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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Himachal Pradesh - A Trip to Kalpa

After seeing Chitkul and the Sangla valley we decided to head to Kalpa straightaway, which is just about 69Km from Sangla. We reached back in Sangla town about 11:00 am in the morning and decided to have brunch, since we had had no breakfast in the morning and we knew we wouldn't find anything on the way back. So, we entered one of the many Nepalese restaurants there and had hot Alu Paranthas. We also decided to try some of their local dish called "Momo" which seemed to be very popular and available in all the eating joints there. We had a plate of hot mutton "momos" packed for later and set off for our next destination- Kalpa.

The road to Kalpa from Sangla is very bad because of the Hydroelectric Project that is underway and lots of landslides added to it as well. It was a slow drive for about 2 hrs touching Karcham and taking the opposite road to Kalpa. From there onwards we again started following the Sutlej river and climbing mountains towards the Kinner Kailash in Kalpa. The scenery all along the way was magnificent.

View of Kinner Kailash
View of Kinner Kailash

Getting to Kalpa is a travelers paradise at a height of 10,900 feet in Himachal Pradesh going along the NH22 in Kinnaur District and located at the base of the imposing Kinner Kailash ranges and Shivling peaks which rise upto 20,000 feet, towering above the clouds surrounding the whole area. Kalpa is spread amidst chilgoza forests, apple plantations and the holy deodhars. You can reach this little village after crossing the quaint town of Recong Peo, which has a hundred-year-old monastery and is the district headquarters of the Kinnaur region.

Recong Peo is about 51Km from Sangla. There is a petrol pump just before you enter Recong Peo (2290 M)at a place called Powari. Soon after Powari is the gradual climb up the mountain to Kalpa. The distance from Recong Peo to Kalpa is just about 20Km. The road here is good and the drive was better. We reached Kalpa in good time in the afternoon around three PM. Searched for a room in the circuit house and managed to get two rooms there after a lot of cajoling and speaking to the authorities on the phone. It was a holiday that day due to Dussera festival and so we couldn't find anybody at home and the offices were all closed for two days.

Finally, we settled down in the circuit house by late evening and prepared for dinner. We managed to get something packed from the Kinner Kailash Hotel, which is the HPTDC hotel in Kalpa (was fully booked)and returned to our rooms. You can book your hotel rooms in advance at the Kinner Kailash Hotel, which is definitely one of the best hotels available in Kalpa, online here:

After a tasty dinner of Chicken curry, dal, rice, vegetables and some chappattis we turned in for the night. The next day we got up early and saw the beautiful sunrise on the Kinner Kailash mountain right in front of us. Take a look at these beautiful pictures.

Sunrise at Kinner Kailash Kalpa 
Sunrise at Kinner Kailash Kalpa

Snow peaked Kinner KailashSnow peaked Kinner Kailash

View from Circuit House KalpaView from Circuit House Kalpa
Kinner Kailash KalpaKinner Kailash Kalpa
Kalpa Kinner Kailash
Kalpa Kinner Kailash
View of Kinner Kailash from KalpaView of Kinner Kailash from Kalpa

We had a hearty breakfast in the room of hot Alu Paranthas and some apples and generally relaxed around that day. My dad and husband went to the town to find some petrol and fill up the tank again. They managed to find the petrol pump in Recong Peo (there are two there) and topped up the tank. In the meanwhile, I just basked in the beautiful scenery around the Circuit house and took these snaps and lots of fresh air.

In the afternoon, we set off to the town market in Kalpa to eat lunch in some local Dhaba there. We managed to find one which was offering dal and rice. It was good enough and cheap, and tasted homemade. The market is very small and looks very quaint right in the foothills of the great mountains. See the Jain temple that rests right in the middle of the market.

Jain Temple in Kalpa TownJain Temple in Kalpa Town

Kalpa has lots of apple orchards all along the way. We saw both the varieties, the red and the green ones, called the Golden apples. They were in the process of plucking the apples and packing them into boxes making them ready for transport. There were lots of packed boxes lying alongside the road ready to be picked.

We did not do anything else thereafter, just returned to the rooms after seeing the town and again had dinner there and got ready to move on to the next place, Sarahan, early next morning. Read all about Sarahan in the next byte.

Original article posted on Xomba

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