Kalpa - Kinnaur - Indian Himalayas
Kalpa above Recong Peo in the Kinnaur River Valley - Himachal Pradesh - India Himalayas

Looking out the window of my guest house in Kalpa, a small village above Recong Peo - Himachal Pradesh Photo: Elena

Ever felt you've been to Heaven?

High in the Himalayas, above the district headquarters of Recong Peo, sits the village of Kalpa. Populated by the Kinnauri People ( notice the typical green cap) this village is not only hard to get to, but beautiful and heavenly to visit between the months of May and October, after which the snows settle in and most passes are closed.

September, 2006 private trip with Elena to Kinnaur and Spiti see Golden-Heron Tours.

(31°32'N, 78°15'E)

The road runs east from Shimla through the picturesque town of Narkanda (2708 M), then goes down to meet the Sutlej river at Luhri after which it follows the Sutlej river upstream via Rampur (130 km) and Recong Peo. Kalpa (altitude 2960 M) is above Recong Peo.

The district headquarters ( Recong Peo) is situated at a distance of 260 km from Shimla and 51 km from Sangla. Two Kilometer away from Powari on the HT Road, towards left side, wide link road leads to Recong Peo and then to Kalpa. Up to Kalpa it is about 20 km and passes through some picturesque villages populated by 1427 souls and was once the favorites haunt of Lord Dalhousie the then Governor General of India.

The climate of this place had cured the Governor General Lord Dalhousie of serious illness. Kalpa is surrounded by apple orchards. There is a temple dedicated to Narenas god.

Kalpa has earned its name because of good quality Chilgoza, which grow in abundance.

Powari is 7 km down to National Highway from Recong Peo. Recong Peo (2290 M).

Looming in front of Kalpa is an impressive view of Kinner Kailash (6050 M) directly across the Sutlej river. This mountain changes colours several times a day with the change of weather conditions. The finest view of the Kinner Kailash massif can be had from above Kalpa at 2865 M.

Parvati Kund is located on top of its massif. The ancient villages of Pangi, Morang and Kanum are situated close to Kalpa going upstream along the Sutlej River and they offer a good opportunity to observe the lifestyle of their inhabitants. A few kilometers from Powari is Ribba, known for grape cultivation.

Kinnauri women washing clothes in Kalpa, above Recong Peo

Photo: Elena

Kinnauri woman washing her clothes by the irrigation channel. The water comes from a small stream, quite a ways away, that is composed of melting snow. Apple orchards are irrigated by diversions of snow melting streams and shared by all in turn.

Rogi lies an hours walk beyond Kalpa Kinnaur Himachal Pradesh India

Photo: Elena

The road to Rogi, a smaller village beyond Kalpa. A lovely hours hike from Kalpa. You can go by jeep, but you need to close your eyes at times, the drop off the side of the road, to the river a mile below, is fairly scary.

A more scary road would be the road up to the Sangla Valley from the Kinnauri River Road. see photos.

guest house garden roses in kalpa

Roses in the garden of the guest house in Kalpa. Photo: Elena

Notes from Elena:

Lord Dalhousie once wrote to the King of England from Kalpa ( it took him 2 weeks of donkey travel to get there during the time he was governing India) and said that perhaps England should be ruled from Kalpa during the summer....

... to which the king of England alledgedly replied: " If you can rule India from Kalpa you may as well rule it from England".

Dalhousie built a summer house there which is quite lovely, but expensive to stay in and difficult to get permission ( in Delhi). Government owned now.

The first photo above was taken from my bedroom in a little guest house on a hill surrounded by apple orchards. It had a little irrigation ditch running by it with a path on the side. Easy and beautiful hiking (level) for miles through forest of big old trees. The 'Road to Rogi' is fairly level as well. A little like walking on a tightrope in the sky ( actually the road is very wide).

September is about the latest one should go up there, you have to be out by mid October, before the snows start and the apples are all picked and shipped out. The earliest would be late April or May. You cannot travel the lower road to Kalpa during the monsoon as it gets flooded and there are many landslides each year, but it does get maintained, as it is a valluable road to India ( goes up to the to frontier with China, 12 km from Sumdo).

Daytimes are quite warm in the sun, but evenings are very cool.

We danced in the moonlight by the side of the road, on our way to Tabo ( Spiti) one night... five of us in a little jeep with driver, driving through the breathtaking upper Himalayas in the middle of the night ( no other such foolish people on the road at all). It was amazing.

here is a road sign that I just loved. Tells how far it is to Pooh ! only 58 km! and Pooh is only 2,837 metres high ( low for these mountains!)

September, 2006 private trip with Elena to Kinnaur and Spiti see Golden-Heron Tours.