Places to stay near Kalpa
Reviews of Kalpa • 46
कहीं सुना था कि भ्रमड़ करो तो भ्रम मिटेंगे. घूमने फिरने के विचित्र शौक के बारे में कुछ और सच हो न हो, यह बात एकदम सच है. पहाड़ो का कठिन जीवन वैसे तो बुनियादी गुज़र बसर के जुगाड़ में ही बीत जाता है पर खोजा जाए तो इस जीवन में आपको कहानियां भी मिलेंगी, संस्कृति भी मिलेगी और वो रोमांटिसिज्म भी मिलेगा जिसकी तलाश में सालों से लेखक और कवी पहाड़ो की तरफ आकर्षित हुए हैं. बस थोड़ी फुर्सत चाहिए.फोटोग्राफर: संबित दत्ताचौधुरी
view from the room
There are three kinds of people you meet in Kalpa. Firstly, the Kinnauri locals with green caps and glorious demeanour who walk about the streets tall and proud as though they know it well that nature as bestowed the best of its bounty upon them. Secondly, the young and broke travellers who arrive here with 70 litre backpacks superstitiously convinced that the mountains are calling them and are secretly plotting to stay here forever. Thirdly, the Bengali families who are determined to outnumber the locals in the coming years by arriving here each day 14-seater tempo travellers for family holidays with unmatched enthusiasm.
The morning started with fine snowflakes settling down on steps, the ground, branches. Within a couple of hours, all that was green or brown was covered with thick layer of white snow. Soon the path from our cottage to the main building and restaurant got buried. We were enjoying every bit of the moment. It snowed all day long and the roads became inaccessible.We had a prior booking in Sangla. But the very idea of driving through those treacherous stretches from Powari to Karcham seemed suicidal.While travelling,we have often had to make changes to our itinerary for unforeseen reasons, but this time we were happy to do so.The mountains and the hamlets all remained obscured by the white veil of snowfall for the entire day. Then at the verge of the day’s end, when the snowfall stopped, and the mist slowly disappeared, the mighty peaks of Kinnaur Kailash reappeared before us like magic. The scenery was like an artist’s painting of White Mountains on the canvas of a bright blue sky. The peaks have now been covered with heaps of fresh snow with the scarlet rays of the setting sun glistening on them.
In the morning we walked down to the old village of Chini. Since 1960 the entire area covering Chini and Kalpa has been renamed as Kalpa. The hamlet of Chini was very important for its position on the Indo-Tibetan trade route. There are a couple of old Buddhist monasteries including the Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar gompa founded by Rinchensang Po as well as Hindu temples like the “Narayan-Nagini” temple.We walked down steps in narrow alleys flanked by Kinnauri cottages with their slate roofs. We passed few small shops selling basic supplies and a very old post office. We walked casually down the alleys which open into a large field. The field belonged to the local school. There was a temple at one side of the field which had the typical mixed hindu-buddhist architecture. The pagoda style architecture with intricate ornamental wood work at the main entrance of the temple intrigued us. The temple was closed and we could not find anyone around the area to ask about the temple. We spent some more time around the desolate temple courtyard with the backdrop of the mighty Kinnaur kailash range.This place was the lower end of the hill, on top of which was our Hotel. From our hotel the view of the Kinnaur Kailash range was breathtaking. But now from a lower area the enormity of the peaks was more prominent.While we were lost in this panorama, the weather started changing very rapidly. The dark clouds around the high peaks and the fading light was creating an eerie backdrop. We felt it was high time to start the walk back to the hotel. This time rather than walking through the houses and alleys we decided to take a longer route through the apple orchards.As we turned back we found that the bounty of nature bestowed upon the Kalpa village has its own beauty which was by no means lesser than the lofty snow covered peaks. The trees in the orchards were in full bloom. With the lush green background of pines forests it looked as if Kalpa had wrapped on an ethereal veil of fine white and pink gossamer around herself.It started to drizzle on our way back. A dark storm was bearing down from the cliffs. We knew that it was a snow blizzard that was going on there on those realms of eternal cold and silence.We awaited on the porch of another small temple for the rain to stop.In the evening we found that an enigmatic veil of dark clouds and white mist is covering up the entire range gradually and forming a strange halo. It looked like something supernatural. We had no idea what was in store next. The sight was eerie and majestic at the same time. It was still raining when we came back to our rooms after dinner.
From Recong-Peo it was another half an hour climbing through apple and apricot orchards, gardens of medicinal plants and grape vines to reach Kalpa.We passed few slate roofed Kinnaur cottages, women busy drying apricot and apple wedges and children returning back from school and we knew we were approaching Kalpa.The HPTDC hotel Kinnaur Kailash as the name suggests offers a 180 degree view of the entire Kinnaur Kailash mountain range. The stunning view kept us mesmerized for a long time.We had reached quite early in that season and the staff were struggling to get all the services of the property ready.As the initial wow of the place slowly settled down inside us, we were faced with the reality of having arrived at a hotel where half of the staff have not joined yet and many of the services are running at a bare minimum necessity.However, the staff (some of whom we knew from our last trip) as always were very warm and welcoming. The basic hot bowl of Maggy was almost the best food we have had.The staff put in their best effort to ensure that we were comfortable.We booked the Kinnaur Cottages. These are old Kinnaur style houses that are just above the new hotel block. The rooms are huge with an attached dining room. But they are old too and some parts do look like they will fall down.But still the rusty feel blends beautifully with the surroundings.It was already dark by the time we unpacked and settled down. After a pretty early dinner we called it a day.
3:30 PMAbout 12 km away from Reckong Peo, is the quaint and beautiful village of Kalpa. We reached here, extremely tired after the 500 km drive. The village is an absolute treat to the eyes.Small cottages, green periphery and snow clad mountains hovering over you in a 360 degree panorama. That's the Kalpa I remember and cherish.If you're visiting Kalpa, the options for accommodation are limited. We stayed at a beautiful homestay, popularly known as "Cheeni Bungalow" which is run by a fellow named Tota Ram. We had befriended him on our previous trip to Kalpa and had prebooked our accommodation with him.We paid INR 1200 for a room on triple sharing basis. The room was cosy, clean and had amazing views.What to do in Kalpa:- Take a stroll around the peaceful lanes and enjoy multiple helpings of chai with the beautiful backdrop.- Hike up to Roghi village, which is 4 km away from Kalpa for some serene views of the snowclad Himalayas. - Visit the "Suicide Point" near Roghi for a thrilling sight.- Gaze at the stars and if you're lucky, you might witness the moon rise right over the shoulder of Kinner Kailash.Most of all, don't forget to enjoy and travel responsibly. Don't litter and if you're carrying any plastic bottles, make sure they're disposed off just right.
DAY 03 | SARAHAN – SANGLA - KALPADISTANCE & TIME TAKEN | APPROX. 125 KM / 6-7 HOURS, DRIVE, DEPENDS ON BREAKS YOU TAKE BETWEENOVERNIGHT | KALPAMEAL | BREAKFAST & DINNERLeave Sarahan exact at 08:00 am after the breakfast to enjoy vistas en route.Take a diversion from KARCHAM to SANGLA VALLEY. Visit SANGLA MEADOWS, KAMMRU FORT, BEIRNG NAG TEMPLE and TIBETAN WOOD CARVING CENTER. 85 Km drive from Sarahan.Have your lunch at Sangla and after lunch proceed drive to Kalpa (40 Km from Sangla). Upon arrival visit CHANDIKA DEVI TEMPLE. Enjoy the spectacular view of MT. KAILASH from your hotel.
The last phase to Kalpa goes through pine woods and apple orchards.
From Kaza we drive to Kalpa village known for its wonderful apple orchards. The multifaceted view formed by the threesome of the grazing grounds, the fields and the apple groves is simply magical. You can be a part of this multicolored arena by volunteering to help the locals with their chores. A Spitian dinner waits for you as you end the day.Day 7: From Kalpa to Sarahan to Shimla
Chitkool - KalpaOn the fourth day, we rejoined the Hindustan Tibet highway at Kharchham and continued our journey into Spiti valley. On our way we passed the well-known Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant built on Sutlej and Baspa rivers. Built with an installed capacity of 1000MW, this power station mainly supplies power to Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.About 20 kilometers from Kharchham, Rekong Peo at 7513 feet is the head-quarters of the Kinnaur district and an important town of the area.A further 3 kilometers from Rekong Peo and at an elevation of 9711 feet is Kalpa, a little hamlet located at the base of the Kinnaur Kailash ranges. Surrounded by deodar, apple, and chilghoza (pinus gerardiana) trees, Kalpa on a clear day, affords a view of the famous Kinner Kailash in all its splendour.
Day-4 (Extended Day3) Kufri – Kalpa (210km)Next Morning, we had some intense brainstorming on how are we going to spend rest of the days. It was equally frustrating about dropping the idea of riding through Spiti even before entering it. It was like breaking the heart of a traveller a thousand times. So before leaving for Manali, we decided to call Kaza headquarters to know the current situation of the landslides, and, BINGO, the news gave us an adrenaline rush. It was all clear. Though it was well past noon, we started on to complete the trip heading back again to Nako. Kufri to Nako is 300 km. By the time we reached Kalpa, covering 250 km of the leg, sun was set. We had crossed Kalpa village over 10 kms and Nako was still 40 kms ahead. Then we realised that we can’t go further and need to find a place for night halt.Kalpa is majorly an army area. Luckily, we found an Army personnel jogging outside an establishment which looked like a military guest house. No other place in vision to stay nearby, we requested him to let us stay there. After a good session of questioning, he allowed us. Gratitude to the army, that night stay added a good experience to our bucket of Spiti memories.
Episode 2 :
Here is the Travelogue for Day Two of the trip: https://traveldiaries.vacations/2017/10/14/spiti-circuit-day-two/
Day 2, KalpaKalpa is not really a place where you can have things to do or places to go list. It is to sit back and enjoy the view, take long leisurely walks, eat the dal chawal and desi chicken and breathe the fresh air. We just chilled the second day, explored the place a little more, went to the monastery again, walked around apple orchids, talking to locals, meeting new people. Though we did plan to go to Roghi and I had almost walked half the distance when I realized it would get dark and I was not sure of how I could come back on my own after 5 pm so I didn't go all the way (next time I guess). For people who do want to explore a bit more can ask around for a trek from Kalpa called "Chakka Trek" it takes about 3-4 hours depending on your stamina and is a steep trek .
Day 1: 11th August/12th August- Delhi- Rampur-KalpaWe had pre-booked the Deluxe AC bus from Delhi ISBT- Rampur Bushar(decent bus/less leg space/nothing like Volvo/Good for Rs 900) that leaves from Delhi at 7.25 pm and reaches Rampur around 9 am the next morning. Then we caught a bus for Peo (Recongpeo) at around 10.30 am which cost us about Rs 120 and please note that all the local buses that go till Peo are ordinary buses. These buses are frequent and take about 4-4.5 hours till Peo. We reached Peo by 2.30 and as Peo doesn't really have much to offer we moved to Kalpa which is 30 mins away from Peo and again very frequent buses from Peo-Kalpa-Roghi till evening 6 pm.This is the view that greeted us at Kalpa:
I then took another bus which would take me to my first destination – Kalpa. From Reckog Peo, Kalpa is just about half an hour ride and plenty of local buses are available during day time. As our bus progressed, I noticed the views were only starting to get better. September is the harvest season for the very famous Kinnauri apples so I was bang on time. The apples were ripe and ready to be picked. The locals were generous enough to let me in their orchards and even have their home made apple juice which by the way was best I’ve ever had. I couldn’t help but notice how ”less becomes more”. These people are so friendly and are so content that it was evident from their smiling faces. Since it was already afternoon, I met some kids coming back from their schools who were more than happy to tell me more about the local places to visit.
Next day we bid farewell to the Elysium and took to the roads for a midway halt at Shimla. The morning azure of sky adorned with fluffy clouds embracing the mystic mountains left us wistful that we can pack some of this fascinating illusion and take back with us enclosed in our coveted vaults to rejoice and rekindle that emprise after our bail is over.
Day 4 (Kalpa)•Dying to experience snowfall, we decided to trek to “Chaka Peak” as we were supposed to get our lust for snow satisfied there.•Tried the local food of Himachal- Thukpa (similar to Soupy Noodles) and Momos (much bigger and tastier than what we get in Delhi) along with other delicacies before the trek.•After 6 hours of steep trek to the mountain, we experienced the snowflakes. Super excited, we took the winning selfies and decided to call it “snowfall” as trekking for another hour to reach to actual snow seemed impossible to us (Beta humse na ho payega).•A local, we met en-route to the top, accompanied us for the trek as a friendly gesture.•Had fruits, we were carrying, as there were no food joints on the way.•Knowingly or unknowingly, we took de-route and all three of us got separated on our way back. Three people, three different routes. It turned out to be really exciting and frightening experience as there was not even a single person on the mountain, we could take help of for our way back.•My phone being discharged, I tried to reach to our guest house at the earliest possible (without a single stop for 2 hours) to inform Kirti and Chitraj that “I’m alive and safe”. In the extra hour I earned, arranged for a surprise cake from Peo and a small treat for Kirti’s birthday the next day.•That re-union of us in our guest house after reaching back safely was the most memorable one.•Had an expensive but appetizing dinner at Himachal Tourism Guest House. We started our dinner with Gulab Jamun (dessert) and ended it with Gulab Jamun (dessert) as we couldn’t wait for the food to be ready.
Day 3 | Sangla – Chitkul – Sangla – KalpaLeave early to see beautiful Chitkul VillageVisit Kamru Fort at Sangla as well before going back to KalpaWatch the lovely sunset and sunrise (next day) at Kalpa over Mount Kinner KailashAbout 4 – 5 Hrs of total drive on this dayOvernight at Kalpa
The next paradise was Kalpa. The village will look like a fresh painting, irresistible and thoughtful. The charm of the place is the mighty view of Kinner Kailash range that crowns the village gracefully. I spent many lovely hours in the morning looking at the peaks and praising the beauty God has created.
After a hard day’s ride we reached Sangla by night. Inspite of riding at night, thankfully no wild creature attacked us, as Manu claimed. We were in no hurry in the morning to leave as we wanted to explore all of Kinnaur’s attraction. We visited Chhitkul, Reckong Peo and decided to stay at the most beautiful place of all – Kalpa and were lucky to enjoy our stay in the Circuit House. With Kinner Kailash in the vicinity, I don’t find the need to elaborate on the scenic beauty. We went for chai & pakoras to the local bazaar and were greeted with warmth by the locals. Then we visited a Buddhist Temple nearby where the entire life story of Buddha was painted on the walls and also a Vishnu Temple adjacent to it.We left early next morning and were greeted by the worst possible road conditions while leaving Kinnaur because of the Karcham – Wangtoo Hydroelectric Project. Somehow we managed to crawl through those kilometers and were halted again for 2 hours because of a blasting ahead. But as soon as one crosses Kinnaur, the roads are a treat. Since there was not much to see around and the weather had started getting hot, we started speeding, took a break for lunch and then stopped again only at Narkanda in the evening. We spent the night in Simla and started for Delhi next morning. As we crossed Dharampur, Ammy had a little accident and took the unbeatable lead of 6-4! We declared him the winner before Aman tried anything else to win. Battling the blazing sun and loo, we made it to Delhi by evening.Now over a week that we have been back but I still can’t get over the enticing valleys, nestled by the Great Himalayas; places that are home to ancient civilisations untainted by modernity and raw physical beauty unmatched outside those mountains. Another visit for sure is on the cards.
After about half hour uphill ride in the mountains I was at Kalpa bus stand. When I headed to look out for accommodation I was in for a shock - people told me that I wont be getting accommodation anywhere in Kinnaur valley because its a tourist season due to Dussehra- that was like a smack on the face ...after I asked few more lodges I got the same reply and some accommodations were priced too high- way off the budget...I didn't want to give up looking...I inquired with few other lodges to no avail.And then finally managed to get a cheap one but without an attached bathroom ( basically gotta use a common bathroom) anyway it was like finding a waterfalls in the desert after walking for few days in search of it ! Being a trekker, used to all kinds of restrooms so a non attached bathroom does not make a difference at all! After I checked into the room thanked the heavens for this blessing and to view Kinnaur Kailash mountain range from the window is something indescribable.
Next day we started our drive further crossing Kauri, Rampur and Karcham. There is a diversion either you take the road to Sangla Valley and Chitkul or you head towards Kalpa. We were in a hurry to reach Spiti so headed towards Kalpa..