Kalga is a little hippie hamlet situated deep inside Parvati Valley, right next to where the roads end. Kalga village is amongst the most visited destination among individuals who are looking to live amidst a beautiful environment in the mountains. The village got transformed into a true mystical hippie destination, where people from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds come and become one with nature. You will see engineers, doctors, artists, musicians, fire dancers, acrobats, percussionists, yogis, and singers all living in harmony.
Kalga Village encapsulates the ecstasy sun shining brightly over the lush green village surrounded by snow-clad mountains on all sides. The gushing Parvati River is situated in front of the village. Usually, the village experiences mist and clouds, transforming this place into a mystical wonder, that looks more like fiction than reality.
It has emerged as a truly international destination, as foreign nationals from all over the world come here in search of tranquility. The fairy forest near Kalga is an attraction for many travelers. It is said that little fairies (folktales) live in the trees of the forest and can’t be seen by the naked eye. It adds a mystical appeal for nature lovers. A lot of treks and day hikes are accessible from Kalga, thus, it also satisfies your trekking appetite.
How to Reach Kalga
Bhuntar to Kalga
There are a lot of buses between Bhuntar and Kasol, all the way to Barshaini. The buses charge up to 80 INR till the Kasol bus stand and 50 INR more till Barshaini (via Manikaran). Now, a lot of buses are privately run, however, the service of HRTC is also pretty good in the valley. The road conditions are not the best as there are constant landslides and trees fall on this route. So if there is a delay, don’t get anxious, it’s all part of the dynamic mountain life.
Taxis are also available from Bhuntar to Kasol throughout the day/night. They charge around 850 INR for Bhuntar to Barshaini, and from Barshaini, one has to walk till Kalga. (prices are subjected to inflation)
Kasol to Kalga
Frequently, buses ply from Kasol to Barshaini and Manikaran in every 30 minutes. So, even if you don’t get a direct bus till Barshaini, you can always reach Manikaran – a lot of buses start from Manikaran bus stand and go all the way to Barshaini. Shared cabs are also available for this route and they charge 100 INR per person. In this case, if you will get a direct bus till Barshaini, but the bus will make a halt at Manikaran Sahib for 15 minutes before going forward.
Barshaini to Kalga
Once you reach the Barshaini bus stand, you can eat some food as many options are available at a lot cheaper rate than Bhuntar. Trek explores a vivid spectrum that only be found here. Kalga village is visible from across the river with snow-capped peaks in its background. You have to walk around 300 meters from the bus stand, where the dam is situated. Usually, a vendor sits here and sells walking poles made out of wood.
If you are going to visit Kalga, then walking poles are not necessary and they are a complete waste of money and wood. However, if you are planning to do the Kheerganga trek, then walking poles are relevant. Even for going to Tosh, poles are unnecessary. Coming back to Kalga, once you cross the dam, there is a well-marked trail that takes you to the village.
Homestays in Kalga
There are a lot of cheap stay options in Kalga Village. The mistake a lot of people do is that they don’t explore enough options and they settle for the first or second option upon entering the village. If you search a little deeper in the village, you will find a lot of lucrative options and perhaps better than the most.
The cost vary from 250 INR per person for bunk beds to 500 INR for room of 3 people. Food is further chargeable at 150 INR per person per meal. Here is a list of Kalga village homestays: (prices are subjected to inflation)
1. Brahma Homestay
2. Apple Homestay
3. Evergreen Guest House
4. Gypsy House
5. Jingle Jungle
6. Karma Guest House
The temperature in Kalga stays on the lower side due to it’s proximity to forest and nearby Paravati River. Temperature ranges to 18 – 29 degree Celsius in summers. And in winters, the temperature easily falls down to -2 degree Celsius at night and also some mornings.
Kasol to Kalga Itinerary
Day 1: Delhi to Kasol.
Day 2: Reach Kasol and catch a bus to Barshaini, then trek to Kalga.
Day 3: Stay in Kalga and enjoy the peace amidst nature.
Day 4: Leave for Delhi, reach by the next day.
Magic Brownies - a treat of the hills
Most of the cafes in the Kalga village serve hash brownies, infused with the by-product of the weed plant (hashish). It is available at a nominal price i.e. around 1000-3000 INR (depending on the quality). Due to their edible nature, all you have to do is to it get into the stomach and wait for it to slush straight to the blood flow. So, be mindful when consuming (only take advised doses). A lot of Indian tourists and foreign nationals get high on these magical edibles.
There are a lot of other food items available at the cafes apart from brownies. These brownies go by the name of ‘Magic Brownies’ in these parts. The process of making these is similar throughout the valley, but the outcome is unique everywhere. For brownie savants looking to get high, pick the real thing that is an unbaked ball of sweetness with gooey consistency and lots of hashish (try it!).
Kalga in Winters
The winter season starts from the month of November and the entire landscape turns cold and dry. Snow rampages the valley by the second week of December and then, periodic snow falls. Consistent snow fall covers the surrounding areas with thick blanket of snow. Winters also bring a fair share of hardships like inconsistent power supply and difficulty navigating in the snow. But again, it’s all a part of the experience one seldom finds in the summer season.
Treks around Kalga
The fairy forest can be found about 15 minutes walk from Kalga, in the less known village of Pulga. This forest is popular among the people who prefer their stay at Kalga and Pulga. The village showcases a dense coniferous forest, full of tall pine trees with huge trunks and the sunlight fails to penetrate the forest floor due to the dense canopy cover. It is exciting to watch when a cloud passes through the forest, and the visibility reduces exponentially.
It is a quiet place where one can meditate or do yoga or quaintly be about their business. The forest got its name because of the belief that little fairies live inside the tree trunks of the forest and come out to play in the mist. People even say elves live in the forest. All of this must have been made up by some hippie priest who must have been tripping balls in the forest; probably hallucinating.
Apart from the inconclusive sorcery of the forest, it is a very good place to camp. There is a waterfall situated near the fairy forest, that deserves a visit by onlookers lusting for a secluded spot.
Buddhaban is a high altitude meadow that is accessible after a 5 hour hike from Kalga and it is part of the Saraumga La trek, higher up in the Tosh Valley through the Tosh Glacier. So, you can also go to Buddhaban if you have adequate camping gear. Camp there for a night and further decide your course. Otherwise, Kalga to Buddhaban and coming back is also possible in a day’s time.
Kalga to Kutla:
Kutla is a tiny little mountain grassland situated above the Tosh Village, and it takes around 3 hours to reach Kutla from Kalga. This serene beauty is a hermetic paradise in the Parvati Valley and it maintained it’s charm ever since. It is the ideal moderate hike for leisure hikers. The place cannot be called a village as there are not enough houses up there, however, there are a few cozy wooden homestays in Kutla. The snow-covered mountain ranges are crystal clear visible from Kutla, and the green grass meadows surrounded by thick green forests are a sight to behold.
Kheerganga trek is also accessible from Kalga. You can start for Kheerganga in the morning and reach by evening. It takes around 4-5 hours of hike to reach Kheerganga top. Stay the night and come down the next day.
FAQs on Kalga
Q1. Which is better Kalga or Pulga?
Ans. While the two villages, Kalga and Pulga, remain in the close proximity to each other, for visitors looking for the quietest abode in Himachal Pradesh, Pulga is the correct answer.
Q2. What is Kalga famous for?
Ans. Kalga is famous for its proximity to Barshaini, Kheerganga, and other villages. Other than that Kalga receives a good influx of tourists who stay their for months in one stretch because of the internet availability and hashish.
Q3. What is the best time to visit Kalga?
Ans. The best time to visit Kalga is in autumn months(September-November). During this time, the valley is blooming with recent monsoon showers and you can revel, without worries, in the lap of nature.
Q4. How do I get to Kalga?
Ans. Local buses and shared taxis will drop you off to Barshaini and from there, you have to hike till Kalga village via the dam trail.
Q5. Is there network in Kalga?
Ans. Yes, there is network in Kalga. You can enjoy 4G services in the valley. With the ongoing trend of work from home, you can enjoy the vastness of nature’s glory while earning money remotely.