Adventure, Himachal Pradesh, India, Offbeat, Weekend Getaways
Comments 9

In Transit at Kalpa.

Mount Kailash, Kinnaur kailash, kalpa, himalayas, shimla to kalpa

I’m en route to Spiti and going through a “sometimes the journey is as beautiful as the destination” moment. The drive from Shimla to Kalpa can easily qualify the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh as the most beautiful state in India for a mountain lover.

I watch the mighty Himalayas blanket in Cedar trees for the first quarter of the journey and litter with Pine trees in the next, until they reveal their bare self. I catch a glimpse of the River Satluj flowing below in a stream of clear white water. It gradually reduces to a blue-green trickle in the mountains, until it meets the dam under construction in the Rampur district and changes to a disheartening brown.

Himalayas, river Satluj, shimla to kalpa drive, drive to spiti

The winding road from Rampur to Kinnaur has been dug from the base of the mountains, leaving their rocky protrusions untouched. I’m stunned as I drive under these protrusions; it’s as though the Himalayas are watching over me.

road to Kalpa, shimla to kalpa drive, himalayas road, road to spiti

road to Kalpa, shimla to kalpa drive, himalayas road, road to spiti

I’m overjoyed being surrounded by the grandeur of the Himalayas on all sides, and unprepared for the snowy guest appearance of Mount Kinnaur Kailash.

Mount kailash, kinnaur kailash, kalpa, road to spiti, shimla to kalpa drive

My driver friend from Spiti tells me that once every year, residents of all villages at the base of Mount Kailash undertake a 3-day camping expedition up to Mount Kailash; it’s one of the many facets of the Himalayas they worship.

I spend the evening at an often-dismissed transit town – Kalpa. It takes my breath away as I watch the sun go down on the peak of Mount Kailash. Kalpa reminds me of Chamonix, the French gateway to the Alps. With its own little market, a Buddhist monastery & a temple dedicated to the local Hindu gods, and the more developed town of Rekong Peo just a half hour drive away, I think it’s the perfect place to indulge in the Himalayan majesty without the crowds of Shimla & Mussoorie.

sunset, Mount Kailash, kalpa, shimla to delhi, shimla to spiti, spiti, himachal pradesh

mount kailash, kinnaur kailash, kinnaur, kalpa, road to spiti, shimla to kalpa drive

kalpa, buddhist monastery, himalayas, mountains, offbeat travel, himachal pradesh, indiamount kailash, kalpa, spiti, shimla to spiti, himachal pradesh, mountain, offbeat travel


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Hello! I'm Shivya. 7+ years ago, I quit my full-time corporate job and started travelling the world. I gave up my home, sold most of my possessions and embraced the life of a digital nomad. I'm passionate about sustainable tourism, offbeat destinations, solo travel and veganism. If you enjoyed reading this blog post, leave me a comment and let me know. You can also buy a copy of my bestselling book, The Shooting Star. Thanks for joining my adventures virtually! Connect with me on Instagram/Twitter @shivya.


  1. midaevalmaiden says

    I didnt know there were modern paved roads in the Himalayas themselves. Such lovely views.

  2. Beautiful pics. Thanks to your blog, we are able to peep into the far side of the Himalayas, the continuation of the amazing landscapes, towering mountains, heavenly waters and meadows that we are partially able to visit in our country 🙂

  3. I’m glad, though nothing could equate you visiting these landscapes in person 🙂

  4. Pingback: Traveling alone in India: am I crazy? | The Shooting Star

  5. Thanks for sharing your experience of travelling to kalpa. I like the picture of sunset in between mount kailash. I don’t think I will get the Chance in time to experience what you did. But I really enjoyed the read & also pictures.

  6. Jitendra says


    reached your page while I was searching for something else, i did the region (Manali – Shimla route) in year 2010, driving via rohtang, chandra tal, kunzam pass, kaza…….through spiti valley,pin velly and in the end baspa valley…was surprised that you have not mentioned much on Tabo & nako lake…lovely places…mountains are addictive ..cheers

    jitendra rami

  7. D Bhaduri says

    I am planning to visit Kinnaur district covering Kalpa, Rampur, Recong Peo, Sangla valley, Riba, Puh & Nako over a period of around 3 weeks starting mid May 2017 immediately after my retirement. I enjoy long walks and nature trails. Would appreciate inputs on budget hotels and advisable points of stay.

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