Imagine living in a far of mountains away from anyone’s reach, waking up to the view of snow capped mountains from your small cozy room, away from all the hustle bustle of your city life, a basic living where no one questions your identity, where your past or future is none of anyone’s concern and the people u meet will only talk about traveling.
Yes I have imagined this for long and to be experiencing it was a dream come true. Kalga a lesser known himalayan village in Parvati valley was one such place for me, after having traveled Manali, Kasol, Tosh & Pulga I ended up in Kalga unexpectedly.
So how did it happen?
I badly wanted to trek to Kheerganga during my trip to Kasol. So I had to choose between two routes and I chose the one via Kalga randomly. We started our trek to Kheerganga from Barsheni Dam with an empty stomach and heavy backpacks. After a steep climb of over 10mins I was completely exhausted and pushed myself to reach this tiny village Kalga where I thought I would break to fill my hungry stomach & dump my backpack before continuing to trek to Kheerganga.
First thing I came across on reaching Kalga was Rama Guest House, a wooden bungalow with garden. Menu was mostly Indian, Continental and Israeli. I ate like a glutton and rentend a room by paying 200rs to leave our backpack.There was space for a few tables in the corridor and had a laid back seating with wooden stairs. A thought on a night stay at this village looked more peaceful and for reason unknown to me, I chucked the idea of trekking that day & instead do it tomorrow. And that tomorrow came only after 5 days. That’s how much I loved Kalga. It is clean , undisturbed and not touristy unlike other villages in parvathi valley.
What did I do in Kalga?
Soon as I wake up, I used to meet my friend and I would sit in the open area sipping tea watching Rajith and Anish (owner’s kids) being bathed . Often we used to play with them and my friend made an attempt to teach them as well.
We would then freshen up in the shared bathrooms and have breakfast. At times we met travelers mostly foreigners and would end up in a conversation. An Australian in his early 60’s has been staying in our adjacent room since a month. All that he does is practice Yoga, go for walks, capture videos. Another Indian from a metro city staying in a room above ours is seen smoking up and playing trance all day long. We would sit and watch the slow pace of village life, locals passing by with their donkeys/horses. Playing cards was our favorite pass time. We used to stroll around the village exploring hidden homestays, stopping by to eat and spend some time often meeting other travelers.
We ate fresh apples during our walks through apple orchards. Everyone in the village & in the homestays were welcoming. They were there when you wanted them to talk and knew when to give you your space. We sat for hours together doing nothing, just staring at the mountains, sleeping on hammocks, watching the numerous sunsets and being lazy. During one of our many conversations with the owners wife she told us the farthest she had traveled from Kalga was to Kullu once on medical emergency(Kullu is around 75kms ). When she talks about Israeli guests and people from all around the world staying in their guesthouse, I find it difficult to understand what she might have imagined these places to be and look like . If she has any idea how evolved the technology is and how far her little sons can go if educated.
During one of our evening walks we came across a signboard to Jingle Jungle Homestay. We walked in the narrow path amidst the bushes to reach this homestay. Almost all homestays in this village are run by locals who have turned their old wooden houses into basic homestays/guesthouses serving their own version of israeli, continental food. But this Jingle Jungle Home Stay was exceptional, run by few youngsters who are basically from metro cities but have embraced the mountains and all that parvati valley had to offer to them. Jingle Jungle Home stay was my best discovery in Kalga. What I regret is coming across this hidden gem only on the 4th day of my 5 days stopover at Kalga. Our time spent here was the best. They served authentic and best dishes in whole of Kalga. We used to drool over their noodle soup and it was worth the long wait for preparation. They were cheerful, shared their stories and played cards with us.
What and where I ate often ?
Rama Guest House: Indian Cuisine
Sunset: Israeli cuisine and Breakfast
Jingle Jungle Home stay : Continental
How to reach Kalga ?
- Delhi – Chandigarh – Bhunter – Kasol – Barsheni – Kalga
- Manali – Kullu – Bhunter – Kasol – Barsheni – Kalga
There are no roads to Kalga. From Barsheni trek for around 15mins. There are no signboards, you should follow the narrow pathway.
Even though I am not a spiritual person, traveling to such places makes me one, where I can get in touch with my spiritual side through private prayers, quiet reflections, long walks and by leavimg all the materialistic thoughts behind.
Simple things like sipping a glass of tea for hours, playing with the kids, watching them bath under the sun, breakfast with a view, waiting for water to boil, simple conversation with the hosts, watching moving clouds brought much joy.Traveling in these villages opened my mind to all new levels of imagination, makes me rethink on the purpose of my life and gave me a a zeal to do and be different. I have started to count memories and get more real in life. Every person I came across carried a bag full of travel stories to share and I came back inspired.
It is a perfect place for anyone looking for unspoilt rural life, mountains, sunshine and time for themselves. I left Kalga with a heavy heart. In future if I had to escape from the maddening city life for few months, you will definitely find me living in solitude at Kalga.