Kalga is a little hippie hamlet situated deep inside Parvati Valley right next to where the roads end. Kalga is a favorite destination among people who want to live amidst a beautiful environment in the mountains. The village got transformed into a true mystical hippie location, where people from all kinds of professions come and become one with nature. You will see engineers, doctors, artists, musicians, fire dancers, acrobats, percussionists, yogis, and singers all living in harmony, and a sense of ease rolls over the village. There are some days when the sun shines brightly over the lush green village surrounded by snow-clad mountains on all sides and the gushing Parvati River in front of it. Then there are some days when the village experiences mist and clouds, transforming into a mystical place which looks more like fiction than reality.
Kalga 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 live in the trees of the forest and can’t be seen by the naked eye, adding to the mystical nature of the place. A lot of treks and day hikes are accessible from Kalga, thus satisfying your trekking appetite.
How to reach Kalga
Bhuntar to Kalga Bus
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, and for most of the night. They charge around 850 INR for Bhuntar to Barshaini, and from Barshaini, one has to walk till Kalga.
Kasol to Kalga
Frequent 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 as a lot of buses start from Manikaran bus stand and go all the way to Barshaini. Shared cabs are also available from Manikaran to Barshaini, and they charge 100 INR per person. In any case, even if you get a direct bus till Barshaini, the bus will make a halt at Manikaran Sahib for 15 minutes before going forward. So it makes sense to reach Manikaran and open up more options.
Barshaini to Kalga
Once you reach the Barshaini bus stand, you can eat some food at the nearby food stalls as the options are a lot cheaper and vivid here than the Kalga Village, which is across the Parvati river. Kalga village is visible from this point with snow-capped peaks in its background. You will have to walk around 300 meters from the bus stand, where the Dam is situated. A guy usually sits here selling walking poles made out of wood. If you are going to visit Kalga, then walking poles are not necessary and are a 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, you will come across the river from the dam crest, which is the top part of the dam. Once you cross the dam, there is a well-marked trail that takes you to Kalga Village.
Homestays in Kalga
There are a lot of cheap stay options in Kalga Village.The mistake a lot of people commit,is that they don’t explore enough options and settle for the first or second option they come across.If you move inside you will find a lot of lucrative options for stay.The cost vary from 150INR per person for bunk beds to 300INR for room of 3 people.Food is further chargeable at 100INR per person for dinner.
Evergreen Guest House,Kalga
Karma Guest House,Kalga
The temperature in Kalga is stays on the lower side due to it’s proximity to forests.Temperatures fall to single digits at night in summers.In winters the temperature easily falls to negative at night and some parts of the day.
Kasol to Kalga Itenary
Day 1: Delhi to Kasol
Day 2: Reach Kasol and catch a bus to Barshaini,then trek to Kalga
Day 3: Stay at Kalga.
Day 4: Leave for Delhi, reach by next day
There are a few cafes in Kalga, and almost all them serve hash brownies, infused with the by-product of the weed plant, available at a nominal price(around 250 INR). Due to their edible nature, they get into the stomach and then straight to the blood flow. So mindful consumption is advised if any at all. A lot of Indian tourists and foreign nationals trip 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, and thus the outcome is not very brownie-like. The real thing is an unbaked ball of sweetness with gooey consistency.
The winter months start form November, the entire landscape turns cold and dry. Snow hits the valley by the second week of December and then periodic snowfalls keep on happening and cover the surrounding areas with thick snow.Winter also brings a few hardships like inconsistent power supply and difficulty to navigate in the snow. But again it’s all a part of the experience which you will not get in the summer months.
Treks around Kalga
Fairy Forest : The fairy forest is situated around 15 minutes walk from Kalga in the less known village of Pulga. The fairy forest is popular among the people who stay at Kalga and Pulga. It is a coniferous forest full of tall pine trees with huge trunks, the skylight is not able to penetrate the forest floor due to dense canopy cover. It is exciting to watch when a cloud passes through the forest, and the visibility reduces. The forest is a quiet place where one can meditate or do yoga. 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 guy who must have been tripping balls in the forest and was probably hallucinating. That apart the forest is a very good place to be at. There is a waterfall situated near the fairy forest, which deserves a visit by all means.
Buddhaban: Buddhaban is a high altitude meadow that is situated at around 5 hours from Kalga and 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 your camping gear and camp there for a night. Otherwise, Kalga to Buddhaban and coming back is also doable 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. Kutla is a hermetic paradise in the Parvati Valley and has been able to maintain it’s charm till now. It is the ideal moderate hike. 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: Kheerganga trek is also accessible from Kalga.You can start for Kheerganga in the morning and reach by evening stay the night and come down the next day.
How much does a day in Kalga cost?
A day in Kalga should cost you around 400INR including the stay and 3 time meals.
Snowfall in Kalga?
Kalga receives snowfall by mid December and then in short spells.
Barshaini to Kalga?
It takes 30 minutes on foot to reach Kalga from Barshaini.
ATM in Kalga?
No ATM in Kalga.Withdraw money from Kasol.