I have been to a lot of places in Himachal in the last couple of years including Kasol. The experiences I had in Lahaul and Tirthan valley were therapeutic. This led me to ponder “Is Kasol Overrated”.
I did contemplate it for a while but eventually came to a conclusion. So, stick with me till the end, if the same question has also been bothering you. I have lots to talk about it.
Is Kasol Overrated – Come, Let’s Find Out
So to answer the question, YES, I think Kasol is overrated. Of course, I love its natural beauty, but it just isn’t the Himachal that I fell in love with. And I have not one but 11 reasons to justify my stance.
11 Reasons Why You Should NOT Visit Kasol
If you are like me, who loves interacting with locals, knowing the culture, then you are better off not visiting Kasol.
Here I am listing down 11 reasons for you to decide whether Kasol is worth visiting. I’ll reiterate this is my personal opinion. I completely respect it if you love Kasol.
|1. Kasol is crowded for most part of the year|
|2. Kasol is quite expensive apart from winters|
|3 .No genuine homestays in Kasol|
|4. Himachali hospitality is nowhere to be seen in Kasol|
|5. People only come to Smoke up Hash in Kasol|
|6. Peddlers will irritate the hell out of you in Kasol|
|7. No Regards for Sustainable tourism in Kasol|
|8. Rampant Commercialization in Kasol|
|9. Kasol attracts a lot of Ignorant Travellers|
|10.Kasol is littered with plastic and garbage|
|11.Glamorization of Kheerganga as a trekking destination near Kasol|
1. Kasol is Crowded for Most Part of the Year
Well, this is a known fact. Except for peak winters, the place is flocked with domestic and international travelers alike.
There is a mad rush during late spring and summer. Therefore, people who want to seek some solitude should avoid this period.
|If you are planning to visit Kasol, then try making a winter trip. Kasol is least crowded in January and February.|
2. Kasol is Quite Expensive
To be very honest, Kasol is expensive. It might be touted as a backpacker’s paradise, but it is expensive for most of the year.
|My average budget was around Rs 800-900 per day. If you are going in summers, your expense might even go up to Rs 1200-1500.|
So, people on a tight budget try avoiding April to July period. The best time to visit Kasol on a budget would be during winters.
3. There are No Genuine Homestays in Kasol
The one department that Kasol genuinely lacks is Homestays. All you’ll find is a plethora of hotels and guesthouses.
|Not everybody wants to stay in a hotel or a guesthouse. In fact, staying with locals helps you explore the place properly.|
Kasol’s counterpart Tirthan valley is a real winner here. While staying at this amazing homestay called “The Bluesheep” in Banjar I had an experience of a lifetime.
4. Himachali Hospitality is Nowhere to be Seen in Kasol
Himachal is quite well-known for its amazing hospitality. Unfortunately, Kasol miserably fails in this department too.
|As tourism brought tons of money, locals became business minded. And therefore, Himachali hospitality took a backseat.|
I have experienced what genuine Himachali hospitality is. For instance, I got invited by a local for tea in the remote village of Miyar valley.
I had just asked a few questions the other day on a local bus and she recognized my voice and invited me. Amazing isn’t it!
So my point is that this has taken a backseat with dozens of tourists visiting Kasol.
5. People Only Come to Smoke up Hash in Kasol
Well, this a stereotype to be honest but it is actually true. Most people just come here to smoke up Hash.
This is what Kasol is famous or rather infamous for. If you have an aversion for such places, then you should stay away from Kasol.
|Consumption or possession of Hash is ILLEGAL in India. So please refrain from indulging in such activities. In case you are caught, you could be jailed and penalized.|
6. Peddlers will Irritate the Hell out of in Kasol
Well, this should be a no-brainer. Peddlers will approach you all the time very causally even in local buses.
|If you are not into all of this, do not initiate a conversation. Just walk away quietly to ensure your safety.|
Please be very CAREFUL and do not get hoodwinked by such peddlers.
7. No Regards for Sustainable Tourism in Kasol
Excessive construction to cater to an increase in footfalls has ensured that sustainable tourism goes for a toss in Kasol.
A good eco-tourism company is really hard to find in Kasol. If you are a staunch follower of Sustainable tourism, Kasol is not the right place.
|Sustainable tourism is the need of the hour. With an exponential increase in tourism, the beauty and ecology of the place are compromised. We have to realize this sooner rather than later.|
8. Rampant Commercialization in Kasol
Thanks to the excessive construction, Kasol looks like an ugly concrete jungle that you were trying to run away from.
|Kasol was not always a touristy town. Things started to deteriorate when people thronged to Kasol in search of Hash.|
The perpetual inflow of tourists equals more business popping up unchecked. This has made the situation quite grim in Kasol.
9. Kasol Attracts a Lot of Ignorant Travelers
Not to generalize, but quite a few travelers visiting Kasol have no regard for responsible travel. This has ensured that the sanctity of the place has been compromised.
|I was astonished, to see river banks, forests, trails around Kasol littered with plastic bottles, wrappers, broken beer bottles, etc.|
People are free to eat and drink whatever they want to. But littering a place is a big NO. No one litters their own house right? Then why litter your own country?
10. Kasol is Littered with Plastic and Garbage
Areas around Kasol are littered with plastic bottles, wrappers, beer bottles. All thanks to the party crowd which Kasol attracts the most.
I am not against people partying or having a good time. But at least have the decency to clear the trash after the revelry.
When hiking to Chalal, all I could see was plastic bottles, wrappers littered across the trail. Such is the sorry state of Kasol.
11. Glamorization of Kheerganga as a Trekking Destination Near Kasol
There are so many hikes around Kasol like Grahan, Rasol. But Kheerganga is the only one which is promoted.
Thanks to a crazy amount of ignorant hikes and trekkers, Kheerganga also produces a lot of trash.
|Such was the dire situation of Kheerganga that the government had to put a blanket ban on commercial camps. Of course, it didn’t last long.|
16 Beautiful Alternatives to Kasol that will Steal Your Heart
If you have made up your mind and decided not to visit Kasol, Then here are some extremely beautiful and pristine places near Kasol.
I have PERSONALLY visited all of them. So be rest assured about it. These places will depict the real beauty of Himachal, its culture, hospitality and much more.
1. Bahu – A Beautiful Himalayan Hamlet with Views to die for As a Traveler
Bahu is one of my favourite places in Tirthan valley. It is a beautiful Himalayan hamlet with snow-clad mountains in the backdrop.
Bahu is just 15 km from Banjar. There is a daily bus at 10 AM from the Banjar bus stand.
2. Gushaini – Chill at the Bank of River Tirthan
Gushaini is one of the more famous hamlets of Tirthan valley (Part of Inner Seraj). It is situated on the bank of River Tirthan.
It is around 10 km from Banjar. Several buses depart from Banjar Bus stand throughout the day. You can explore the other hamlets of the valley with Gushaini being the base.
3. Chehni Kothi – The Majestic Tower Temple of Inner Seraj
Kullu valley has lots of splendid Tower temples scattered across the valley. Chehni Kothi is one such Tower temple situated Chehni village, Inner Seraj (Tirthan valley).
It is around 6-7 km from Banjar. You can reach here only on foot. The hike starts from Shringa Rishi temple and takes around 45 minutes.
4. Ropa – Seek Some Solitude at this Rustic Hamlet
Ropa is the last village before the entry gate of GHNP at Rolla. It is a perfect place if you want to spend sometime in Solitude while admiring the beautiful vistas.
There is a 4 km dirt track to Ropa from Gushaini. The last 500 m is a proper trail that diverts from the dirt track.
5. Thachi – The Virgin Valley Devoid of Commercialisation
Thachi is one of the virgin valleys of Mandi Seraj. The valley is quite pristine and devoid of commercialization.
It is accessible by local buses from Bali Chowki. I caught an 11 am bus from Bali Chowki, but there a couple more buses.
6. Gadagushaini – Feel the Rustic Vibe of This Pristine Locale
Gadgushaini is one of the best-kept secrets of the Seraj region. Small meadows, Beautiful pines, rivulets flowing across the meadows make it really enticing.
It is just about 25 km from Banjar. There is a daily bus at 10 AM from the Banjar bus stand.
7. Khauli – Pretty Vistas of this Hamlet will Leave you Awestruck
Khauli might be one of the most picturesque places I have been to. The vistas around Khauli reminded of Kashmir. It is located deep in Mandi Seraj region.
You can board a 10 AM bus from Banjar bus stand to reach this magnificent rustic Hamlet. It is located around 30 km from Banjar.
8. Mateura – A Pleasant Surprise in the Overly Commercialized Parvati Valley
A place just 30 mins away from the Famous Jari came as a pleasant surprise to me. if you are in and around Jari, then this place deserves a visit.
You can reach here via a dirt track or a small hike from the town of Jari itself. The village has a beautiful temple dedicated to the local deity.
9. Jalori Pass – Get overwhelmed by its Jaw-dropping Beauty
Jalori pass needs no introduction these days. It is one of the most popular places to Visit in Tirthan valley.
The panoramic views of several mountain ranges and peaks seen from Jalori is a sight to behold. There are a lot of buses going to Jalori Pass throughout the day. But I boarded the 9.30 AM bus from Banjar.
10. Sissu – Explore the Verdant Land of Raja Ghepan
Sissu was just another typical Lahuli village. But with Atal Tunnel open it is now buzzing with tourists. With Lahaul closer than ever, it is easy to reach Sissu now.
Sissu is surrounded by huge mountains, with Chandra river flowing just beside it making it picturesque. And due to Atal tunnel, getting there is no more a task.
11. Shurthang – Witness the Mystical Palden Lhamo
Shurthang is pretty Lahuli hamlet located just above Sissu. It is a perfect place to escape the crowd at Sissu which is now buzzing with tourists.
Shurthang is really a great vantage point to observe the holy Palden Lhamo (Sissu Waterfall) and massive glaciers above it. You can get here by hiking from Sissu or by road.
12. Kardang – Ancient Capital of Lahaul that will Transport you Back in Time
Kardang is quite well-know for its ancient Gompa in Lahaul. The vistas are quite impeccable with huge mountains surrounding Kardang.
Although, Kardang is famous for its Monastery, make sure to spend some time in the village as well. There are no local buses going to Kardang.
13. Shashur – The Celestial land of Blue Pines
Shashur literally translates to blue pines. Kardang along with Shashur are the two most famous Gompa’s in Lahaul.
It gives an epic view of the valley with huge peaks right in front of you. It is situated around 5km from Keylong. No local buses ply to Shashur due to Narrow roads.
14. Tandi – An Epic Tale of the two Magnificent Rivers
Tandi is the site of the confluence of River Chandra and Bhaga. It is of huge religious importance to the Lahuli’s. Vargis Khan in his blog has beautifully explained the Legend of Chandra and Bhaga.
Tandi acts as a gateway to Pattan valley and Bhaga valley if coming from Chandra valley. All the local buses going towards Pattan valley or Bhaga valley do stop at Tandi.
15. Gemur – Visit Here for its Majestic Gompa
Gemur is a tiny hamlet situated right on the Leh-Manali highway. It is just 7 km from Keylong and 4 Km from Jispa.
The Gompa of this village has a peaceful vibe and offers a bird’s eye of Jispa and Bhaga river. All the buses going towards Jispa do pass via Gemur.
16. Khangsar – Feel the Eerie Vibes at this Uncanny fort
Khangsar was once the principal seat of Thakurs. A 108-room fort known as Khangsar Khar was a testament to its glory days.
The fort is the main attraction of the village. But the village itself is an absolute beauty. Khangsar is around 12 km from Keylong.
Make Responsible Travel a Norm in Kasol
Please travel responsibly if you are going to the aforementioned places or even Kasol for that matter.
Do not litter and dirty the mountains. Avoid buying plastic bottles and bring your own. Clear all the trash and leave the place as it was before in case you are camping.
To conclude, I hope that my answer to the question – “Is Kasol overrated” has been addressed properly along with the reasons.
Now you can decide for yourself whether visiting Kasol is worth or not it. If you are still unable to decide just head to the Alternatives to Kasol. You’ll not be disappointed.