Forget Kasol, Head Over to Kalga for a Refreshing Weekend!

Attributes: Hill Station, Around the City

Kasol is homemade croissants, cheesecakes and apple pies; melt-in-mouth lasagnas by the roaring river and descending fog. And although this might sound ideal, Kasol has fallen prey to what we infamously call, ‘commercialisation’. So if you have more than three days to spare, I recommend you head to Kasol’s lesser known idyllic cousin, Kalga.

Famously known as a stopover for those heading to Kheerganga, Kalga has a few quirks to itself. The unbridled views of snowcapped mountains, limited connectivity, and great food apart, Kalga is home to adorable fluffy dogs, apple trees as far as eyes can see and rustic old world charm.

Reaching Kalga might sound tedious but if you are willing to spend a day in Chhalal, a tiny village on the other side of the Parvati river. You could stay in Kasol too but why not explore a new hamlet? So, after a peaceful night’s sleep in a reasonably priced guesthouse in Chhalal (around Rs 1000) and dropping by the hippiest of cafes in the area, catch a bus to Barshani that ply every half hour, from Kasol. It will cost you around 50 bucks and 45 minutes of your time, the small layover at Manikaran not included. Don’t forget to stock up on cash from Kasol because there are no ATMs afterward.

From Barshani, it is a 30 minute trek to Kalga. You can spot the village and its colourful shacks from Barshani itself. Tosh, another village, which is more known to backpackers is on the other side of Barshani and hence, more crowded. The trek to Kalga is short and easy if you are dressed for the occasion. Mountain dogs show you the way and patiently wait when you stop to catch your breath. Horses carrying supplies from Barshani jingle their bells and ask for way.

The first house that pops up in Kalga will be good enough for your stay. The light eyed didi with a terrific fashion sense (read pahari costume, complete with bandanas) will show you to tour wooden, low ceiling and minimally furnished rooms for which she will charge you Rs 150 per night. A peek through the windows is all that you need to make it your home. There is snow all around, gleaming in the light of the setting sun. Just as you think it couldn’t get any better, didi calls you down for your evening snack – cutlets, omelettes, lafas (Israeli delicacy), falafels and pasta-- and introduces you to her pets, Vicki, the rabbit and Pinki, the dog who are engaged in a friendly chase.

The café is right next to your rooms and there is a traditional fire place that goes late into the night. The toilets can be a problem, so carry plenty of wet wipes and hand sanitizers. It gets really chilly at night but you can arrange for a bonfire if you are willing to pay for the wood.

Log after log, night after night, leaving Kalga keeps getting harder. But if you finally do manage to beat that part in you, remember the last bus from Barshani to Kasol leaves at 5 pm.

Best Season to visit—April to September when the apple tree are in full bloom
Cost of the trip—around 6000 for one for four days.

How to reach?

Delhi to Kasol - by bus, Kasol to Barshani by bus and then half an hour trek to Kalga.

Author and Picture Credit: Lisa Garg

Tags: kalga

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