Apple plantation paradise: Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh
Located at an altitude of 9,186 feet above sea level is the bustling Himalayan town of Kalpa in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. The town of Kalpa is located in the Sutlej River valley and is famous for its apple plantation.
Kalpa is located approximately 250 km from the state capital of Shimla and the most economical way of getting to the village is boarding a local HRTC bus from Riwari bus stand in Shimla. There are three daily direct buses from Shimla to Kalpa, it is advisable to check the bus timings at the bus station a day prior to your departure. The journey from Shimla is extremely bumpy and the ride takes around 10-12 hours.
The other option to reach Kalpa is to take local bus from Shimla to Reckong Peo. The frequency of buses to Reckong Peo is much better since Reckong Peo is the central hub in Kinnuar district. From Reckong Peo backpackers have three options to reach Kalpa. The first is to walk up hill which takes around 20-25 minutes. The other two options are to either hop onto one of the many local government buses that ply this route or hire a private cab.
The town of Kalpa has a couple of local attractions a couple of them are located within the village. The Tibetan Buddhist temple which is located in the heart of the village and offers a stunning view of the Kinnaur Kailash during sun down but the Gompa is nothing more than a non descriptive structure. The next major attraction is located behind the Gompa and is a complex of wooden Hindu temples, which also display stunning views of the Kinnaur Kailash. These Hindu temples exhibit some very unique wooden structures.
The villagers live a very simple and basic life and their main source of income is their apple plantation. Nearly each and every family in Kalpa is engaged in apple plantation. The town is not too huge and the best way of getting around this town is by foot and while doing so a walk through the tiny lanes of the villages is highly recommended.
Accommodation in Kalpa is in plenty with mostly all kinds of hotels and guest houses being located uphill from the temple complex. The town has accommodation for all kinds of travellers, from family holiday sweets to backpacker budget guest houses. Food is a real issue in the town. Even though there are plenty of eateries the food served in most places are barely even edible. It is strongly advisable not to even consider eating non-vegetarian food.
The best time to visit Kalpa is during the spring months of September to end of October, when the apples ripen and are all over the village. Even during the summer months of April to June; Kalpa is a good place to visit.
Kalpa is a good place to break journey while returning back from the Spiti Valley and also a good place to visit for all those who are looking for a quite place with breath taking views of the Himalayas.
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