Home > Totternama > Part III – Under the Divine Spell

Part III – Under the Divine Spell

Kakuji seemed to be in a good mood. No vestige of the sullenness that had besieged him yesterday. We started for Kalpa at 9.15 in the morning, retracing our onward route till Karchamm where we left the foaming Baspa and turned towards Rekong Peo, along muddy Satluj. The vertebrae shattering road cut across deep gorges and looming crags. Beyond Shong Tong we traversed as series of switch backs and reached Peo at noon. From then on the towering summits of Kinner Kailash range held us in their unflinching gaze all the way to Kalpa.

At HPTDC Hotel Kinner Kailash, our room offered an unhampered view of the snow bound pinnacles. But, before anything we desperately needed a bath after the night spent under filthy blankets at Chitkul. Post shower we went to the hotel restaurant; an elegant, spacious wooden structure on the first floor of the main building. Dark clouds obliterated the mountains as we sat down to lunch. Rain drops borne on a strong wind fell aslant on the windowpanes. Weather is capricious in the mountains. By the time we finished lunch the it had cleared, leaving moist grass, dripping leaves and a washed out sun. Cuddled against the mountains, the freshly laundered valley reposed under the lengthening shadows of the afternoon sun, glistening with a languorous allure.

Evening we visited the quaint old village of Roghi, 5 Km from Kalpa. Groups of school children giggled past us as we climbed down stone steps. We bought chocolates for them from a local shop. As we wandered about trying to locate the ancient temples in the village a voice cried out from behind us “Temple is that way!!”. We turned around and found a wide eyed school girl, probably 10 years old, in a frayed red pullover over her blue uniform. Renuka took us under her protection and guided us to the temples. Grimy, happy children playing in the temple courtyard made faces at us and nimbly snatched away the chocolates we proffered. Within the gloom of the temple sanctum, a deity wrapped in red silk cloth was barely visible.

Renuka wanted a print of the photographs we took of her. When we expressed our inability to send them without her address she wanted us to frame and hang it in our home in Gurgaon. She didn’t want us to forget her. She desired to be remembered. I feel ashamed that I haven’t abided by her request so far. Before parting she asked us if we were hungry. She wanted to offer us food. The directness and innocence of the question surprised and overwhelmed us. When we smilingly refused, she took out a bunch of walnuts from her jacket pocket and thrust it into our hands. Renuka practiced what we paid lip service to. She gave without expecting anything in return. It was an important lesson.

On our return to Kalpa we got off midway and walked down narrow, sinuous tracks bordered by stone pile walls to the town centre. Apple and Chuli trees dotted the terraces of paddy. The trees were overhung with flowers which caught the sunlight in a ruby haze.  At a roadside restaurant, we sipped butter tea flavoured with milk. The Buddhist monastery was closed, but we met the care taker of the orphanage next door. She was originally from Shimla, but found Kalpa peaceful and serene. It was relatively prosperous too. Tourism was picking up. The valley was very fertile and yielded plenty of fruits and vegetables. She was happy to be there. We too wanted to stay in Kalpa forever and after, under the watchful eye of the majestic Kinner Kailash, under its ever changing hue, under the divine spell.

Hotel Kinner Kailash
Kalpa, Kinnaur Dist.
Himachal Pradesh
PIN – 172108
Contact: 01786- 226159

Note 1: Check out Batu Kheer (made of Chalayi), a Himachali speciality served at the hotel restaurant

Note 2: During July – August devotees trek to the natural Shivling on top of Kinner Kailash. Trek duration: 2 – 3 days.

Part I – Sarahan: Click Here, Part II – Chitkul: Click Here, Part IV – Shimla: Click Here

Photo Courtesy: SV

HPTDC brochure of Kalpa

Categories: Totternama

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