Things to do in Kasol includes a wide array of fun and challenging adventures. From relishing freshly made shakshuka to starting on a multi-day trek, Kasol offers quite a lot to travellers.
Kasol, a scenic hamlet located in Parvati valley of Himachal Pradesh is the hippie capital of India. It was already on the hippie trail for quite a long time but only a handful of people knew about it. Off late more and more people have started visiting this place, making it a favourite among backpackers.
While most people associate Kasol with the infamous Malana Cream Hash, trust me, there is much more to Kasol than that. In this blog, I intend to share with you some of the best and unique things to explore in and around Kasol.
22 Fun & Excitingly Unique Things to Do in Kasol
In recent years, Kasol has made up its way as a favourite destination among backpackers. This is because of two main reasons, first, easy availability of high-quality hashish (Possession and consumption of Hashish are illegal in India, you can be even arrested if you happen to have it), and second due to beautiful hiking and trekking trails around Kasol.
In my opinion, Kasol offers much more than the stereotypical clichés given to it by people. Below I have listed out some of the best experiences you can have on your trip.
|1. Attend music festivals & Trance Parties|
|2. Give your hair a look|
|3. Go Café hopping|
|4. Relish the street food|
|5. Enjoy delicious baked goods|
|6. Experience snowfall in Kasol|
|7. Walk around the town|
|8. Take short hikes around the Town|
|9. Trek to Kheerganga|
|10. Get yourself ready for the ultimate Trekking challenge|
|11. Take a bath in the Hot Water springs|
|12. Stargazing at Night|
|13. Go Backpacking to Tosh|
|14. Spend half a day at Manikaran|
|15. Visit the lesser-known villages|
|16. Visit World’s Oldest Democracy Malana|
|17. Shop at the flea markets in Kasol|
|18. Chill by river Parvati|
|19. Try Chhang and Lugari|
|20. Camp by river Parvati|
|21. Be a part of a local ‘Mela’|
|22. Enjoy a relaxing massage|
Attend Music Festivals & Psytrance Parties in Kasol
There are music festivals organized around Kasol on special occasions. During my visit, there was a music festival organized in Chalal on the occasion of Maha Shivratri. These festivals are main attractions during the New year and people throng to Kasol and Parvati valley to attend these festivals.
Kasol is known for its psychedelic trance parties. These parties generally take place during May and June, or September and October.
If you are interested in attending one of the parties, the best way to find out is by talking to a local in one of the cafes in Kasol or Chalal. They can guide you with the best places to find one.
This year some of the famous music and trance festivals bound to take place are:
- Shivaratri Special – Tantrik Trance Music Festival (20-23 Feb)
- Tandav Dance Festival (21-22 Feb)
- Electric MahaDev Festival (22-24 May)
- Magik Culture – Trance Addiction (30-31 May)
However, if you are one of those people who like the Himalayas for peace, these events are not for you.
Give your hair a makeover at Kasol’s ‘not so regular’ Salons
Kasol is known to be a hippie paradise. If you would like to get completely into the hippie groove, there there is no better place than Kasol to do it. Give your hair an overhaul and try out some of the cool hippie hairstyles.
You can find dreadlock artists and salons that offer more than your regular haircuts.
Go Café hopping in Kasol
While making a list of what to do in Kasol, we just cannot forget the food. This small town is every foodie’s dreamland. There are a ton of different cafés that offer lip-smacking multi-cuisine delicacies to soothe your taste buds.
Though cafes predominantly serve Italian and Israeli food. Israeli food like hummus, falafel platter, etc. will be readily available and is a must-try when you are in Kasol. Italian food served in most of the cafes is extremely delectable. Apart from Italian and Israeli food, traditional Indian food is also readily available in and around Kasol.
There are many Cafes in Kasol and you probably require 2 days to cover all of them. I visited quite a few them and the food was extremely delicious. Bhoj Café, Evergreen Café, Freedom Café, Moondance Café, Jim Morrisons Café, Little Italy, Panj Tara Café are amongst the popular ones in Kasol.
In my opinion, Evergreen Café, Jim Morrisons Café, Little Italy are a must-visit as they serve lip-smacking food.
Personally, my favourite is Jim Morrisons café as the café inspired by Jim Morrison the lead singer of the classic rock band “The doors”, classic rock numbers are played during the day. The café has a very chill vibe to it and is heaven for vegetarians as the café serves only vegetarian food. To reach this café you would have to hike uphill for 10 minutes from Hotel Sandhya.
Relish the lip-smacking delicious street food in Kasol
The street food in Kasol is delicious and hygienic. While the cafes and bakeries are a must-try, street food is something that you shouldn’t miss. Some of the best things you have got to try are:
- Shambu’s Momo Corner- This is a very popular momos stall right next to the main bridge in Kasol. Served with some sauce and some peanut chutney, the chicken momos are the best in town.
- Maggi – Another readily available street food in and around Kasol is Maggi. You can tr egg Maggi, Chicken Maggi, veg Maggi. Nothing can go wrong with Maggi, right?
- Thupka – Thupka is a Tibetan delicacy. It consists of soup and noodles and is very flavorful. Try this at one of the food stalls in Kasol and you will definitely enjoy it.
Try the freshly baked desserts & bread in Kasol
Kasol is also famous for its mouth-watering desserts like cakes, pie, croissants, etc. There quite a few bakeries here which serve these kinds of deserts.
Germany bakery is the most popular in Kasol and rightly so. You need to try everything on their menu. The cookies, apple pie, cheesecakes, Nutella Croissants, and everything else is absolutely delicious and reasonably priced.
If you are up for something strange, you can also try some Yak Cheese here.
Go Backpacking to Tosh, the last motorable village near Kasol
Tosh is the last motorable village in Parvati Valley. Surrounded by lush green mountains with pine, deodar, oak trees, it offers a magnificent view of these mountains.
Backpacking to Tosh Village is the best way to start if you have never backpacked before. Trust me, it would change your perspective towards travelling. You can read my complete backpacking guide to Tosh in this blog.
Experience snowfall in Kasol
If you are visiting in winter, then experiencing snowfall would be one of the best things to Kasol do in December. December and January are the best months to experience snowfall in Kasol.
You just have to be at the right time in Kasol when one of the western disturbances is approaching the Indian sub-continent just keep an eye on the weather forecast.
Walk around Kasol town
The best way to explore the town is on foot. Kasol itself is a very small hamlet and can be easily explored on foot without walking too much. Explore the market area in Kasol, go shopping in Kasol, soak in the hippie vibe which is what Kasol is famous for.
Though a few areas in Kasol will not exactly give you a feeling of tranquillity but trust me it just takes a little bit of exploring to find the perfect spot you are looking for.
Take short hikes around Kasol – Chalal/Katagla
In my opinion, this is one of the best experiences in Kasol. The hike to Chalal/ Katagla is one of the most beautiful experiences you will have on your trip.
Chalal is a quaint little hamlet with extremely picturesque landscapes. It can be only reached by foot, Kasol to Chalal is just a 30 minutes simple hike. The trail passes through a beautiful deodar forest and you can easily reach the bank of river Parvati from here.
For people who find Kasol to be too touristy, Chalal is the best way to escape the crowd. Katagla is another small hamlet which is even further away from Chalal.
Trek to Kheerganga, a beginner’s trail near Kasol
Other than Triund trek, this is one of the most popular beginner treks in Himachal. The starting trek point of the trek is Barshaini which is just 20 km from Kasol.
The Kheerganga trail itself is very scenic with beautiful pine and deodar forests and numerous surreal waterfalls en route to Kheerganga. To complete this trek, you will have to either follow the 4 or a 6-day Kasol Itinerary.
Get yourself ready for the ultimate Trekking challenge from Kasol
There is always the option of taking other easier & moderate level treks around Kasol. However, If you are a trekking pro, Kasol has a lot to offer.
If you want to pursue any of the difficult treks, make sure that you are well-experienced and have done some Himalayan treks in the past. T Some of the most amazing (and difficult) multi-day treks you can take from Kasol are:
- Trek to Mantalai Lake, the source of River Parvati
- Pin Parvati Pass Trek, the Ultimate test your trekking skills
- Sar Pass Trek, the more popular multi-day trek
Take a bath in the Hot Water springs in Kasol
Yes, there are hot springs in Kasol as well. Even though Manikaran and Kheerganga are popular for the natural hot water springs in Parvati valley, Kasol also has small hot water springs at least at a couple of places.
One of the hot water springs is just where the Chalal bridge ends and the trail to Chalal starts. This place is hardly about 5 minutes away from the main Kasol town.
In Kasol, gaze at the endless starry sky
There is nothing more soothing than stargazing in this quiet Himalayan town at night. The simple joy of stargazing in a quiet night will fill your heart with joy.
Spend half a day at Manikaran, a popular religious shrine near Kasol
Manikaran, famous for its hot water spring and its gurudwara is just 4 km away from Kasol is one of the most popular places due to its religious significance. There are a few temples here as well including the very beautiful Naina Bhagwati Mandir just as you enter Manikaran.
Though this might not be possible if have fewer days and following 2-day Kasol itinerary. You will be able to cover these places if you are staying longer.
From Kasol, visit the lesser-visited Rasol and Grahan Village
Rasol village is tucked away deep in the Parvati valley. It is one of the villages in the higher reaches of Parvati valley and can be only reached by foot. Since it requires an uphill climb of a few hours to reach this village is not frequented by a huge number of people and remains one of the lesser-explored villages of the valley.
Grahan village is another of those unexplored gems in the Parvati valley as it is frequented by very few travellers. One of the main reasons being that it can be only reached on foot. Located at an altitude of 2350 m offers an excellent view of the mountains and Pine forests in the backdrop.
Make Kasol your base on your visit to World’s Oldest Democracy Malana
Malana is a remote village located in Parvati Valley that is easily accessible from Kasol. Kasol to Malana journey takes around 2 hours to complete.
Dubbed as the oldest democracy in the world, people in Malana expect visitors to abide by some rather strange rules. You can read all about these rules in this blog.
Shop at the flea markets in Kasol
The markets in Kasol are not like any other. You will find the most unique things in these markets. Most shops sell hippie and boho-inspired things. This is something very similar to the markets in Old Manali.
Some of the quirky and interesting things you can buy in Kasol are :
- Chillums & Bongs
- Himachali Caps
- Psychedelic Art Pieces
Chill by river Parvati in Kasol
The beauty and the vibe of the place is such that you would just want to relax and enjoy serene landscapes. The beautiful deodar forests and River Parvati in the vicinity will surely leave you mesmerized.
In Kasol, try the local drinks like Chhang and Lugari
Chhang is a kind of beer made using rice or barley. Another locally made alcoholic drink is lugari. This too is made using rice. These alcoholic drinks are nothing like you have tried before.
Kasol is the best place to go camping by river Parvati
There are many providers that provide you with the amazing experience of camping along River Parvati. The average cost of such camps is around 1000 -1500 INR for 2 people depending on the month of the year you are visiting. Weekdays are generally more reasonably priced than weekends.
I stayed at the Mahadev River View Camps and has a good experience.
Be a part of a local Fair or “Mela” in Kasol
Every year, the locals host some traditional fairs in Kasol. If you happen to be in Kasol during one of these fairs, make sure you attend it. You will get the real feel of the local culture. You can see some local dance performances and relish the food at the food stalls.
You can play some games and shop at the stalls as well. Most of these Fairs take place in the summer months and somewhere around the Indian festival Dussehra.
Enjoy a relaxing massage at a Spa or a Quick Foot massage in Kasol
If you are looking for some unique experiences in Kasol, go ahead and enjoy a relaxing massage. Enjoy a comforting body massage at Ayur Spa, located just opposite Hotel Krishna Palace on Manikaran Road.
If you want something quick, try the most comforting foot massage in Kasol. You will find a few masseurs with tiny bottles that are up to the task there and then. A massage by the river and in the woods, can there be a better setting than that?
I hope this blog helped you by providing you with enough reasons to visit Kasol. So, if you do visit Kasol, make sure you enjoy most of the things I have listed above.