Why You Should Visit 'KINNAUR VALLEY' Once In Your Lifetime And That Too SOLO !!!

A community held together by its rituals If you are wondering what is it. Wait for a while I will be disclosing everything in this po...

A community held together by its rituals
If you are wondering what is it. Wait for a while I will be disclosing everything in this post about the best time of my life in a village in the mountains of Kinnaur Valley and why you need to visit this place once in your lifetime.
Once!!! I think I am just being modest.

There is so much to see, feel and take along with you that a mere one time visit is surely not enough.
This part of the eastern Himachal is on the route that takes us to the incredible Spiti.

I think I have a thing for the word 'K'. This time Kalpa, last time in Himachal I visited Kalga.
To read about my experience in beautiful hamlet 'Kalga' Click here!
Kalpa and Kalga sound like long lost siblings of each other.

Entrance to the beautiful hamlet
Walking on the path with snow on both sides of the road, cold breeze touching your face and the sound of ice melting from the houses- Sheer bliss!

Kalpa is a small town above Reckong Peo in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. Inhabited by Kinnauri people and their distinguished green caps. If you have heard about Mr. Shyam Saran Negi-  India's first ever voter, he also belongs to Kalpa. And this I came to know just now, how did I miss meeting him!

Why Visit Now?

Lost in the view of snow-capped gigantic peaks
No one needs a reason to travel. But still, if I was to say- every season has its own charm in the mountains. I went there when it has just stopped snowing. The villages, trees, houses, and verandahs were filled with snow. Where the harsh weather is dealt up with the warmth of love and hospitality the locals and beautiful landscapes.

People will come to you to play Holi, especially boys
I was lucky to be there during the Holi festival time, where they celebrate it with the local customs and rituals. A different experience altogether. You may have seen people rushing to Mathura, Vrindavan, and Pushkar to celebrate Holi. But for those who prefer solitude and safety especially women. This is it!

During springs, you will find flowers in full bloom, pleasant weather and the love for sunlight.
More reasons to visit will be there in the post as we proceed.

How To Reach:

On route Reckong Peo

Delhi → Shimla → Rampur → Reckong Peo → Kalpa

Tomorrow is the traveling day. Current status: No tickets booked. 
I was waiting for some 'last moment' decisions from my friends. Meanwhile, I checked Redbus, no worries it was showing 26 seats to Shimla in a Volvo bus. But the moment I signed up and opened it to book it. Boom! 2 seats and that too at the extreme back. Why Redbus why, why MakeMyTrip why?

Next, I checked HRTC, Gladly we found a bus directly to Rampur. Great but not great, it ain't a volvo but  (a degraded volvo and an upgraded ordinary bus)- 'HimGaurav'

Time-Chart:

It stated on time at 7 PM and reached Shimla in midnight at 3 AM With this speed, we were supposed to reach Rampur around 8-9 AM. Well, the bus had different plans it broke down in Narkanda and we had to shift to a local HRTC. which still managed to drop us on time. We reached Rampur, where we had to wait for another 1 hour as the next bus to Reckong Peo, was at 10 AM. We reached Peo around 2:30 P.M.

Peo Bus Station
Generally, after every half an hour, the bus service is there. It takes hardly 15 minutes to reach Kalpa.
Since it was HOLI day, the frequency of the buses from Peo to Kalpa was less.
People were drunk and screaming, some trying to color me so I thought it is better to reach my room on time. We called a cab, it took 300 bucks. You can also walk if you want, it is an uphill walk, might take you around 40 minutes.

Take away: When we are heading to the destination we are excited and pumped up, the tiredness doesn't reach our face. But while going back, I took a bus from Peo to Shimla and I can't tell you how badly my back was hurting.  A few kms before shimla I was about to break down into tears.
I was wondering how the girls I met there in Kalpa managed to travel from Peo to Delhi in a local bus non-stop.
If you are not used to local buses and prefer comfort, choose a cab or break your journey instead. Cab was charging around 4k till Rampur. 

Day 1: ( Reaching Kalpa)

Kalpa and me

Where To Stay?

I checked online while waiting for the bus in Peo,  the Airbnb hotels were showing whooping 2200/- for a night. Thankfully I recollected one of my friends Roshan has been here many times. He can suggest some good place. And yes he proved to be useful. 'Chini Bungalow' just in the middle of the chini market. Don't worry about the word market, the area is very peaceful.

Contact no. 9805495656.
Single room for Rs 600/-


Chini Bungalow
My green-carpeted room
There was no light. So I just left my bag in the room and went for a little stroll to get the essence of Kalpa. Since it was a Holi afternoon, every road was deserted and almost every guy you could spot was drunk. Nonetheless, the views and the winds both were breathtaking.

Hey, Where you going? We ain't done yet!

180 deg view from the town

Buddhism & Hinduism go hand-in-hand there

Beautiful Homes
When was the last time you saw a red letterbox?

Coming back, bhaiya came up with the tea and Maggi. Every room was occupied with people from different parts of the country- west, south, and the north. Next day, it had east too.

Thodi mithi zada thi, but chalegi :)
It was about to snow (View from our hotel)
Had a good chat with co-hoteliers and we all stayed together for breakfast and dinners most of the time not because there was only one place for it because happiness was in the air! We belonged to the same community. No age, caste, color or religion was a blockage. I remember one guy was always but he never used to talk much. I asked his name, he said something, I couldn't understand even English. He was from down south and had come with his friends. I was wondering, how would have he otherwise survived here. The surprising element is we both chatted for the next 15 mins in our languages. Best part!

The group selfie while we were leaving


Reason no. 2 :

The only place that provides with food there
To try Dinesh Bhojanalaya's food. I don't know why I was not hungry the night I reached. may be too tired. Maybe higher altitudes suppressed my hunger. But the dinner was scrumptious. Must haves are maggi and egg parantha!

Yummmm!
In case you don't trust me-
Animals too are a big fan of Dinesh Bhaiya
In the picture below, there was a tap and it used to continuously run. I asked one person, isn't this water going waste? He replied that water tends to freeze at night due to minus temperatures so they had to keep it running.

Me at my favorite corner enjoying my food in front of Dinesh Bhojanalaya

Day 2 (Suicide Point & Roghi Village & the festivity):

Gaonwalo!!! Main jaa rahi hu..suicideeeeeeeee
Next morning was dedicated to the famous suicide point and the last village named 'Roghi' after which I had planned to leave Kalpa and go to Sangla and Chitkul for the festival. Some visual treats along the way-

Welcome
Focus and you can find someone looking at you

Dry apple orchids

Bringing the inner kid out

Why should boys have all the fun?
I met this Bengali traveler family in Roghi Village. The uncle in the extreme left was super energetic.
Seeing him made me realize that a true traveler need not be young or an Instagrammer. You just need to have that that zeal and love for life and nature. They reminded me once again there is no age limit to fulfill your dreams and being happy.  Also, this was not it, it was just the beginning. We met n number of times again at different places. We are still in touch and uncle shares his travel photos with me :)

Happy family

While coming back, there was a sudden change in the plan. I didn't want to leave this place. 

I was walking down the streets, talking to the people, sitting in the middle of the chowk watching people busy in their daily chores like I have been here before. It felt like home and guess what the homestay where I was staying, the owner grandpa said today the 5-day festivity in Kalpa is going to start. It is going to be super fun.
So that was it, Kalpa you held me back.

Reason no 3: It won't let you down. It gives you than what you expect.

Reason 4: Touching stories:

I met a few villagers and amongst them, one person's story brought tears to my eyes. I was running in the snow in between the apple orchids and finding my way back to the road when I reached a house. He was sitting in the sun, peeling off the onions and ginger.
I just said- "Hello, uncle" He got up and asked you need water? Initially, I refused why to trouble an old person. But he asked again, I said fine. It was cozy and peaceful there. He brought a jug and a glass. He lived all alone there. HE WAS DEAF. His clothes torn at a few places but had a house and orchid of his own. His kids had left the place and went down for jobs. We chatted for an hour, I mostly heard his side coz he was unable to hear mine. I asked him, why didn't he use a hearing aid. He said he didn't like the constant sound they make.
But there was some sort of loneliness in his eyes.
He asked if I wanted tea so many times. I wanted but didn't want to bother him, I wanted to make tea for both of us, in fact, help him cook lunch also but I thought it might be strange for him a stranger cooking at his house. While leaving gave me green apples.

They get conscious, thinking they don't look good enough. Hardly they understand it is coz of them the picture looks stunning.


Reason no 5: I was having a minor headache coz I hadn't slept well last night and I was walking the whole day. The festival made me laugh, feel special and headache? What's that?

About the festival:

The joy is clearly visible :)
Some said it is celebrated to mark the ending of winters and the onset of the spring 🍁 while others said it was to please the local deity. The temples in Kalpa are dedicated to both Hindu and Buddhist deities.

Take a moment to appreciate the gates of the temple

The men are dressed as beautiful, adorned women, men, and demons. All their faces are hidden so that nobody gets to know whose who. Only a handful of people associated with them know it. When asked why the faces are covered, answers were not clear. Some said the God can't see or hear, some said to hide their identity.

Rituals that might not make sense to some, But really bind and keep the people entertained. 
They sprinkled locally made alcohol out of apples in the temple in all directions and on the pagoda.
I am a pahadi, I very well know some of the rituals can seem bizarre to general Hindu culture like an offering of non-veg or liquor. You can see full action in the video here!

Day 3 (Hard Goodbyes!):

Last day's morning was spent soaking in as much sunshine I could,as much air I could breathe, as much smiles I can pass, and as much people I can meet to say bye-bye!
Me with my green apples, walking from Uncle's home
I had 3 hours to do everything. I went to the uncle's place to give a token of remembrance apart of love and empathy that I could have managed to give over there. Since he continuously offered me chai, I brought him some chai-snacks.

Network Connectivity:

Awesome is the word.No problem with Airtel, Vodafone, and Jio in Kalpa and Peo. Peo is like a big city. When you will go towards suicide point, there might be slightly faint signals. Near Karcham, Vodafone dies.


Budget:

5k approx. per person.

Some more pictures from the trip are:

It is not any marble, but snow hardened to ice

Visited Kali Maa temple in Reckong Peo

These old structures add to the beauty of the place

You have to cover your head and wear the caps kept there

Look at those sharp, beautiful kohled eyes

The bus journey from Peo to Kalpa. Buses are super- safe!


Books that I carry but never read
Beauty!

The People of  Kalpa
And we met again at some other place

Happy Holi

The People of Kinnaur
Kisi ka style
To kisi ka maan
Kinnauri hu main
Ye hara rang hai meri pehchaan

Mat kaho sirf ik topi muje

Mat kaho ik topi muje

Chalti main sang sang
Har din va har parv
Shaksiyat par apni hai muje garv
Kinnauri hu main
Jagah hai meri khaas

Agar kabhi iss taraf hua aana
Muje sath lete jaana
Kinnauri hu main
Kehna bhaiya- "Dena na ik Kinnauri taaj"


Liked the write-up? Don't forget to comment below and say hi! It would mean a lot. Thanks :)

0 comments

Instagram