I had reached a phase in life where things happening around me made no sense. The path that I was walking on, had been laid by the society; I was merely following the common consciousness. Days were passing but I did not feel alive. I was losing myself. That is when, I left everything and reached Kalga in Himachal- To do nothing! Just be with myself and hear the inner voice that had grown faint over time.
I arrived there with an empty mind to learn about and discover myself; to break the boundaries and pave my own path. Consequently, I met beautiful souls there, guides, in the form of locals, fellow travellers and cafe owners who made my journey more meaningful and life transforming. I gave myself completely to the valley and the valley gave me everything I needed. Peace. Love. Direction. Answers. Confidence.
I broke many conditions that society had engraved deep into the spheres of my mind. I felt liberated and at peace with myself.
After many mental debates, finally, I am back to blogging. However, this time, I intend to resume with a different approach and purpose all together. No more guides, to-dos, itineraries. There are plenty of those on the internet already. This blog, from today, shall serve as my online journal where I’ll share travel stories, write about unexplored places I happen to discover and unusual experiences!
So, here’s a small post about my little home up in the hills- Kalga. This post is going to make me really nostalgic but I have got to express my gratitude to the lovely souls I met there.
SNOWLINE HOMESTAY, KALGA
This homestay is run by three brothers who do everything themselves- construction, running the cafe, cooking, maintenance, accounting….. This place becomes your home from day one and it is ideal for a long stay. Live in the cosy little wooden rooms, spend the evenings in the chill out, eat Kullui Kadhi and love your life every moment while you’re there! Somehow, this place attracts a lot of interesting people and they all live like family.
So, when you want to live a happy life surrounded by happy people in a place where time does not exist, pack your bag and head to Snowline in Kalga!
It is the first guesthouse that’ll welcome you when you trek up from Barshaini. Do not arrive there with a fixed return date, cause you won’t stick to it. I planned to leave and move on with my travel plans twice! However, I returned back from Kasol.
Now, when you plan to stay at Snowline, you have got to reach with milkshakes/chocolates for Murli and Rani! DO NOT FORGET THAT!
PREM CAFE, BARSHAINI
This CAFE! This Cafe! THIS CAFEEEE! First, Hug Meena Didi for me. Then, meet Aunty (There are two Aunties, if you’re lucky, you meet both on the same day!) and Vikram. Now, take a seat and order anything.. Literally, anything! And, you will love it for sure. Because the food there is made with one super special ingredient- LOVE! Indeed rightly said by the Beatles- “All YOu NEed iS LLLLLOOOOOOVVVVEEEEEEEEEEE”! But, yeah, to make the choice less difficult in times of hurry, order a Veg Thali and Mixed Veg. Paratha with Chai! Wooooohoooooo.. You’re in for a Foooooooodgasmmmmm! And, Meena Didi is not going to let you leave until you have a few hundred chapatis and some twenty servings of curries. Wait till you see the variety in the Thali- Pulses, Greens, Curries, Salad, Roti, Rice, Chutney- all in one platter, a true balanced diet!
DREAM HUT CAFE, KALGA Dream Hut Cafe Kalga
Run by super duper chilled out dudes who love Movies! Yes, they have a T.V.. And, their T.V. is on Full Power, 24 Hour! Also, the food there is Yummylicious. Go there, chill, watch T.V., have good food, roll on the floor with laughter and have your faith in humanity restored. Also, the interior of this cafe is WOW! Not to forget, the Giant Wind Chime that keeps the energy of this place positive and resonates with the sound of the water stream as you approach the cafe!
KARMA GUESTHOUSE, KALGA
Having seen this guesthouse being built, I can only imagine how cool it’ll be by the time I visit Kalga again! Raj and Anurag, the two amazing souls who own this place have put their heart, mind and soul into it. The place looks magical right as you reach the entrance- colourful glowing umbrellas amidst the Apple Garden (Yes, they have an Apple Garden Cafe!!!!!!!!!), the peaceful Chill out that has Art supplies for the creative ones and the kitchen where something nice is always cooking. Go there for a peaceful stay amidst an Apple garden with food that’s sure to make you go crazy for more and more and more!!!!!
This place is going to be a big phenomenon in Kalga soon!
AMIT DHABA, KALGA
Momos, momos, momos! The Didi there is super cute and her little toddler Amit, even more so! So, visit this place and have nice, simple, home style food that is made with
NOW, A FEW THINGS THAT’LL HELP YOU REACH, STAY, LIVE, LAUGH AND HAVE A NICE TIME IN KALGA:
-> There is no road to Kalga. The last point is Barshaini where the local bus from Bhunter drops you. From there, one has to trek for 15-20 minutes to reach Kalga.
-> Kalga has a few shops and a Supermarket! You’ll find almost every item of daily need there.
-> There is one track to Kheerganga that goes through Kalga.
-> Most major network providers catch good signal in Kalga except for Vodafone (as of July 2017).
-> Take sufficient cash with yourself there. A.T.M.s are located in Manikaran, Kasol, Jari and Bhunter. However, these places are far and the A.T.M.s are unreliable. You can withdraw cash at a Travel Agency in Pulga at 7-10% interest rate and in Barshaini as well at 10% interest rate.
->There is no medical store in Kalga. There are plenty in Barshaini, though.
IF YOU’RE THE HOPPING KIND, THERE ARE PLENTY OF TREKS THAT BEGIN FROM OR AROUND KALGA:
(ALTERNATIVELY, YOU CAN CAN PICK ANY PATH AND START WALKING, YOU’LL END UP SOMEWHERE BEAUTIFUL AND BREATHTAKING.)
->Kheerganga is situated at a trek of 14 km from Kalga. It has natural hot water Kund and a temple. There are plenty of cafes there now and it is as crowded as Kasol on the weekends.
->Pulga is the next village, about 30-45 minutes away by trek.
->Tosh is 3 km away. 1 km of downhill trek to the dam and then, one has two options- trekking to Tosh by a short cut that starts from Prem Cafe or taking a taxi/walking on the concrete road to Tosh.
->Within 25 km from Kalga are- Shilla, Balargha, Manikaran, Kasol, Jari (one can trek/take a ride to Malana from Jari).
->Other unexplored places/treks that start from or near Kalga are- BunBuni, Buda Van, Bhandak..