Most of the people start their trekking in the Himalayas either with Triund or Kasol Kheerganga as these are the most popular treks among youngsters. In my case, I started with Nag Tibba & Triund was my second trek. After that, I moved on to do the difficult treks like Hampta Pass, Bali Pass, etc and in the meantime, I never thought of exploring Kasol. But I’d heard a lot about Kasol, Kheerganga, and Parvati valley as they were quite famous and scenic too. So I wanted to explore this region but I was not exactly looking for any crowded place like Kheerganga. I was looking for some place where I could stay for a day or 2 and experience the local culture. I did some research and found a village called Grahan. After reading a few blogs, I decided to go for the Grahan village trek near Kasol.
This time two of my school friends from Agra (Ankush & Nishant) were also accompanying me on the trek. We began the overnight journey from Delhi to Kasol by a comfortable Volvo bus. It took around 12 hours and our bus dropped us at Bhuntar. Bhuntar is a small town situated 50 km from Manali on the Mandi-Manali highway. The Kullu Manali airport is situated here and the route to Parvati Valley also bifurcates from here. From Bhuntar we took a shared taxi to Kasol and reached there in an hour.
There are only 2 or 3 buses which directly go to Kasol from Delhi, the rest of the buses drop at Bhuntar and from there one has to take another conveyance to reach Kasol. Local buses and taxis are easily available from Bhuntar.
Exploring Kasol – Mini Israel of India
Our hotel was pre-booked and it was Hotel Blue Diamond. While going towards the hotel we noticed a cafe named “cafe sunshine”, which was looking good. We were famishing by that time as we did not eat anything during the bus journey, so instead of going to the hotel for check-in, we entered into that cafe to have our breakfast there. We thoroughly enjoyed our first meal at Kasol by having hot chocolate, sandwiches, and burgers. After filling our tummies, we arrived at our hotel and relaxed for an hour. By noon, we took our day packs and started exploring the town.
Kasol is a quite small but very vibrant town having several cafes, clubs, street market for shopping, and a plethora of treks. Kasol, settled around the gushing Parvati river, has a different vibe as compared to other hill stations. The place has become quite popular among youngsters and due to which it remains too much crowded on weekends and holidays. However, one can still feel the original vibe of this place by visiting on any weekday when the crowd is lesser. We did the same and we were just loving the atmosphere there.
After exploring the streets and a few shops, we took the Chalal village trail, which begins after crossing the bridge over the Parvati river. The village is a 2 km walk from there and the entire trail goes along the Parvati river. We had a wonderful time while walking on that trail because of the strong flow of the river and the pleasant weather. It took just half an hour to reach the village.
We explored and tried some cafes, where we had our lunch, and then returned to Kasol. Now we took a shared taxi to visit the famous Gurudwara, Manikaran Sahib, which was situated just 5 km from Kasol. Later in the evening, we came back and tried several new cuisines at cafes like Moon dance, Bhoj, and Rainbow. After satisfying our tummies, we came back to our hotel and packed our bags for the next day’s plan of Grahan village trek.
Trek to Grahan Village from Kasol
About Grahan Village
Grahan is a tiny village situated in the Parvati valley at an elevation of around 2300 m. Known for its scenic landscapes and the nearby waterfalls, the village also serves as a first stop or campsite to the trekkers going towards Sar pass or Khauli Pass. The trek is easy and the total trek distance from Kasol to Grahan village is 8 km. The village people are calm natured like other pahadi locals. Though there is no network available at the village but people have developed homestays equipped with basic amenities at that offbeat location. One can have a very comfortable stay with a unique experience in those homestays. The villagers have also banned the consumption of alcohol there. A black colored small insect is found there and the locals consider it their local deity and worship that insect.
Beginning the Grahan Village Trek
We had our breakfast at our hotel itself and then bought some eatables to have it as a refreshment while on the trek. We took the right turn from the main bridge in the market and walked towards an old iron bridge. The trail starts from there itself. The route was an unmetalled and uneven road and it continued up to 2 km. There were a few cars and bikes that were going in the same direction as we were going. Later, we found out that they were locals. The walk was along the Grahan Nalah that further gets mixed into the Parvati river.
We continued the walk for 2 km and then crossed a bridge made by 2 trees, to reach the left side of the stream. The trail was flat and quite easy. We were walking very comfortably without putting much effort. The views were also good as the region was full of greenery. As we moved inside the valley, the forest became dense. After walking for around 2 hours, we arrived at a canteen settled on the way and there we had our lunch. I had an intuition that we have completed half of the trek and it got true after confirming from the canteen owner. We ordered Maggi, Nutella toast, and Omelet. The food was good and at a reasonable price.
Resuming the trek after lunch is always difficult. We were also feeling lazy but we had to resume as the clouds were approaching us and encircling the valley. The Grahan village was around 2 hours from there as told by the canteen owner. We took our bags and started walking towards our destination. After passing a campsite, we arrived at a point where the route was bifurcating. We got confused a bit but then some locals told us that both the routes are going to the same place, viz, Grahan. We took the left one and continued.
The clouds were getting black and they were in a full mood to make us drenched. The last hour of the trek was a bit difficult as the trail was steep and zig-zag. It wasn’t a big deal though. We did it easily and reached the village by 3 pm. The village was situated in a very scenic location. We explored a bit and found one homestay named “The Mount View”. After freshening up, we were served tea with pakodas, my favorite thing on a trek. It literally made my day. We had those delicious pakodas and then we started roaming around the village. There were a few hippy cafes, an old temple, and a 100 years old tree which was considered sacred.
In the evening, the weather turned bad and it started raining. So we returned back to the homestay and enjoyed the evening by playing Uno and Mafia. The view from the homestay was gorgeous. We could see the entire valley. The dinner was served by 8 pm and we enjoyed the yummy pahadi food. While having dinner, the uncle at the homestay told us about the nearby waterfalls and we made our plan to visit the same by early morning.
Exploring waterfalls, Trek down to Kasol and Depart for Delhi
We woke up to fresh and chilly morning by 5 am. The mornings on the mountains are probably the best and if it is the post-rain morning then it becomes a “cherry on the top”. Everything looked so fresh by that time and the water droplets decorated the leaves and enhanced the overall beauty. We quickly freshened up, had a piping hot tea, and ventured out into the forest to visit the waterfalls. The homestay uncle was accompanying us as we were not aware of the correct route. We moved into the same valley which was visible from the homestay. There was a mud trail and it was narrow.
As told by the uncle, there were a total of 3 waterfalls situated according to the size. Like the 1st one was the smallest one, the 2nd one was slightly big and the 3rd one was the biggest and beautiful too. As we reached near the 1st waterfall, we noticed a water stream which we had to cross and pass through the dense bushes. We could recall the episodes of Man vs Wild :p The 1st waterfall was around 2 km from the homestay. It was good. We clicked a few photos and moved on to visit the 2nd waterfall.
The 2nd and the 3rd waterfall were situated quite close to each other. We took the trail and reached there in the next 15 minutes. But we didn’t stop at the 2nd waterfall because we were excited to see the main one. We then crossed a narrow bridge over a stream and the 3rd waterfall was in front of us. Surrounded by lush greenery, the waterfall was big and magnificent. While looking at the top of the waterfall, it seemed as it was fed by two different streams. We had a great experience by sitting near the waterfall and listening to its music. We came back to our homestay by 9 AM and then had our breakfast.
Now it was the time to bid adieu to Grahan village and the people there. We wanted to stay for one more night but we were short of holidays. Soon, we started descending back to Kasol through the same route. It took just 3 hours to reach there. We had our lunch and by late noon, we departed for Bhuntar, from where we had to catch our bus to Delhi.
The next morning, we were back in Delhi to follow the same old routine. But this same old routine is the thing which keeps us motivated to visit the mountains, again and again, right?
The overall trip was quite relaxing and soothing. We all had a good experience by exploring Kasol, trying out new cafes, trekking to Grahan village, staying at the homestay, and of course the waterfalls. It’s an easy trek and can be done in a weekend’s time. The guide is not necessary if you have prior trekking experience. The route is well marked and used by locals daily. The Parvati Valley is home to various such villages and trails. I will be visiting soon to explore other wonders of this valley.