Hidden deep within the foot hills of the Himalayas lies a small village by the name of Rasol which is at an altitude of around 10,000 feet above sea level (3048 m) and has not more than 75 houses. Rasol is located in the Parvati Valley which is in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
The only option to reach the village of Rasol is to hike from the town of Kasol. The hike takes around three to four hours to reach with a hand full of steep climbs which are very much do able for even a rookie hiker. While hiking backpackers will reach the village of Chalal which is around 20 minutes from Kasol.
Chalal is a good place to stop and have some breakfast or brunch since provisions for anything else to eat along the hike is very less. Chalal is also a good option to make base before the hike to Rasol.
While on the hike, one thing that everyone will spot is plenty of magic Rasol sign boards on rocks and tree barks pointing in the correct direction of the village. Magic Rasol is in reference to the hasish that is sold in this village. The hasish from Rasol is supposed to be one of the finest and many consider it to be on power with the stuff from Malana. It’s important to keep in mind that possession of such stuff is not only banned but can also lead to imprisonment.
Rasol can be spotted from around 70% of the hike and the first thing one will notice is the village temple sign board. Which states that entering the temple premises will lead to a heavy fine of Rs 2000. The temple is of Jamdagni Rishi a form of Lord Shiva. Inside the temple compound is a small stadium kind of a arrangement which has steps for villagers to sit on.
During the day time men from the village can be seen playing a very unique game called Panjee which is only played here in Rasol and in the village of Malana. This game Punjee is supposed to be similar to chess but upto four can play the game at a time and players have to throw a bunch of half cut bamboo sticks to determine how many places their coins move. The game attracts a lot of local crowd.
Wandering through the lanes of the village and you will see nearly every second person from the village spinning wool or asking you to buy hasish. The kids are always busy playing among themselves. Most of the villagers from Rasol have never ventured outside the valley with the town of Bhuntur being their furthest.
Accommodation at Rasol is limited to backpacker guest houses which have common washrooms and rooms with noting more than just a bed. The rooms in Rasol are spacious and can easily accommodate around four to five people in a room. Eating options in Rasol are not too bad either with all guest houses having a restaurant attached which serve really tasty food. The food is priced a bit steep since porters have to physically carry all the supplies from Kasol.
Rasol is a good place to visit all year round. The weather is generally always good other than during the winter months from end of November to mid February. Good hiking shoes and a bottle of water along with a wooden stick to aid you in the hiking is a must for all.
The village of Rasol is a must visit for all those backpackers who want to experience the magic from the Rasol cream or super cream. For others the hike and the guest house view make this village worth visiting while in Parvati Valley.
Weichin is a village approximately 4 kms above Malana. The village’s population is very low because of its location. There are no motorable roads that go to Weichin. The only way to reach is the one mentioned above. In winters even the villagers shift down to Jari because it is impossible to survive there. Most of the spices that they use in their food are grown there only. Best time to visit this village is the month of September.
This trek is amongst the difficult ones so be well equipped:-
- Carry a support stick.
- Do not carry unnecessary weight.
- Temperature is low throughout the year so carry warm clothes.
- Carry your first aid box and other necessary medicines. HOW TO REACH WICHIN VALLEY AND MAGIC VALLEY :_Climb the 50 steps at the end of the dam to reach a fork. The road on the left leads you to Magic Valley. You will literally have to climb up a mountain to reach there. The road on the right is also a difficult trek and it will take you to Weichin.On the road that goes towards the right, you will see a tower in front of you, make it a temporary destination and start walking towards it. There will come a time when that tower wont be visible so keep interacting with locals for route direcrions towards Weichin. Enroute Weichin you will have to cross 7-8 waterfalls. After crossing atleast 7 such waterfalls look for a way going towards your left- just before the next waterfall. Climb it up to reach Weichin.Keep your fluid intake good and don’t walk in fatigue!
Where to stay?
There are 2-3 camp sites in Weichin. We stayed in the first one. The rates are quite reasonable varying from 800-1200INR/Person. This includes your breakfast, lunch and dinner. These tents are very comfortable making the experience completely satisfying. The only source to charge your devices is a solar panel. It will take a lot of time to completely charge your devices and it totally depends on the amount of sun Weichin is getting on that particular day.
Things to do?
There are no cafes in Weichin which is one of the things that separates it from Malana and Kasol . The food that you will get there is prepared on the spot. You just need to tell your camp guy what you want to eat and he will cook it. You can also cook for yourself. The view from the camp site will keep you charged all day and at night when the moon comes out the whole area looks very pretty. You can just sit out side your camp ask for a bonfire and gel up with the people you meet there.
Malana – The ancient village :-
Malana , you call it a little greece , or a stoned village , or the Trekker’s paradise , or anything you like.. there are lot of other names been given by the lovers of this beautiful hidden valley which is a 10000 feet high and is a recently discovered(1977) ancient civilization that has its own democracy. People of Malana did not go the cities till recent and had contained themselves in this beautiful village , a remote primitive village in the Parvati valley which is situated aside Malana River . As one of the story goes, they are supposedly descendants of Alexander. Some men from his army chose to remain here forever in this village and spend their lives. lot many other stories like this are prevalent. whatever the case is , this place has an addictive effect without any doubt, such is the beauty and calmness.
Whole of the Parvati valley is known as a place for seekers of peace and positive vibrations. Malana is one of the most known destinations in the recent times in this valley for many different reasons.As you reach to the base of Malana after trekking through Rasol village and crossing the 11000 feet high mountain (Ofcourse you have another option of taking a direct Cab from Kasol or Jari). Bus is also on the go and is very cheap, if you are lucky to get one. By lucky , i meant, the bus goes only once in the day and the same bus returns in the evening. from here , you need to cross the Malana river , and start your trek to Malana . Malana is considered sacred to the people nearby and tourists just need to know this thing before planning a trip to Malana. climb is steep , and may take 45 mins to 1.5 hrs for you to reach there (depending on your walking speed)Reaching Malana.: Its very difficult to define people staying here, only thing i would say is, they are calm and Lovely , but they too expect you to be Cool with them . Giving bold looks to the outsiders , who look totally different ,(sometimes westerners) is common , take it light, its completely ok. Just follow the basic rules there (dont touch any temple, or sacred place).Do not touch jamdagni rishi temple and dont go near to the area where Jamdagni Rishi has his House. I think there is no reason why we can t follow these simple rules and respect them.Most guest houses are at the top and start after the village ends. You get a mesmerizing view of the valley from Cosmos Guest house , which is at the Hill Top and this place has got the best view in the area. There are other options too , with better hospitality. Televisions too have recently discovered Malana and also , you get 3G network for Vodafone , Airtel , Idea , Bsnl . This means, you can work on your Laptop if you are planning to stay here for long duration.If you want to stay inside the village ,HILLTOP guest house is the man. Also , its the cheapest guest house i ve come across in the parvati valley(room rent- 400 Rs , banana pancake -30 rs)Places around malana : Magic valley , Chandrakhani Pass, Rasol and kutla village are possible Through Trek . It is okay if you plan to stay in your tents anywhere , you will get those suitable places easily.