Delhi is indeed a frying wok during the summers, making it a real task for survival. Add on the crowded streets, polluted pervasiveness of the air, and the dullsville of routine and Delhi summers turn into the worst foe of all times. Facing the exact same monotony, I was craving a whiff of fresh air and the mountains because there seemed no better way to calm myself down. Fortunately for me, I happened to come across a few friends who were planning a trip to Kasol and I jumped in at the opportunity even though it meant taking a week off from work, but hey! This was necessary for most mental and physical relaxation needs!
For those who don’t know much about this hidden little wonder, let me introduce it to you! Firstly, Kasol is a place! Its not kullu, its not kasauli, its not Manali, it is KASOL. Yes, nevertheless, there are several other neighboring valleys around Kasol.
Stretched along the lovely Parvati River and with mountain views, Kasol is the main traveller hang-out in the valley. It’s a small village, but almost overrun with reggae bars, bakeries and cheap guesthouses catering to a largely hippie/Israeli crowd. It’s also a summertime venue for trance parties transplanted from Goa, and at any time an easy base for exploring the forested valley or just chilling out. The village is divided into Old Kasol on the Bhuntar side of its bridge, and New Kasol on the Manikaran side.
Several rustic guesthouses and cafes along here, mostly foreign-run, are perfect for those who want to really ‘turn on, tune in and drop out’.
I was lucky enough to stay in one of the most beautiful yet humble properties in the valley. It was a tiny little hotel made on the river bed with balconies that stood over the gushing water, built across majestic pine trees and infinite scenic beauty. Greater part of my week was spent standing in one corner just gazing out into the rungs of nature and believe me, every moment managed to surprise me. I saw the night change into morning, dusk turn into dawn and several illusions at twilight hours. The water turned blue, grey and black and sharply mellow with the first hit of sunrise which made the entire sight dance and create an almost image like that of a painting.
Hotel: PMM Associates, Main Kasol.
Other than tripping over nature which is a huge high in itself, yes you have to indulge in it to believe it, there is an array of cafes and bakeries to try out in Kasol. The food is among the highlights, the ambience is close to hippie cafes and the vibe is extremely relaxed so one can take the load off and lie back in the lap of nature.
Having visited most of the prominent food outlets in Kasol, there are a few that shouldn’t be missed at any cost. It must be noted that almost all restaurants serve multicusine menu and the constitution of the menu is same more or less. The food takes quite a while to be served because hey, it’s a slow paced town so don’t complain. Also Nutella pancakes are a staple here, best to order it at the end of every meal because nobody ever got bored of nutella. Even better? Start every meal with a chocolatier pancake and end it with the same. At least I did this and it did me gooood!
An old idyllic little café resounding the spirit of Kasol with slow lowbeat music playing in the background, candlelit tables and a laid back air. The food Is among the best in Kasol. It is prepared with fresh abundant ingredients and they pay good attention to taste and quality.
Banana Nutella Pancake
Set Breakfast with Poached eggs and hash browns
Hummus and Flaky Naan.
2. Bhoj Café
This café might give off a shady vibe at first but it will do you good to go inside and spend an evening here. Just like its sister cafes, Bhoj is no exception in being dimly lit with some slow music playing in the background. The Desserts here are to die for and the service is again super slow. The managers are stoned themselves so don’t even try to ask for quick service. Put your feet back and try to take in the vibe as the open windows gush in the hilly air.
Indian curries and Dal Makhni
Chocolate nutella shortcake
Chocolate oreo shake
3. Little Italy
This restaurant is another nominee for the best restaurants in Kasol. The service here is relatively quicker and the servers are friendly and smiling (rare in the area). There is an open sitting to enjoy the good weather and a tiny little room inside for big groups where you can just lie back, eat, smoke, drink and have a relaxed time.
PIZZA, killer peri peri chicken pizza
Vegetarian Cheese Burger
Indian chicken curry combo
Watermelon/ Mixed Fruit Juice
4. Moon Dance Bakery and Café
This is the Café right in ther center of the main Kasol street which is mostly famous for their Pancake and waffle kiosk that sells the most orgasmic indulgent sweet treats in the valley. Adjacent is the open café serving the standard dishes, which happen to be pretty delish and satiating
Chocolate Nutella Banana Pancake
Chocolate nutella Waffles
Pasta in red sauce
Chicken and tomato Bruschetta
5. Stone Garden Café
This is one little den made in the central kasol market. The entrance is enthralled with several fairy lights and beaming trippy lights all around. The music is psychedelic and the whole place has a very cozy vibe to it. Its best to sit outside, enjoy the fresh gushes of wind and savor the yummies.
Pasta in pink sauce with chicken
Chicken Steak in pepper sauce
Foodie’s Tip: Pizzas, Burgers, Crepes, Pancakes and Waffles are the safest options to order at any café in Kasol. Although most food tastes average and pretty decent, our pick of Kasol’s restaurants serve the most popularly loved flavors and food quality. There are three German Bakeries around the valley, which are best for mid day snacking and coffee croissants and baked goods.
Verdict: Kasol is a paradise for whoever wishes to escape the stressful city life and wants to bask in the lap of nature teamed up with some crazy food and desserts, oh yes drinks of course. The variety of food and culture is enough for a weekend or a week even ( in my case, I didn’t want to return even after a week.)