While I was pursuing my masters from JUIT college, my friend Akash Shandilya suggested me to explore Parvati valley, but me being a bike enthusiast offered him to make it a bike trip(he doesn’t know how to drive bike) to which he readily accepted and we wanted to celebrate our love for Mother Earth on Valentine day at Kasol. As planned we took out some cash from bank as those time we didn’t have ATM working all time in Kasol, weather was cold and we meet around 11:30 am to start our journey, but Akash being a trippy guy forgot where he kept his money and we both started to search his room and jumbled all the stuff in room twice, unable to find we lost our hopes and also looked into bathroom, dustbin, inside bed, on the shelf above washroom. As we were not able to find cash we decided to take out some more cash from nearby Bank since AKKU doesn’t carry ATM, but before that, I need to collect my helmet from my friend’s cafe near our college. I was little disappointed with Akash and asked him to get the helmet, but to our surprise, while coming down he looked in his top left pocket of jacket and found the lost money. This just gave us an extra boost and we were ready to fly to Kasol.
Prepared for our journey we were all ready to rock and roll and left at 3 pm, carrying two bags one tied to me in front (kept on fuel tank) and other bag was tied to Akash on his back. Our primary motto was to ride as fast as possible during the day time without any stoppage. Finally, we took our first stop after covering 100 kms in 3 hours at 6 pm. To relax ourself we comforted our ears by the sound of running water while our eyes were glued to the star above our head and a joint in our hand. Recollecting our stuff we started again and after completing around 80 km something got wrong with our bike. Nearly after 20kms at 9 pm, we got to know our bike clutch plate has been exhausted and so did Akki. To regain our energy we took some rest as most of the bike repairing shops are closed at night in hill stations. Somehow we managed to ask one fellow to repair it but unfortunately, he didn’t have the required spare part that was needed to fix the bike. By the time we reached Bhunter, where roads partitions for Kullu-Manali and Kasol. On the way, we crossed a man who was walking in the dark all alone. He was looking extremely high which passed chill in our bones. I stopped my bike next to him and asked him about his condition and started again. Moving forward a few miles, a woman came running to us out of her house and asked about the man who gave chill in our bones. We informed her about his condition and moved to Kasol. (Decided not to stop anymore).
As we reached Kasol at night around 11 pm all the guest house and hotels were closed, but somehow we managed to find a space to sleep and wake up fresh the next day. One of our rituals was to run straight to the natural hot geyser in the Parvati river and take bath. It is one of the most satisfying thing to do in Kasol. Recently in 2018 special arrangments have been made by the government for providing bathing space, separate for groups and couples. Next thing to do was to fuel ourself and there is no better place than Evergreen cafe. As we were having food a stranger came to us who was following us from quite a long time offered us a joint and a room to stay for 300/day. This room was very basic with bed, blanket, table, and a large window to enjoy the view and a kitchen at the top for food and coffee. Settling our staying option we headed to Bhuntar which is around 32 km from Kasol to repair our bike. As we reached to Bhuntar we were back to civilization where we got our bike repaired for 2000 rs and headed back to Kasol. We rested for some time and again went out to check the local market and Evergreen cafe for awesome food.
Next day following the same routine we woke up early in the morning, rushed to natural hot geysers and then ordered food from our own hotel’s cafe. The name of our hotel owner is Yogi who is now been missing, but what he used to do was to offer us Daniel Chillum, after which we again went back to sleep and then got up around lunchtime and headed to Manikaran.
Manikaran is known for its hot springs and pilgrim center for Hindus and Sikhs. Many people around the world come to visit this holy place as it holds special belief for Hindus and Sikhs. Sikh founder Guru Nanak Dev came here with his disciple Bhai Mardana. When Mardana felt hungry Guru Nanak asked him to collect food from the villagers. People donated flour to make roti, but the only problem was unavailability of fire, to which Guru asked Mardana to lift the stone and he complied and hot spring appeared. As guided by Guru Nanak, Mardana put his chapati/roti in hot spring and to his despair, they sank to the bottom. It was this time Guru Nanak asked Mardana to pray to God saying him if chapati floats back then he would donate in his name. After watching the chapatis emerging out of the water and that too fully baked, Mardana was astonished. This created a belief that if anyone donates in the name of God their immersed items come back to surface. The Hindu mythological belief about Manikaran is related to Lord Shiva and Parvati where the goddess lost her earing. I recommend readers to dig into it. The Sikh community has taken very good care of this place where they also arrange langar (community food) that is served without any charges. At Manikaran two separate bathhouses are built for men and women where you can take a bath which is beneficial for the treatment of many skin related issues. Also, the water of hot geysers is so hot that if your pour rice in it it comes out perfectly cooked. Apart from this Manikaran also has a large market and a parking place where travelers are seen strolling.
After visiting Manikaran we rushed back to Bhuntar again as we went out of cash as only ATM at Kasol was out of service. By evening we came back to our hotel and relaxed for some time and then left for Evergreen cafe for smoking pot. It was this day while I was sitting and smoking in cafe Evergreen cafe, I experienced Shiva inside me. That shakti or power or supernatural energy still revolves inside me which I will never let die. I can never forget that feeling which made me stronger in Shiv Shakti. I felt content, happy and satisfied and slept like a King that day.
On the last day of our trip we woke up around 6 am, ran to take bath at hot geysers, came back to our hotel where Yogi now our friend instead of the owner was waiting with coffee, breakfast and chillum. After enjoying this threesome we again went back to sleep and then left for Bhuntar to refuel our tank. This time Akash was driving bike for the first time in his life. On the way to Bhuntar, you will find many police check-post who stops you and checks you and vehicle for illegal possession of drugs. Many people unaware about the police check-post are caught there and sometimes even local peddlars inform the police if an individual is carrying hash in large quantity. After returning from Bhuntar we parked our bike and left for Chalal.
Chalal is also a sleepy village near to Kasol. To reach there you have to trek from Kasol as there is no direct road connecting them. An old hanging bridge connects Kasol to Chalal. Trek to Chalal is about 45 minutes which provides lush green view taking you away from the city life. There are small unpaved streets in the village and electricity is available most of the time. Feeling hungry we went to Freedom cafe, another must visit cafe for its positive ambiance, great food and an HD view of nature. We sat there around 4-5 hours and left around 6 pm back to Kasol. By this time it started raining and we took shelter in a small shop on the way. You can eat Maggi, chocolates and biscuits here and if lucky drag of chillum.
Next day we headed back to our college taking pit stop at Bhakra Nangal Dam at Beas river. Riding through long tunnels, focused on road at every curve we reached back around 1 am and thanked Lord almighty Jesus to keep our vehicle and us safe.