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Kalpa

Albana Nadeem
How i managed to travel in monsoon to one of most dangerous roads/valleys of the world - The Kinnaur Valley, Himachal Pradesh.Living the "Highway" Life, recreating the famous Bollywood scene as a movie buff big filmy.
We woke up early for the sunrise at 5:30 AM.Tip: Google out the expected time of Sunrise a day beforehand.The sunrise was expected to happen at 6 AM. It was quite cold. I had setup my tripod and DSLR to capture the sunrise within the hotel premises only.But it took much longer than that (~7 AM) for the sun to get visible because of the high mountains. And once the sun is out, it gets too bright and sunny. Till the sun has risen over the mountains, the golden glow of the sun on the adjacent snow capped peaks is interesting to watch. Also the sun rays can be seen very distinctly. Do not forget to spot the Kinnaur Kailash peak among the other peaks. Its peak looks like a rock resembling the Shiv Ling.
We reached Kalpa within 20 minutes. I had booked our stay for 3 nights (28/29/30) with Hotel Kinnaur Kailash (HPTDC hotel) for 2 people. This costed me ~9,ooo INR. There are cheaper rooms available with HPTDC. There are 2 other cheaper HPTDC hotels located close to Hotel Kinnaur Kailash. I booked this one as the others were already booked out.One can also opt for other hotels (like The Monk Kalpa, Hotel Apple View, Hotel Kalpa Deshang etc.) or go for Homestays (you can find details of the same on google maps). Homestays would be the cheapest option out of all.Tip: Go for an accommodation overlooking the Kinnaur Kailash ranges.Hotel Kinnaur Kailash was quite nice and our room had a beautiful view of the snow capped mountains as well. The hotel also has geysers for hot water in the rooms. But to reach this, one needs to take stairs from the Kalpa Market (where the bus stop is) which can get a bit inconvenient and tiring for some.
We woke up early and caught the bus for Reckong Peo from Kalpa Main Market at 8:30 AM.
On getting back to Kalpa, we had an early dinner and packed all our stuff to leave for Chitkul early the next morning.If you have more time in Kalpa, you can go for Chakka trek (do check the weather conditions before going), Kamru Fort and Sapni Fort.