We met Parwez bhai in Manali, and went to his place to pick the bike. It was a 350cc green RE Classic. It was in good condition, just came back the other day after a long ride from Shimla. We discussed the possibility of getting to Kaza, Spiti Valley. But the road from Manali to Kaza was still closed due to snow. Will take another week to open. Athul came up with exploring Tosh which was nearby. I never been to Tosh, so i agreed. We took the bike and rode towards Kullu and Buntar, from where we need to take a deviation for Tosh.
The Manali-Buntar road was under construction, so it was bit difficult to ride with blocks every now and then. We only stopped to have some sugarcane juice along the road. Once we left Buntar, we stopped at a wine shop to buy some liquor, as it would be scarce to get in Tosh. We settled for UNA NO.1 the cheapest brandy available in Himachal Pradesh.
Manikaran, a pilgrim place both for Hindu and Sikh devotees is on the way to Kasol. It is a small town flooded with pilgrims. Buses operate between Manikaran and Delhi, if you are about to visit Kasol by bus, it would be better to take a bus from Delhi to Manikaran. Manikaran is about 80kms from Manali. Tosh is 16 kms away from Manikaran, takes about an hour to reach.
Pilgrims and tourists are welcomed at Manikaran, given food and shelter at the Gurudwara. It is a beautiful site in the Parvati Valley with hot springs. People can bath in the hot springs and the water is known to cure many skin diseases.
We were hungry so, we went back to Kasol, where we saw a cool place which served momos. It was in the heart of Kasol, near a park where people come to spend the evening along the road side. We ordered 2 plates of chicken momos. It was raining. We enjoyed the momos and a tea in that rain. The vibe in Kasol is lit, with lot of foreigners visiting the place.
As the rain stopped we headed towards Kasol. It was getting dark and we were tired. Had to find a place to stay. We kept the bike infront of a restaurant where a man promised to take care of it for INR 100 a night. We payed him and crossed the narrow bridge to the village of Kasol. There are few hotels to stay at INR 300 per head for a night, some tried to canvas us. But it was almost outside the village and the view was not good. So we decided to take a walk and see around for a good place to stay.
A narrow path took us to the very end of the village, yet we couldn’t find an affordable place to stay. Good views came with a higher price. And then Athul told me about the place he stayed on his last visit to the village. It was on the other end, and we missed the path. So we walked all the way back and found the Boom Shiva Cafe, a cafe with few rooms close to it, on the farthest end of a cliff. The view was wonderful, it was dark, yet we could see snow capped mountains at a distance.
We ordered for bread omelette, aalu paratha and had the liquor we bought. Wind was blowing, we sat under the starry sky, freezing, sipping the brandy.
Next day we woke up late and missed the sunrise. After the breakfast, we decided to go for a hike, to the next village, Kudla about 2kms ahead. The narrow trail lead us to Kudla. There were cafes along the path. Few tourists showed up. There is a beautiful stream flowing through the village and there are restaurants which serve food in the stream. They had placed few tables and chairs in the stream. But we had already made up our mind to have our food from a small tea shop under a huge tree, run by an elderly woman. She asked us if she could make some food for us. We promised her to come back on our return. There is a viewpoint above the stream and we were heading towards it.
After almost 30 minutes of hiking, we couldn’t find the view point. We only realised that we lost the trail when a young guy came to us, carrying a huge bag. He told us that the way to the view point is through the other side of the stream. And there is no way to cross the stream from there. He was carrying hemp seeds to cultivate somewhere up in the hills. He offered us some green seeds to eat, which were Juicy, it tastes good and improves our stamina, he said. After resting for few minutes, he left us to someother path. We hiked only to find some wild buffaloes and birds. We also found a beautiful waterfall more than a 100 feet height. There was no trail ahead, so we decided to return. We again lost our path and came to another view point, a cliff. We spotted the old woman’s tea shop below the cliff and made a way downhill.
She was happy to see us. We had a hashbrownie and smoked along with some tea. It was afternoon. Slowly we returned to the Boom Shiva Cafe, It wae a wonderful day, we were flying high, lost out trail twice, yet managed to return unharmed.
The next day morning we collected our bags and left Tosh. We reached Manali at in the afternoon, returned the bike and took a bus to Chandigarh. Athul was also returning to Kerala the next day. We arrived in Chandigarh relaxed for few hours and took the Samparkranti to Kerala.