From the Land of Stoners and Hippies

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It was day next to when I left Manali, I was sitting in a small tempo traveller that was speeding its way toward Mandi while it was slowly raining and my facebook feed was filled with people cursing me.

‘You are not a true traveler, how can you do this?’ A comment said

‘He trusted you and this is what you did.’ Another comment said

You must be wondering what the post was and why this outburst of comments happened. You need to look upon the events of the prior day.

A day before this happened I woke up early morning and checked out of my hotel and took a bus for Kasol. This was 2nd day of my travel without any plans and I thought Kasol is supposed to be very nearby to Manali. It was nearby, it took some 3 hours for me to reach that place and when I did it was already afternoon. The little food that I had in Kullu was already lost in some corner of my stomach and I was starving.

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I read about Kasol as an offbeat destination around Manali and the description caught my interest. The place was described as one of the popular Hippie destinations in India and in Himachal Pradesh. The place was also described as Amsterdam of India when it comes to stoners heaven. Although none of the sites I checked said that it was 3 hours away from Manali.

So I reached Kasol in the afternoon, there was no town to reach. The bus dropped me on a circle and there were just two roads that actually showed some signs of life otherwise the place looked as deserted as one can imagine. Parvati River was flowing in the premises of the city, I took a walk around and came across a paratha shop where I relished myself with hot parathas. My next mission was to look for a place to stay but since I reached there during off season there were not many options available to stay.

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Wandering around I came across a café and I stopped by to have a sip of café latte and met a group of Israeli tourists. A little talk and they suggested me a place down the road. They even invited me to an open air jam session on the banks of Parvati river in the evening. I walked around a bit more, was chased by two dogs and was scared like shit and finally got a place to stay in a very cheap bargain of 200 rs. The hotel owner was a weird guy, I wondered if he had any idea of what was happening there. He gave me room keys and then asked me if I’ll like to have some marijuana or weed that I politely denied, he smiled and went on rooftop to smoke his chillum. In the meanwhile a friend on Facebook suggested me to try a nearby restaurant and try their pizza that I did and it was wonderful. I think it was the best pizza I had in recent times. In the evening I walked down the banks of Parvati river where my Israeli friends were camping, they were singing songs and dancing around. There was a smell of weed in the air, I had to politely deny but took a few sips of beer after they repeatedly asked me to have some.

After having dinner with them I returned to my room and slept, on my way a local told me that weather was going to go bad from next day. In the meanwhile the hotel owner was nowhere to be seen.

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I woke up next morning and took a bus for Manikaran that was about 45 minutes ride from Kasol, that place was more like a religious area with Gurudwaras and people hot springs. It was amazing that at distance of few kilometers in a state everything changes. After wandering around for some time I returned to Kasol, there were signs of that it rained last night. At breakfast I heard people talking that it will heavily rain by evening, I had to leave for Dharamsala and if it rained I would have got stuck in this place for god knows how many days. I returned to my hotel, looked for the owner but he was nowhere to be seen. I wanted to an hour and then another hour, it was already 3 PM by then and clouds had covered Kasol by that time. Looking at the weather I decided to make a real tough decision.

I locked my door and left the hotel without paying anything, I was so confused and bewildered that what I am going to do if roads close down and I was going to stuck here for who knows how much time. I left the hotel and reached the main road from where I was supposed to catch the bus, It was around 5 PM and there was no bus to be seen, about an hour before there were buses moving around in such heavy frequency and now there is no bus to be seen. My plans to reach Dharamsala kept going down and now I had no place to go back even in Kasol.

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After some wait a small tempo traveller passed by who gave me lift, he suggested me to travel till Mandi from where I’ll get a bus for Dharamsala for sure. It was another 4 hour journey with some pandits from Allahabad along with tea and snacks before I reached Mandi.

Dharamsala and McLeodganj were waiting.

For Foodies going to Kasol – 5 Cool Cafes You Must Try

 

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