Chalal: Under the Blossoming Apricot Trees

Jitaditya Narzary

Is a traveller disillusioned by the familiar and fascinated with the unknown... and of course the founder of this blog.

After the tiresome day at Malana we decided to do something less intense for the next day. Kasol was good and it blessed us with good food. But I will come to that part later on, probably in a different post. We actually wanted a easy trek, something less intense than Malana but yet good in terms of views. So, we finally zeroed in on Chalal that required not more than a 30 mins moderate stroll beyond a stretch hidden by tall pine trees.

Bob Marley Country:

The trek starts as one crosses over a hanging and perilously jerking bridge over the Parvati river. On the other side of the bridge the view is blocked by steep stony hills. But to our relief we figured out that there was no need to climb the same. We just had to keep in walking by the side of the river following a narrow path. Chalal is basically a small village near Kasol. As expected, it has benefited from the tourism boom as a lot of resorts, camps and restaurants have cropped up in the entire stretch from Kasol to Chalal. From what I understood, this stretch also serves as the perfect venue for trance parties when the season is right. Just imagine the fragrance of that certain plant along with the music of sensuous Parvati and cool mountain breeze. As a result, it is also the Bob Marley country. He can be seen everywhere, on the flags, wall graffiti and of course on the T-Shirts.

Parvati of spring was lithe, lyrical and lusty. Trees were gradually regaining their color after the harsh winter. At this height there are as no trace of the winter remaining. It was mostly a brisk walk for around thirty minutes along the banks and through some colorful orchards.

Colours of Delirium:

Apricot blossom is to the Himalayas what Cherry Blossom is to Japan. In Masahiro Shinoda’s masterpiece Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees, most of the delirious and psychedelic imagery take place literally under the blossoming cherry trees. Those overwhelming colors combined with the raining petals at the slightest hint of wind made it an orgasmic spectacle. The apricots of Chalal also displayed the same characteristics and combined probably with the previous night’s dose, i felt a. Colorful yet giddy high inexpiable in words. The entire Himalayas get covered in pink and white of apricot blossoms during spring. I started noticing these blooming trees just after crossing Mandi. Now in the Parvati valley, they seemed to be everywhere.

As we walked, clicked and walked, we reached the village in no time. The traditional architecture of the village is slowly giving way to concrete buildings. But what immediately attracted my attention was the chirping of birds. I noticed several birds, mostly to small to capture. More exiting was the sight of a large green swarm of parakeets but they were at a reasonable distance. We entered the village and walked through the narrow alleys searching for a restaurant as the timing was perfect for lunch. But I could not take my mind off the birds.

We found a restaurant called “In fusion” and ordered tea and some staple food. I took seat near the window and kept looking for birds and after a few seconds, was delightfully rewarded. The aforementioned parakeets were actually settled in a tree on the compound of the restaurant and my position was perfect to catch them although my zoom was weak. Naturally, the first few attempts were failures but eventually the lens aligned itself to capture some non-embarrassing shots of the distant targets. Later research showed these ones to be Slaty-Headed Parakeets.

Unexpected Hospitality:

We met a French botanist couple who informed us of rhododendron blossoms up the trek, on the way to Rashol. This information led to the Rashol trek next day but for that day we kept ourselves to Chalal only. We went to the last house on the other side accompanied by local dogs and that is where we met Manu. Actually it was his house that attracted us with the singular apricot tree in the compound. It was a surreal sight. We captured several photographs and I was on my way back already. But then Hilly called me back as he had struck a conversation with the owner of the house. Many invited us in and offered sweet mint tea. He was also incessantly emptying cigarettes and filling it with you know what. Again our minds scaled certain altitudes as he talked incessantly about how the place has changed in recent years, how he plans to build a resort in the same ground and how some of his friends once got arrested in Varanasi as they were carrying the best products of their fatherlands. I have been to many aces and met many good people but nobody had offered me tea without a reason. So I hope Manu completes his resort in time and I can get back there as soon as possible.

Rest of Chalal was quaint yet colorful. Apricot was everywhere and in the interiors, traditional wooden houses were still visible. It was an easy day well spent. But I was already planning for the more hectic Rashol trek for the next day.

Jitaditya Narzary

Is a traveller disillusioned by the familiar and fascinated with the unknown... and of course the founder of this blog.

30 thoughts on “Chalal: Under the Blossoming Apricot Trees

  • 2015/04/05 at 9:00 pm
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    Wow! What a beautiful place! Where did you guys stay?

    Reply
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  • 2015/05/20 at 6:57 pm
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    I don’t generally do this.. but what a wonderful post this is. loved the read. the photographs and the words, all 🙂

    was looking for information on kasol and surrounding trek routes and places. your post has to be one of the best articles out on the net 🙂

    keep up the wandering, writing and clicking.
    cheers!

    Reply
  • 2015/09/23 at 1:20 pm
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    Dear Jitaditya,

    Firstly, you blog with Pics are beautiful.

    Secondly, i would like some info on Trek to Malana from Kasol.
    With every details please.

    Regards;
    Kaushik

    Reply
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  • 2016/03/30 at 2:28 pm
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    Hey Jitaditya,

    We, a group of 4, are planning to visit Parvati valley n Manali on April 1st week. We wil b ther for 5 days. Can u suggst a brief itinerary on how to approach the places within the time we have got with us. Few places we have zeroed in are Malana, Khirganga, Rashol and Rohtang pass(if time permits us 🙂 ).

    Regards
    Rajeev

    Reply
    • 2016/03/30 at 2:52 pm
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      Hi,

      4-5 days may not be enough to cover everything you have mentioned. What I suggest is stay put in Parvati Valley, either in Kasol or in one of the nearby villages and then do all the treks surrounding it, i.e. Malana, Kheerganga, Chalal-Rashol, etc. If time permist, you can also consider crossing the Chandrakhani Pass and reach Naggar… although I have not done it myself.

      Reply
  • 2016/05/11 at 1:56 am
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    Hey Jitaditya ,
    I am traveling to kasol on 19th may to 24th may . My main concern is hotel bookings in kasol . Do i need to book hotel prior to my visit or reach kasol and look for hotel . We are 5 frnds . Also can you let me know some to the good and budget hotel and in which one did you stay during your vist .
    Regards,
    Priyan

    Reply
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  • 2017/02/08 at 9:03 am
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    What a lovely day! I love to garden and always pay close attention to the things that are growing when we are out exploring. What a treat to get to see the apricot trees in bloom! Are they scented? Once I stumbled upon a courtyard with lemon trees blooming and I can still smell the lovely scent.

    Reply
  • 2017/06/06 at 3:39 pm
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    Nice reading. I wonder what keeps you travellers from divulging the actual expenditure incurred.. It will go a long way to help people budget their visits.

    Reply
      • 2017/06/07 at 11:04 pm
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        .. simple basics, aprox per day per person expenditure. Say if I plan for 7 day trip to Kasol how much I should have in my pocket.

        Reply
        • 2017/06/08 at 6:04 am
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          Sir…

          Firstly I am not a travel agent or planner. I just share my experiences for free.

          But still I provide enough information. You are making this comment by only reading one post on Chalal. If you’d looked, you would have found a post on every place in the region including a detailed guide to entire Parvati Valley in this very blog. Please don’t expect to be spoonfed.

          Finally, I have still helped many people. But you started with a snide remark rather than just asking. So, have a good trip.

          Reply
  • 2017/07/18 at 3:40 pm
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    Beautiful pictures. I love the Himalayas. I’m headed to Nepal to trek the EBC in October. You’re post has put me right in the mood for my upcoming trek. Nice post – thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • 2017/07/18 at 9:26 pm
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    How funny they are SO Bob Marley obsessed!! Absolutely love this blog and all of the pictures. Looked like such a pretty adventure.

    Reply
  • 2017/07/18 at 11:33 pm
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    Amazing photography! I didn’t know about this place. Thank you for sharing your experience and tips. I am starting to go on hikes when traveling and so far I like it a lot 🙂 Safe travels. – Mariella

    Reply
  • 2017/07/19 at 6:21 pm
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    The treks you are doing are so inspiring, you always manage to show us the beauty of the nature in India, something that you don’t see every day. It’s interesting to read about the Bob Marley area, however I don’t think I would like it, I hate the smell of that certain plant 😉 I can imagine how serene the cafe you stopped for a bite was, with all those beautiful parrots flying around and enjoying you with their songs.

    Reply
  • 2017/07/19 at 9:53 pm
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    I love how much of a global Icon Bob Marly still is. You find flags and street art of him in the least expected places. looks like you had a great time here. Stunning images.

    Reply
  • 2017/07/20 at 1:41 am
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    This looks like the perfect nature escape! I love your photos, especially the one of the tall pine trees. I had never heard of the apricot blossoms before and would love to visit to see that one day!

    Reply
  • 2017/07/20 at 4:38 am
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    What a perfect way to spend the day, trekking through Chala. The area is absolutely stunning, you captured it beautifully! That’s so interesting about the Bob Marley bit, I wonder how that came to be? Would love to visit during the right season when the parties are happening haha.

    Reply
  • 2017/07/20 at 8:59 am
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    Excellent trekking adventure. Loved the pictures.
    Here I am in concrete jungle surrounded by tall buildings… wishing each moment I was in those greens!

    Reply
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