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Glassy Eyes Kasol

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I can see lights said Manzil Nath, all soaked and cold as I saw my watch at 2030hrs. I could see lights and smoke, heard no voice and knew this was the place, there was complete silence as I already dreaded going back to the madness of Delhi. Cell phones were mere objects that would emit light and play smokie songs. We were at Kheer Ganga. A sacred Himalayan Village - Malana. Serenity is here in this secluded Himalayan village another short trek and we were all smiles… Kasol. Well, everyone seemed to have glassy eyes here.

Trip Details

Day 1 Delhi to Parvati Valley
2030hrs Connaught place all set with a bit of drama losing the metro token and rendezvous chaos. The driver was jumpy by the time we started. Overnight drive to Bhuntar-Kasol-Manikaran. Dinner at Murthal.

Day 2 Kheer Ganga trek
After a warm bowl of thukpa at boini ko dukan we started the Kheer Ganga trek at 1230hrs. Seemed fun with Parvati River raging by, as we gained altitude, we crawled wondering why people rated it as moderate difficulty trek. 1600hrs we were at Rudra nag temple which had a self-appointed guard, Baba screaming at people with footwear.
We had just covered 5 kms at 5 kms; it was getting dark with another 7 kms to cover, and all hail mother earth, it started pouring. Finally managed to drag ourselves to the campsite at 2030hrs with just one torch (very thoughtful of us not to carry torches on a trekking trip). It took us another hour to put up our tents.

Day 3 Kheer Ganga- Kasol
Fabulous hot spring bath, Israeli food and reluctant faces. Trek back to Pulga was relatively easy and was covered in just 30 minutes. We were back in Kasol by 1800hrs. Budget guesthouses with snow-clad mountains in the background was just the place to be with weary legs. Checked into Happy Hippie House for Rs. 300. Restaurants, pubs, cafes all operate till midnight. Trance, psychedelic music was all you can think of for a perfect offbeat destination.

Day 4 Kasol - Malana
Falafel Breakfast at 0930hrs. At 1030hrs, we managed to find a driver who would drop us at Malana village entry gate for Rs. 1100. The village was another 2.5 hours hike from the entry gate. So we looked around for people who would share the ride and finally managed to get 9 people to split Rs 1100/-. The road leading to Malana was nerve-racking, and the driver seemed to be very drunk. Finally, we were there, the oldest democracy led tribal Himalayan village, Malana. We met Ravi, who was happy to lend us his complete house for Rs. 1100/-. That night we raised hell in Ravi’s kitchen.

Day 5 Malana -Bhuntar-Kullu-Chandigarh
I woke up the next day to find we had not just wrecked Ravi’s kitchen, there was gravy all over his carpets, and someone seemed to have scared his dog out of the village. We left with a humble apology and extra Rs. 500/-, which his neighbour recommended. We headed back to Kasol. Lunch was at The Stone Garden Café, packed our bags bought tickets for a local bus to Bhuntar, only to find all the overnight buses run for Delhi from Bhuntar had no seats. We boarded another local bus to Kullu (30kms), and reached Kullu bus station by 1900 hrs. Finally, at 0130hrs Haryana transport came to our rescue. For Rs. 250/- per person to Chandigarh, with Mr. James from New Zealand sharing his whiskey, and the almost wooden seats seemed fun.

Day 6 Chandigarh – Delhi
Finally, all battered up in the Haryana Transport bus; we decided to board a Mercedes bus from Chandigarh to Delhi for Rs. 550/- and in 4 hours and we were in Delhi. Speechless as we were in the metro and had to push our way through this madness again.

Manash Protim Mahanta