Parvati Valley, situated deep in Kullu district, is one of the most sorted after travel destinations in Himachal; for both national and international travelers for a plethora of reasons. Parvati valley offers something to all kinds of travelers. There are plenty of hiking and trekking routes for adventure seekers. It is also perfect for backpackers, budget travelers, and solo travelers as there are plenty of budget accommodations. For people looking to find tranquillity and escape the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the perfect place to be at. The aforementioned reasons are actually why people throng to Parvati Valley in large numbers each year.
Some of the known spots in Parvati valley, which used to be a great offbeat travel destinations are now swarmed with tourists. Kasol can no longer be called offbeat, and the same is the case with Tosh. But fortunately, there are still a lot of other places in the valley, nestled deep in the Himalayas, where you can actually escape the rush and seek some solitude if that’s what you were looking for. What those places are and how can you plan a visit to Parvati Valley perfectly is what I will be discussing in this article.
Below is a quick navigation menu of the details we will be covering in the post below.
Parvati River originates from Mantalai Glacier and runs through the entire valley before merging into the Beas River. The lower reaches of Parvati Valley are lush green with Deodar, Oak, Pines trees. As one goes to the upper reaches of the Valley, mostly beyond Kheerganga, the vegetation becomes sparse. Everywhere in the Valley, you’ll be surrounded by Majestic Mountains in the backdrop; which is why this is one of the most scenic Valleys in the entire Himachal. Some parts of the Parvati Valley also come under the Great Himalayan National Park (GHNP) which is one of the most beautiful areas in the Himalayas. Sainj Valley and Tirthan Valley make up the majority of the GHNP though.
How to reach Parvati Valley
Reaching Parvati Valley is not difficult at all. Depending on your convenience, you can easily get here by either your own private vehicle, taxi or a mode of public transport.
How to reach Parvati Valley by Road
If traveling by your own vehicle, below is the route that one will take to get to Parvati Valley. For the sake of explaining the journey, I will assume Delhi as your starting point.
Delhi – Kurukshetra – Ambala – Chandigarh – Rupnagar – Bilaspur – Sundernagar – Mandi – Bajaura – Parvati Valley
The entire journey will be of about 518 kilometers, depending on where you started from in Delhi. On an average, it will take you about 12-14 hours to reach Parvati Valley; hence an early start from Delhi is strongly advised.
How to reach Parvati Valley by Bus
One can reach Parvati valley only by road. First, you will need to board a bus that is going towards Manali. Ordinary and Volvo buses by HRTC go towards Manali from all major cities of North India like Chandigarh and Delhi on a daily basis. Then you need to get down at Bhuntar and from there you’ll get a lot of local buses going towards Kasol, Manikaran, Barshaini, in Parvati Valley. Bhuntar is where one needs to take a diversion to go towards Parvati Valley. Private cabs are also available from Bhuntar to go towards Kasol. Kasol is around 40kms from Bhuntar.
Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Manali
Bhuntar Airport is the closest one to Parvati Valley. But the frequency of flights going to Bhuntar is very less and is also very expensive. From Bhuntar, you can either take a local bus going towards Kasol, Manikaran, Barshaini or hire a private cab to get to Parvati Valley.
Best time to visit Parvati Valley
Parvati Valley remains accessible throughout the year except for temporary road blockades during monsoon and winter season. So, it can be visited almost at any time of the year. But again, it’s totally subjective and depends on each person about what kind of weather they want to be in. Each season has its own charm. Like in winter, it becomes a winter wonderland, covered in snow. The Spring is when the weather is very comfortable, not too cold plus the mountains are still covered with snow and so on.
Parvati Valley in March and April (Spring)
Early March can still be considered as winter but towards the end of the month, the temperature begins to rise and the snow starts to melt. The weather can still be cold, but not too cold as compared to winter.
Parvati Valley in May and June (Summers)
This is when the temperatures are extremely comfortable. Days are pleasant and sometimes mildly hot, while nights are cool. This is when a large number of tourists throng to the hills to escape the harsh summers in the plains of north India.
Also Read: Shimla – A Complete Travel Guide & Itinerary
Parvati Valley in July and August (Monsoon)
The entire valley becomes lush green during this period and there are no tourists at all usually during monsoons. The temperatures are pretty much the same as the summers but this when there are highest chances of landslides and road blockages as it rains heavily in these parts. One should be very careful during monsoons. In August 2019, rains created havoc in the state and pretty much every main highway was blocked due to landslides. Quite a few roads were washed away as well.
Parvati Valley in September and October (Fall / Autumn)
Flowers bloom in September and the entire valley becomes colorful. Temperatures are comfortable during September and then gradually start to drop as the winter is in the vicinity. One of the best things about this period is clear blue skies. Also, everything starts turning to a golden orange of the autumn season.
Parvati Valley in November, December, January, and February (Winter)
Late November is when the temperatures plummet and hover near freezing point. If the weather turns bad, then it can start to snow anytime in these months. December marks the beginning of the cold winters. Night temperature is almost sub-zero even in Kasol; and well below freezing point in the higher reaches. It can snow anytime if there is a Western Disturbance passing through the Indian Subcontinent.
I visited Parvati Valley in winters, and it was one of the best experiences. I had never experienced so much snow in my life previously. It sounds like a cliché but seeing such a winter wonderland seemed straight out of a fairy-tale.
Places to Visit in Parvati Valley
Listed below are some of the top places to visit in places in Parvati Valley.
Kasol looks like a sleepy little hamlet in Parvati Valley. It is the main town of the Valley. Surrounded by huge deodar trees and beautiful mountains in the backdrop it is one of the most scenic places in Himachal. Though it can get crowded during summers, if you can manage to visit it winter (Jan, Feb, early March) then you can enjoy it a lot more. The best thing to do here is to just relax and enjoy the cafes around which serve some amazing Israeli and Italian Delicacies. It is around 40 kilometers from Bhunter and around 75 kilometers from Manali.
Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Kasol
This small hamlet is the first prominent Village of the Valley and acts as a base if you want to get to Malana. It is around 30 kilometers from Bhunter and around 9 kilometers from Kasol. Local buses from Bhunter and Kasol are available throughout the day to reach Jari.
This traditional Himachali is village is just a 30 mins hike on the motorable road from Jari. There also exists a steeper trail to reach the Village. This village doesn’t attract too many visitors when compared to the other villages of the Valley. It is a perfect example of a small traditional Himachali Village. A temple is dedicated to the local deity of the Village which resembles most of the other Himachali Temples.
I really wanted to stay here but strangely enough. one of the guesthouses we headed to straight away refused us due to lack of staff. Somehow, we managed to find a local and asked him whether we can get a place to stay (we couldn’t locate any other homestays or guesthouses and it was raining as well) to which he contacted somebody, but again we were refused as apparently, it was under renovation. This was quite bizarre to us and we had to give up the idea of staying there and had to go Kasol instead.
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This is one of the most popular places in Parvati Valley. Recently it was opened to tourism and has gained popularity due to unique facts about its culture and people. Residents of Malana claim to be descendants of Alexander the Great. You are not allowed to touch its people, nor you can touch anything in the village, else you’ll be fined heavily. The entry to the village temple is also prohibited. The main deity of the village is called Jamlu Devta (almost every village in Himachal have their own deity).
Malana is only accessible on foot. Malana Gate is the starting point of the hike to Malana. To reach here first you need to get to the small town of Jari. Any bus going towards Kasol from Bhuntar can be boarded or in case you are in Kasol, you can board buses going towards Bhuntar. From Jari, the only way to reach Malana Gate is to hire a cab which has a fixed rate of Rs 700. The Cab will leave you at Gate, from where the hike to the village takes around 2 hours.
There is also apparently a much steeper and longer route to Malana much before the Malana Gate which is not frequented by a lot of people these days because of the shorter and much easier route which starts from the Malana Gate. So please ask the locals about the longer route to Malana in Jari and they should be able to guide you. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to Malana as the trail was slippery due to heavy snow around Malana.
If you are someone who loves quietude, then this is a perfect getaway from the crowded Kasol. Chalal can be reached only on foot. It takes 30 mins to reach from Kasol. The trail passes through a beautiful forest and is very easy to hike on as there is no uphill climb involved. Chalal offers a great view of mighty Parvati River in its full flow and one can also reach the bank of river Parvati from here. Once you cross the main Bridge in Kasol to reach the market area, just take a Left from Panj tara Cafe and then you’ll see another bridge that connects Kasol to Chalal; this where the trail begins.
This traditional Himachali hamlet is one of the most remote and offbeat locations in the valley. It can be reached only on foot and requires an arduous uphill climb of around 4-5 hours from Kasol. To get here, one needs to reach Chalal first and then you would get to Katagla, which is another wonderful offbeat village; and then you would finally reach Rasol.
This is another offbeat village situated deep in the upper reaches of Parvati Valley. It is around 10 kilometers from Kasol and takes around 4-5 hours to reach. This village acts as a base to the famous Sar Pass Trek.
Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Tirthan Valley
Manikaran, located on the Bank of the River Parvati, is an important religious site for Sikhs as well as Hindus. It located at an altitude of around 1800 meters; and is a well-known place in the Valley due to its religious importance and the famous hot water Springs around the Gurudwara. It is believed that Guru Nanak, the first Guru of Sikhs, visited Manikaran a long time ago. Almost every Gurudwara offers Langar and Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara is no different. They also have a good Langar arrangement for the visitors.
There are many unique temples around Manikaran Area. There is a 17th Century Temple dedicated to Lord Ram and a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva which is of great importance in Hindu Mythology. Manikaran is Just around 4 kilometers from Kasol.
This is a small little hamlet in the far end of the Parvati Valley at an altitude of 2500 meters. It acts as a starting point to reach Tosh, Kheerganga, and Kalga Village. Barshaini is the last point till where the local buses can drop you in Parvati Valley. The hills opposite to Barshaini, are covered with Pine, Oak, Deodar trees; and with the Roaring River Parvati flowing below, these are some of the most surreal views you’ll see in Parvati Valley.
Perched at around 2900meters, this used to be one of those untouched traditional Himachali Villages which pretty much no one knew about. But things have changed now, as tourism increased exponentially in this region. It now seems to be overrun with travelers for most times of the year, except for a few months; and no longer remains an offbeat travel destination. The whole of the village now seems to be just crammed with hotels and guesthouses with a very few traditional Himachali houses left.
With that being said, you can salvage your visit to Tosh if you manage to time your trip correctly in the off-season months. I traveled to Tosh during February and it turned out to one of the most amazing experiences I have had; with almost no tourist rush and no ridiculously high prices for accommodation. If you want to witness impeccably scenic winter landscapes then this is the place to be at. Summer months offer a lush green view of the slopes along with the snow-capped peaks which is amazing if you don’t mind a bit of crowd.
Also Read: Triund Trek – How to Plan your Adventure
If you don’t like touristy Tosh, then Kutla is where you should head to. Kutla is around 2-3 hours hike from Tosh and the views from here are insane. In winter though, the entire trail is usually not accessible due to heavy snowfall around Tosh. Most of the hike is easy as the trail is marked one, but during the latter part, there is an uphill climb to reach the Village. Lots of Villagers can be seen on this trail so it’s better to ask the directions every few minutes so as not to get lost.
Kalga is one of the very few places the remains sort of unaffected by tourism Explosion in the Parvati Valley. Perched at an elevation of 2500 meters, this village is mostly known for its apple orchards. Even though guest houses have started to come up in this village, the number is still very less as compared to Kasol and Tosh. Kalga offers a great view of the majestic snow-clad Mountains and pine forests in the backdrop. It takes around 30-45 minutes to hike to Kalga from Barshaini and route is a bit steep but not too difficult.
To reach Kalga from Barshaini, one needs to take a right from the Barshaini Bridge from which you need to hike up to the village. Pulga and Tulga villages can also be reached from Kalga itself as there are trails leading to these villages. Like Kalga, Pulga and Tulga are also away from the Hustle and Bustle of Kasol and Tosh.
Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Mcleodganj
Trekking in Parvati Valley
There are several beautiful treks leading out of Parvati valley; including easy ones perfect for absolute beginners to challenging ones that only experienced trekkers can attempt. Listed below are some of the most well known treks in Parvati Valley.
This is one of the most famous treks not only in Parvati Valley but in the entire of Himachal, Triund Trek in Mcleodganj being the other popular one. This is termed as an easy trek but keep in mind that no Himalayan treks are easy for any first timer. There are several different trails heading to Kheerganga. One them is from Kalga Village which is a bit longer than the trail frequented by most. Most of the people start the trek from Barshaini via Nakthan Village which is the shortest and the easiest routes of all.
From Barshaini, Kheerganga is around 12-15 kilometers which would take anywhere from 6 to 8 hours to complete. The trail is well marked and is frequented by many people, attempting this solo as well shouldn’t be a problem at all. Trails to Kheerganga are buried in deep snow during winters. So If you are someone looking for adventure and planning to reach Kheerganga in the winter season, then please make sure you hire a guide; and are well equipped with the necessary gear required for winter conditions.
Also Read: Kheerganga Trip – A Mesmerizing Experience
Pin Parvati Pass
This is one of the most difficult non-technical treks in India. This route takes you from Parvati Valley in Kullu District to Pin Valley in Spiti District via Pin Parvati Pass at a staggering altitude of 5319 meter. The distance to be covered would be over 100 kilometers over the course of several days. A guide would be mandatory to get through this challenging trek and fitness levels should be very high. This is a very difficult trek and should only be attempted if you’re a seasoned trekker or have enough experience pertaining to cross high altitude passes. Proper acclimatization is a must if you are going to attempt this trek. This trek passes through Kheerganga, Tunda Bhuj, Odi Thach, Mantalai Lake, Pin Parvati Pass and finally ends at Mud Village in Pin Valley National Park.
This pass is an alternate but much longer and difficult route to reach Malana. This trek starts from a small village called Rumsu near Naggar and then eventually, after crossing the pass, you reach Malana in Parvati Valley. The pass is located at an altitude of 3650 meter from where you can get a 360 view of Deo tibba, Indrasan, Bara Bhangal, Parvati peaks. This is a moderate level trek and can be attempted by beginners with decent fitness levels. It takes around 3-4 days to complete this trek.
Bun Buni Pass
This is another route to Kheerganga but much harder than the main Nakthan Route from Barshaini. This pass is at an elevation of around 4000 meters. This route is completely devoid of tourist influx as only hardcore trekkers attempt it; due to it being longer and much more difficult. There are two ways to reach here. The first one is from Kalga, where you first reach Bun Buni pass and then descend to Kheerganga. Or you can first reach Kheerganga, then ascend to the pass and then finally descend down to Kalga. But do keep in mind that it is a difficult trek then Kheerganga.
This trek takes you from Kasol to Barshaini via Sar Pass which is located at an altitude of around 4000 meters. Sar in local dialect means lake. This is also one of the moderate level treks which can be perfect for trekkers looking to have some experience in high altitude trekking. It takes around 4-5 days to complete this trek
This is the source of the River Parvati located at around 4100 meters. This lake falls on the way to Pin Parvati Pass and is located before the pass. It follows the same route which one to take on the way to Pin Parvati Pass trek. This is a difficult trek and requires very high fitness levels to complete it. Having a professional guide is strongly recommended. It would take around 6-7 days to complete the whole trek.
Where to Stay in Parvati Valley
Parvati Valley in recent times has come up as one of the most famous tourist destinations of our country. And as such, there is no dearth of hotels and guest houses here that will fit into any
Accommodation in and around Kasol
Plenty of budget hotels, hostels, guest houses, and even tents are available in Kasol and nearby villages of Choj, Katagla, Chalal, etc. As Parvati Valley is frequented by many Backpackers and Solo Travelers there are quite a few hostels around Kasol. The hosteller, Moustache Hostel, Nomads Hostel, Whoppers hostels are to name a few. One can easily get Dorm beds around Rs 300-500 in these hostels, except for a few months when its peak season. The area near Kasol market and before Chalal bridge is clustered with hotels where you can get a room for around Rs. 500-800; except for peak season when the prices are absurdly high even for ‘not so good’ rooms.
According to me, the best area to stay in Kasol and to get away from the crowd is to move towards Manikaran. There a few guest houses near Hotel Sandhya which are near the forest area and the River Bank. This part of Kasol does not seem to be much crowded and is perfect to stay and relax. I stayed at The Green House cottages. The Rooms here are pretty good, and it costs around Rs 1000 during the offseason. During peak season it might cost more I believe.
I also stayed in the area before the Chalal Bridge and the prices were as low as Rs 500 with all the basic facilities available. But this was in February when there was no tourist rush and I am sure that the prices would be on the higher side during summers. If you don’t like Kasol due to its tourist crowd then Chalal, Choj, Katagla are the best places to be at. There will be plenty of budget accommodations available here.
Accommodation near Malana
Malana has limited Accommodations options. There are only a few guest houses near Malana Gate with very basic rooms. I am not sure whether there are Guesthouses or Hotels at all in the area near the village. Tourists are not allowed to stay in the village so one can only stay near Malana Gate. I stayed in the Himalayan Heritage home and paid Rs 600 for a very basic room.
Accommodation in Tosh
Tosh is one of the most popular places in the valley and there are plenty of budget options around here. There are a couple of backpackers hostels as well for solo travelers and budget travelers. As I mentioned earlier, prices are usually normal except for the peak summer months. One can easily get a room for around 500-800 here. Tents are also available here in case somebody wants to stay in camps.
Also Read: Triund and Snowline Trek Mcleodganj
Accommodation in other Villages
One good thing about Parvati valley is there is no dearth of guest houses even in remote villages which are nestled deep in the Valley. Remote Villages like Rasol, Grahan, Kutla, Kalga, Tulga, Pulga also have decent guest houses and that too at a much lower rate than the popular destinations like Kasol, Tosh, etc.
Local Commute in Parvati Valley
Commuting locally in the valley is not that difficult. Daily buses run from Bhuntar to Barshaini and the fare is very cheap as well. Buses start from Bhunter towards Kasol, Barshaini, Manikaran as early as 6.00 AM and have an almost hourly frequency. The last bus from Barshaini towards Bhunter is at 5.00 PM. You can get buses throughout the day at regular intervals from Bhunter. Winter is when things are a little trickier. Mostly, buses cannot even Barshaini during winters due to heavy snow which causes landslides. Usually Shared cabs have to be used to reach Barshaini as buses only go up to Manikaran during winters.
Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Dharamshala
What to Eat in Parvati Valley
Parvati Valley is frequented by a lot of Israeli visitors to a point where Kasol is sometimes referred to as Mini-Israel. So obviously, Israeli cuisine is readily available in the entire Parvati Valley. Apart from its scenic beauty Kasol is famous for its cafes. So experiencing the lip-smacking food served by these cafes is a no brainer. There are so many Cafes in Kasol that you can literally go Café hopping all day and still not cover all of them. I am going to list down a few of the Famous Cafes in Kasol.
Personally I couldn’t visit this restaurant but it is famous for its delicious food and is the best place to eat at; if you are looking for traditional North Indian cuisine while the rest of the cuisine includes Israeli, Italian.
Though there are limited options for vegetarians, the food is pretty amazing here. This café is one of the popular places to eat at in Kasol and they serve amazing Israel, Italian cuisines. I tried their Italian cuisine here and it was pretty good.
This is another of those Cafes which serves excellent Israeli and Italian Cuisines. Though the name suggests that they specialize in Italian food, their Israeli cuisine as well is on point. Falafel platter is a must-try if you haven’t had Israeli cuisine before. Italian cuisine was quite decent here as well.
Jim Morrisons Café
In my opinion, this is the best Café to chill out while you are in Kasol. Since the café is inspired by Jim Morrison, the lead singer of the Legendary Rock Band “The Doors”, 60-70’s classic rocks songs are played throughout the day. But the overall vibe of this place is amazing. The food here is excellent and is entirely vegetarian. They serve multiple cuisines like Italian, Israeli, Mexican, etc. I tried their Pizza and Mexican food which were quite amazing. To reach here though is kind of tricky. There is a small trail which starts from Hotel Sandhya which goes uphill to the Café. It hardly takes around 15-20 mins to reach and the hike is completely worth.
As I mentioned earlier, you’ll get Israeli and Italian food pretty much everywhere. Tosh is another place where there are quite a few cafes that serve amazing food. Though it may be difficult to get fancy food in the remote villages like Kutla, Rasol, Grahan. But the traditional North Indian food like Roti Sabzi, Daal Rice, Rajma Chawal is readily available everywhere even in the remote villages. Food is a little bit on the expensive side in popular places like Kasol and Tosh so do keep that in mind.
Phone Network in Parvati Valley
You would get a full 4G connection from pretty much every operator in the lower reaches of the Valley like Kasol, Chalal, Jari, Manikaran, Barshaini. But network for all of them is very intermittent in Tosh and Malana. You would not be able to use the internet properly, but there would be enough network coverage for you to make a few calls though. Villages like Kutla, Rasol, Grahan have intermittent BSNL, Airtel coverage. Apart from these two other operators would not work. I have heard there is 4G network in Kalga too, but I am not sure about the other operators. Communication won’t be a problem in the entire valley at least in terms of call unless you’re venturing deep inside the Villages of Parvati like Rasol, Grahan, Kutla or Kheerganga.
I hope the information above on visiting Parvati Valley was of help. If you have any questions; or need any other details; please feel free to ask in the comments section below; or at our Community Forum; and I will be glad to answer. If you have been to Parvati Valley and have a few tips to share that can help others, please do suggest.