“With each step forward, I could experience the whole new world unfolding within me.”
Hey! Beautiful soul, I assume life is treating you well!
As the year 2020 went almost in lockdown. When travel resumed at a slow pace as new normal, I packed my backpack to Himachal Pradesh. It was a roughly 20 days solo trip in which Grahan was the most exciting place on the list.
Hope you will enjoy the story.
Overview of Grahan Village:
Grahan is a small, less explored, and traditional Himachali village in the Parvati Valley. It is located north of the hippie hamlet Kasol in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.
Grahan is at 7700 feet (2347 meters) above sea level. It is blessed with both stunning landscapes and mighty mountains. Temperature varies from 0 to minus degrees and yes, it receives snow in winter.
Where to start the trek:
Grahan trek sets up from the Kasol. Take the bridge, which separates old Kasol from the new Kasol. From there take the left where few meters away you will locate the entry gate with a wildlife sanctuary board, this should be your starting point of the Grahan trek.
Grahan trek is about 12 km long, which approximately takes 4 to 5 hours to reach. There are two ways to reach Grahan village.
The short route comprises trekking through steep trails which is difficult and convenient to villagers for their daily commute.
The long route is comparatively easy, travellers take this route as trekking and travelling is not about reaching the destination fast, but it’s all about how much you experience and embrace during the journey itself.
Keep some munching items like energy bars and dry fruits. However, you will get one café at the beginning of the trek and one small tea shop at the uphill trek which is the only shop before you reach the Grahan.
Let’s talk about the long route as we took that one. As you cross the gate of wildlife sanctuary board, you will experience the sudden shift as from the right the tranquil breeze of the pine forest embrace you, from the left side the mystical Parvati river will accompany you with melodious sound and your head will be covered with the canopy of the trees.
After hiking for some time you will see splendid wooden bridges on the left side, please don’t take them though it’s marked halfway to Grahan. Keep walking straight.
Though some part of the trail passes through the dense forest area, the sunlight is not an issue.
The gradient of the trail is pretty much comfortable to hike. These days construction work is going on there. Four-wheeler vehicles and bike mobility is there till about 7-8 km. You can leave your rented vehicle or park your bike there before the uphill trek starts, as there is no other way to Grahan except trekking through the hill.
Start your trekking in the morning so you get enough time to spend some moments at beautiful turns, riverside, bridges, and places to soak the elegance and click pictures.
The best part of Grahan trekking is uphill trekking. You will cross one small wooden bridge over the stream and the uphill trek begins.
This was the time when travellers from different groups started interacting as uphill trekking demands little exertion so everyone was moving at their own speed.
That is the beauty of travelling you make friends on the go. It’s rightly said, “Strangers are friends you haven’t met yet.”
Also, Pahaadi dogs will accompany you during the trekking.
I was experiencing bad health that day, so it was challenging for me to trek with a regular speed. All I could do is listen to the body and took rest as and when required and trekked with a slow speed. Thanks to fellow travellers who lifted my backpack.
It brightened my eyes when a traveller from the other group told me you look like a Pahaadi, are you? hehe
And it brought joy to me when one more traveller from the other group enquired, are you doing yoga? I don’t know how could she recognized it.
As you trek uphill, don’t forget to take a halt and look back to see how far you have come 🙂
Little did we know what was stored ahead, it was a little scary incident. I and a fellow solo traveller friend were taking a rest on the trail. Suddenly rock slid from the uphill, we could hear the voice of something rushing towards us, for no reason that very moment I got the intuition to run and I ran on the uphill trail (where you hike with the utmost care) and friend too followed as she was standing next to me.
Everything happened in seconds, and that rock crashed at the same place where we were standing. We could see the rock was enough big to cause considerable harm. We smiled by looking at each other and thanked almighty.
In my opinion, if you are travelling or trekking to such places, it’s better not to use earphones or headphones. If you are listening to the music on a speaker then keep it at a low volume so you could hear if there is any external voice.
By this time we were enough close to Grahan, it was just the last few meters away from the top of the hill.
Well, you can locate Grahan village only you are just 100 or 150 meters away.
Let’s dive into the beauty of Grahan Village:
As you enter the Grahan village, you will discover beautiful traditionally constructed wooden houses, innocent children playing on the streets, women weaving sweaters, flock coming back to their place, villagers bringing fodder on their back.
Around 500 years back some ancestors decided to settle outside of Malana and this is how Grahan came into existence.
It has only 50 houses and a population of around 350 people. The village has two temples with traditional architecture. Some houses are around 200 years old. Colourful houses and innocent children playing on the trails aids the liveliness to the entire landscape.
There is no cellular network, and it gives travellers to look around what nature has to offer us and look within to discover their true self.
Absolute peace, fresh air from the peaks, and picturesque landscape is the secret beauty Grahan holds.
Grahan is alcohol-free. It is believed that one night villagers got the vision of their deity Maharshi Yagnyavalkya and asked villagers to give up on alcohol.
When in Grahan, halt for some time to admire spectacular temple architecture. However, outsider’s entry to temples is prohibited. Being responsible traveller it’s our duty to respect local culture and rules.
Villagers are kind, they welcome and treat travellers like their family member. You get delicious food, decent hospitality, and cozy accommodation in a wooden homestay or guest house, what else you need when you are out to explore less travelled places.
Also, Grahan is a base camp for Sar pass trekking.
You can visit the nearby waterfall and nearby small villages to sense local traditions and lifestyle.
At night you can enjoy talks around tandoor, bonfire and don’t forget to gaze stars at midnight; It’s will be unmatchable experience there.
The next morning, we hiked to Pulgi; not to confuse with Pulga, which is near to Tosh. It involves similar settlements like Grahan.
Down trekking took around three hours to reach Kasol.
This charming village crowns exceptional beauty in various seasons, so yes, summer and rainy reason visits are due.
The only thing I am apprehensive about is, this stunning traditional Himachali village should not get lost in the hippie trance like Tosh and other villages.
I still haven’t explored Grahan properly, as it was just a one-night stay there. But in the future hope to go for a long time to complete this incomplete visit.
No words and camera can justify the beauty of the place. So if you are someone who loves solitude and mountains, then do consider visiting Grahan on your next trip. Only one request, let’s not harm and disturb unique and traditional culture to sustain the beauty of the place.
Till then stay happy, healthy, and stay tuned for other travel stories.
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