Rashol Trek: Rhododendrons and Wandering Pilgrims

After considering several trekking option around Kasol, we decided to save time and be done with the Rashol trek. Tosh was another option but we thought it was going to take more time than we thought. The Rashol trek goes through Chalal. We had already seen Chalal the previous day. So we did not spend much time there and quickly passed through the village. The real steep trek started after the village. Initially there were no other trekkers but after sometime we noticed three people, a couple and another man dressed in traditional Sikh attire complete with turban, knife (Kripan) and various ornaments. I thought he was a local Sikh pilgrim from Punjab visiting Manikaran. But his thick British accent confused me. Eventually it turned out that Jeetender Singh was indeed British, a second generation Indian migrant. The couple was his brother and sister in law, although they looked completely different due to the respective getups.

We started ascending, sometimes moving together, sometimes overtaking them and eventually falling behind as we stopped to take photographs repeatedly. Jeetender encouraged us to visit Manikaran, which we did the next day. On the other hand, the French botanist we met in Chalal had mentioned the Rhododendron blossoms in this route. It did not take much time to locate the same. Soon after crossing a small bridge, we entered the rhododendron country. It was the same as Chopta that I visited last May. But at a comparatively lower altitude they were blooming in March itself.

For the next hour or so, we walked along this stretch till they disappeared. After that we were left mostly with reddish brown grass and a few scattered apricot trees. We saw some houses from a distance and so thought the destination was near. But after a while they turned out to be deceptive. Nevertheless, after a point there were two small streams flowing from both sides of the routes and they were turning into small waterfalls at every step.

The last stretch to Rashol village was actually tougher than expected. It is steeper and somewhat never ending. Every wooden house seemed to lead to a few more flights of stairs. The weather had also suddenly turned at the top and a light drizzle had started. It was getting late too as we’d started late to begin with. So, we just managed to reach the village, caught a short break and turned back. Some dogs had accompanied us all the way from Challal. A black one was extremely persistent even during the descent and had to share some food with it.

The Rashol trek was mostly eventless but the views were satisfactory. It was our last full day here but the next day we did manage to visit Manikaran in the morning before leaving. Will be back with that story next.

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Jitaditya Narzary

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

23 thoughts on “Rashol Trek: Rhododendrons and Wandering Pilgrims

  • 2015/04/26 at 6:36 pm
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    I haven’t been on this trek yet, so thank you for this travelogue! The pictures at Rashol (that lone house in the hills) are very pretty. And don’t you just love mountain dogs and how they walk alongside trekkers, guiding them! πŸ™‚

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  • 2015/09/03 at 9:29 pm
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    Where to stay in Rashol, can you give any phone numbers to contact for guest house stay.

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  • 2015/10/21 at 4:53 pm
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    Nice pictures and explanation!

    But, you’re not supposed to give chocolate to dogs. It acts as a neurotoxin on them.

    Regards!

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  • 2016/05/02 at 11:38 am
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    Hey! Nice post πŸ™‚
    One question- How much time did the Rashol trek take?
    Thanks!

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    • 2016/05/02 at 11:58 am
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      Hi, we did it slowly, took around 4 hours, while pausing to appreciate the rhodendrons…

      But it can be faster… locals do it in less than 2 hours I guess…

      Reply
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  • 2017/01/30 at 4:32 pm
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    Hi, planning to visit Rasol during 2nd week of Feb. Hows the weather during the feb month? Will it be snowing?

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    • 2017/01/31 at 9:29 am
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      There will be snow in the higher reaches but it should be manageable. Just carry warm clothing.

      Reply
  • 2017/02/05 at 2:46 pm
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    Hi, We are planning to visit Rashol after 2 days. Just wanted to confirm two things from you, one is about the network connectivity Is it available and second about the electricity in guest houses. Somewhere I have read that there is no electricity available in Rashol village.

    Reply
    • 2017/02/22 at 3:01 pm
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      Hi Ankush, hope you had a wonderful trekk to Rashol.. We are planning to visit Rashol on 25th-26th Feb 2017. I have few queries. Could you please give your contact number or call me on +91-8872260022?

      Reply
  • 2018/02/17 at 1:32 pm
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    The trek looks beautiful and how nice that you bumped into that man and he let you take a photo of him! I love his outfit!

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  • 2018/02/17 at 2:59 pm
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    What a beautiful hike, you must have enjoyed it a lot! I was followed by a sweet dog during a hike in Sri Lanka and loved it. Oh and that man walking up like that is funny, happy to see you could take his picture. Lucky man!

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  • 2018/02/17 at 3:38 pm
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    I’m not a big hiker, but when it comes to a trail that has awesome views, I’m lacing up my hiking boots without question. The Rashol trek looks like it would be cool, although you mentioned it was only satisfactory in regard to views.

    Reply
  • 2018/02/17 at 4:46 pm
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    Wow, the Rhododendrons looks so beautiful. They reminded me of my trip to Kumaon last year when we passed through similar paths laden with bunches of blood-red Buransh flowers. We even had the Burash juice. Lovely images.

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  • 2018/02/17 at 9:17 pm
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    Absolutely incredible pictures! These types of experiences are exactly why I love travel.

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  • 2018/02/18 at 3:20 am
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    It looks like it was a very steep climb, I can see why you thought it was never ending lol. The flowers were beautiful!!

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  • 2018/02/18 at 8:19 am
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    Meeting a Sikh with a strong British accent – I’m sure he’s quite a character. What a lovely local experience and one I”m sure you will remember for a long time.

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  • 2018/02/18 at 6:08 pm
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    Interesting the different people you meet on the road isn’t it! The Rhododendron blossoms truly are beautiful – what a good idea to have taken that route. Sometimes eventless hikes are exactly what you need! It means you can fully appreciate the stunning scenery πŸ™‚

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  • 2018/02/20 at 12:31 am
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    I’ll love to hike in beautiful mountains such as this. I’ll also love to do a rshol trek and have a mountain dog follow me loyally. And the Sikh with the thick British accent, just let me faint πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. I can’t deal at all. The views are great compare to some mountains.

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  • 2018/02/20 at 5:15 pm
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    With glorious views like this how do you call it event less… or did you expect some wildlife? Great to know about the Sikh of British origin.. suits my faces of India series very well. πŸ™‚

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  • 2018/02/22 at 6:38 pm
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    Funny fact – Rhododendrons are actually my favourite flower and I have find memories of trying to spell the word as a child growing up and seeing it in our local parks. As a Brit I meet lots of Sikh’s with thick British accents – I went to school with many Sikh’s in London, so this comment made me chuckle!

    Reply

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