Kasol and Tosh, A Trip to Parvati Valley

Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
Prologue

Kasol, a place I had heard so much about and yet, never visited.

AS and I talked about it and even planned a trip to it, during our trip to Mukteshwar. Unfortunately, the trip never materialized.

Fast forward, a couple of years and I get a call from Rahul, asking me if I am interested in traveling to Kasol and Parvati Valley. With slight hesitation I agree to it; in the back of my mind, it felt like cheating on AS. However, the lure of travel and that too to the Himalayas was too much and she, too far away to make it.

For accommodation, I decided to get in touch with Colonel Raina. He has his Dacha at Kasol and it looked beautiful in photographs. We talked about it, even though I could not confirm about the dates (it was dicey at that time), he still agreed to hold the room for me.

Thankfully, though, everything fell in place and the trip was on. I could not wait to visit Kasol and see if it is every bit as good as people make it out to be.
 
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Yogesh Sarkar

Administrator
23rd November 2018, Delhi to Kasol

In the evening Mansi came over to my house from her office. Rahul, Mini and Anand were going to start their journey from Gurgaon and pick us from my home.

However, they were late.

Traffic snarls en route ensured they could make it to my home around 1 am. It was time to load up the luggage and to take a photograph.

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Our first stop of the trip was at Gulshan Dhaba in Murthal, after all, all of us were feeling hungry and driver sahib aka. Rahul has low mileage :D.

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Apart from parathas, we ordered sarso ka saag and makki ki roti. It looked delicious, but it was about alright. Parathas were better, though the attitude of waiter was as bad as what we encountered at Amrik Sukhdev, but at least the food was better!

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With stomachs full, we began our journey and slowly, everyone except Rahul and me fell asleep. We continued talking about myriad of topics, including automation and AI. Conversation with Rahul are never dull and usually full of information and wisdom and that is one of the reasons I like traveling with him.

However, we were so engrossed in chatting that we missed the Banur Bypass and took the highway to Ludhiana instead. To make matters worse, the U-Turn was quite a few kilometers away, so we ended up wasting more time.

Similar thing occured when we enter Chandigarh, Google Navigation showed us a slightly offbeat route to Kiratpur Sahib, and we ended up missing a turn.

This journey was turning out to be a trip of delays and wrong turns, yet, it was not even half over!

A few friends were driving ahead of us, so they continued to give us updates, we learnt from them, there is some issue with the Kiratpur route, and Google is telling them to take the Nalagarh route.

The update came just in time and after refueling, we got off the main highway and took the route Google Navigation was showing, which was single lane and not as smooth as the highway. Still it was better than being stuck in a traffic snarl.

We drove past industrial units, including cement factory and finally started climbing hills. The sun was out and even though the road was full of potholes, the morning looked bright and cheery.

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We joined the main highway to Manali at Swarghat and played the usual overtaking game with crawling trucks and over enthusiastic weekend drivers.

We stopped a few kilometers before Bilaspur for breakfast at a small dhaba. Big mistake, as the food was terrible and the service, slow. The view though, somewhat made up for it.

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We also caught up with our friends in the other car, somehow we had overtaken them en route.

Short break over, it was time to continue our journey to Kasol.

While crossing Sundernagar, I could not help but fall in love with this city. It happens each time I drive through it and for me, out of all the cities en route to Manali; this seemed the most beautiful and welcoming.

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Beyond Mandi, the road was under construction and even till Mandi, four lane highway was a joke. This delayed us further and after crossing Aut Tunnel, the Safari suffered a puncture.

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To make matters worse, try as we might, we could not get the nut loose, to change the tyre. With no options left, Rahul decided to drive back to the puncture shop, while we headed to a nearby restaurant for lunch.

I decided to play it safe and ordered a maggi, what I got was a rather small portion for Rs. 60! The taste was about all right and I am glad, I ordered a plain one, otherwise I would be regretting like others.

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Rahul came back half an hour later; turned out even the puncture repair guy could not open the nuts. Thankfully, he managed to fix the puncture without removing the tyre. However, we might not be so lucky the next time around, so we looked for shops with pneumatic tools, in order to get the nuts removed.

Unfortunately, we could not find one till Bhunter and we decided to buy a can of WD-40 instead. Hoping it would somewhat loosen the nuts, in case they had been stuck due to dirt or something else.

En route to Kasol, we were stuck in a type of traffic snarl I like.

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Around 4:45 pm, we managed to reach Colonel’s Dacha. Taking a whopping 15 hours and 45 minutes to cover a distance of less than 550 km (including taking the wrong turn.)

Thankfully, though, the Dacha was comfortable and welcoming.

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Since it was away from the main town, it was relatively quiet as well and provided the relaxation we needed after a long and tiring drive.

In fact, we spent one and a half hours there, sipping tea, before deciding to drive ahead to Kasol for dinner.

Since it was a long weekend, Kasol was full of traffic and a jam welcomed us to the city. Somehow, Rahul managed to find parking space for the Safari and we went to the famous Evergreen Café.

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The chilled out vibe of the place was good, but placing an order was extremely difficult, since there was paucity of staff. To make matter worse, none of the things we ordered tasted good and it felt like a waste of money to have come here.

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Worse still, all of us were still feeling hungry and after exploring the town on foot, we decided to head back to Dacha and have our dinner there.

We came back to Dacha and as I was setting up my tripod, lights went out. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as I could capture a good photograph of the Dacha with the Safari in front.

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The light came back soon after and we had our delicious dinner in our cozy room, chatting and having fun.

It was time to sleep, tomorrow, we would be heading to Tosh and maybe finally trying out the things, Kasol is famous for…

Click here to read the next part ->
 
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SHEKHAR 257

Be a Good person but Don't try to Prove.
Somehow I don't like to travel on Manali road. Its so dusty & full of potholes and to make the matters worse you have maniacs on the roads which drive very roughly. But you can't avoid to travel on this road as it connects to some very beautiful places.

Nice captures as always, waiting for next part.
 
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