Located amongst the hinterlands of Himachal Pradesh – the land of the mighty Himalayas is a small village called Kalga. Considered to be one of the cleanest in the country, Kalga, in the Parvati valley, is a model of eco-tourism.
Beyond the settlement of Barshaini, near Kasol, a tiny village called Kalga is the epicentre of our story. Kalga is surely a paradise for anyone looking for the quietude and serenity that the mountains offer in plenty sans the toxic garbage. The most amazing characteristic of Kalga is its social structure. With no hustle and bustle of village, it is home to abandoned houses, some homestays, apple orchards, and the blissful silence.
Most houses serve as homestays for travellers. You will find many Israelis visiting this village – especially on the weekends. The village is also home to a Jewish House, where a family of Jews hosts Friday prayers every week. There is singing, dancing and eating together. Many guesthouses are run by mixed nationality partners – foreigners who chose to marry or settle down with Himachalis or Indians. Though there are no upscale accommodations, the solitude has an irresistible charm for any wanderer.
Kalga is not a place for those looking for a luxury of travel in the lap of mountains. The village is on a trail trek – so no vehicles can possibly reach there including bikes. The only guards in the village are four-legged furry friends that will welcome you with wagging tails. Kalga may not be a destination if you are looking for an adrenaline rush. However, it is a mecca for solo travellers, those craving for peace amidst nature. If sipping coffee and reading a book while lying in a hammock excites you, Kalga is a place for you. If long walks in the woods clear your mind and feed your soul, Kalga is your soul-village.
Nature Lovers and Conscious Travellers!
What makes Kalga one of the cleanest villages in India? First, it is not a famous tourist spot. The sole reason for the clean village is its people, and the sane tourists visiting the place. It is a place where a homestay will offer you a free beverage if you collect trash from in and around the village. You will see anti-littering posters almost everywhere in the village. The satisfaction of any contribution – however minuscule it may be – towards keeping a place, an ecosystem clean is priceless. Being nature lovers is not just about having that profile picture with open arms in the woods.
A true traveller is someone who leaves no carbon footprints behind. Be responsible for that straw, wrapper and especially that plastic water bottle. Loving the mountains is not merely about visiting them every now and then. It’s also ensuring you are not leaving behind a footprint that will take infinite years to go away.
Mountains are mighty, but they can’t beat your trash! Kalga is a perfect example of how #ResponsibleTravel is possible and works so well!
How To Reach Kalga – The nearest bus stand is at Bhuntar. Take the overnight HPTDC buses from Delhi to Manali, and get off at Bhuntar. Then hire one of the shared jeeps or local buses that connect Bhuntar to Kasol. Take a taxi from Kasol to Barshaini – you can even take a shared one. Beyond Manikaran the roads get quite bumpy! From Barshaini, a 30-minute hike up a slope will take you to Kalga. Kalga is also the basecamp for the onward trek to Kheerganga – it takes a day to reach the famous hot springs from the village.
Text by Devashish Vaid