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Tatta Pani - Kasol

INDIA | Monday, 29 September 2008 | Views [4300] | Comments [1]

25/09/2008 - 29/09/2008

Tatta Pani - Kasol.

The bus ride was again typical of Himachal - 2 and a half hours of crazy bus racing on the side of a cliff, dodging cows, goats, recent rockfalls, trucks, buses... It's really amazing that more bikes, cars and buses don't go plummeting down to the bottom of these valleys. A combination of luck, skill and some guidance from Lord Shiva, and we made it to Tatta Pani. A cute little town nestled in the valley by the river, with hot sulfur springs in the side of the hill. Very soon to be damned, since the area was soon to be dammed, the Trimurti Inn was in a right state. Our room had a constant leak into the bathroom whether it was raining or not, all the mould and mildew that goes with that, cracks in the wall - the list goes on. But it was cheap, and the staff were fantastic. No matter how nice a place may be, if the staff are rude or unhelpful, it ruins the stay. We were staying in a condemned shitheap, but were happy as can be. The food was fantastic, our waiter was funny and helpful, and the location was stunning. From our room, we had a huge bay window overlooking the bend in the river. It was a great way to break up the long way to Kasol and the Parvarti Valley.

So nice infact, that we ended up spending 2 very leisurely days and nights there. Time spent sitting by and staring into the turmultuous river, listening to its constant roar and being mesmirised by its currents; watching the birds flittering around in the glorious sunshine; reading; eating - quality, relaxing, unhurried time. And since it was a tip from Virender, and not from a guide book of any sort, we had it to ourselves. We enjoyed a slow start to our day, then asked our friendly host about the buses. He had said the best way to Kasol would be via the 6 am bus to Mandi. Since it was already 12, and our bags were packed, i asked how else we could do it. I ended up deciding to go to Kasorg, a mere 4 hrs away. I've mentioned my dislike of arriving places at night, especially unknown places, so it would be a night in Kasorg, then on to Mandi the following day. Kasorg was well off the tourist path again, but a hub for the local bus network. I have a knack for getting off the path, but it has given me a taste of India that your standard tourist misses - i have loved it. Kasorg was very interesting, our hosts seeming quite amazed to have international guests and fumbling around to acommodate us; buying water and breakfast in the main street was all via sign language, most common people not knowing or needing english; and of course, the stares and commotion we cause in small un-touristy towns, all adding to a rich experience.

And Mandi was much the same, but a much more beautiful city. We had met a couple of locals in a dhaba over chai who had helped us find a fantastic room overlooking the river and the town, right near the bus stand. After sharing a couple of spliffs of local charas, i even ended up buying my cheapest tola in India. Away from tourist areas, they don't know what to charge, and while i'm sure he made some money, i got a nice tola for half the usual price. Nice. Again, Mandi was tourist free and we enjoyed the solitude of our balcony just watching the bustle of the city below, in front and above us. After a fantastic breakfast on our private balcony, we put our lives back in our bags, and walked back to the bus stand for our next 2 buses - one to Bhuntar, then another to Kasol. Then we would be in the famed Parvati Valley; breath-taking scenery, towering mountains, a roaring river, alpine forests, reputedely home to India's best charas and the number one destination in the Israeli Planet...




For those of us still caught up in the frenetic Aussie lifestyle your adventures remind us of the bigger picture. Perhaps we should all head off into the east and go adventuring but for Tissa and I we will stick more closely to the tourist trail of five star establishments just so we can support all the locals in their chosen lifestyles.
The last time Tissa bargained with the Indians in Singapore we neally eanded up with a six figure debt. She eventually swore off all haggling and prefers a set price.
Any idea of when you are heading back this way?

  Robert Hennig Oct 23, 2008 11:04 AM

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