Visit Kalpa: The Gem Near Kinnaur Kailash in Himachal Pradesh (2021)
Kalpa is a small quaint village in the Sutlej valley and is located above ReckongPeo in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is considered one of the most beautiful places in the state of Himachal Pradesh and is getting quite popular among tourists and adventure seekers. Kalpa is also known as the Queen of Kinnaur.It is situated at an altitude of 2759 m above sea levelon the old Hindustan Tibet Road. Kalpa is located at a distance of 260 km from Shimla. Kalpa came into the limelight when the British Governor- General Lord Dalhousie visited in the 19th century. Kalpa is a place for your rest, enjoy, have a quiet and peaceful time alone or with your family and friends. The unimaginable scenery will tranquilize you. There are many tourist attractions in the nearby area that you can enjoy as well. The Narayan-Nagani temple in Kalpais exemplary of local craftmanship. There are several Buddhist monasteries in Kalpa including the Hu-Bu-Ian-Car Gompa which is said to be founded by Rinchensang-Po during 950-1055AD.
Another interesting fact about Kalpa is that it is located very close to Kinnaur Kailash. The base of Kinnaur Kailash which is 6050 m high is located close to Kalpa. It is a famous hiking trail for adventure seekers to go from Kalpa to Kinnaur Kailash. Kinnaur Kailash is considered to be the winter home of Lord Shiva.
You will enjoy a spectacular sight early in the morning everyday as the rising sun touches the snowy peaks with crimson and gold light. It is a pleasure to wake up everyday in Kalpa. Kalpa is a fairytale village. It feels like you are looking at paintings from a book. This place is loved by nature lovers and adventure seekers. You will get to enjoy the view of apple orchards around you while you visit Kalpa. The Tibetan cuisine in Kalpa is not to be missed by any. A detailed guide to planning your travel to Kalpa is given below.
Places to See and Things to do in Kalpa
- Kinnaur Kailash: The first on the list had to be Kinnaur Kailash undoubtedly. This is the pride of Kalpa town. According to Hindu mythology, the mighty Kinnaur Kailash is the sacred abode of Lord Shiva, where he lives with his better half, Goddess Parvati. The Kinnaur Kailash range in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh is located in proximity to the Indo-Tibetan border at a height of 17200 ft above sea level. It is considered one of the toughest treks for people to go on. It is also among the remotest and the less explored regions of Himachal which is breathtakingly scenic. You will not see many tourists around when you visit this place. It is a place to find inner peace and solace. Kinnaur Kailash has a religious significance as the place has 79 feet tall Shivalinga that changes color every second. You will be marveled at the wonders of nature after looking at this mesmerizing Shivalinga. There is another place close by, which is famous by the name Parvati Kund. It is located at an altitude of 14900 ft above sea level. As per thelegend, the Parvati Kund was created by Goddess Parvati herself. Also, it was the meeting point of Lord Shiva and the Goddess Parvati, so it was also known as ‘Aashiqui Park’. As per the legend,Lord Shiva used to conduct a meeting of gods and goddesses here at Kinnaur Kailash every winter. Make sure you do not miss visiting Kinnaur Kailash while you are around.
- Hiking: Many popular hiking spots around Kalpa are famous for the views the valley has to offer. One can enjoy a solo hike or with friends and family. The hikes are easy to moderate difficulty hikes which can be taken easily if you have a decent fitness level and availability of time. There are many trekking and hiking routesthatstart from Kalpa which can be taken by the tourists. You can see some of the best views of pine forests and mountaintops. You will be able to see the majestic and awe-inspiring mountain ranges while you are hiking in this area. You can hike from Kalpa to Chaka peak which is located at an altitude of 15000 ft above sea level. The uphill journey to Chaka peak is almost 2-3 hours long while it will take about 1.5 hours going downhill. Hire a local guide to explore the place to see the beautiful hidden spots and it is advised to begin your trip to the place in the morning say around 9:00AM to 9:30AM to be able to come back early before the sunset or before it gets dark.
- Suicide Point: Like most hill stations, Kalpa also has a suicide point. As the name suggests, it is a place with the dangerous trench and vertical slopes. One must be very careful while walking on these paths. It is situated near Kalpa and to walk to this point, you will enjoy a walk through lush greenery and a beautiful sight of apple orchards.
- Roghi Village: Roghi village is a small village located close to Kalpa. It is situated at a distance of 5 to 6 km from Kalpa. The place is famous in the area for its simplicity. A visit to this village is enjoyed by the tourists. A few villagers have converted their houses into homestays. You can opt to stay at Roghi village if you have trouble finding places to stay at Kalpa or if you want to stay away from a bit of the crowd that visits Kalpa. You can enjoy living among the locals and get a glance at the local ethnicity and traditions of the people in Kalpa and the surrounding area. You can enjoy the lush greenery and the beautiful flora and fauna in the area and the awe-inspiring apple orchards. Make sure you ask the caretaker before plucking apples from the orchards.
- Narayan Nagini Temple: It is a very famous temple in Kalpa among the locals as well as tourists. It is visited by many people around the year. IT is also an architectural delight as it is built in classic Tibetan pagoda style architecture. The temple is situated on top of Chini Village and is one of the top attractions in the surrounding area. The best thing about the temple is its location. You will be mesmerized by the beauty of the surrounding area and will be transported into a stress-free world. Make sure you visit this place on your next visit to Kalpa.
- Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar Monastery: This monastery is locatedin the middle of Kalpa village and is a delight. It is one of the top tourist attractions in the area. It has many captivating wall paintings and the daily Buddhist chants fill the village air with a mystical calmness. The monastery was founded by Rinchensang-PO (950-1055 AD) and is naturally ancient and is built in traditional architecture. It is the same monk who translated Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Tibetan. The monastery porch has a white chorten in the center and rows of prayer wheels all around which makes it attractive. There are beautiful wooden carvings on the doors. Get ready to be amazed by the beauty of this place on your visit to Kalpa.
- Sapni Fort: Sapni Fort is another architectural delight located in Kalpa. It is a perfect place to visit for the history buffs. The fort is situated near the Sapni Village, this fort is seven storied high and exemplifies the remains of the ancient era and gives you an idea about the lives in ancient times. There is a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali located on the fifth floor. Two buildings of this fort were constructed by King Padam Singh of Rampur. One of these buildings was his queen’s tower. You will also be able to see some impressive woodwork and carvings on window frames and doors.
Best Time To Visit Kalpa
You can visit Kalpa at any time of the year but the best time to visit this beautiful place and enjoy every bit of the adventure it has to offer is between the summer months which are short from June to September. The temperature in Kalpa during summers ranges from 8 degrees to 24 degrees Celsius. So, it is an ideal time to enjoy the winter cold as well as the bright sun. You can carry light woolen clothes during the summer months if you are visiting Kalpa. If you want to enjoy the greenery and stay in the quiet of the town, the best time for you to visit the place is the summer months, and the temperature does not drop below subzero degrees. It is a nice time for the tourists to get around and to enjoy the wilderness in the surrounding areas. The weather is pleasantly cold and is considered a good time to spend near the base of Kinnaur Kailash.
Winters start in October and last up to May. It is comparatively colder than many other hill stations in Himachal. Winters in Kalpa are long and freezing. The temperature during winters drops between -15 to -20 degrees Celsius. It is not inadvisable to go during winters, but it becomes a little difficult for tourists going from warm areas to stay in cold. The road leading to Kalpa gets blocked sometimes when the temperatures drop below zero degrees and there is snow around. At the end of April or at the beginning of May is the best time to visit Kalpa. You can choose the best time for your visit depending on your choice to enjoy the summer sun or winter snow.
How to Reach Kalpa?
Kalpa is a well-connected hill station and is well connected via train, flight, and by road. Although since it is a hill station, it becomes mandatory to travel by road. You can choose from air travel, trains, buses, or taxis based on your budget and convenience to reach this heavenly abode to calm your senses and heals your mind, body, and soul. Different modes of travel to reaching Kalpa are mentioned below:
- Reaching Kalpa by Flight: The nearest airport to reach Kalpa is Jubbarhatti and is 267 kilometers from Shimla. There are direct flights to Jubbarhatti from Delhi and Chandigarh. You can also take a flight to Chandigarh and reach Shimla by bus or a private Taxi. The bus service from Chandigarh to Shimla is very good and will take around4-5 hours to reach Shimla. If you are coming from Delhi and do not have a lot of time to spare traveling via bus or train, you can take a direct flight from Delhi to Jubbarbhatti but you will still have a lot of distance to travel by road.
- Reaching Kalpa by Train: The nearest railway station to Kalpa is Shimla. Reaching Kalpa by train is a little tricky but is a scenic ride. You can take a train to Chandigarh from your respective stations and take a bus or taxi to reach Kalka. From Kalka, you can take the famous toy train to reach Shimla which is a single-track rail and is the most scenic route you will be on in the northern part of India on a train in the Himalayas. From Shimla, you can take a taxi to reach Kalpa or you can also take a bus from the new bus stand in Shimla.
- Reaching Kalpa by Road: The road might be your best pick to reach Kalpa if you are traveling from Delhi NCR or a city not that far off. The roads are conveniently built although single lane like in most mountains but are perfect and smooth to drive a car on. This also saves you from the hassle of opting for more than one mode of transport. Traveling by road is the best since you get to enjoy the scenic views of the places around and that would make this journey of yours an affair you will always remember. The HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) has regular bus services from the state Capital Shimla and neighboring states like Delhi, Punjab, etc. Travelers can also take private-owned buses from Delhi to Kalpa. There are several intra-city bus services you can availfrom various neighboring cities within the state. You may take choose between two different routes to reach Kalpa. One is from Delhi via Shimla, Rampur to Kalpa and the other is from Delhi via Manali and Kaza to reach Kalpa. Both routes promise amazing landscapes, and this will be a treat for your eyes.
Places To Stay In Kalpa
There are many comfortable and beautiful resorts and homestays in the area for you to enjoy the beauty of the hills with all the facilities and to make you feel at home. These resorts have all the necessary services available, but it is not wise to expect luxurious properties in the hills at an altitude of 7 to 8 thousand feet above sea level where the place is covered by snow most year. The places here offer a panoramic view of the valley and have all the necessary services available for you to treat your senses. You can also find many homestays which are quite famous among families as well as young people and adventure seekers as you can have the entire area to yourself and enjoy there as per your comfort. And if you are staying with a landlord at your homestay, you get to enjoy the local and homecooked food in addition to getting to know the local folk stories and hidden spots for you to see.
Things to Eat in Kalpa
Kalpa is a comparatively less visited place in the middle of the majestic Himalayas. Most of the places here north Indian food with limited options and snacks are available all day. A few eating joints are serving lip-smacking food in the area. Most of the hotels and homestays have their in-house kitchens where they prepare food and serve it to their guests. You can always try local food which in this area are majorly small stalls with Maggi and other quick snacks for you to munch on. It is advisable to carry food on your journey here so that so you can eat something when you feel hungry during your treks in the area. There are also many street vendors offering some of the best Tibetan dishes for you to enjoy. If you do not worry about eating outside local food, the street food in Kalpa is a must-try. This place will not disappoint you in any possible way.