Kalpa (3300 m) surrounded by vineyards and snow covered peaks is one of the most serene locations in Kinnaur. Kalpa offers amazing wide view of the Kinnaur Kailash ranges and the magnificent view of the sacred Shivling Rock which projects upto 20,000 feet changing colors at different times during the day. Kalpa itself is a fairy-tale place with chilgoza forests, apple plantations and deodhars all around. It is reached after crossing the quaint town and district head-quarter of Recong Peo, which also has a hundred-year-old monastery.
This quite and peaceful hamlet hidden away among the lush green was not often visited by travelers until recently, but there are still relatively few visitors. Kalpa is also en-route to Spiti valley and travelers must stop to get their inner line permits to continue upwards to the Spiti Valley.
The journey to Kalpa is a colorful feast for one’s senses & sensibilities from Sangla which is only 51 kms away. The road to Kalpa passes through beautiful villages. Kalpa is surrounded by vineyards, which are protect from bears by large sheep-dogs. Visitors can visit the ancient Chini Village, Roghi Village at Kalpa or simple relax watching the golden sunset across the Kailash range.
Sightseeing in and around Kalpa
Natural Mummy – One must pay a visit to this naturally formed mummy of a Buddhist monk in sitting posture. The mummy is believed to be more than 500 years old.
Kothi – Just 3 Km from Recong Peo is Kothi which is another major sightseeing attraction of Kalpa. A temple dedicated to the goddess Chanadika Devi with an unusual architectural style and finely executed sculpture is the prime attraction of the place. Set in the backdrop of mountains and deodar forest, the temple has an exquisite gold image of goddess Chanadika Devi is enshrined in the sanctum.
Recong Peo – At a distance of about 13 Km from Kalpa lies this Himalayan town at an altitude of about 2670 m above sea level. It is the districts headquarter of Kinnaur district with a large Tibetan monastery. Tourists visiting Kalpa must visit this monastery not only to have a glimpse of the life of Buddhist monks but also to find out the rare fusion of Buddhist culture with Hinduism. Mighty and mesmerizing views of the snow-capped Kinnaur-Kailash ranges are added attraction of the place.
Shopping in Kalpa
Take home Kinnauri shawls and caps from the Handicrafts Emporium in Kalpa. Kalpa has earned its name because of good quality Chilgoza, which grow over here in abundance.
Activities in Kalpa
You can take your pick from the many trekking trails that are around Kalpa. The ancient villages and breath taking scenery offer many candid camera moments.
The Phulech Festival is celebrated with great vigour in September/October. The local villagers collect flowers from the surrounding hilltops, and then offer them to the village deity and later these flower garlands are distributed among the people.
How to get Kalpa
by Air : Shimla”s Jubbar Bhatti airport is the closest at 260 kms. From here make the 10 hour journey by road to Kalpa either by private taxi or bus.
by Rail : Shimla is the closet railhead at 240 kms. Take a bus or hire a taxi to make the arduous but very picturesque drive up to Kalpa.
by Road : From Shimla, taxis or jeeps can be hired and a bus service is available for Rekong Peo, 14 km from Kalpa, a journey of about 11 hours. This is a demanding drive and rugged vehicles are suggested. Direct buses are also available from Delhi to Rekong Peo. If driving in from Delhi, it’s convenient to break journey at Shimla or Narkanda. The route you will take is Delhi-Chandigarh-Shimla-Narkanda-Rampur-Karcham-Powari-Rekong Peo-Kalpa on NH22.
Accommodations in Kalpa
You have the option of staying in luxury at the Circuit House (with permits) or in Himachal tourism camps and privately organized deluxe tents. The hotel Kinner Kailash is the most comfortable accommodation available here and has all modern amenities as it has been recently built. However it remains closed in the winter between December and March as it is too cold and the water pipes all freeze.
Kalpa map, Himachal Pradesh