Kinner Kailas (Chitkul –Kalpa-Roghi)
Village with Kaleidoscopic Kinner Kailash Range-Chitkul & Kalpa
Dare to Explore. Dare to Dream. Dare to Discover. Dare to break the rules. Dear to Leave. Dare to Begin. Dare to Live. Dear to Love. Dare to be You―Oksana Rus
Here comes a 4 day extended long weekend and we are all set for hills. Among all parts of Himalayas Kinnaur Valley comes next to Spiti in our most favorite list. Since to visit Spiti we need at least around a week even one village and as off now Spiti is not accessible by road hence we decided to Kinnaur. When you talk about Kinnaur Chitkul tops the list of most favorite followed By Kalpa so here we go. We booked out tickets for 9:50 HRTC (Non AC) Bus from Delhi to Sangla Valley which is good back aching journey of 18-20 Hours costing around INR 850 each since we had only 4 days and had to save time over luxury. One can also break journey in a more comfortable way by opting for Volvo Bus till Shimla costing around INR-1000 each and further to local HRTC bus till Sangla or Chitkul directly. We Reached Sangla around 4:00 PM and met 4 guys who too were travelling in same bus with us from Delhi to Sangla. Initially we had plan to board local bus from Sangla to Chitkul but locals informed us that since it is off season and the last bus that goes to Chitkul had already departed around 3:00 PM and now next bus is in the morning. We both were in no mood to spend our night at Sangla, meanwhile two other guys have booked their hotel are Raksham so we decided to book a taxi and drop them to their hotel on the way. Other guys decided to come with us since they had no plan and had never been before to the place. We hired a taxi @1200 INR till Chitkul. Way from Sangla to Chitkul goes parallel to Kinner Kailash Range and valley is covered with Apricot blooms which were cherry on the cake. We dropped two guys to their hotel and continued our journey making sure that we will meet next morning at Chitkul. After Raksham, the road was completely under snow. After around 50Min ride we reached Chitkul.
The first look of Chitkul village was like heaven. Snow covered small Himalayan village like a fairy tale land. Soon we realized we need to book hotel and I thought to go to same old Homestay where I stayed last year during my Visit. At the end of village after crossing small Nallah there is a home stay on left side with board ‘Rani Guest House’ we asked owner if we can get rooms and he said yes there are only two rooms available and prices is same as last year I.e. 400 INR per night/room. I chose the room with 3 side Hill View.
We ordered Tea, had hot shower and quickly came out for photography since it was going to be dark soon. Owner asked what would we like to have in dinner and we said whatever he serves us will be good enough. He cooked Egg curry and rice, Chapatti for Non vegetarians and Daal with mix vegetable for vegetarians. We enjoyed another cup of tea with valley view and started to introduce ourselves since till now we were taken away by the beauty of Chitkul. Next morning we planned to visit old Temple in village and trek to glaciers of Baspa River across the Village which is about 4-5 Kms easy trek. After an hour or so we had Dinner, some night photography and went to bed and other two guys left for Kalpa promising us to meet tomorrow morning at Kalpa.
Next morning we wake up early around 7 am ordered tea and got ready. Today owner was all alone and had 18 guests to serve on his own. I helped him making Parathas for guest. After tea and breakfast we left for temple and from there for trek. Trek route was all covered with snow and we couldn’t make it more than 2.5-3 Kms due to heavy snow and river was flowing too ferocious and chilled in order to walk or cross it to reach Glaciers so we decided to turn back. Though we couldn’t complete it still it was challenging and beautiful trek.
Around 4:PM we returned to hotel had Lunch and went for a power Nap but after a while we woke up by loud talk of a group of Bikers who just arrived. On coming out from my room I realized it’s a biker whom I know well through Facebook and quite often share our travel tales. We arranged some woods for bonfire, shared some snacks and drinks together, enjoyed music, shared our travel stories, had dinner and went to bed since we had to wake up early to catch Bus to Reckong Peo in order to reach Kalpa. Hotel Owner told us that there is one shared cab going tomorrow morning till Kharcham. We aimed to catch that Cab and went to bed.
We woke at 6 got ready and boarded the cab which dropped us at Kharcham and charges INR-100 each.after 10 Min wait we got a Bus for Reckong Peo and reached there by 10 AM.wesaw Kalpa Bus standing and immediately boarded it.Bus driver said he willmove in 15 Min so we thought to search for some food but since its Jewellers strike all over India Market was closed but Himachal Co operative Juice and sanacks bar was open just across the road.we grabbed coffee and some sandwich and boarded bus.thebus fair from Reckong Peo to Kalpa is INR 15 each.Unfortunately we didn’t had change except a 500 Note and Bus conductor didn’t had change of 500.We approached a local tea shop in hope of getting change but she too denied but luckily one local person came and offered us change.we ordered tea and within minutes lady served it.I couldn’t bear that tea except a sip since it was too sweet for me.thelady offred to serve another with less sugar but by then my mood was changed for tea.She told us that there is local festival at temple at 4 PM and invited us.We were more than Happy and promised her to meet there.What else do You need?
Mountain, valley view Blooming with Apricot Flowers, Snow caped high mountain ranges and local Festival The ride from Reckong Peo to Kalpa is Scenic it takes hardly 30 Minutes to reach Kalpa. From bus stand we had to climb up the stairs to top of Kalpa to reach our Hotel’The White Nest’.Though it was just 8-10 Min climb but steep and we had backpacks which made us tired to the core.However when we reached the top and saw the view all our tiredness went away.After savouring the view for few minutes we reached hotel reception to check tariff.the staff named Anand said they have rooms starting from INR-1000 and when we said we are looking for cheap option he offered us tariff of INR-500 per night going out of his professional way (Note: If you are in Kalpa is a Bengali Hub, All signboards will be in English and Bengali and sometime only Bengali. Menu is loaded with Bengali items and even staffs can speak Bengali. Suddenly we met two guys who left Chitkul before us for Kalpa last night in same hotel. We off course were hungry so we asked what can we get for Lunch(My broken Bengali worked) and he said Daal (Lentils), Bhaat (Boiled Rice) and Au Posto (Bengali preparation made with boiled potato in Poppy seed paste).we checked In had hot shower and came down for Lunch. We discussed our day plan with guys who were planning to Shimla and spent night there and next morning depart for Delhi. We decided to walk till Roghi Village which is again Last Indian Village few Kilometers before China Border Starts. After Lunch We said Good Bye to the Guys and started walking for Roghi Village. Its 3.5-4 kms easy walk by the side of Majestic Kinner Kailash Range in total but it took us 2 Hours reach there since we were stopping for photography after every 10 Minutes. One cannot resist capturing those mesmerizing views.
Roghi is a small old Himalayan village where most of homes are still of old style wood crafted architecture. There is an Old fort kind of House just few stairs below on the way to Temple. It looks like castle but none of the Locals were ready to give us details about that. Anyway we spent an hour just looking at different wooden Houses and Architecture and came up in order to reach Kalpa to attend local Festival. Luckily, we got a bus from Roghi to Kalpa which charged us INR 10 each.
We boarded off bus near the stairs leading to temple and rushed for Buso Festival (Masked end of winter festival).It was such a delight to see local offering to God with Dance and local Beer. This festival was official goodbye to winters from Kalpa and arrival of summer. Again we clicked some Photographs which are not that great but good enough to give an idea about the festival.
Folk Dance at Buso Festival(Masked end of winter festival)
Around 7 PM we reached back to hotel and crashed to bed after beautiful and tiring day. Hotel staff knocked our door around 9 PM with dinner which was Alu Gobhi and Roti. we had little of dinner and slept again after deciding to left hotel at 7 AM in order to see Bhimakali Temple at Sarahan on the way to Rampur. Somehow we got late and left Hotel at 8 am. When we reached bus stand there was no bus and local people informed since its Sunday bus services are limited. we wanted to reach Rampur on time in order to reach Delhi Monday Morning (We both had our work to reassume at any cost).We waited for bus for about 15 Min and decided to walk down till Reckong Peo. We were half the way and saw a pickup van which was going in same direction, we asked him if he can drop us till bus stop and he agreed. We asked him if we can pay for the ride since people in hills don’t see money as generosity but insult especially when they help you. He agreed and we paid him and moved to bus stand to check bus schedule to Rampur after saying Thank You to him. it was already 11 and it was Minimum 3 Hours ride to Rampur. We booked our bus from Rampur to Delhi which was scheduled to Depart at 5 PM (INR 875 each) which basically meant to skip out plan to Visit Sarahan. We decided to Visit Sarahan next time and boarded a bus to Rampur. On the way bus stopped at some Dhaba (Place name I am not sure) where we had really delicious Kadhi-Chawal. We reached Rampur around 2 PM and waited for Bus. Next Morning we reached Delhi at 5 AM AND OUR Journey ends here.