Time Stopped at Tosh

by Payel Kundu on June 02, 2018
View from Tosh

Kasol village had come and gone with little to no impression. Narrow streets crowded with tourists, cafes and souvenir shops lining the road, numerous hotels standing upright between the road and the river – it could have been any hill station. But we were heading towards a different destination. So we went ahead on the meandering road, enjoying the tall pine trees and the soothing river down below.

Road
En route from Kasol

Then came Manikaran. A small pilgrim village famous for its hot water springs. The water is used for pious bath and apparently for boiling rice for the temple as well. For a small patch, the river was lined with houses and hotels on both sides surrounding the Gurudwara. We passed by quickly and stopped a little ahead where the road goes lower and crosses the river by a bridge. The water was cold and the landscape was charming. But we had farther to go.

River
River near Manikaran

The landscape remained similar as we went ahead further on the same route. Houses were scarcer and the snow peaks in the corner were coming more into view. The greenish white river played hide and seek with us with every twist and turn of the road. We saw one or two villages perched on the mountain on the other side of river.  Eventually the river led into a dam which held dark green water in the crack between hills, and had small pine trees sticking out their heads from underneath. That’s where we took a left turn and started climbing on a steep rough road. We were almost there.

First I saw the snow peaks, they seemed to be on every side and also much closer now. Next I noticed the lonely houses on the edge of the village looking directly at the white mountains and overlooking the valley. I was awed and wondered how it would be to live in one of those houses. Finally I paid attention towards the road ahead which got wider and ended before the starting of Tosh village. The wide area was used as parking space, as no vehicle could enter the narrow roads of the village. We noticed that there were quite a few cars parked, more than we expected at Tosh.

snow, hill & a hut
Looking up from the village entrance

A narrow stream flowing before the village worked like a boundary of sorts. We crossed the small bridge and were on the other side, walking in those small roads passing between village houses and cafes. There were plenty of people, locals and tourists alike. And yet the place seemed neither crowded nor noisy. There was an atmosphere of overall calmness amongst everyone we saw. Once a group of mules walked past us led by a local man and filled me with a raw smell of wilderness. Soon we reached a fork in the road– the left branch went inside the village and circled around many more houses and restaurants leading higher and higher on the hill and finally ending at the highest house that looked smaller than a matchbox from where we stood. But we took the one on the right hoping to find those lonely houses that I noticed earlier.

Sign board
Sign board to heaven

It was a small walk. We passed a local school filled with children’s clatters and passed many village houses. The road eventually led to a wooden house and it was the exact place that I had noticed from parking. The board said “Pinki Didi’s Last Resort”… last resort! Doesn’t that sound so wonderful? It indeed was.

Resort
Three houses of the resort

Three houses stood side by side at the edge of the hill. First one was a typical worn-out village house made of concrete, possibly belonging to the owner or workers of the hotel. Second one was wooden with lower ceilings, making it smaller than a regular two-storied building. This was the café called 360 degree. There were mattresses for sitting along with a few low tables. Chairs and tables placed in the frontyard overlooked the valley and had beautiful view of mountains. Last building towards the end of the hill was a three-storied house, part concrete and part wooden, that served as the hotel.

A little far from this place, somewhere towards the north-east (or left) Tosh village laid on the side of a hill covered in pine trees and green grass. The adjacent hill stood right in front of the hotel separated by a deep valley and the river somewhere below. And a snow peak raised its head from the gap between these two hills. The parking lot from where I had noticed this place first, was behind the houses at a lower altitude. But the most interesting view was what laid on the right side of the houses, beyond the edge of this hill. A group of hills covered in thick snow laid in front of our eyes, emphasizing each curves of the mountain and covering the pine trees beneath under a white blanket. The uncovered part of the hills looked greyish blue at this distance and the bright white of the snow shone under a deep blue sky. This combined with the fluffy white clouds painted a picture of white and blue which could sooth any starving eyes.

hotel
The hotel and the view beyond
cafe backside
Backside of Cafe 360 degree

We checked into the hotel just as a group of boys were checking out. Rooms were small but comfortable and when curtains were open the glass window by the bed captured a beautiful picture of hills. The days and nights melted into each other as the time slowly passed by over the next few days. We spent a lot of time in the café staring into the vastness all around and being awestruck by the beauty. We observed vultures flying above us and circling the limitless sky. We noticed the bright sunny day turning into a cloudy evening and the cloudy night sky clearing off by dawn. We spent the day right under the sky, but by night moved inside to shirk off the cold. We would sit down on a mattress inside the wooden walls and soak in the heat while enjoying light music in the dimly lit room. We devoured delicious parathas and curries and cakes and whatever the nature had to spare.  And so the days turned into night and the night turned into day.

hotel room
Cozy bed and the window to the world
Cafe
Inside the warm cafe

One time we ventured into the village and went up almost till the highest point of Tosh. We ate at Pink Floyd Café from where we could see the whole village down below. Another time we tried another café close to the parking and found it disappointing. But mostly we spent time back at hotel, enjoying the beautiful view.

In a few days it was time to leave and so we left with heavy heart and lots of sweet memories. And we left with a promise to come back again.

village house
An wooden house in Tosh Village
view
Enjoying the morning breeze
Tosh
Tosh village & the distance hill on a cloudy day

How to Reach Tosh – Kullu airport at Bhuntar is the nearest airport from Tosh which is only 50 km away. From there buses are available for Kasol (20 km from Tosh) and Barsheni/Barshaini (4 km from Tosh). There are no public transport available after Barsheni, but if you are going in a private vehicle or hired a cab from Kullu/Kasol that can take you up to the entry point of Tosh. However Kullu is not so well connected and hence flying to Chandigarh (315 km) or Delhi (550 km) might be an easier option. There are overnight buses available for Kasol from these places or you can always rent a car.

Where to Stay – Most cafes in Tosh have accommodation facilities as well. These are not of great standard, but you would be able to find something comfortable enough for your stay. We really liked the place where we stayed (as described in the blog), so you can try that if you like.

 

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