Getting Lost in Laidback Karsog
Sometimes we are hard to convince while on other times an impulse pushes us into the throes of another adventure. Karsog valley for most is an example of the latter. Hardly mentioned in travel forums, the valley stands out as surreal and irresistible to anyone who happens to stumble across an image. Even the hotel managers in Shimla might try to dissuade you by labelling it an infrequently visited place and instead offer better and more developed (read generic) sightseeing. One photograph of Karsog outweighs every such bit of advice!
Situated practically mid-way between Shimla and Mandi, a 100kms from each, Karsog does not fall on the regular tourist routes like Mandi to Manali or Shimla to Kinnaur. Perhaps that’s the best part – the Valley remains untouched and very much non-commercial.
If you take a bus from Shimla, it crosses the famous golf course at Naldehra and the seasonal rafting destination of Tattapani, all of which is mostly a downhill drive. For those interested in trekking in the Himalayas, there are various treks which begin from nearby locations such as the aforementioned Shikari Devi trek and also the Kamru Nag trek.From here the terrain begins sloping up gradually as the bus gets slower, taking all of 4 hours to reach Karsog. The bus stand and the market look more crowded than you might imagine of a place this lesser known. As it turns out, Karsog is no small town, being an important trade centre of the region. It’s easy to find functioning ATMs in the market – a practical concern for those who prefer offbeat travel.
The Greenest Valley if there ever was one
If green is your favourite colour, then the monsoons must be your favourite season. It was monsoon in its full bloom in Karsog. The maize and rice fields were as green as they could be and the looming dark clouds never looked more seductive. But thankfully it did not rain very heavily as I walked around the valley and the occasional drizzles washed away nothing but my exhaustion.
The most definitive view of Karsog is the view of the valley from the town. The town is at a height while the main valley, which is used mainly for cultivation, a few hundred feet below. It is one of the most fertile stretches of land. The vegetation stretches to the horizon – almost touching the distant mountains covered in misty clouds. Karsog is not a place where you would want to do too many things. It is a place that the world weary traveller must visit when he needs to take a break, ponder and do nothing for a while, just to rejuvenate before taking up new challenges.Pomegranates, pears and many other fruits grow effortlessly all over the valley. I was considering a trek to the Shikari Devi temple – 22 kms away – but had to give it up as the rains had rendered the road non-existent. Instead, I chose to do nothing in particular and just soak in the rustic charm of the verdant valley. I criss-crossed the lush fields, drank from tiny streams, and saw locals riding ponies only to disappear behind thick overgrowths.
Just Keep in Mind
If anyone is inclined enough, they should consider a visit to the exotic temples that are in scattered around the place. The main deity here is Mamleshwar Mahadev.
As for food and accommodations, mainly budget hotels dot the town. In case you need better options, move in to Chindi, around 15 kms away – a place full of apple orchards and resorts set amidst those orchards – including one HPTDC hotel.
For those interested in trekking in the Himalayas, there are various treks which begin from nearby locations such as the aforementioned Shikari Devi trek and also the Kamru Nag trek.
But in general, Karsog is not a place where you would want to do too many things. It is a place that the world weary traveller must visit when he needs to take a break, ponder and do nothing for a while, just to rejuvenate before taking up new challenges. Visit it during the monsoon for lush, reinvigorating, and idyllic Himalayan charm.
Latest posts by Jitaditya Narzary (see all)
- Ray’s Calcutta Trilogy – The Human Psyche and the Socio-Economics of Bengal - March 23, 2015
- Getting Lost in Laidback Karsog - March 1, 2015
- Emir Kusturica: Uncovering the Brilliant ‘Balkanized’ Filmmaker - February 1, 2015