Little Israel??

The next morning we say thanks and goodbyes to Mr Bhalla the owner and Hira, the manager, a really helpful guy, and we set off towards the Parvati Valley about 15km South. Having been here before I am in search of the Paradise Cafe, a small roadside tea shack, and it’s proprietor Vijay, with whom we spent many good hours seven years ago. Sadly the Paradise Cafe is no more but the remnants with the name in simple paint are recognizable in the overgrown shrubs on the road side. What a pity. Kasol is a small town deep in the gorge which is a well known hippie chill-out spot with a permanent Israeli population, hence known to some as “Little Israel”. Convinced I will meet some of their renowned intelligence service and find out what major world-changing events are about to happen, we head for Kasol and look for a place to stay!


We stay in Kasol 2 nights. It’s small and beautiful with many little restaurants and cafes, some with great food and coffee/teas, and each pumping out sixties music or psychedelic trance. Yet move a few metres away from any establishment and surprisingly the sound doesn’t carry because of the thunderous rush of the river.


We spend a day sitting at a restaurant from breakfast to dinner time, working on updates for the website while rain pours down around us for most of the afternoon and evening. It’s an unusual feeling, but nice to be able to sit in a comfi place for hours without any need to go somewhere or do something.


We don’t meet anybody here really. The Israelis seem to be a pretty closed community here, spending their time together and talking in their own language; aside from a few sentences we exchange with one or two guys in some little chill-out place. I have loads of questions running through my mind I would love to ask them though. For example:

– Why do you all have dreadlocks? Isn’t that an Afro-Caribbean thing?
– Are you Jewish? I’ve heard on television that Jews have a thing about cleanliness and thus wonder how you cope in India? (Similarly the Kosher food thing…)


In the night we return to our room (lovely clean place in a new hotel called Purnima (yes again), near the start of the village coming in) and lay down for a good night’s sleep. As it’s been raining all day and still is, the river which is only a stone throw away from us, is raging and the roar is unbelievably loud. Every now and again there is a deep thud like a distant explosion, which I am sure is caused by large rocks being hurled into each other by the rapids. Smashing!

On our last morning we go for a nice breakfast at the place we were the night before before setting off, and get into a lovely conversation with two very friendly people about our age. They are also Israelis, but without the pitch tattoos, the sunglasses and the dreadlocks. They’re up here recovering from a few weeks in Rajastan where they spent a tough time filming a series for television back home. We talk about traveling in India and the Israeli community here, whom these two themselves are trying to avoid because they’ve earned them a bad name around here. Apparently many of them have gone off the rails following their army conscription back home.

Disappointingly we have a long ride ahead of us and cannot stay and get to know these people better – they seem very nice people. But we pass on our website details and who knows, perhaps we will be in touch and be able to catch up in the future.