thefirstthambi

Aj Raina
Hi, having acquired a property in Kasol (Suma Ropa, in fact; 04 Kms short of Kasol town), our trips to that beautiful valley have become more frequent than before. (Details HERE) Being locals practically now, we share our inputs for the benefit of fellow travellers here.....

1. Kasol town is getting too crowded and is headed for the same sad destiny as that of Manali and Simla. There are issues with parking, with garbage disposal and such like matters. Even though the town retains its charm because of its natural beauty and a vibrant crowd, you may not really like to stay inside the town for long. Room rents have also gone up because of an ever tilting demand-supply ratios over past two years. A better option, therefore, would be to stay 'around' Kasol and walk around the area, including Kasol town, instead of plonking yourself inside the town.

2. When we look at the options 'around' Kasol, there are some distinct segments.

(a) Ahead of Kasol (towards Manikaran)..... there is virtually nothing once you leave the town and travel for half a Km or so towards Manikaran. The only place that offers guesthouse accommodation is the Village Choj that is across the river. You will have to get down at NHPC complex, around a Km after Kasol, walk over the footbridge to reach the place. Rs 300-500 per head per room (300 for longer stays) is the rate now in 2016. And some basic facilities are available. BUT the village itself is notorious for drug mafia activities (Unfortunately, marijuana, as we all know, is one of the USPs of Parvati Valley). So, the place is best avoided.

(b) Short of Kasol, along the road and this side of the river, most of the accommodations, like Himalayan Village (high end) and Parvati Kuteer are expensive for budget travellers. Parvati Woods Cottage has a variety of rooms from 500 per head to 5000 (double to quad occupancy per night). They also have bonfires and offer basic home cooked food (around 150 per head per major meal). Contact persons are Prakul (9805275343 and 9990992220) Anshul 9899171787/9805767073). As you would see, this is the property that we have leased out to them with a special tie up for BCMTians. Pl give my reference (Aj Raina) when you call them. There is also a hotel, Hotel Anupam, on the main road.

(c) The actual fun, however, lies across the river. There is no motorable road that runs over Parvati River in and around Kasol and that is why the area on the other side is peaceful and serene. The area across can be divided into two parts - first is area of Village Chalal (bang opposite Kasol). Himalayan Camp is run by Om Negi (9805716616 ) there. The tented camp offers basic food and basic accommodation but the location is too good. One has to walk for a Km or so reach the place. Charges range from 300 to 500 per head per day for accommodation but he allows as many people in one tent as possible. Again, a reference of mine will get you some discount. There are other properties like Chalal Cafe, Shiva Cafe, Shanti Cafe, Greenpark Cafe, Maya Cafe and Guru Cafe. All these are cafe patronised by Israelis and accommodation is very basic. Stress is on 'Shiva's Regal' rather than Chivas Regal and associated brands. Many of these places also involve long walks though area is beautiful to walk through. A call can be taken by you in this regard.
The second chunk of area, and the one that we would rate higher than Chalal, is to the West, ie, across the river but short of Kasol. It is roughly opposite Parvati Kuteer. The area is called Katagla. The access is through a footbridge over the river. The drop off point is Temple at Jai Nallah (all bus guys know it). From there, you get down to the river, cross it to reach Katagla area (though actual Katagla Village is slightly ahead). Musik Cafe is to your left as you step on terra firma across the bridge while there are few good places to the right of the bridge..... White Cafe is the biggest of all in the area but has a concrete building, is patronised by Israelis and their attempts to create a pool inside the property has run into a legal hassle. Ahead of it is a hidden treasure called Katagla Forest Retreat (HERE) - a traditionally constructed property of wood and slates with its own restaurant. It is 'hidden' from the view and the entry into the compound itself feels like a little adventure. The entrance is through thick cover of trees and then the compound opens up. The property is run by Prakul (9805275343 and 9990992220) Anshul 9899171787/9805767073)- same guys who run Parvati Woods Cottage on the other side of the river. A total of ten rooms (including three that you need to sneak into!) and a restaurant and a lawn that has apple trees in it and unbeatable feel - that is how the package is. Ideal for groups and even solo travellers, the property can host about 40 of a group or 35 otherwise. They charge nothing for the third person if the room is shared for 1000/- a night. The bigger rooms can accommodate four for 1500/-. My reference will help you further. If travelling by own car or bike, safe parking is available at Wood's Cottage itself.


The bridge near Jai Nallah

The entrance



(d) For those seeking adventure and some real backpacking, Tosh - a village ahead of Barshaini and Manikaran- offers some good options. Anshul and Prakul have a property (Tosh Rooms) there too. The area is frequented by foreigners more than their Indian counterparts though.

Kasol is a place that is one of the trendiest niches in HP today. Because of road issues, the area remains beautiful and less cluttered, barring Kasol town, ie. If you are heading for any of the properties listed above, please make sure to book in advance. BTW, all these properties remain open even during winters! That is another incentive to re-visit such places once you have been there during summers.

BUT remember, these places offer you peace and tranquility to unwind and break free from the stress at least for a while. There is a personal touch of hospitality and guys will take you out on treks if you so desire. If, however, you are looking for luxury or hotel like services or even if you are a TV addict, you may look-see somewhere else. This point needs to be absorbed before you pick up your phone to dial a number!

(PS: For the first timers, please read THIS)


HAPPY HOLIDAYING!
 
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thefirstthambi

Aj Raina
One thing that I forgot to mention is the point about carrying pets during trip to Kasol. Being dog lovers, we have always found it difficult to find right properties that are good as well as accommodating. Himalayan Village allows pets but they have to to be put in the cages in the parking. Being inside the parking, that it self is on the main road, there is no peace for the creatures. Also, when you are in the vicinity but out of reach (you in your room and pets in the cages), they tend to become more restless.
Both Parvati Woods Cottage as well as Katagla Forest Retreat welcome pets at no extra cost as along as you bring in the feed or pay for the food and as long as you are willing to clean if there is a mess and compensate if there is some damage to the property.
 

mps.23

Active Member
... what a beautiful place Kasol is !
Happened to visit it, this past weekend. It was that 'in a jiffy' kind of a trip.

Stayed at the 'Om Himalayan Camps', thanks to this post by Raina Sir.

Was looking for some quick suggestions in the evening , when the trip had been decided for the next morning, when i encountered this post.

Called up Om Negi casually, and prompt he was to pick up the call, and then even encourage us to come over to Kasol as the weather was quite good and he has camps too, that he will arrange and book for us. ( 2 guys we were ! )

The location of the camp is damn good ! Right beside the raging Parvati River !
Lovely place to be with your friends. Not bad for being with your family too, but be adjustable and expecting of finding some rowdy youngsters and groups.

More in the trip report i shall be posting ...

Meanwhile, this is from my camp the morning we woke up :)

( ... excuse the clarity. mobile shot. too lazy in the morning to unzip the camera bag :p )

IMG_2.jpg
 
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thefirstthambi

Aj Raina
A bit of update....Katagla Forest Retreat has been closed due to ongoing work by the owners. The team of Prakul (9805275343 and 9990992220) Anshul 9899171787/9805767073) has now shifted lock, stock and barrel, to Parvati Woods Camp. This camp is next to our cottage at Suma Ropa. While the hospitality remains changed, such a shift has led to the property being close to the main road and has a parking area inside the camp. The camp is shaping up well but the work has been slowed down to address the rush during the ongoing season. Sharing a shot of the camp (work in progress)...



Another interesting property (I was invited to see this last week) by the two, Prakul and Anshul, is Parvati River Cottage at a place called Balladi. Now, this unheard of place is about 15 mins walk from Jari, about 8 Kms short of Kasol. Jari is the place from where one goes left and across the river to Malana. To that extent, it is a good base for exploring that part of Parvati Valley. But the most important reason to be there is the peace, tranquility and unusual sight of fishes leaping out of the water and small birds (not typical Kingfishers) diving into water to pluck fishes. Some pics...


It is situated on the confluence of Parvati River and Malana Nallah


The cottage has two structures....this is the rear one


This one is in front, bang on the river bank



Beautiful ambiance outdoors; comfy inside
HAPPY VENTURING!!
 

anupmathur

Super Moderator
Staff member
Hello, Ajay. It would be helpful to know the tariffs. There are many great places but the bottom line is invariably the tariff. :)
The unique problem with India is that it is considered normal to charge four or five star rates if you want clean bedsheets and a clean toilet! And yes, my other main rant is about the portion sizes when you eat out!
 

thefirstthambi

Aj Raina
Hello, Ajay. It would be helpful to know the tariffs. There are many great places but the bottom line is invariably the tariff. :)
The unique problem with India is that it is considered normal to charge four or five star rates if you want clean bedsheets and a clean toilet! And yes, my other main rant is about the portion sizes when you eat out!
You nailed it sir.
As I know, though I shall find out, they have three categories of tents - dome (500-1000), A shape (1000-1500) and large (1500-2000) at the Camp. This range signifies low season and peak season ones since there is no off season in Kasol nowadays. Woods Cottage has two suites (2500-4000) and other rooms (1000-2000) while River Cottage has rooms of different sizes (800 onwards). But as said, I shall re-confirm.
Katagla was appreciated (in the reviews) for its food and same chef runs kitchen in the Camp. To be honest, I am not treated as a guest and I have not really taken note of the portion size (shall do it next time) but food has always been great. In fact, they have an Israeli chef at Balladi while Cottage has a basic kitchen only and it depends on the Camp for its food.
 
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thefirstthambi

Aj Raina
Suma Ropa is fast turning into a small hub where new facilities are coming up. Kasol is ill equipped to handle the kind of crowds that throng it every summers. There is no real off season now and entrepreneurs are now finding profitable opportunities in small little places that are close and yet not too close to 'Paharganj' of Parvati Valley.

Takshila is one such new property, bang on the main road. Be prepared for some traffic noises but the rooms are neat, clean and elegantly done up. They have a functional kitchen but for the reasons best known to the owner, they don't serve non veg. For someone seeking a peaceful time in mountains, this may not be the best property to look for but it is a place worth checking on your way to Kasol and for falling back if you get no room or if people are trying to fleece you during rush hours. It is in Suma Ropa, exactly four Kms short of Kasol town and 1.5 Km ahead of Himalayan Village.

Another small camp, by the name Inn Woods, has just opened up. This is also at Suma Ropa and just behind the cafe called Inn Woods Cafe that was earlier named Suma Ropa Cafe and is the oldest property in Suma Ropa. Again an option, even if not the only or the best one, when rooms run short.


Om Negi's Himalayan Camp has also undergone some good changes. As mentioned earlier, his camp is across the bridge and about 2 Kms or little less from Kasol main bus stop. After heavy snowfall last winters, he has converted some of his camps into semi-permanent structures and capacity of the camp has now increased. Contact details are given to the fore.
 

anupmathur

Super Moderator
Staff member
Alas, Ajay, the good days are finally over for our old favourite, Kasol. The character of this geographically very beautiful locale has now changed forever! But it served us well while it lasted and now we don't make trips so often anyway.
 
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