We left Mandi very early in the morning, after having a good breakfast of alloo parantha and chai, in the guest house and headed straight for Kasol via Bhuntar and Jhari.
On the way, as it was drizzling, we stopped at a beautiful restaurant, Nature Green Restaurant, for chai & pakoras. The restaurant is inside a garden, right on the banks of mighty Beas river. There is a small entrance fee to keep the unwanted people out, but it is a must stop to enjoy the beautiful river.
Next stop was Kasol, a dreamy little town along the Parvati River surrounded by pine, fir and Oak trees. It is a perfect place to chill out and be with yourself in the lap of nature.
We stayed at the Woodward Magique, a small hotel on the banks of Parvati river. Although the rooms there did not have a view of the river and there were some housekeeping issues in the hotel, its location made it worthwhile to stay there. Both the river and the market was just a few minutes’ walk.
Just behind our hotel was a dangerous bridge over the Parvati river which took us to Chalal village on the other side of the river. It is a heaven for bag packers who have late night rave parties during the weekends away from local police.
Since Kasol is the base for exploring Tosh, Pulga or trek to the hot springs of Kheer-Ganga (where Shiva is said to have meditated for 2000 yrs) it is always brimming with tourists.
While in Kasol, do not forget to have at least a meal in Little Italy restaurant, their grilled Trout is to die for.
On way to Kasol, we passed a village isolated from rest of the world called Malana. It is an ancient village lying under the shadow of majestic peaks of Chandrakhani and Deotibba at a height of 3,029 meters (9,938 ft) above sea level.
The village is totally unaffected by modern civilisation and has its own lifestyle and social structure. It has been the subject of various documentaries on television. It is considered to be one of the first democracies in the world. The residents of Malana are the descendant of Aryans who acquired their independence during the Mughal reign when the Emperor Akbar walked to the village in order to cure an ailment that he was afflicted with after having been successfully cured he put out an edict stating that all the inhabitants of the valley would never be required to pay tax.
An alternative view suggests that Malana was founded by Alexander the Great’s Army. People in Malana consider all non-Malani to be inferior and consequently untouchable and visitors to Malana town have to obtain prior approval of the village head. It is famous for its ‘malana cream’, a kind of hashish/marijuana manufactured here.
Next day we crossed the famous Manikaran Gurudwara to reach Tosh.