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Kasol - Barshani

INDIA | Sunday, 5 October 2008 | Views [3882]

29/10/2008 - 05/10/2008

The buses were easy and we arrived in beautiful Kasol by early afternoon. We actually overshot it and had to walk back, but not far. I sat in a dhaba to drink a chai while Didi went searching for a place to stay. She found a lovely place, right on the mighty Parvati River, but while our room was nice it had no view. But there was nothing else - Kasol was packed, due to Rosha Shana - the Jewish new year. I have already said that Parvati is the number 1 destination in the mythical Israeli Planet. Well Kasol is the gateway town to Parvati for international travellers, and seems to exist almost entirely on Israeli's. The ratio here is back to 20-1 (Israeli's to Others). There's even a huge sign, written in hebrew in the blue and white with the Israeli flag (which of course Didi had to translate for me); "You're not Jewish if you haven't been to Kasol." Crazy. So of course, on the day we arrived, Kasol looked more like Jeruselem than an Indian town. Traditionally dressed jews heading to the river for the new years rituals, a huge marquee set up, hebrew signs everywhere - it was nuts!

But of course it calmed down and we relocated to a place further up the hill in the trees, with an incredible view. We ended up enjoying 5 relaxing days, wandering the paths, staring at the snow capped mountains in the medium distance, and marvelling at the beauty of this place. Kasol is so picturesque, nestled amid the massive and majestic pines, the glacier fuelled Parvarti River pounding it's way past town down it's rocky bed, the snowy peaks in the background; just sitting here has put my soul at rest. I know that i have been travelling now for over 3 months, and some would expect my soul to be at ease. But travelling, there is always something new, something always a challenge etc etc. Here, i have found my calm. Also, since Rishikesh, i have been missing things about home. Not getting homesick, but missing the little things - working on my house, making a coffee for myself, cooking... Since arriving in Parvarti though, all of that has disappeared. I could quite happily sit here, staring at the river and mountains for a year. However, after 5 days of gazing at those peaks, we decided it was time to get a bit closer to them. Shai had told us that Kalga was his favorite town in the valley, which according to my hand drawn map wasn't very far away. Time to jump on a bus and see how far..

We got to Manikaran without a problem, but to get to Kalga seemed to be too difficult. No bus went there, and a taxi can't even take you all the way. While Manikaran was an amazing looking town, it was a lot busier than i was looking for in a place to stay - somewhere i would love to visit before i leave, but since we had an unknown walk ahead of us, today was not the day. I still had that itch to get a bit closer to the snowline, and it was already after 1 o'clock. After waiting 45 min for a bus which never seemed to come, we ended up in a taxi jeep with about 5 impatient locals destined for Barshani. It seemed we would have to walk from Barshani to Kalga. Opinions differed as to how far - 15min, 30min, 1 hr. I guess we were about to find out how far we could carry our packs...




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