Backpacker’s Guide to Parvati Valley

“Doping on spellbinding mountain views, tripping over the beats of the white river gushing through the forest of sky kissing pine trees and gospel singing birds; Parvati Valley is Paradise on Earth”

– Ken Agrawal

My curiosity to visit Parvati Valley arose after reading, “Losing My Religion” by Vishwas Mudagal, before I embarked on my dream trip to Ladakh in 2015 (Ladakh under a budget of 20,000 INR). The author’s intriguing description of the valley got it on my map of must-visit places.

In September 2016 my gypsy soul took on another solo expedition of 34 days to the alluring Himalayas (Ladakh & Parvati Valley). I spent about two weeks exploring the charming villages of Parvati Valley, hiking from one village to another.

Based on my experiences, I have put together a comprehensive guide on backpacking through Parvati Valley. Covering everything from planning your trip, detailed itinerary, hotels, how to travel, and interesting places to see, here is Parvati Valley Unplugged for you.

 

About Parvati Valley

The valley gets its name from the raging beauty, the Parvati River which flows alongside. Stretching into the great Himalayan range, Parvati Valley’s surreal landscapes have made it a popular hangout among backpackers and nature lovers.

A number of hamlets have now sprung up sporting cheap accommodation, international cuisine, and trance music.

And it’s no hidden secret that the valley provides easy access to Charas (Hashish), earning it the nickname the “Amsterdam of India”.

Kasol

Kasol is the most popular hippy paradise in Parvati Valley – courtesy of its trance parties, reggae bars, and cheap guesthouses.

Surrounded by the mountains, with the river Parvati meandering alongside, it’s as close to nature as you can get.

Kasol also serves as the gateway to most of the quaint villages in Parvati Valley. So a backpacking trip to Parvati valley usually starts and ends with Kasol.

How to reach Parvati Valley

Kasol is one of the most famous villages in Parvati Valley. To reach Kasol, board an overnight bus from New Delhi to the mountain town of Bhuntar. Once at Bhuntar, board a local bus or hire a taxi to Kasol.

Hotels in Parvati Valley

Do not crave for man-made luxury when traveling to this beautiful valley. Basic rooms with mostly shared bathrooms or tents are available in most villages. They range from INR 400 to 800 a night on twin-sharing, except for Kasol; where you can also find Luxurious Hotels & Swiss Tents.

Cafés & Restaurants

In terms of natural ambiance, there are plenty of good cafés and restaurants available everywhere. The price for 3 good meals a day would come up to 700-1000 INR.

Bike Rental

Motorbikes can be rented at Kasol. You can rent a Royal Enfield Classic 350cc for 1200 INR and a 500cc for 1400 INR a day (No Deposits Needed). It is advisable to carry extra fuel for those additional miles as the nearest petrol pump to Kasol is some 08 odd km away.

Taxi Rental

Taxi Unions in Parvati Valley operate as per the taxi fare set by their union and are costly when compared to the buses (see the picture below).

Bus Service

Buses are the most economical way of transportation in the valley. The frequency of the bus depends on the direction you are travelling and can require a wait time of anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. The buses are mostly cramped, but on the upside, cost between INR 20-60 each way.

 

Short Itinerary 13N/14D from New Delhi

Day 01: Delhi – Bhuntar

Day 02: Bhuntar – Kasol

Day 03: Kasol – Manikaran – Kasol

Day 04: Kasol – Chalal – Rasol

Day 05: Rasol – Chalal – Kasol

Day 06: Kasol – Grahan

Day 07: Grahan – Tunja – Kasol

Day 08: Kasol – Barshani – Tosh

Day 09: Tosh – Kalga – Kheerganga

Day 10: Kheerganga – Kalga – Pulga

Day 11: Pulga – Barshaini – Kasol

Day 12: Kasol – Jari – Malana

Day 13: Malana – Jari – Bhuntar – Delhi

Day 14: Arrive in Delhi

 

Detailed Itinerary for 13 Nights | 14 Days

(Note: Mentioned below are the approximate time taken to reach destinations by bus/taxi or foot)

Day 01: Delhi to Bhuntar (10 hrs by bus): Board the overnight bus from the Capital City of New Delhi to Bhuntar in Himachal Pradesh.

Day 02: Bhuntar to Kasol (2 hrs by bus/taxi): Once at Bhuntar, hire a taxi or board a local bus to Kasol and spend the rest of the day wandering next to the blissful Parvati River.

Day 03: Kasol – Manikaran – Kasol: Manikaran is a pilgrimage center for Hindus and Sikhs. The distance from Kasol to Manikaran is 4 km. You can walk or hire a taxi from Kasol.

Day 04: Kasol – Chalal – Rasol (3 hrs hike): Hike from Kasol to Rasol. The trail goes through Chalal, a small village nestled on the banks of Parvati River.

Day 05: Rasol – Chalal – Kasol: Hike your way back to Kasol.

Day 06: Kasol to Grahan (4 hrs hike): Grahan is one of the lesser-known gems of Parvati Valley situated at a height of around 7700 ft. above sea level. This little hippie village has limited guesthouses.

Day 07: Grahan – Tunja – Kasol (4 hrs hike): Hike towards Tunja which will take roughly about an hour to reach. Tunja is a hamlet situated at a higher altitude than Grahan and consists of some 20 odd houses and only 1 guest house. Spend some time here and later hike back to Kasol taking the Tunja-Kasol trail (3 hrs).

Day 08: Kasol – Barshaini – Tosh (2:30 mins by bus/taxi): Hire a taxi or board a bus from Kasol going up to Barshaini which is the last stop on the bus route (2 hrs drive). From Barshaini, hike towards the astonishing village of Tosh (1 hr hike) or hire a taxi (30 mins drive).

Day 09: Tosh – Kalga – Kheerganga (5 hrs): From Tosh, hike towards the new dam being constructed near Kalga (45 mins hike), which is the starting point for the Kheerganga trail, or hire a taxi (20 mins drive). There is a well-marked trail going past the village of Nakthan through the forest to reach Kheerganga (3:30 mins hike), which in my opinion is the most beautiful destination in this valley.

Day 10: Kheerganga – Kalga – Pulga (4 hrs hike): After spending the night in a cozy Tent the ONLY accommodation option available at Kheerganga, head towards the hot springs for a morning bath and later backtrack to Kalga (2;30 mins). From Kalga hike towards Pulga, another small settlement in the valley. Spend the rest of the evening exploring the village.

Day 11: Pulga – Barshaini – Kasol (2:30 mins): Hike from Pulga towards Barshaini (1 hr hike), from Barshaini hire a taxi or take the bus back to Kasol (Note: The last bus from Barshaini departs at 17:00 hrs).

Day 12: Kasol – Jari – Malana (3:30 mins): From Kasol, hire a taxi directly to Malana (2:30 mins) or board a bus to Jari (1 hr) and hire a taxi from here to Malana (1:30 mins). Once at Malana Gate, hike for about an hour to reach the famous village of Malana. There’s also a bus service for Malana, which departs in the evening hours from Jari and returns the next morning.

Day 13: Malana – Jari – Bhuntar – Delhi (13 hrs): From Malana board the early morning bus headed to Kullu and get off at Bhuntar. From Bhuntar, board the overnight bus back to Delhi.

Day 14: Arrive in Delhi: Arrive in Delhi in morning hours with crazy memories of Parvati Valley.

(A humble request – Garbage disposal in the region is a major issue. Please carry your trash with you and dispose of it at the appropriate place).

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