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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Kalpa ..a complete guide to the mesmerizing hill station in the Kinnaur Valley

   We sat leisurely at the cafe at Chini Village sipping steaming hot thupka ,deciding to give our itinerary a brief pause for the day.A short chat with the owner of the cafe was in progress,who talked about how he settled there three decades ago, as he served jasmine tea to a group of foreigners at another table. Our conversation was frequently interrupted by his inputs  in English to the foreigners about the tariffs of the dormitories around the place ."You get everything here ,even if it snows  all the shops are  open,there is no reason to go back to the plains." he says ,as he reverts  to fluent Bengali this time. It seemed that the magic of the place had just begun to dawn on us.

   For years this place remained secluded from the rest of the world ,till the Governor General of India, Lord Dalhousie constructed the Hindustan Tibet road. With the relaxation of the inner line permits in the mid nineties Kalpa got its rightful place in the tourist map of India.

  As a consequence, in spite of its splendour ,Kalpa could escape rapid commercialization for a very long time and hence could retain the beauty to be rightly called Dev Bhumi .

 Cradled by the mighty ranges of the Kinnaur Kailash,  Kalpa has retained its innocent charm that can enthrall any mind.

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You might also read    A complete itinerary to the Kinnaur Valley of Himachal Pradesh
                                                     A walk in the Himalayan village of Basteri

Workers busy working in the apple orchard right next to our resort

The ranges from the sit out in front of our room

The view of the mountains from the many hotels

   Chini village as said above is now only a small locality in Kalpa.We were told that Kalpa was earlier called by the name Chini as the influence from the people of Tibet grew here.It was later named Kalpa. Chini village is the place where most of the shops are located .The hotels are built a little above the slopes,thankfully,still in very less crowded places.

The main attractions apart from the scenic beauty 

The two main attractions of Kalpa are located here in Chini Village.The monastery and the Chandika Devi temple temple.The monastery definitely gives us an aura of the olden days and the temple can be an ideal place to sit and spend some time admiring the beauty of the place.

These were the places we had already googled and therefore were not surprising .As we proceeded towards the temple we came across  a landmark which makes Kalpa proud for the second time,the first one being the obvious charisma it owns.
 We happened to see the government primary school where the first  elections of independent India was held .Shyam Saran Negi ,a teacher at this primary school being the first voter to exercise his franchise is from Kalpa.  That makes us wonder, why should such  a remote place be chosen for the first polling booth. Since the mountains are covered in snow ,it was decided that the elections be held here in October  a little earlier than the rest of the country. Now,that is  a bit of general knowledge only for those who are interested.
The other two places usually visited from Kalpa are the villages of Roghi and Kothi .One can get a glimpse of the architectural styles of the region or can come very close to the rural lifestyle of the region.Stay tuned for a well deserving post on the villages soon.

     Read here---Rakcham .Why we preferred it to Sangla (Kinnaur)
Chandika Devi Temple

 Can you spot the Shivling on the ranges.?It is a 79 feet elongated vertical rock structure  visible from any place in Kalpa to the naked eye. Kalpa actually forms the base for an annual trek to the Shivling which takes  four to five days.The Kinnaur Kailash ranges are said to be the temporary abode of Lord Shiva,and hence the Shivling.

  Strolling around Chini village we got a glimpse of the ladies hurriedly going somewhere in their traditional attire.I found it so appropriate for the cold climate of the place.( that was  a very quick click to keep to  their fast pace).When they came close I noticed something which looked like incense sticks in their hands. So were they going to the temple? Was it a special day,which I had forgotten as I was on the tour? Whatever was their purpose ,they looked stunning in those clothes.Most remarkably, they looked very happy,and each one seemed to know the other!

What not to miss in Kalpa
A stroll down the paths along the deodars and and apple orchards.So reserve  a morning exclusively for that.It would not be incorrect to say that one can discover the essence of the place only while strolling down the paths of this hill station.We strolled down and enjoyed our morning tea at one of the roof top of the house selling tea.
I wonder why it is always so much fun to do the atypical.Do you have the answer...

Read here----
How to travel with small children.-Few useful points

Early mornings could not have been better....

All said and done, I shall always remember Kalpa for its bountiful natural beauty and its very laid -back attitude.

Rekong Peo near the bus stand.

  This mesmerizing hill station of Kalpa is about 8 kms. from the district headquarters Rekong Peo.
As a matter of fact I loved walking at the market place in Rekong Peo.We treated ourselves to apple juices from the HPMC outlets there.While in Kinnaur do not forget to get one of those Kinnauri caps.They are stitched out of green velvet like material and are worn by both men and women.You just cant place it anyhow,their  is a particular way of wearing it. As far as I can remember ,the open end of the green portion has to be above your right ear.I learnt this from my nine year old daughter ,who is a very keen observer.

You can also find the Tourist Information Centre at Rekong Peo,in case you are in need of authentic information regarding the tour.

 If you wish to go shopping ,Rekong peo is the best place.You can chose from  a variety of shawls,or you can also take a look art the silver jewellery at the jewellery shops in the market place.I brought home some products made from apples . Do not miss the dry apples ,and the dry paneer.You can also look around for the Kinnauri rajma,which is a little different from the regular ones.While shopping for shawls take along someone who is good at haggling.

  We had booked the HPTDC resort of Kinnaur Kailash,but their are numerous other stay options too..A good number can be booked online. Most of them come with their own restaurants as the places are secluded along the mountain slopes.Be it  a nondescript stay option or the resorts ,each one can boast of  a beautiful view from the balcony.The hotels vary from dormitories starting at Rupees 250 ,mid range ones or well maintained resorts.

Apart from being a very coveted tourist destination,Kalpa also serves as an important break for the  trip to the Spiti Valley.You can check here for some details  The complete itinerary to the Kinnaur Valley


  1. Beautiful and picturesque.

  2. Thanks a lot for this detailed blog. I am yet to visit this entire region, your blog gives a good overview of the trip.

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  4. Very beautiful, Never knew about it.

  5. Been there...done that :) We were lucky to witness a Kinnauri Wedding at Roghi village :)

    1. I am sure it must have been wonderful watching the marriage,we too got to see a marriage procession at Sarahan.

  6. Very useful and well narrated. I do have Kalpa in my bucket list. Thanks for sharing the information.

    1. Nice to hear that you found this post useful,hope u get to visit Kalpa soon

  7. My favourite destination so far! Hopefully it doesn't get too crowded in coming years. Nice writeup👍

    1. I too wish the same,it's painful to see such serene places lose their splendor

  8. Kalpa simply has the best sunset in the state!
    Those colours on a clear day can't be compared to anything else!

  9. Can't agree with you more,Jitaditya. I have never experienced mountains so close as Kalpa.Truly,a slice of heaven on earth.