After enjoying a hippie holiday at one of the valley resorts, we (I, along with a few friends) returned to Kullu, the busy administrative capital of Himachal Pradesh. Sarvari, the Beas river-feeder cleaves Kullu into two. On the north, we have Akhara Bazaar with a few antique wooden buildings encompassing the gurdwara. On the south, we have Dhalpur pedestrianized with a market, tourist office and a taxi stand. The bus station sprawls on the northern side of the Sarvari River, linked through a footbridge.
In October, this town stages the region’s most colourful festival – the Kullu Dussehra. From Kullu, we travelled to Tosh via Manikaran. A day before, we packed drinking water, light snacks, a first-aid kit and essential trekking gear.
Trekking From Kullu To Tosh via Manikaran
At 6 AM, we gathered at Goswami nature park and started following Kullu Ramsheela Marg road to Mohal. It takes over two hours to reach Mohal from Kullu. If you don’t take many breaks, you should be in Mohal by 8-8.30 AM, which is a great time to get breakfast. Most restaurants in this area open at 10 AM, but, Raajani rafting camp does serve breakfast at 8, so does Kullu Manali Vaishnav Dhaba. The soft, freshly prepared paneer parathas and mix pakoras at Vaishnav Dhaba are a must-try!
Following breakfast, we got walking on the Manikaran road. We continued walking for two hours until we arrived at the Parvati Valley Riverside Cafe at 10.30 AM. We stayed here till lunchtime, assimilating the natural energy arising from the picturesque beauty of the valley. We grabbed an early lunch (a light meal) before paving our way to the mysterious hot springs. Manikaran is about 14kms (a three-hour walk) from the Parvati Valley cafe. En route, there are many lodges and resorts where you can spend the night.
On different occasions, we have stayed at Parvati Woods camp, Katagla Forest Retreat and Parvati Kuteer. Always make a reservation in advance to avoid last-minute hassles. Rest well and next morning, leave for Manikaran at 7 AM. En route to Manikaran, we took a photo stop at Kasol, a beautiful Himachali village. At 10.30 AM, we were in Manikaran, a holy Himachali pilgrimage site with natural hot springs. This site is ‘mostly’ visited by pilgrims who believe that the Holy waters containing sulphur will cure them of any disease. Nearby homestays also offer personal bath experience for a nominal charge.
We quickly paid a visit to the Gurudwara Sahib Manikaran, ate lunch at a local restaurant and headed straight for the enchanting Tosh. We managed to leave Manikaran at 1 PM and reached Tosh at 5 PM. We would have arrived an hour earlier, had we not stopped, at Durga Kali Mata and Veernath temples. Boom Shiva cafe technically marks the border of the enchanting village of Tosh. It’s the first sign that you have arrived! For the next few days – we stayed at the Nomads hostel near Pink Floyd cafe and explored the nearby areas on foot. Tosh is surrounded-by, verdant mountains and meadows.
Walk into its booming fields, and you will find yourself amidst sprouting Marigolds, Irises, Himalayan blue poppies, Buttercups and Himalayan Balsam flowers. Birds like Himalayan Griffons, Bull Rosefinches, Brown Dippers, Lamagiers and white-capped water are attracted to these flowers and can often be spotted in this area.
Locals will tell you that sighting a Himalayan bear is a common thing around here. When here, we also chase the Tosh River to its origin at the Tosh Glacier. Tosh is so much more than just a hippie colony. You ‘just’ need to stay here for a few days to get to explore it thoroughly.