Hemmed in by giant-pinnacled mountain peaks, the Parvati Valley, which twists west from the glaciers and snowfields on the Spiti border to meet the Beas at Bhuntur, is the Kullu Valley’s longest tributary. It’s a picturesque place, with quiet hamlets perching precariously on its sides amid lush terraces and old pine forests. Though the landscape around Jari has been scarred by the ugly Malana hydro project, there is strong local pressure to at least camouflage the site. Visitors to the valley are an incongruous mix – a combination of Western hippies (especially Israelis) and van-loads of Sikh pilgrims bound for the gurudwara at Manikaran, 32km northeast of the Beas–Parvati confluence.
Reaching the scenic Himalayan Valley is not as difficult as it may initially seem. To reach Parvati, you will need to take the bus in the direction of Manali. Stop at Bhunter, which is 10km away from Kullu – from here you can get local connecting buses eventually reaching Kasol, 30km away from Bhunter.
The best time to visit the Parvati Valley is during March – June during the dry season. The temperature is good throughout the year averaging at 30 degrees Celsius although the monsoon season brings lots of rain, so it is best to avoid this time if you plan to spend time with nature outdoors.
Crouched at the foot of a gloomy ravine, sits the ancient religious site, Manikaran. Sacred to Hindus as well as Sikhs, the gurudwara is famous for its hot sulphur springs that bubble out of its stony riverbanks. Locals believe the waters bring healing powers from the Beas-Parvati confluence, 32km away in the northeast.
Manikaran Temple © Marcos del Mazo Valentin / Shutterstock
Kosul, a village within the Parvati Valley is dubbed ‘mini-Israel’ by local Indians for its vast number of Israeli migrants. Many have been living in the village for years and run restaurants and cafes that are popular with the local people who embrace the authentic Israeli cuisine. Hiking trails that pass Kosul are known to be part of the ‘hummus trail’ – for obvious reasons.
Activities in The Parvati Valley
The Parvati Valley is predominately a quiet and quaint, peaceful place, however, if you wish to get active then have no worries – there is plenty for you to do. Kullu is a haven for water rafters with roaring waves that make the thrill exciting and provide an adrenaline rush to the usually slow pace of life in the Himalayan Mountain Ranges.
To make the most of the Parvati’s stunning scenery, you’ll have to hike. The best treks often start from the villages of Kasol and Barsaini.
The Parvati Valley has become a retreat for hippies and backpackers during the last few years, along with these new visitors come the psychedelic festivals. Young Indians and Israeli travellers seeking a trance-party flock here for the music and vibes. Often festivals pop up with very little or no advertising, but those in who favour the lifestyle always seem to know about them and come to the valley for weeks at a time. Police often monitor the roads to the festivals.
Featured Image, Parvati Valley © Erofeenkov Vashisht / Shutterstock