Camping at Kalatop
Getting back to the parking lot did not take much time and as soon as we reached, we left for Kalatop - our last and final destination for the weekend 2.
Kalatop is known for its green landscape, majestic mountains, and wildlife sanctuary. One must pay a reasonable INR 250 at Lakkadmandi to enter the Kalatop forest. The forest is covered with deodar, pine and oak trees. The forest cover is so dense that even sunlight cannot penetrate through it, making it a very cold place. We had carried extra warm clothes for this very reason.
The habitat supports a variety of wildlife. We were lucky enough to spot the beautifully coloured western horned tragopan, a ghoral (Nemorthaeds Goral) and a herd of barking deer (Muntiacus Muntjak) during the trip. Apart from these, visitors can also see the black bear, Himalayan serow (Capricornis Thar) and many more such animals indigenous to the region.
If you are a true nature lover and really want to enjoy this scenic beauty, it’s a good idea to trek from Lakkadmandi to Kalatop but I would advise being accompanied by someone who knows the place as it is easy to lose track in the dense forest. Despite being in a car, we were exhausted by the time we reached, because of the long drive and we were also very hungry.
We initially thought of staying at the Kalatop forest guest house but some locals informed us that there were some camping sites available nearby and we wanted to camp to have a differentiated experience. So, we booked the site to stay for the night. Even though it was cold, we managed well in our tents.
We set up a barbeque, played some Himachali music and danced the night away. The sky was super clear and the sound of the breeze made us feel like we were in heaven. It was the perfect ending to a memorable weekend. We couldn’t have asked for anything more!