Kalpa. In the high mountains, over looking the Kinnaur Kailash range lies this small hamlet which opens up to picturesque walks and views that are almost unreal. But you know what I remember Kalpa most for? A moonlit night bathing the snow clad mountains in a misty milky light and a good, old mountain dog called Raju. Come along. Oh and do give Part 1 a read before you head here!

Kalpa 5

So you know, when my husband told me, “you haven’t seen mountains, if you have not been to Himachal” I smirked at him. Ah come on, I went to school in Kurseong and half of that in Darjeeling. What does that mean! I’ve been to Nathu La if that means anything. But you know what? I think I know what he meant. It’s not where Kajol and Shahrukh khan proclaim their love for each other in a super hit number, preferably in a thin chiffon, followed by fluffy white rabbits to prove what I have no knowledge of. It’s not where you rave party after spliffs of Manal. It’s not where you collectively enjoy a thing of beauty with a packet of chips because it exists. This is personal. You exist because this protects you. There is no scope for belittling.

Kalpa Sunset

The experience is intense, personal and one that’s filled with gratitude. It’s the Himalayas in its most un-commercialized, un-adulterated form and I don’t trek or climb. Which somehow perplexes me because if in it’s most mainstream, it is this extraordinary, I wonder what the narrow roads behold. I cursed Rohan {he is my husband. Remember the name will you?} when he took me in a bus to Kalpa. I did snide and mutter names under my breath and asked, “why the eff did you get me here in a damn bus?” But now that I think of it, thank you. It was necessary to know a place as it’s experienced everyday by common people to actually get a whiff of what’s going on. Take a bus from Jeori to Rekong Peo. It’s pretty cool!

Kalpa 2

We started for Kalpa from Sarahan at about 8:15 in the morning and then took a bus from Jeori. There are buses from Sarahan to chandigarh and Rekong Peo starting from 5:30 in the morning. Till 9 AM there are buses every 20 minutes and later one at 11 and one at 2:30. Then there are no buses. Take any of those buses, get down at Jeori just when the bus takes a left in the main Jeori. There are multiple buses that go to Rekong Peo, from where you can take another bus {kalpa is 8km from the town of Rekong Peo} or a car to Kalpa. Or you can walk. From the main taxi stand you need to go to Yogi road where all the hotels are. We stayed in Shivalik- a pretty cool place with a very cool staff. This is also where I met Raju, one lazy heck of a mountain dog who is skilled to please. I wish I could tell you how instant our chemistry was but I cannot because his human told me that he does that to tourists. For biscuits and chocolates. Haha, you bugger.

Kalpa 4

By this point, thanks to a blogger who named the road that we were to take now as “death road” that I was constantly panicking. I was panicking and was full of anxiety and I was almost sure my bus is going to fall in Sutlej, and my decor dreams will die with me in the ancient river. But hey, that’s all in my head. Truth is, THERE IS NO DEATH ROAD. NONE OF THAT ROAD REMOTELY LOOKS LIKE DEATH ROAD. The roads are narrow, yes, but bus travels. In a car you won’t feel anything. There are stretches in between where even the locals are a little apprehensive but barring those it’s really no death road. It’s safe and the bus doesnt fall 😀 However, this is how a stretch was when we went. But please dont fret. There are clearing cars and they are always there.

k2
Kalpa kaalpa
In between anxiety attacks I happen to tell about this to a friend who treks and gets lost in the mountains. He told me something that made a lot of sense. I think I need to tell you all this: Nothing’s scary. The bus drivers are driving in there because they are trained to. So don’t panic. Simplest of advice, lot of sense.

Just because the topography is alien does not mean it’s dangerous. And I took some time to get used to the geo but after a point, you see why the locals are so chill about the roads. It’s just serpentine, is all. But where it leads to will make it up for it.

As for things to do in Kalpa, there is not much. You could go see some local temples and stuff but I’d say skip that and take a walk. Take long walks and friend a dog on the way maybe. Have a cup of chai in a local tapri and have some clean air to breathe. The suicide point is 4 kms from Yogi road and makes for a fantastic walk through the conifers. Walk it up and chill there. Drink some old monk and sit out in the cold and watch the mountains. And you might be surprised with what the Himalayas might bring in to this surreal theatre.

For me, it was a night of full moon over the snow clad Himalayas in Kalpa, and I cried like an emotional idiot

No hiding here. And I’ll describe the feeling as I felt- sporadic and intense- as soon as possible lest I lose track of the thought train. You see I am generally good with written words. But at times when I am at a loss, are the moments I remember forever.

Kalpa Night

I dont think I have ever seen something as beautiful. There wasnt a speck of cloud in the sky; just big bright shiny star-struck clear black sky flanked by a humongous moon where she is just throwing all this colours, a dark blue from the moon punctuating black. And when clouds flew in, there was rainbow at night.

Contacts:

We stayed in Hotel Shivalik in Yogi Road.
Rooms are for 700 to 1000 with TV and hot water and mountain view.

I’ll leave you here today before I come back with Part 3. Till then, enjoy the travelogue.

It's always fabulous to read a word or two from you! Leave a comment if you have a minute!

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