Kalga is undoubtedly my favourite village in Parvati Valley. I have now been there numerous times in all seasons, and I keep returning there because it’s my second (or fifth, or maybe seventh) home. Technically, Kalga isn’t even a village. It was built on forest land and most of the space there is apple orchards. As a result, it’s much quieter than the two neighboring villages of Pulga and Tosh. So if you are looking to go somewhere a bit Shanti; if you’re looking to keep yourself to yourself and not disturb other people with your terribly loud commercial music (please go back down to Kasol for that), then Kalga is one of the nicest places to stay. Here are some of my favourite places to stay over there:
Hill Top Guest House
I guess the first time I walked into Kalga, I was high as a kite and ended up walking for ages and ages into the back of the village without realizing. At the time, a room in Hill Top cost me Rs. 150 a night ($2), and it had the nicest view of the valley during sunset. I was the only person in the entire place, and it was one of the most peaceful things ever.
Though the prices are slightly higher now, it’s still one of my favorite places. The owners Chamanji and his wife grow a bunch of vegetables in their garden and you’ll probably find a couple of cows underneath your room. There’s also a large rock where you can sit and chill, next to the field. Hill Top is pretty central so it takes the same time to walk out towards the entrance of Kalga, as it does to walk in towards the forest.
Cost: Rs.300 a room
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Just another day in Kalga. Funnily enough, I hardly take my camera out when I am in Parvati. For me, it’s basically home. Most of the time, I’m absorbed into myself, absorbed in the natural TV screen in front of me, or wandering around the forest. And every day there is something new. Every minute, the cloud will morph into different shapes. And you kind of lose the meaning of taking a photograph because you’re absorbed in every moment. . I always regret it though, but in a way I know it’s always there. At any point I decide to take out my camera there will be something to photograph, without any added effort. And this is why I love it there – because life is so natural and flows so spontaneously. Just like being on the road. And so I’m just waiting; waiting until I’m done with the things I need to do, so I can go back out into the world again and be free of all the things that bring me down.
Apple Cottage is probably the easiest to find out of all of these. When you walk into Kalga past Sunset guest house and follow the trail, you’ll come to the centre with the little shop in front, and on your right will be this huge drawing of an apple which is apple cottage. The entire backyard of apple cottage is full of apple trees, pretty much like the whole of Kalga. Apple cottage is owned by Ajju Bhai who is now like my family member.
If you’re looking for Airtel signal, this is the best place you’ll find it in the entire village. They advertise themselves as having WiFi, and sometimes it does actually work. If you need internet, however, you should purchase an Airtel sim card before you head up because it’s a bit patchy otherwise. Apple Cottage has fairly large rooms and a dope terrace where you can see the whole valley during sunset. And the food is also amazing.
Cost: Rs. 400 a room
Holy Cow Café
If you’re looking for the nicest view of the valley, look no further than Holy Cow. This is a seriously dope place and I’ve spent weeks here just chilling, staring at the mountain, and getting baked af. Holy Cow is owned by Anand who is super chill and so is his brother Anurag who is also there for some part of the year. In recent times, Holy Cow has grown in popularity which makes it difficult to find a place here during season time. But if you contact them in advance they should be able to sort you out. (Most of the other guesthouses don’t really have internet presence and it’s better to walk around and ask for yourself in other cases).
Cost: Rs. 500 a room
Sacred Garden, like Holy Cow, is towards the end of Kalga. So you’ll find yourself walking 15-20 minutes from the start of the village to find it. It’s super small but also super cheap, and they have a little tandoor room to warm up during winter. Sacred Garden is owned by Tushar who is also a chiller. And like most places in Parvati, you can easily spend a couple of days or weeks booming chillums into an eternal sense of mountain contentment. Though most of the psy parties in Parvati are now canned by the police, if you like psy then come here because sometimes there’s a small scene going on. When I’m in Parvati I frequently come here and chill during the night.
Cost: Rs. 200-300 a room
Brahma Guest House
It’s actually surprising how large Kalga is when you walk around properly. Brahma Guest House is in the little cluster of guesthouses cut off from the main area, accessible via a trail that goes from the behind of Rama Guest House. Brahma Guest House is owned by a couple of folks from Kerala and so if you want proper South Indian food then come here. They’re again, super chill, and so are the people that stay here. The surrounding area is beautiful and it’s a quick walk behind to go into the forest. If you keep walking you’ll find a large rock where you can see a view of the entire valley.
Cost: Rs. 300
So these are my favourite places to stay in Kalga. And even if I’m not staying there, I end up chilling in these places anyway. Apart from these you’ll find a multitude of guest houses scattered across the village. Don’t be a city person and try and book things on the internet – if you’re going, if it’s calling you; then just go. Parvati is one of the most magical places on earth; things will work out simply with your intention.
Click the link below to check out my YouTube video on how I travelled in Parvati Valley for 5 days with no money: