The Parvati Valley is a well established traveller hangout and a perfect location to spend your holidays away from hustle & bustle of the city. Several small towns along the valley have been transformed into hippie resorts, offering affordable accommodation and international food. The main attractions of the Parvati Valley are peaceful scenery, nicest of the stays at Kasol, natural hot springs at Manikaran and some of the excellent treks in the area
About halfway along the Parvati Valley, Jari is the quietest of the traveller hangouts in the valley. There are some friendly guesthouses and the village is the starting point for treks to Malana - a sprawl of wood and stone houses with its own unique caste system and parliament. Visitors must wait on the outskirts of the village to be invited in and it is forbidden to touch any of the villagers or their belongings. The trek to Malana is about 17km in each direction and the village has a few basic guesthouses for overnight stays.
Accomodation in Jari: Most guesthouses are a steep 1km walk above Jari in the peaceful hamlet of Mateura Jari (follow the guesthouse signs).
Getting there: Buses from Bhuntar to Manikaran stop in Jari (Fare: Rs 15, approx. one hour). A one-way taxi between Bhuntar and Jari is around Rs 400.
Kasol is the main traveller destination in the Parvati Valley. It's like Vashisht or Old Manali but more so, with dozens of reggae bars, multi cuisine
restaurants, internet cafés, body-piercing studios and affordable guesthouses and camps. You'll either love it or hate it. The nicest places to stay are in Old Kasol on the Bhuntar side of the bridge; most of the amenities are in New Kasol on the Manikaran side.
Accomodation in Kasol: You will find some nicest of the guesthouses and camps here located within lush green fields or farm lands. Most guesthouses close down for winter from mid-October to mid-April.
Getting there: Buses from Bhuntar to Manikaran pass through Kasol (Rs 23, approx 2½ hours). Fares at the taxi stand near the bridge in Kasol include Bhuntar (Rs 550), Kullu (Rs 700) and Manali (Rs 1500).
Manikaran means 'Jewel from the Ear', and according to local legend, a giant snake stole earrings from Parvati while she was bathing, then snorted them out into the ground releasing the hot springs bubbling beneath. The water emerging from the ground is hot enough to boil rice and it has to be cooled with river water for bathing. Locals claim it can cure everything from rheumatism to bronchitis.
The town is centred on the huge Sri Guru Nanak Ji Gurdwara, lurking behind a veil of steam on the far side of the river. The shrine inside is revered by both Hindus and Sikhs, and the road through the village is chock-ablock with pilgrims and shops selling prasad (food offering used in religious ceremonies) and Guru Nanak souvenirs.
There are baths with separate facilities for men and women in the gurdwara and the village, with water diluted to a bearable temperature. The village also has several temples, including the stone hut-style Raghunath Mandir. Keep an eye out for bags of rice, boiling in the vents and fumaroles around the village.
Hotels in Manikaran: Most hotels are in the main village, reached by a suspension bridge from the bus stand. Unless otherwise mentioned, all rooms have private bathroom.
Bhuntar to Manikaran: Buses run regularly between Manikaran and Bhuntar (Rs 25, 2½ hours), continuing north to Kullu (Rs 38, three hours). For Manali, change in Kullu or Bhuntar. Day trips by taxi can be arranged in Manali, Kullu or Bhuntar.
From Manikaran, taxis charge Rs 100 to Kasol, Rs 600 to Bhuntar, Rs 800 to Kullu and Rs 1300 to Manali.
Pin-Parvati Valley Trek
Best attempted from mid-September to mid-October, this strenuous but rewarding nineday trek crosses the snow-bound Pin-Parvati Pass (5319m) to the Pin Valley in Spiti. There is no accommodation available en route so you'll have to make arrangements through a trekking agency in Kasol or Manali and will have to take your tents with your backpacks. The trailhead at Pulga is easily accessible by bus or taxi from Manikaran.
From Pulga, the route ascends for two days through forest and pasture to Thakur Khan. Two more days through arid mountain country takes you to High Camp, for an overnight stop before attempting the pass. A challenging tramp over snow and scree will take you into the Pin Valley. The final stage follows the river for two days through the Pin Valley National Park to the village of Mud, which has a daily bus connection to Kaza.
Pin-Parvati Valley Trek route & distances
|Route||Duration (hr)||Distance (km)|
|Pulga to Kheerganga||4-5 hrs||10 km|
|Kheerganga to Bhojtunda||7-8 hrs||18 km|
|Bhojtunda to Thakur Khan||5-6 hrs||16 km|
|Thakur Khan to Pandu Bridge||6-7 hrs||12 km|
|Pandu Bridge to Mantalai||6-7 hrs||15 km|
|Mantalai to High Camp||7-8 hrs||12 km|
|High Camp to Pin Valley via Pin-Parvati Pass||5-6 hrs||12 km|
|Pin Valley to Chinpatta Maidan||6-7 hrs||14 km|
|Chinpatta Maidan to Mud||6-7 hrs||15 km|
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