No wonder Kasol is one of the places in the Parvati valley of Himalayas where backpacking as a traveller is very famous rather than visit as a tourist. Not to forget the name it acquired as the dope capital of the country. As per the locals, this place in the Himachal on the way to Manikaran was very much frequented by Europeans previously. It became famous and much talked-about-destinations among Indian travellers much later when more Israelis started coming and living there hence also the name- Mini Israel.
We had two days for Kasol. Journey started at night from Delhi ISBT in Himachal State Transport bus which reached Bhuntar the next morning. From Bhuntar took a local bus that was going to Manikaran. Unexpectedly there was huge traffic on the way to Kasol from Bhuntar.
Finally we managed to reach just around noon to our stay at Rainbow Cafe hotel. It is situated just in the heart of the small town with pool boards and its own restaurant. We got a top floor room with a fantastic view of the Parvati river and the snow capped Himalayan peaks. We had lunch at the hotel itself and headed straight to explore the place 🙂 (I took my new camera and experimented with it 🙂 )
One can explore the whole area by walking and hiking. A hanging bridge over the Parvati river connects both sides of the mountains. Just to give a brief, the Parvati river along with the snow capped mountain peaks and the extreme lush greenery , serenity and calmness, the food is something that can sway foodies off their feet. I being one of them definitely got wooed by it 😛
To name a few must-go-to-eat-places – Rainbow Cafe, Cafe Evergreen, Cafe Moon dance, Stone Garden Cafe, Little Italy, Sasi river view, Cafe Valentine, Mama Cafe. The foods here are too good and uniquely delicious to describe in words 🙂 One of the oldest and most famous Jim Morrison Cafe is situated a bit uphill and the path that leads there is quite interesting through the hilly area.
Few of my favourites because of the food and ambience-> Evergreen Cafe– the music, the dim lights, the scent was just too good. Cafe Moon dance – the presentation of the dishes and the ambience. The Israeli dishes are a must try! And the Himalayan Trout was the winner!
Added to this, the famous German bakery serves some yummy items from different types of pie to pastries and cakes! Those are fresh and at reasonable rate. There are few shops that sell these bakery items but the wholesale one is situated just inside the main market lane.
Would like to specify few food menu items out of all that were delectable – Quisadilla, the English, Israeli and Special breakfast, Sehnitzel , pasta with special herbs and an utterly sumptuous Himalayan Trout! Am still having the taste in my mouth!
Eating fresh apples directly from the Apple orchards while hiking too added to the fun.
A mixed culture of Indians and foreigners, backpackers and tourists, people-for-dope and people-not-for-dope can be seen and experienced at Kasol. Even being the dope capital of India, it has beautiful views , foods and natural ambience to offer. Mother Nature at one of her best you can say! Also its the trekking base for most of the high-altitude-trek like Tosh, Kheer Ganga, Manikaran Sahib, Malana and others. One can get the chillums, pipes, etc from all the shops there which are beautifully displayed outside the shops.
Overall, its a place to completely unwind yourself in a way that suits you most. You can eat, sleep, roam, trek, explore, dance, dope or just sit back and relax to calm your nerves and enjoy and admire the silence 🙂 A place of utmost beauty in its own way!