Disclaimer: Smoking is injurious to health and this article is just paints a very real picture of the live in that part of the country. I do not promote or endorse smoking/smoking up.
Kasol has long been a favourite among backpackers and solo travellers from across the world. Very well known for being the Rave Capital, Kasol has lots of interesting sights you must discover. Here are some things you need to know about Kasol, the smoker’s paradise in India:
Kasol is popularly known as ‘Stoner’s Paradise’ because of the availability of hash and marijuana. One of the best places to stay in Kasol is the Parvati Valley. Tourists can easily find hotels, resorts and hostels at this scenic valley. You will also see lots of people, including the locals and other tourists smoking up very openly. A lot of servers at restaurants and cafes even offer hash on sale. First-time travellers would be surprised at the ease with which people smoke up and buy hashish. Most restauranteurs also peddle as a side business, making it available at every nook and cranny. We strongly recommend staying at hostels, AirBnBs and outdoor camps for travellers who want to experience the local way of life.
Things to do in India’s rave capital:
1) Spend a day at Tosh Village
Located at a height of 7,874 feet, previously a very traditional and ancient village with relatively conservative inhabitants, Tosh has now evolved into a hippie colony. When you reach the village, you will see snow-capped peaks as a chilly waft of air, brushes against you. If you are lucky, you might also get a chance to see the Himalayan brown and black bears that reside in and around the region. One of the best views at Tosh is when it’s night time and the stars start peeping out! If you love starry night skies, you must stay back to see this sight.
How to reach Tosh? Take a bus from Bhuntar to Kasol followed by a 45-minute car drive to Marikaran and Barshaini Road to reach Tosh.
2) Go Trekking at Kheerganga
Kheerganga is one of the main tourist attractions. You might see a few warnings and notices if you choose to go trekking uphill, however, it is a relatively moderate trail, nestled at a height of 3000 metres. When you reach the peak, you will be delighted to witness scenic vistas, quaint cafes and a naturally occurring hot water spring. If all this beauty is not letting you budge, you could choose to stay back and spend the night here, the locals usually help out with accommodation. Stating the obvious but wear appropriate trekking shoes and start your trek early so you don’t have to rush to the top and hurry back down. You could also trek down from Kheerganga to Barshaini, but before you start the trek, take a relaxing dip in the hot water spring so you are all set to take upon a new adventure!
3) Experience the tranquillity at the Chalal Village
A small village located right next to the Parvati Valley, the Chalal village is not a very well-known place and does not make it to many travel itineraries but that’s what makes it so special. Being a lesser known place, Chalal is relatively untouched and is just about a 30-minute walk from Kasol. When you walk around, you will see that the village is adorned with huge hangings and pictures of Bob Marley, right from graffiti to flags to Bob Marley merchandise, you will see everything. If you are looking for a fun night of partying, head to Chalal village as it is known for hosting some of the best trance parties. For those who want to stay back, check out the resorts or outdoor camps. The village inhabitants are fun to talk to, they often tell people stories from the old times and are very friendly towards tourists. All in all, Chalal is a good idea if you are looking at visiting a place that is scenic.
4) Lounge about by the Parvati River
The Parvati Valley has long been known for its widespread cultivation of hashish (charas) which gives the valley a hippie vibe. Travellers can easily find reasonable stay options, creating an increased influx of International travellers, especially in this region. You might also hear the locals spinning stories about God’s arrival and abode in the Valley. A serpent shaped waterfall called the Rudra-Nag was said to be Lord Shiva’s holy meditation spot. If you are fond of the wild, the Pin Valley National Park is inhabited by a sizeable wildlife population which also included snow leopards. If you like the Parvati Valley too much, you can find good stay options at the Valley and even spend a night there. The Parvati River is a river in the valley and is also fondly known as the Parbati River, among the locals. Representing Goddess Parvati, the river gushes down a plane and gives you postcard perfect pictures with lush green scenic landscapes that spread over the sides of the Parvati river. Try not to get too close to the river, it might get a little dangerous. The sound of the rushing river is definitely mesmerising and is a sweet sound that will ring in your ears even after you are back home.
Best time to visit Kasol:
The summer months of May and June are usually the most preferred months, but a lot of people also love visiting the place in the winter months, from November to February.
Scams you must be cautious about, when in Kasol:
- Peddlers sell weed/ hashish/ marijuana to you and then inform the police about your possession of the substances. These peddlers actually team up with the police to get some money out of tourists.
- A lot of peddlers try to push you to buy the stuff that they are selling. Very often, if these dealers try to hurry you into buying it without checking and are too pushy, there is a very high chance that they are selling garbage, so always check before buying.
- Selling lower quantity and weights. This is a universal issue with buying hash and unfortunately, cannot be avoided unless you walk around with a weighing scale.
All is fun and games when we travel with friends, but it is very important to watch out for signs of trouble or danger, especially in places like these. Make sure to get out and go sightseeing and not restrict yourself to the hostel. You are going to create a bunch of memories with lots of scenic pictures when you go to Kasol. Happy and Safe tripping (all puns intended)!