5 mins read
All About The Grahan Trek - Parvati Valley's Little Secret
30 Oct, 2023
My name is Chahat and I am the community manager assigned to The Hosteller Kasol. What is community management you ask? Well, it is quite self explanatory. I manage the travel community here, along with a team of gifted volunteers. That means that we are responsible for our travellers having the most fun and delightful travel experiences while staying with us at The Hosteller Kasol.
Be a part of group events and activities!
We organize city walks, treks, day hikes, photography tours and accompany our travel groups on almost all of the trips and tours that we send out. It is our job to make our guests feel at home and lucky for us, we always end up being friends with them. It might sound like all fun and games, but trust me we are entrusted with a lot of responsibility.
Explore the lesser known part of Kasol
Towards the beginning of October, we took a bunch of our guests on the Grahan Trek. The Hosteller now has a futuristic concierge app called , where guests can book all of the events and activities listed at the hostel they are staying at. This web app is accessible only by guests with an active booking and allows our patrons to seamlessly and hassle free book the events they are interested in.
Now back to the trek.
The Parvati river accompanies you during the trek
Grahan is a small, self-sustaining village located around 10 km uphill from the town of Kasol. I have travelled to many places during my work here but I’d have to say this is the most peaceful place I have ever been to. The entire village is surrounded by gigantic mountains whose peaks are sprinkled with stark white snow. You see bright-eyed village kids playing in open green fields and the smell of pahadi chai permeates the surroundings. It is truly heaven on earth.
Here are a few important details you should know before starting your Grahan Trek:
The offbeat path to reach Grahan from Kasol
1. The nearest pit stop is Kasol town. There are a few different routes you can take to reach Grahan from Kasol . You can reach Kasol in a car, shared taxi or buses. Most buses stop at Bhunter. In our case, we take our guests via cab to the starting point from the hostel.
2. You can only reach Grahan on foot. No form of transportation goes there.
3. Alcohol consumption is strictly prohibited in that village.
4. There are no shops in Grahan and only a few homestays. So your accommodation would depend upon availability.
5. Expect heavy footfall of travellers during the warmer months of May, April, June, July and August. During the winter, the scenery becomes much more beautiful but because of the height and the temperatures, there are fewer hikers.
6. There is absolutely no cell phone service in Grahan. No Airtel, no Jio. Nothing.
7. Grahan has electricity so you do not have to be worried about that.
8. Travellers are not allowed to go inside or participate in religious temple activities. Be warned about that. Only locals are allowed to do so. Please do not bother them by asking to be included in it.
I am now going to give you a slightly detailed insight into what our trip looked like. This is for all you guys who plan to travel to Grahan and do not have an idea of how to go about the itinerary.
Tip: Plan your trek with us so that you don't have to worry about transfers or building an itinerary. Just pack your bags and we will take care of all the rest.
Day 0 of the Grahan Trek
Enjoy a cup of "garam chai"
Check in at The Hosteller Kasol at around 11 in the morning. Actually, we have three hostels in Kasol and you can take your pick of the litter. If you enjoy staying adjacent to the river, choose If lush green views are more your thing, pick or
Group of friends ready to explore the town
After freshening up, the 10 of us all went on a tour of Kasol town. Few of the travellers accompanying me shopped in the local stores and some tried out the famous baked goods from German Bakery. Following that, we went to the Manikaran Gurudwara which is situated fairly near to Kasol and is a definite must see if you are in this area.
The night sky in Grahan surprises you with the ultimate stargazing experience
Upon return, we lit a big bonfire at the hostel and made countless s’mores. It was a lovely and lively evening where I got to interact with guests from around the country and learn so much about their experiences in Kasol and with The Hosteller. Everyone was excited about the big day tomorrow so soon after we had a hearty dinner at the cafe and went to bed.
Tip: Don’t carry unnecessary things on the trek. You will be gone for only one night and have to trek about 3 hours uphill and downhill the next day. You can give your extra baggage to us at The Hosteller Kasol for safekeeping.
Day 1 of the Grahan Trek
Take a dip in the Grahan village waterfall
This was the day of the big trek. We got up at 9 am for a healthy breakfast and began our climb to Grahan. There is a big waterfall next to our Adjacent to that is a path that opens up to the Grahan village waterfall. This route is quite offbeat and is not known by many people. You could call it The Hosteller Kasol’s little secret.
The route to the Grahan village waterfall
While climbing up, we usually take the common route and save this for when we are returning, as it opens up right next to the hostel. The more commonly taken route starts with a right turn just before the Kasol bridge begins. This is the route you will find most people taking. For the first 40 - 45 minutes of the trek, the Kasol river runs towards the left of us.
The wooden bridge above the Kasol river
After that, we crossed a bridge. This bridge is quite large and completely made of metal. It leads toward the left. This is when the scenery starts to shift a little and becomes a bit steeper. The river is gone and you are flanked with huge pine and deodar trees on both sides, along with beautiful mountains. A little while later the road bifurcates into two paths. The path on the left is a shortcut to Grahan but is quite a steep climb. The path on the right is about 1 - 1.5 km longer but easier to climb, especially if you are with a group of people. Needless to say, we choose the right path.
Grahan village has great views of the neighboring Himalayan peaks
Finally, after another hour of hiking, we finished the Grahan Trek and reached the picturesque hamlet filled with gorgeous views. Everyone was a little tired from the hike but super excited to have finally reached. There were giant mountains on all sides, huge open fields, beautiful mountain goats and dogs playing about and the most hospitable people I have ever met. The entire village has only about 300 people and a maximum of 50 houses.
Meet cute pahadi kids in the homestay
We all settled into our homestay and happily accepted the steaming cups of masala pahadi chai our host handed to us. The local people are so loving and accepting of travellers that they didn't even charge us for the tea. We all spent some time walking around the small town. Some of us gathered around a chulha (heating device) and warmed ourselves while some others spent their time taking photos of this breathtaking location and playing with the cute local kids. We even handed out candies to a few. Their bright eyes and pink cheeks really softened my heart.
Catch the mesmerizing sunset from the homestay
Later at night, we were served a delicious home-cooked meal of yellow dal, sabji, rice and pickle. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. One fantastic thing about nights here is the sky. It gets lit up with millions of stars and it seems like you can gaze into galaxies a thousand light years away.
The breathtaking nightscapes in Grahan is a paradise for astrophotographer
During a new moon, you can see every single star in the sky clearly. But even on other days, the sky clears up after 12-1 am and makes for a spectacular view. If you are an astrophotographer, then Grahan should definitely be on your travel bucket list.
Tip: There are a few dhabas that serve tea, coffee, biscuits and Maggi on the way to Grahan. But after 1.5 hours of walking, the road is completely abandoned and you will not find any place to buy food from even if you are famished. So if you know that you might need a few munchies on the go, it is best to carry them with you. And plenty of water.
Day 2 of the Grahan Trek
Wake up to the most beautiful sunrise
Our second and last day of the Grahan trek started with the most astonishingly beautiful sunrise. Around 100 meters away from our homestay was a huge open field. In the early morning, some of us woke up and gathered there to watch the sunrise as suggested to us last night by some locals. And it was truly one of the most magical things on the entire trip. The sun looked like a living breathing goddess bestowing light and love on all of us. We rubbed the warmth into our skin (much needed as it was kinda cold) and made our way back to our homestay.
Explore secret waterfalls with The Hosteller
Next on our list was the famous Grahan waterfall. Grahan has 2 - 3 waterfalls but one amongst them is the biggest so that is the one we choose to explore. It is a 15 minute hike, although it can take upto 30 minutes sometimes. Surrounded by lush greenery, the waterfall was freezing but in the best way. It was fed by two springs from the top and cascaded down to our feet. We took a lot of pictures, washed our faces with the chilly, fresh glacial water and hung out in the area admiring the beauty for sometime before returning to our homestay.
An adorable mountain dog that guided us back home
Rest of the morning was spent roaming around the village looking at the guesthouses being constructed, clicking photos of the unforgettable views of the Parvati Valley and eating breakfast. Following that we all packed up and left for Kasol. An adorable mountain dog with shining brown fur followed us all the way down.
Tip: Trust the mountain dogs. They climb up and down these mountains with travellers on a daily basis. More often than not they will start indicating and barking in front of the right route to take and help many people from getting lost. Not to mention how adorable they are.
Stay in the lap of the Parvati Valley in Kasol
Trekking, camping and hiking are some of my favourite activities and that is why, during my interview, when I was given a choice - I chose to be stationed at a mountain location. If you are an outdoorsy person like me and love interacting with people, you too can apply for the program. Just fill and someone from the team will get back to you.
Enjoy the beauty of the gigantic mountains with a cup of chai
I can truly say that in many ways Grahan changed something in me. The natural beauty and gigantic mountains towering us on all sides remind me of how minuscule we are when it comes to nature. A trip to Grahan this winter season is a definite must for anyone wanting to experience an offbeat location in the Parvati valley.
Come with us on one of these trips and who knows? Maybe I am going to be the very one climbing with you.
What should I do?