Have you ever been asked if you are a mountain or a beach person? What was your reply? Well, my answer has always been the same, since forever – I am an all-time mountain girl! Being born and raised in Jammu & Kashmir, I believe I have inherited this love and it’s here to stay.
It doesn’t mean I don’t fancy beaches, I like them too, however there is something about the mountains that pulls me in. You would know what I mean, if you have ever travelled to the hills during monsoon. The refreshing sight of the rain drenched trees, with dark and low clouds hovering over the valley, is just breathtakingly beautiful. Mountains offer a special kind of dope, which is unmatchable (Well, I was referring to the intoxicating beauty they offer to our sore eyes – just saying!).
So, where was I? I was telling you that hill stations have a different charm about them in the rainy season and that’s why it has become customary for me to pack my bags and run to the mountains around that time, every year. There is so much one can experience on these trips – Finger licking food, enchanting views, adventure and relaxation alike. And if you are a boho soul like me, you can find some amazing markets, where you can buy super cool hippie stuff that’s hard to find anywhere else.
One such place is Kalga! In fact, I have been to Kalga a couple of times and I never get enough of this heavenly hamlet.
Let’s Talk About Kalga A Little, Shall We?
For those who aren’t familiar with this Himalayan paradise (chances are many of you would be), Kalga, also known as Kalgha, is a Village located in the Parvati valley of Himachal Pradesh. It is located on a hilltop, at a height of approx. 2,500 meters, and is accessible only by a short hike up the mountain. As soon as you reach the top of the mountain, you are welcomed by the narrow stone walkways, lined with apply orchids at both sides. If you go further, you’d start to see the rustic wooden guest houses, standing in their traditional glory, as if have been waiting for your visit.
Sounds dreamy? I wouldn’t promote anything less, trust me!
There was a time when Kalga, along with other places in Himachal, was a hidden treasure, away from the prying eyes of the crowd. People wouldn’t really go beyond Kasol and there was a lot left unexplored in the mountains. However, as any undiscovered travel gem eventually meets its fate, people found out about it’s existence by word of mouth (in fact, I too was introduced to this beauty by one of my acquaintances) and thanks to bloggers/ vloggers like me, it was on the internet soon after. So, you see, Kalga is more like an open secret now, even then, it still is untouched by the maddening rush of tourists we find in other places like Kasol, Shimla etc.
Reaching Kalga Is Easy:
1. From Delhi, it’s an approx. 9 hours 20 mins drive to Barshaini (a village in Parvati Valley – It’s the last stop to the trekking trails like Tosh and Kheergang), cross over to the Barshaini bridge on the right, and trek uphill to the beautiful Kalga (it’s about half an hour’s trek, and I am sure you can do that).
2. You can also take a bus from Delhi to Bhuntar, and from there, approx. 2 hours 15 mins bus ride to Barshaini. Trek to Kalga.
3. If you wish to visit Kasol first, you can take a bus or a taxi to Barshaini from Kasol too, which will be approx. 1 hour 15 minsdistance.
This Is Where I Stayed:
Finding an accommodation in Kalga is cushy, there are just enough inns in the area. Usually you don’t need to make prior reservations, however it also depends on the time of your travel. Earlier, these homestays weren’t really listed on the travel portals, but things have changed with time. Some of them, now, have their details up on the internet, so, you can book your stay online too, if you want.
On my most recent trips to Kasol, I stayed at a guesthouse named – Holy Cow Café and bed. This place is nestled, a little away from the other guest houses, at the edge of the mountain, and requires you to walk a little further into the village, but it is a walk that you’d love.
The rooms here are simple yet vibrant. But the main attraction of this place is its roof-top café, which offers some awe-inspiring views of the valley along with amazing food. It’s so open and richly green all around, you wouldn’t want to leave the café.
Few Things To Keep In Mind:
Kalga is a small hamlet, this place has mesmerizing views, trekking options, tasty food, and fun, for you, however if you are looking for a luxurious stay, I would say, you might not be able to enjoy the rustic and raw essence this village has to render.
Most of the accommodations here provide basic rooms with bedding only, there is a shared restroom, which is often outside of the property, a few steps away (restrooms are mainly clean and properly maintained). Though I never had to wait in a queue, however if the homestay is packed with travelers, you may want to get up a little early to avoid the morning rush.
Carry a mosquito repellent and a torch with you.
And yes, if you are visiting in winter, they may not have room heaters (the best time to visit is between March – Oct), you wouldn’t mind though, if you’ve got that fire in your soul, but if you don’t (kidding!), you can build a bonfire under the stars, jam and dance the night away with the fellow travelers.
I’d say, give this village a place on your travel bucket list and If you do, I am certain you’d want to revisit for sure.