Monthly Archives

February 2016

Solo Journeys

Parvati Valley – Beyond Kasol

February 10, 2016
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Parvati Valley rests on the other side of the Kullu district and has been popular for homing the holy Manikaran Gurudwara in the heart of the valley where millions of Hindu and Sikh pilgrims travel every year. Later, Parvati Valley became more popular when Kasol became the hippie destination of the mountains with several travelers across the globe traveling to Kasol to experience the magic of the mountains with the Parvati river flowing alongside and the cafe culture.

Not many know about the beauty and history of Parvati Valley, which can only be discovered if one has a true wanderlust gene in them. To explore Parvati Valley as a whole in itself one visit can never be enough. Here is a small tour through the hidden and gorgeous next door spots of Parvati Valley

 

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Malana:

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Malana is famously known the Hashish destination of this world, and believe it or not, Malana is sold for a premium in Amsterdam. Malana is also an anarchy because of its history of curing Emperor Akbar while he was very ill, since then Akbar made Malana a tax free state, also it is believed that a troupe of Alexanders Army decided to stay there during the conquer, hence all locals are believed to be direct descendants  of Alexander and trust me you will see that in the green eyes of the locals there. Malana is also a forbidden village for anyone who is not from Malana, however has opened to tourism over the last couple of years. The temple located in the middle of the village is still alien to all outsiders with a fine imposed.

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Kheerganga:

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Kheerganga is a small village set up through out the summers in Himachal Pradesh. It is open for 7 months in a year from March thru October. It is only accessible by foot. It is a beautiful day trek on a narrow cliff side path going by numerous waterfalls and few isolated villages. There is usually about 30-50 people at the village site during the high season. Kheerganga homes a natural hot water spring which is the highlight of this day trek, Kheerganga also homes the mighty Pin Parvati Pass trek which is considered one of the difficult high altitude treks in the higher Himalayan Ranges. The night sky is something that one cannot miss.

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Tosh:

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A village at the far end of the Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh, the village of Tosh is situated at a height of 7874 feet above sea-level (2400 m). Tosh is now accessible by road and had become a popular destination for backpackers and young travelers. Tosh is located in the lap of the mountains and provides spectacular views of the mountains. Accommodation is provided by the villagers is basic yet clean at Tosh.

 

Chalal:

Chalal is a small village at a 30 minutes walking distance from Kasol not many know of. Chalal like Tosh having home stays and affordable lodges, is a perfect getaway for a break from the regular.

So are you still waiting 🙂

Solo Journeys

Mystery of the Green Eyes – Malana (Parvati Valley)

February 7, 2016
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“Embrace the Glorious Mess that you are”

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Me after spending a night at Malana and going back

 

The first time I touched Parvati Valley was in 2011, the second time I made it to the Forbidden Village – Malana. It was September, 2012, I was in a hospitality sales job, fried in the head as all of us feel of our jobs, I was 25 something and was also under going what we will call as a major turmoil of our lives – a breakup. Whenever, you are in the most uncomfortable space, tired of both your personal and professional life, nothing really seems to interest you, what do you do? You want to run, far away to a beach, chill and sip on a beer, and for a bit forget what your daily life is like, take a break, take it easy. Well in my case it was always mountains. Without much planning I took off to my favorite place, Manali.

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Vashisht; Manali

 

To my good luck or bad luck, I see a poster or a moonlight party happening in Kasol the moment I reach Manali. “What???, a moon light party??? this is something I always wanted to experience, since I had heard so much”, I thought. Hence, there I was – Kasol. I had heard almost every youth over hyping about these cool hippie parties and wondered like how this would be. However, as I should have known, the party wasn’t cool. I went there, checked it out and just walked out. I didn’t feel like being there, something wasn’t right, I was there for peace, not loud noises and people going crazy. In utter disappointment I walked from Chonch to Kasol with two more days and I had no clue what to do.

 

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Streets of Kasol

 

As I was talking to people and thinking what is it that I could to, I see a poster on the glass door of a CD shop in Kasol, a movie called Bom, The Forbidden village – Malana, and I knew where I had to go. No local buses go there directly, so I had to book a taxi the next morning, I didn’t even have a backpack during those days, I was a jhola traveler, I also had no idea I had to walk, no climb. After a drive of about, 2 hours from Kasol, I reached to the starting point of the trek, and my jaw dropped right there, Malana was on the mountain on the opposite side, which meant I had to go down and then climb further up. and with a history of bad health and no physical activity for the longest time, first, Asthma as a child, then a deformed back, I had no idea what I was in for.

 

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Malana Village from the bottom of the climb

 

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On the way up to Malana

 

I actually exchanged my bag with the driver since I didn’t have a shoulder bag and started walking upwards, it was so so hard, I was walking for 5 minutes then resting for 10 minutes while I watched the locals hopped skipped and jumped, I had a Redbull with me which literally saved my life. The breathtaking views kept me busy and motivated nonetheless. As I go further, a local started walking with me and as I finally made it, he started guiding me through the village and helped me find a place to stay.

It still had not sunk in that I actually did something that I never thought I could, but I did. I was feeling like I had climbed Mount Everest, we under estimate ourselves so much, because rarely do we find givers, people who push you forward to cross your limits, in that case you have to be your own hero. A sudden gush of energy started flowing through my mind and body and I started feeling like I was floating, like all my problems just got over, at least for then.

 

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Malana: The Forbidden Village

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The Forbidden Temple

 

Malana is known as the Hash destination of this world, and believe it or not, Malana is sold for a premium in Amsterdam. Malana is also an anarchy because of its history of curing Emperor Akbar while he was very ill, since then Akbar made it a tax free state, also it is believed that a troupe of Alexanders Army decided to stay there, hence all locals are believed to be direct descendants  of Alexander and trust me you will see that in the green eyes of the locals there. Malana is also a forbidden village for anyone who is not from Malana, however has opened to tourism over the last couple of years. The temple located in the middle of the village is still alien to all outsiders with a fine imposed.

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Home of the Panchayat Head; Malana

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Sign for a fine 🙂

 

An adventure of a life time, mystic, surreal and peaceful, Malana was the flag off for me to fall in love with climbing the mountains.