About this Blog: Kalpa is one of the most beautiful destinations in Kinnaur Valley of Himachal Pradesh. If you are planning a trip to Kinnaur Valley, do not miss Kalpa. Read this blog to know about hope to reach Kalpa, where to stay and things to do and places to viist in Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh.
There is something quite captivating about Kalpa. We have visited quite a number of Himalayan villages and a few of them have definitely left a lasting impression on us. But Kalpa somehow managed to wrangle a place in our hearts that only very few places were able to. Maybe, it is the grand views of the Kinner Kailash ranges, or the simple vibe of the place – Kalpa had us under its spell.
Kalpa is picturesque. There are panoramic views of the mountains, apple orchards, cobbled alleys and the towering deodars and pines that are seen in most Himalayan hamlets. And then there is the unique syncretism of Buddhist and Hindu culture at Kalpa that exudes harmony and peace.
We visited Kalpa on our way towards Spiti Valley. And once we were there, the only thought came to our minds was why did we not visit this place before. Infact, Kalpa has unfortunately been relegated as a stopover during a Spiti Valley trip or a Kinnaur Valley trip. But this place deserves its own story. So in this blog, we will tell you why we fell in love with Kalpa and why you should visit this beautiful place in Himachal Pradesh.
Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh
Kalpa is located in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 9711 feet above the sea level. With its breathtaking beauty, Kalpa is undoubtedly one of the best of Kinnaur valley. The Kinner Kailash range can be seen from almost all parts of Kalpa with the Shivling Peak at a height of 20000 feet. Infact, one of the best things to do at Kalpa is watch the sunrise. The first golden rays of the sun falls on the Shivling Peak coloring the sky in various hues of yellow and orange. The sunrise in Kalpa is something that I easily lose my morning sleep for.
These mountain ranges seem so near, as if we could touch it. Yet they are so far. It does remind us of how minuscule space we occupy in this universe.
And then Kalpa is surrounded by the pines and firs and deodars. The apple orchards add beauty to the place. You can see the snow covered peaks and also admire the soothing greenery of the mountains.
One of the best things about Kalpa is that it is neither too remote, nor too crowded with tourists. The place is serene and calm just like its people are. And that is the charm and beauty of Kalpa.
Where is Kalpa Located?
Kalpa is located about 235 km from Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. It is the part of the Kinnaur district and you have to take an uphill diversion from Reckong Peo, which is the district headquarters.
The location of Kalpa is such that it is neither too remote, nor very commercialized and crowded.
Our Experience at Kalpa
This is where we tell you why we loved Kalpa so much and try to convince you to visit this beautiful Himachali hamlet.
Sarahan to Kalpa
It was the second day of our Spiti Valley Road trip. After exploring Sarahan, we started our journey towards Kalpa. These roads to Kalpa and in Kinnaur Valley are known to be one of the most dangerous roads in India. That is why all the drivers stop and pay their respect at Mata Taranda Devi Temple located just a few kilometers ahead of the entry point to Kinnaur Valley.
We drove through the narrow mountain roads that had rocky cliffs on one side and an endless chasm on the other side. It is better that you see the roads on our own. Here is a visual treat of our Kalpa Trip.
We had started from Sarahan at around 11 Am and by the time we reached Reckong Peo, it was almost 3.30 PM. Reckong Peo is the district headquarters and the largest town before you reach Kalpa. There is a market area. We had a very late lunch of Rajma Chawal from an eatery there. Later, I withdrew some cash from an ATM at the market area.
And then started our journey towards Kalpa. The car took the uphill road and soon we were rewarded with the first glimpse of the Kinner Kailash ranges. And it was beautiful. The roads were surrounded by tall pine and deodars. And sometimes, the snow-covered mountain peaks were seen. It was then we realized that Kalpa is a special place.
After driving for an hour, we finally reached Kalpa. It was the lower area and the main market place. There were a few homestays available there. Like most of the time, we had not booked any stay before. While we were looking for stays, someone suggested that we go a little ahead towards upper Kalpa. We would get better and unobstructed views of mountains from there.
Since we had our car, we did that and finally decided to stay at Hotel Shivalik. The hotel was a basic one. The rooms, though big, needed a bit of dusting and cleaning. The beddings were also a bit old. But what clinched the deal was the view from the room and the balcony, as well as the price. It cost us INR 1200 for one night stay.
That evening, we simply walked around a bit and then had a sumptuous dinner at our hotel.
Places to Visit in Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh
1. Visit the Suicide Point
This is the first place we visited in Kalpa. The place is located about 5 km from Kalpa main market area. This is a popular spot at Kalpa and also has “I Love Kinnaur” board there. The place is quite beautiful with panoramic views of the mountain ranges, despite having such a morbid name. I think most of the hill stations have a place that is named “Suicide Point”. I have seen it at Ooty, Panchmarhi and many other places. Maybe it adds to the charm of the place.
Nevertheless, this is a great place to take some beautiful pictures, albeit carefully. You can look down at the cliffs below, but do not jump in.
2. Explore Roghi Village
Roghi village is about 3 km from the Suicide Point. The village is beautiful having traditional Kinnauri houses made of wood with intricate carvings and designs. The villagers are also known for their traditional culture. Roghi village deserves at least half a day of your time. you will get a lot of insight about Kinnauri culture and people.
We were short of time and so did not visit Roghi village.
3. Visit Narayan Nagini Temple
After our visit to the Suicide Point, we were back at Kalpa main market area. The Narayan Nagini Temple is located just near the market area. This is an ancient temple. Some say that the temple is almost 5000 years old and has connection with the Mahabharata.
The temple is beautiful. The architecture reflects the traditional Kinnauri style. Built in the Tibetan Pagoda style, the temple has some marvelous wood carvings. We admired the woodcarvings, witnessed the morning arti and then came out to admire the mountain views.
And while admiring the gorgeous views, I could hear the sound of the temple bells as well as the chanting of Buddhist Mantras. I looked around and found that the monastery is located just beside the temple.
4. Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar Monastery
I could see the huge white stupa and the fluttering colorful prayer flags. This monastery is also old. I heard it is almost 1000 years old. The present structure was perhaps built much later. The monastery and the temple show how the life and culture of the people of kalpa has been influenced by both Hinduism and Buddhism.
5. Explore the village
Kalpa by itself is a small place. You can explore the village on foot where you will see some interesting things and meet some wonderful people. You can also visit the apple orchards. But please do not pluck the fruits without asking for permission first!
6. Watch the glorious sunrise
According to me, the best thing to do in Kalpa is to watch the sunrise. We woke up early in the morning and witnessed how the first rays of sun illuminated the Shivling Peak. It was truly a glorious thing to witness. And then gradually, the entire sky lit up in myriads of colours. It was my speechless moment at Kalpa.
Other Places to Visit
There are several other places that you can visit from Kalpa. Kinnaur Valley boasts of enchanting natural beauty. You can visit Sapni Fort, located in Sapni village, about 30 km away from Kalpa.
If you are on a Kinnaur Valley trip, then you will probably want to visit Sangla and Chitkul as well from here.
How to reach Kalpa?
The nearest airport to Kalpa is Jubbarhatti in Shimla. However, this is a domestic airport and quite small, having limited connectivity.
Chandigarh is the bigger airport. The distance between Chandigarh to Kalpa is almost 345 km. So Chandigarh is the best place to start if you are coming from any other places than Delhi or the North Indian states.
Here again, the nearest railway station is Shimla. Once again, Shimla is a smaller station having mountain railways and lesser number of trains.
The main railway station nearest to Kalpa will be Chandigarh or Kalka. Both these railway stations are well connected with trains from various parts of India. From Kalka, mountain railway trains are available towards Shimla.
By Bus or Public Transport
There are a couple of buses plying from Shimla to Reckong Peo. There is one bus from Chandigarh as well. From Reckong Peo Bus stand and Kalpa Chowk, you will get local cabs to reach Kalpa.
There is also one HRTC bus from Shimla to Kalpa. You can get the tickets online from their website.
By Booking a Cab
You can also book a cab or taxi for your entire trip. A car can cost you around INR 3500 to INR 5000 per day depending on the type and make of the car. This can be a bit expensive if numbers are less.
Self-drive cars are also available from Delhi and Chandigarh. If you are confident with your driving skills, then go for it.
What is the best time to visit Kalpa?
Kalpa has a pleasantly chilly weather in summer and quite severe cold in the winter months. The winter months see a lot of snowfall in the region. Summers are pleasant and short. The monsoon is usually between late June till early September. There can be moderate to high rains during the monsoon. Sometimes, roadblocks and landslides occur because of heavy rains.
Kalpa in Spring and Summer
The tourist season starts in Kalpa from March. The weather is cool and pleasant. Spring has its own beauty in the mountains with the blooming of wildflowers.
May and June is the summer season and Kalpa gets a lot of tourists during this time. The summer temperature usually ranges between 10-25 degrees Celsius.
Kalpa in Monsoon (June end to early September)
The monsoon season is one of the times to avoid the mountains (except the places in rain shadow areas like Ladakh, Zanskar and Spiti Valley). July and August sees a lot of rain and landslides, roadblocks are quite common in these hilly terrains.
Kalpa in Autumn (September and October)
This is one of the best times to visit Kalpa. The weather is pleasant and favorable with sunny skies. Moreover, it is the apple season and you can see the apple orchards in their full glory. As November comes, the chill starts setting in and the temperature drops gradually.
Winters in Kalpa (Mid November to February)
While November is the shoulder season, December to February is considered winters in the Kinnaur Valley. The temperature might get as low as -154 to -20 degrees Celsius. There can be roadblocks on the way towards Kalpa because of snowfall. But the roadblock gets cleared quickly as soon as the snow settles down. If you are planning a trip during the winter months, then please keep some buffer days in hand.
Where to stay in Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh?
There are lots of hotels, homestays and guest houses for stay in Kalpa, as well as Reckong Peo. We recommend you to stay at Kalpa to enjoy the views and vibes of the place. Also, try to stay in the Upper Kalpa region. Most of the hotels provide wonderful views of the Kinner Kailash ranges. You can simply sit at the balcony, sip a cup of tea and enjoy the views.
We stayed at Hotel Shivalik. The rooms were very basic and the beddings were a bit worn out. It looked as if it needed a bit of maintenance. However, the views were simply majestic from the hotel and the room rate was cheaper compared to others in the vicinity.
Kalpa is usually ignored by tourists when they travel to Himachal. But a couple of days in this Kinnauri heaven can be quite delightful. So, when you are planning a trip to Kinnaur Valley, spend at least 2 days in Kalpa along with other places like Sangla valley and Chitkul.
Good to Know
Mobile Connectivity: Good mobile connectivity is available from all the networks. Internet speed was also decent with my Airtel and Jio numbers.
ATM: ATMs are available at Reckong Peo, the headquarters of Kinnaur district.
Petrol Pump: If you are coming from Shimla, you will get a Petrol pump at Tapri and Reckong Peo. If you are coming from the Manali side via Spiti Valley, then the last petrol pump before Reckong Peo will be at Kaza.
For Medical Emergencies: There are a few medical dispensaries at Kalpa. A proper hospital can be found at Reckong Peo.
If you have any questions regarding Kalpa, please drop us a comment below, or mail us with your query. If you have been there, please do let us know your thoughts about the place and any other relevant information that you feel travelers must know.
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