Kasol: Little Israel of the Himalayas
Remote town home to Himachalis, Israelis, and tons of hashish.
Kasol, a remote village situated on the banks of the raging Parvati River between Bhuntar and Manikaran (a religious place for sikhs) in Himachal Pradesh, India, has long served as the main headquarters for backpackers and travelers in the idyllic Parvati Valley. Kasol serves as the base base camps for many treks nearby, mainly Sarpass (13,800 feet) and Pin Parvati Valley Trek.
Partitioned into Old Kasol and New Kasol on either side of a main bridge, the town has embraced tourists as they bring in significant amounts of cash. Today, visitors will find internet cafes, body piercing parlors, reggae bars, cheap rentals for people passing through town, and many Western-style restaurants. Visitors are attracted to the town because of its hospitality, beautiful environs, and wild charas, a hand-made hashish made from the cannabis that is plentiful to the area.
Kasol is also home to a large population of Israelis. According to locals, the town is a hot spot for a lot of young people who finish their compulsory military service in Israel and then escape to the Parvati Valley. Almost all signage in Kasol is in both Hindi and Hebrew.
Residents can only earn an education up through 7th grade, however, as the town’s one school doesn’t offer more advanced classes, for higher education one heads to Bhuntar and Kullu.
Know Before You Go
From Delhi: Take a bus to Kullu, get off at the Bhuntar roundabout and then catch a bus or a shared cab to Kasol, 5 km short of Manikaran.
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