, sky is the limit).