3rd April, 2012, Tuesday……Day (3) Sangla-Kalpa 49 km
Got up to a stunning morning in Sangla. Picked up shoes, dressed up and went for morning walk.
On the one side was snow clad mountains with riot of colours spread all over. Cool fragrant breeze, meandering Baspa river, merrily chirping birds, lazy healthy, innocent mountain dogs, beautiful, charming, briskly walking Kinnauri women, bells ringing far away at a temple, whole atmosphere was magical, memories for lifetime.
A cup of tea later. Me and lalpari were ready for another amazing drive. The destination of the day was Kalpa.
Drive from Sangla to Karcham is a single road along the Baspa river. The drive is beautiful and lively but not for weak hearted. After crossing the bridge at Karcham about 16 km from Sangla I was again on NH 22, Hindustan-Tibet Road.
From Karcham to Powari the road was a mess and needed very cautious drive. A turn to the left just after Powari took me to Reckong Peo. Reckong Peo is a bustling business town, headquarter of Kinnaur district with stunning views of Kinner Kailash range.
Parked the car and walked up to PNB atm for cash. It was not working, so walked into the PNB branch for help. Got the cash immediately, courtesy Mr Roop Lal Chauhan officer from Ner Chowk.
Had a disappointing lunch from a so called punjabi dhaba and then drove up on a steep road to Kalpa.
From Reckong Peo views of Kinner Kailash were stunning. There were lots of local people shopping in Reckong Peo market. They looked neat, healthy, beautiful in local kinnauri dress. Kinnauri women looked slim, sharp, beautiful and extrovert.
Checked up HPTDC Hotel Kinner Kailash, Kalpa which had stunning views of the Kinner Kailash mountain range. Preferred Hotel Shivalik though as it was recommended by the hotel people at Sangla.
Kalpa is a picture postcard village with apple, apricot orchards all around. Like Sangla surroundings in Kalpa are very colourful.
Earlier Kalpa used to be called Chini Bangla. Buddhist lamas and hindus live here very peacefully.
Meandering streets of Kalpa are full of old world charm.
Being an ex employee of Punjab National Bank, I was very happy to see PNB branch in Kalpa. The staff at PNB met me very warmly. Mr Umesh Kumar Suman an officer at the branch from Hoshiarpur invited me to his home in the evening.
In the evening Mr Suman took me to his room and introduced me to some of his friends. He took me to one of his friends home, a buddhist lama, who gave me a bottle of home distilled apricot drink.
I took leave of them and decided to have long walk back to the hotel. The road was clean, green and lonely. I thought there must be a bend nearby. Kept walking for some time. The road became more and more lonely, was getting dark too. I kept walking hoping there must be a bend closeby.
It was twilight and I had already walked around 4 km. I was double minded by then, what should I do, I asked myself. Go back 4 kilometers on the same road or move on in the of the bend on the road.
It was pitch dark by then, still I kept on walking. No light, no torch, my cell phone did not have light too, no soul around. Strange noise started coming from the woods and bushes around. No human sound. Shadows of plants and trees began looking like prowling giants.
What should I do….walk back 4 km or move on?
I saw some light far away. My gut feeling said there was a bend around. Still fear was setting in. Shadows and strange sounds kept on drawing my attention. Suddenly dimag ki batti jali.
I started singing Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna and Shammi Kapoor old hindi songs. Slowly my singing got louder and walking brisker. Zindagi ik safar hai suhana, yahan kal kya ho kisne jaana………..
I was now singing loud and walking fast. Fear was gone and Lo and behold….there was a bend. Immediately on the first turn of the bend was my hotel. It was a great relief.
Got in, changed the clothes, ordered dinner and began enjoying apricot drink given to me by lama friend and had a great time thereafter.
What a day it was………………………………………………………………Stunning!!!