As the world struggles with the mundane, when action is worshipped, being busy to the level of being a maniac is considered laudable, workaholism is symbol of excellence and inaction is cringe worthy; here in the same world a place exists where Time stands still. It was my time to take a peek into the world of surreal, violet flashes of euphoria all blended with the undertone of absolute inaction; yes I visited the Parvati Valley.
From the 4 lane world of speed ride near Bhuntar, you take a sharp turn (right or left depending whether you are coming or going) and almost immediately step into the old world charm of single lane bothway, serpentine mountain roads, all along the Parvati River. A mere 30 minutes of minimum hullabaloo of common traffic and the Parvati valley opens up with her lush green post monsoon makeover, the gurgling river, the deciduous giving away to the coniferous and the feeling of stepping into the mid sixties. Ride along, go chug-chug or dug-dug whichever way you prefer, but never commit the sin of disturbing life in an easy slumber, with your city bred exhaust note, sound, anger, antipathy is perhaps the last thing you want to bring into the land of quiet dissonance.
Ride on, along the Parvati, stop surely sometimes, sit on a rock, smoke if you have to, For Heavens sake, dont Think, just Be. You dont have to share the beauty with others, you dont have to look for validation, just be… be what you actually are; the river, the meadow, the cattle, some people… all in easy eloquence will not break your Being.
Kasol, will loom large soon. The mini Israel of India, with her famed raves, nightlife and psychosomatic persuasion all in the backdrop of mesmerising mountain and river valley, stuck up in the spiderweb of time. South Delhi dudes and dudettes will try adequately to spoil the place with their loud makeup and fake accent, blonde bleached hair and loud laughter; perhaps in their quest to Be a foreigner, they have forgotten the basics of civilization, to look inwards. Inspite of the rampant effort to spoil the place as soon as possible by the South Delhi culture of fake-ism, loud exhaust, momo and dhaba chicken tandoori and camping urge…. still the genuine broad smile, the serenity in the eye of the pahadis and few foreigners along with the lush forest, gurgling river, serpentine roads capture the mystique that Kasol has always represented.
Ride on, and reach the holy town of Manikaran. The story of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati taking a few hours (ten thousand years by our earthly standards) break and Devi Parvati manages to loose her bejeweled nosering in the river. Lord Basuki, the serpentine king was summoned to search for the ring, and after some hectic search and Lord Shiva’s dance… The Earth threw up the jewel in a burst of hot steam. From then on, the hot steam emanates and the water is boiling hot to cook food. The commemorative temple exists even today in a more modernistic makeover. Guru Nanakdev along with his disciple Bhai Mardana came to this place and the Sikh community believe that Guru Nanakdev lifted a stone and thereafter a hot stream appeared, where he instructed the Bhai to cook the chapatti for the Langar.
All faith be revered, the truth is perhaps the existence of narrow yet deep geothermal cracks on the plates of the Himalayas resulting in this Non Sulphurous Hot Spring. The Gurdwara is well organized to serve all devotees of everything including, stay, food, parking, absolutely free of cost. The town with narrow streets and plethora of shops and temples is nothing wirthwhile to speak. Manikaran to my mind stands as the example of the saying… other that spiritual achievement if you are in search of it, the destination means lesser than the road or what is beyond. I gave the chance of a dip in the hot kund and Guru ka Langar a miss, and rode back.
If you are looking to dine in Kasol, I feel its better to go for a foreign oriented eatery, rather than a desi dhaba even though the later may be more posh and hip. My choice was the Moondance Cafe, and pick was the Moondance Non Vegetarian Breakfast platter; it was hugely expensive but worth every penny for the taste, service, appeal, decor and the slow trance music that serenaded the environment.
A strong cappuccino, and time to ride back home… again from a hippieish Sunday sojourn of love of inaction to our daily life of action worship. The trek to Malana, Kheerganga and Tosh is to happen surely in the near future. Stay Happy guys… and if possible, do try to see the Parvati Valley.