The Apple Village In Parvati Valley: Kalga, Himachal Pradesh
Kalga is a relatively lesser known Himalayan village which is wedged deep in the forest of the Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh overlooking the Parbathi dam construction work. Kalga is situated at an altitude of around 8,435 feet above sea-level and is one of the two start points to the Kheerganga hike.
To reach Kalga, the best option is to take a local HRTC bus to Bharsheni which is the last stop in Parvati Valley. Once in Bharsheni, the only option to reach the village of Kalga is to walk. One has to walk down the dam construction and over a bridge heading towards a white colour Shiva temple.
Just a few metres ahead of the temple you will notice a sign board and two roads, take the one going up. Keep walking till you find steps. It’s pretty easy to find the steps to the village. One has to climb around 120 steep uneven steps to reach the village of Kalga. The climb takes around 20-25 minutes.
Once in the village of Kalga, the first thing one will notice are wooden houses with cattle mostly cows and goats in the courtyard and clothes being dried out in the open. Each and every house has a stone fencing which is made more to prevent the animals from wandering off. The houses are mostly two levels, the basement where the firewood is stored and animals are kept at night and the first floor where the family members live.
The village has plenty of open pastures with greenery all around the place. Apple plantations are their main source of income along with animal husbandry. A few of the villagers even cultivate Hashish. The herb is one of the main source of income for the people, and it is common for locals to offer Hashish to visitors. It’s important to keep in mind that possession of such stuff is not only banned but can also lead to imprisonment.
A walk through the village is a must and one will spot children of all ages playing and having a good time in whatever game they are playing be it cricket or even just running around the place, they are all busy having a blast. During the apple harvest season, one will get to eat some of the sweetest apples from the entire valley in Kalga.
Accommodation in Kalga is limited to a handful of home stays which have been converted into guest houses now. These guest houses are wooden houses and have large rooms which can accommodate around four to six travellers with ease. The rooms are very basic and just have a bed to sleep on. The washrooms are shared and have a gyser.
The food provisions are in the guest houses with each of them having a cafe run by the same name. The cafes serve both Indian and Continental dishes. The pastas, Nutella milk, egg curry, Maggie and rajma dal are few of the must try things while dining in these cafes. There are a couple of shops in the village but they close before sun down.
Kalga is a village which can be visited all year round and the best time to visit is during the summer months from April to May and during the spring months from September end to mid-November. Kalga has no ATM so travellers will need to carry enough money. Cellular network in the village is very good with most service providers even having 3G coverage in the village.
The village of Kalga is a really good place to unwind and relax either before or after your hike to Kheerganga. With a 360° view of the snow-capped Himalayas and apple orchids, the village is just perfect to sit back and chill with a chillum in hand for days if not weeks and get lost in nature.
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