“ What are you guys going to do in Tosh?, go to Kalga!!, you are going to thank me later”, our driver told us before rolling a joint on our way from Kasol to Tosh. Tosh had now become Kalga. We had been in The Parvati Valley for the last 2 days and it had been a dream come true for each one of us. I had travelled to this part of Himachal before, but being here with my brother and our friend was an occasion I had been waiting for. Now to reach Kalga you have to reach Kasol, which is a small village town, a hippy village town to be precise. From Kasol we took a taxi to barshaini, which is the starting point for the Pin Parvati trek, Kheerganga trek and also the start for the short hike to Kalga. There is a dam being made at Barshaini from where you need to head up a mountain path to the small and quaint art village of Kalga. The village can be seen from the dam site. We reached the dam site late in the evening in dark and had to walk up the path with help from the locals. The local people were too happy to help. It was an exciting walk up in the dark.
On reaching the village we stayed at the Moon Light Café and spent our next morning lazing around, reading books and going for walks around the village. There was a beautiful shade outside the café with a long table where I spent quite some time reading and talking to travelers. People from all over the world head to the Parvati valley to soak in the nature and the heavenly weather it has to offer. The village is a village like none other with mostly shepherds and farmers staying there along with a few guest houses and 3-4 small shops. We heard many stories from the owners of the Moon Light Café. In the evening, we decided to take a stroll in the village to find other cafés to stay. We came across Holy Cow, which is where we shifted the same day.
Holy Cow café has been the best and the coolest café that I have stayed till date during all my travels. The vibe of the café is so friendly and free that anyone feels at home the first minute they walk into the café. We took a room at the café and put our bags down. The outside seating area is more like a huge balcony with views unparalleled. The mountains and the river flowing down make the place like heaven. The village has a very lazy, romantic and artsy feel to it and is easy to fall in love with. On our second day in Kalga, we met Kapil and Akash. They were two chefs much like Anirudh travelling with me. Both had been staying and working in Cypress for the past 22 years plus and got a family there. They were originally from Punjab and their roots had pulled them back. They had both together bought an old house in Kalga and were converting it into a guest house. The friendship instantly clicked and we ended up going to their house the next day. The evening in Holy Cow was again happening with all the travellers coming together at night and listening to songs and sharing stories. With good food and countless chillums the night took us into its arms very silently.
The next day was 25 May and my birthday and to be spending it in Kalga with my brothers was the best I could have hoped for. Anirudh was also supposed to get his class 12 results on the same day. His results came out and he had scored great grades which called for double celebration. The day couldn’t have been better. We had never been happier. The weather soon turned lovely with light rains aiding in the whole setting, but not before we were able to gather some wild herbs and fresh marijuana leaves. The herbs like oregano, thyme, mint and others would aid in the making of Fresh Himalyan Mountain Herb tea and the marijuana leaves would make the best herb fritters for a rainy day. I still remember the setting where there was Old Monk rum and marijuana fritters along with the company of the two chefs and Akash’s parents. It was lovely to share the moments with them and it made my birthday very memorable. That view of the mountains with snow peaks and mist rolling everywhere made the whole atmosphere so romantic.
When it was time to leave Kalga I had a very heavy heart, but was happy, for having found a place as beautiful as Kalga. I visited Kalga again on my way back from Kheerganga in 2016, and the guest house Akash and Kapil were building is now complete. It’s called the Himalyan Park. Anyone who goes here must visit and stay a night here. Use my name, you might just get a discount at his place. Akash is fondly also called Raja Ji. Kalga will surely be visited again.