Katagla is a small village situated on the banks of Parvati River 3 km from Kasol, not many people know about it, but it is fast emerging as one of the quieter alternatives to Kasol. Since there are no roads to Katagla yet, it is still relatively untouched by the tourist boom of Kasol. The village is unlike other villages of Parvati Valley as you can hear loud trance ripping across the forest surrounding Katagla as you approach its proximity. The music transcends you to a very different dimension and induces a sense of elevation. A lot of Israelis and French people also stay in Katagla for months and use it as their basecamp to backpack across the valley. It is an ideal spot to so, because of the fine balance of serenity and it’s proximity to Kasol and transportation system. You will find old aged men smoking bidis, chatting with each other under the crisp mountain sun with the cool breeze blowing on their faces. A lot of houses have cows, and they can be found on the lower part of the main structure while the family lives in the upper part.
How to reach Katagla
There are two ways to reach Katagla. The first route is from Kasol to Katagla via the Manikaran road, and the second route is from Chalal to Katagla, and you will have to trek on this route.
Kasol to Katagla
So Katagla lies around 3 km away from Kasol and 7 km from Manikaran. Assuming you will reach Kasol first and take the bus towards Bhuntar from Kasol, and get down at the point near the bridge to Katagla. If you ask the conductor to drop you there, he will be more than happy to do so. Now if you go down towards the river from where the bus stopped, you will find a wooden bridge to the other side of the river. You will reach Katagla upon crossing it.
The trek to Katagla also starts from Kasol. You have to walk 20 m from the Kasol bus stand, opposite to the flow of the river, then you will find an alleyway to your left, which takes you to a bridge that connects Kasol to Chalal. Upon crossing the bridge, you will have to continue on the trail to your left. The trail passes by the Parvati River and soon enters the lush green coniferous forests with moss-covered forest floors. Keep on the trail for 20 minutes, you will reach Chalal village on the way, and you will also come across some campsites. Continuing further on the trail, you will cross a stream, then walk for another 30 minutes before you start seeing the first glimpses of the Katagla village. All this while, you will be surrounded by thick forest cover. As you move forward, you will see the terrain opening up and pristine views of the entire village will grip you.
Best Time to visit Katagla
The best is in the summer months from May to July.This is when the summer sets in properly in the valley.The entire valley bursts into vegetation and becomes covered in lush green vegetation.The weather during this period is pleasant throughout the day.The trails are perfect.After this period the monsoon sets in the valley and the trails become slippery and rainfall becomes unpredictable.
The weather in Katagla is almost similar to that of Kasol if not on the lesser side. Since Katagla is free of vehicular traffic and different kinds of pollution, the temperature stays 1-2 degrees less than Kasol. In summer months, a t-shirt in the morning and a good sweater in the evening should do you good. In the winter months, good quality thermal wear is advised for both day and night. Wearing clothes in multiple layers helps trap more heat than wearing a thick jacket. If you are wearing multiple layers, you can easily regulate your body temperature by taking a layer off or putting one on, which is not the case with heavy clothing. Also, merino wool inners provide the best thermal insulation, it is a one-time investment and will do you good for a long time.
Day 1: Reached Kasol,trek to Katagla.Stay there.
Day 2: Start the trek to Rasol from Katagla.Stay there.
Day 3: Come down from Rasol,reach Kasol
Homestay in Katagla
There are all kinds of stays available in Katagla be it homestays, camps, guest houses, or renting for a prolonged duration of time. The homestays charge anywhere from 700 to 1000 INR per day in the season and in the off-season, they would settle for 500 INR after a bit of bargaining. You should try to negotiate the food cost, along with the stay. If you want simple home-cooked food, ideally, you should be charged 150-200 INR for both the breakfast and dinner combined. Camps are set up by the local village folks and are usually in the vicinity of a homestay. Typically, the camps cost more than the homestay. I haven’t been able to find out the reason behind it. They will ask you for 1000 INR for the camps, but everything depends on your bargaining skills thereafter.
Treks around Katagla
Rasol: The trek to Rasol is doable from Katagla and it takes around 3 hours to reach Rasol from Katagla.The gradient of the trek is moderate and there are a few steep sections during the trek.
Chalal: Chalal falls between Katagla and Kasol.So if you were to go from Katagla to Kasol on foot you would pass through Chalal.It takes 20 minutes to reach Chalal from Katagla.
Winter in Katagla
The temperature during winters stays in single digits throughout the day and might drop below freezing in the night. Katagla experiences snowfall once or twice in winters, however, the snow melts in two days at maximum. Due to its relatively low altitude, it receives less snowfall than other places in the valley. However, the mountain tops remain snow-covered for months.
How to reach Katagla?
Two ways.One through road by crossing a bridge before Kasol and crossing over or trekking from Kasol to Katagla.
Trek time from Kasol to Katagla?
It takes about an hour to reach Katagla from Kasol.
Which direction is Katagla in?
Follow the river in the direction of it’s flow from Kasol.