A lot of people throng to Kasol to experience its natural beauty. What if I told you there are Alternatives to Kasol that will blow your mind?
This is exactly what I am going to do by listing down 16 beautiful alternatives to Kasol. I have personally been to each one of them. And trust me, you’ll fall in love with them just like I did.
16 Otherworldly Alternatives to Kasol that I fell in love with & you will too
Kasol back in the day was a quaint little town that very few knew about. But as the word spread about the highest quality “stuff” it was never the same. Kasol is just chaotic and quite overrated these days, to be honest.
But these kickass alternatives to Kasol really reveal the true beauty of Himachal. They depict how contrasting this Himalayan wonderland is. Only a couple of them are a bit popular but not like Kasol. This makes them perfect.
1. Bahu – A Beautiful Himalayan Hamlet with Views to Die for As a Traveler
Bahu is a quaint little Himalayan hamlet located in Tirthan Valley. If you ask me “Are there better options than Kasol”, I’ll happily ask you to pay a visit here. Such is the charm of this locale.
This pristine hamlet is surrounded by a beautiful Deodar forest with snow-clad mountains in the backdrop. Jalori Jot is also visible from here.
|The main attraction in Bahu is the Temple of Baloo Nag Devata. The temple is surrounded by a beautiful forest which makes it quite surreal. Hike to the temple takes around 30 minutes from Bahu.
Bahu is just 15 km from Banjar. There is a daily 10 AM bus going to Bahu from Banjar Bus stand. There are a few homestays here as well if you wish to spend a night.
2. Gushaini – One of the Best Places to Travel Instead of Kasol
Gushaini is the most popular Hamlet of Tirthan after Jibhi. It is perched alongside the Tirthan River making it quite picturesque.
Of course, Gushaini will not give you the vibe of a typical Himachali hamlet, but it is not a touristy town either. You can make Gushaini as your base to explore surrounding hamlets.
|You can explore Hamlets like Sharchi, Batahad from here. The hike to the entry gate of GHNP at Rolla around 10km from here. There are a lot of beautiful waterfalls in the vicinity as well if that’s your thing.
A lot of buses ply between Gushaini and Banjar daily. I caught a 9.30 Am bus from Banjar which actually goes to Batahad. There are a lot of accommodation options here if you want to stay.
3. Ropa – Seek Some Solitude at this Rustic Hamlet
Ropa is a text-book definition of a pretty Himachali village. It is perfect if you want to escape the hustle-bustle of Jibhi and seek some isolation.
Ropa is surrounded by beautiful Deodar trees with an exquisite Kullavi temple. It has only a handful of houses though.
|Ropa is the last village before the entry gate of GHNP at Rolla. One can easily hike to Rolla from Ropa as the trail is almost a level walk.
There is a 4 km long dirt track which connects Ropa to Gushaini. But the last 500 m is a proper trail. The road continues further to a village called Tinder. So do not miss the diversion towards the trail to Ropa.
4. Chehni Kothi – The majestic tower temple of Inner Seraj
This majestic Tower temple is a famous attraction in Tirthan valley located in Chehni village. But still, it does not attract too many visitors.
Several such tower temples are scattered across Himachal. Back in the day, they served the dual purpose of Temple and a fort.
|Although it does not appear that tall, in reality, it is very huge. It was even taller before the earthquake destroyed it. It can be reached only by hiking from Shringa Rishi temple.
To reach Shringa rishi Temple by local bus you get down a Chilka Dhar. From Chilka Dhar there is a 4 km motorable road to the Temple. There are no homestays here. You can stay in Banjar or Jibhi.
5. Gadagushaini – Feel the rustic vibe of this locale
Gadasgushaini is probably one of the most scenic places I have been to. At first, it might look not pleasing, but the magic starts once you move out of the village a bit.
The rustic village is yet to be touched by tourism which makes it even more beautiful. I was so impressed by this village that I had decided to spend a few days here before the pandemic ruined my plans.
|The road-stretch between Gadagushaini and Khauli literally blew my mind. You have to witness it yourself to comprehend its beauty. You can also visit Chach Galu the highest motorable point in the region.
Gadagushaini is around 25 km from Banjar and there is a daily 10 AM bus from Banjar Bus stand. As of now, there are very few homestays. You can ask locals to help you if you wish to stay.
6. Khauli – Pretty vistas that will leave you awestruck
Khauli is a picturesque village situated deep in Mandi Seraj. The setting of this village is absolutely perfect with small meadows and pine trees in the backdrop.
The pretty landscapes really impressed me. In fact, I was so enticed by it that I decided to at least spend a few days exploring the area next time around. This is probably one of the best places to travel to instead of Kasol.
|Khauli is just 5km from Gadgushaini. You can board the 10 AM bus to reach here. The bus even goes further to Chachu Galu and Chhatri.
I am not quite sure if there are any places to stay, please ask the locals if you wish to. The meadows just looked perfect for camping.
7. Thachi – A virgin valley devoid of tourism
Thachi is one of the most pristine valleys of Mandi Seraj. It is yet to be affected by the perils of tourism. Thachi is surrounded by beautiful Deodar trees with magnificent view of mountains far away.
It was just a matter of hours before I was completely enticed by its beauty. And decided to explore it extensively in the future.
|If you are in Thachi, then you must visit Bithu Narayan and Hidimba Temple. The former is located in Thachi itself while the latter is a hike from Bithu Narayan Temple or you can reach via motorable road.
The regular buses to Thachi from Bali Chowki. I caught an 11 AM bus from there. Thachi has a few homestays owing to the rise in popularity.
8. Mateura – A Pleasant Surprise in Overly Commercialized Parvati valley
If there is one place I was impressed by in Parvati valley, it was surely this little Hamlet. This hamlet is just located above the famous Jari Parvati valley. In my opinion, this one of the best locales to visit instead of Kasol.
The little hamlet has a beautiful temple at the center. The temple is a typical Kullavi temple dedicated to the local deity of the village.
Mateura Jari can be reached hiking from Jari, Or by using the motorable road, which was in shambles during the winters.
There are staying options here, but unfortunately, on cold rainy winter day, I could not find any. So I had to eventually go to Kasol which disappointed me a bit.
9. Jalori Pass – Get overwhelmed by its Jaw-dropping beauty
This is probably the most famous and popular place on this list. Those who visit Tirthan valley surely take a trip to Jalori pass. I did the same. Such is the beauty of the place.
Situated at around 10,000 ft Jalori Pass is an alternative route to Shimla and Kinnaur district. The journey from Banjar towards Jalori is exhilarating with Pine trees, tiny hamlets, mountains all around.
|Serolsar lake and Raghupur fort are two famous hikes from Jalori Jot (Mountain pass in local language). Both have similar distances with Serolsar lake hike being the easier one.
There are a lot of buses going to Jalori daily from Banjar. I took a 9.30 AM to Jalori. Except for tents, there is no other accommodation option at Jalori pass. But one can easily make a day trip from Jibhi or Banjar.
10. Khangsar – Feel the eerie vibes at this uncanny fort
Khangsar is a beautiful Lahauli hamlet located in Bhaga valley just before Jispa. The village itself looks beautiful with vast fields of potatoes, cauliflower, etc. and huge barren mountains in the backdrop.
The main attraction of Khangsar is an incredible 108-room fort. Back in the day, it used to be the principal seat of the Thakurs. But it now remains in a dilapidated.
|Most of the rooms are locked these days. And it is quite dark inside the fort. It felt quite uncanny but it was definitely worth it.
It is around 17 km from Keylong and 12 km. Most probably there are no local buses going here, but you can confirm once at the Keylong bus stand. There are no homestays here as well.
11. Shashur – The celestial land of Blue pines
Shashur literally translates to the blue pines. True to its name, you’ll witness small blue pines along the way to Shashur from Keylong.
Shashur Gompa is located at a much higher altitude than Keylong. This results in unbelievable view of the valley along with huge peaks in the backdrop.
|You can reach Shashur by a 5km dirt track from Keylong. There are no local buses going as well due to narrow roads. So you can either Hike on the road or hire a cab.
Shashur is just a monastery. So you will have to stay in Keylong. But a lot of Gompa’s in Lahaul and Spiti do allow people to stay. So you can ask the monks about it.
12. Kardang – Ancient capital of Lahaul that will transport you back in time
Kardang, the ancient capital of Lahaul is home to the famous and important monastery of Lahaul. The holy DrilBu Ri peak stands as a guardian to Kardang Gompa.
Although most people just visit the Gompa, the village itself deserves to be explored. Unfortunately, even I did not have a chance to explore the village. You can read more about Kardang in Himalayan wonderland by Manohar Singh Gill.
|One can reach Kardang and its Gompa via an uphill road from Tandi. It is around 15 km from Tandi and it is a dirt track.
From what I know there are no local buses going to Kardang, but you confirm at Keylong. I am not really sure if there are accommodation options but if you wish to stay please ask the locals.
13. Sissu – Explore the verdant land of Raja Ghepan
With Atal tunnel now operational Sissu is buzzing with tourists these days. And it’s not surprising at all consider the buzz with regards to the tunnel and it’s pristine beauty.
Sissu can be reached from Manali now just in an hour thanks to Atal tunnel. Buses have also started to ply on the Manali-Keylong route via Atal tunnel. There are several hotels homestays in Sissu.
|The main attraction of Sissu is Palden Lhamo waterfall. The hike starts from Sissu nursery and it takes around 1 to 1.5 hours to complete. The other nearby attractions include Labrang Gompa, Raja Ghepan Temple.
Earlier Sissu could only be reached by crossing Rohtang La. But now with the advent of the tunnel, its just an hour away from Manali. There are lots of Homestays, guesthouses in Sissu. I stayed at Wood villa homestay with a local Lahuli family.
14 . Shurthang – Witness the Magical Palden Lhamo
Shurthang is a tiny Hamlet located just above Sissu. It acts as a great vantage point to witness the holy Paden Lhamo from distance. It is more popularly known as Sissu waterfall.
Sissu is the perfect place to escape the crowd in Sissu and witness massive mountains around the valley. Never thought I would write this, but Atal tunnel has made Sissu extremely popular and crowded.
|Shurthang is that kind of a place where would just want to relax. But you can visit Labrang Gompa which is quite near. Also, the trail to mystical Ghepan lake or Alyas lake starts from somewhere from here.
Shurthang is just 3-4 km hike from Sissu or you can also reach via the motorable. There is a homestay in Shurthang with the same name. It seemed really nice but I already was staying in a homestay at Sissu.
15. Tandi – An Epic Tale Of The Two Magnificent Rivers
Tandi is the place where two rivers Chandra and Bhaga merge to form Chandrabhaga. Both Rivers rise around glaciers at Baralacha La take completely different paths, but merge at Tandi which I found quite fascinating.
Tandi also acts as a gateway to Ghar valley and Pattan valley if coming from Chandra valley. Tandi is also one of the lowest points in the valley.
The site of the Confluence is very holy to the people of Lahaul. That is why they pay their respects to it from time to time.
There are several fascinating folklores pertaining to Chandra and Bhaga, Vargis Khan in his blog has beautifully explained the Legend of Chandra and Bhaga.
16. Gemur – Visit Here for it’s Majestic Gompa
Gemur is a small Lahauli village just before the famous Jispa. If you are around Jispa or Keylong, then do pay a visit to the village and its Gompa.
Gemur is very accessible as it perched right on the Leh-Manali Highway. The views and tranquility that you get from the Gompa are un-matchable.
|Gemur is just 7 km from Keylong. And the Gompa is just a 15 minute hike away from the village. All the buses going towards Jispa can be boarded.
I saw there were a couple of homestays and guesthouses as well if you want to stay at Gemur. Otherwise, a half-day trip from Jispa or Keylong is quite doable.
A Few important Things to Note about the Alternatives to Kasol
- Most of these are either in Lahaul valley or Tirthan valley (A Part of Inner Seraj)
- Banjar the main town of Tirthan valley is a just a couple hours away from Bhuntar
- Gadagushaini and Khauli are in Mandi Seraj which is quite near to Banjar and Jibhi.
- Lahaul is now just 2 hours away from Bhuntar thanks to Atal tunnel.
I Beg You to Please Make Responsible Travel a Norm in Himachal
I am always reluctant to write about these not so popular places. But in the age of internet eventually somebody will make it popular.
So, it is my sincere request to all those who will travel to these beautiful alternatives to Kasol, Please make responsible travel a norm during your trips.
Most of these places are still pristine, so do not litter there or anywhere for that matter. Take all your trash back with. Avoid using plastic bottles, Plastic packets. Bring your own bottles and refill it. Clear water is readily available in the mountains.
This brings me to end of this blog. I hope that the question “Where can I go instead of Kasol” will never arise as you now have 16 splendid Alternatives to Kasol.
Pack your bags and head to mountains and do not forget to travel responsibly. In case you have any queries regarding any of the places, feel free to reach out.