Kalpa is a small town located in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is underexplored when compared to other prominent tourist hotspots around India. The village sits 4300 metres high and carries a beautiful charm to it due to its altitude. Its residents are Kinnauri but due to its close proximity to the Indo-Tibetan border, you’ll notice a mix of Hindu-Buddhist influences in its people, practices and architecture.
All You Want To Know About Kalpa
Kinnaur Kailash is one of the mountainous ranges within the Kinnaur district where Kalpa sits. This mountain offers Instagram-worthy sunrises and sunsets which can be viewed from Kalpa. Do not confuse Kinnaur Kailash with Mount Kailash, which is another mountain located in Tibet. However, it is considered just as sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists alike.
The strong Hindu-Buddhist influence in the Kinnaur region also means that many temples house gods and goddesses from both these religions.
Kalpa used to be a low-key tourist destination for a long time and still receives few visitors. One reason for this could be because it is harder to reach as compared to other bigger cities. This also makes it a good spot to visit before times transform it into a commercial destination. The draws of this village definitely lie in its beautiful sunrises, calm serenity and scenic landscapes. Just like other small towns and villages in this region of Himachal Pradesh, Kalpa boasts luscious apple orchards, deodhar cedar trees, and pine-nut forests.
Places of interest
Kothi, Morang, and Reckong Peo are some of the places that are recommended for a visit if you visit Kalpa. Also called Koshtampi, Kothi has a temple dedicated to the Goddess Chandika Devi. Only 3 kilometers from Reckong Peo, it also has impressive views of Kailash.
As for Reckong Peo, it has been named the headquarters of the Kinnaur district where this once used to be stationed in Kalpa. All the way up to Reckong Peo is the Satluj river which holds breathtaking views. There is nothing much to see in Reckong Peo other than the Buddha statue or to shop. Many visitors who come here either head to Shimla, which is 260 km away or to other villages and cities such as Manali, Chandigarh and Delhi.
Morang is another small village around 30 km from Reckong Peo and mostly surrounded by mountains on three sides, except the west-side.
Between Kalpa and Roghi lies a 4000-metre drop known as The Suicide Point. This is precariously accessible by car. Ironically, to get here, you have to pass through beautiful apple orchards. There are sharp drops along the road on the way to this point that one has to be mindful of so tread with care.
If you are travelling to Kalpa, you might not want to miss out on its cuisines which are mainly Tibetan and Punjabi. Kalpa has both vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. Wheat, barley, peas and black peas are common foods among the Kinnauris, while goat and ram’s meat are common non-vegetarian meals among its locals. Although you may not find as many restaurants in Kalpa itself, there are several dhabas (roadside food stalls) for you to snack on food whilst trekking or travelling in the area. You will also be able to find food at hotels or the guesthouses you stay in.
Best Time to Visit
If you plan to visit Kalpa, take note that winters are harsh here with heavy snowfall and its best to therefore visit during the milder seasons which stretch between March to September.
Featured Photo by Carlos Adampol