Kalpa is one of the most beautiful places in Himachal Pradesh and a couple of months ago (link to travelogue); I traveled there in a bus from Delhi. Even though the bus journey was long and at times rough, it was equally rewarding with beautiful views, all along the Shimla-Kalpa route.
Having said that, travelling from Delhi or for that matter from Chandigarh to Kalpa is not a straightforward and easy affair, since there are no direct buses to Kalpa. Instead you have to change anywhere from one to three buses.
This is why I have written this guide, to help you choose the best way to travel to Kalpa in a bus, based on your personal preference and need.
Delhi/Chandigarh to Reckong Peo, then to Kalpa
From Delhi and Chandigarh, you can find an ordinary HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) bus to Reckong Peo (7 km before Kalpa). From Reckong Peo, you have to take another bus (charges around Rs. 15, available every half an hour) or a taxi (charges Rs. 500) in order to reach Kalpa.
This is the most hassle free way of reaching Kalpa, provided you do not mind traveling without AC in plains and non-reclining seats. The bus journey from Delhi to Reckong Peo takes 19 hours, though it can take longer due to landslides en route. From Reckong Peo, it takes another 15-20 minutes to reach Kalpa.
This is also the cheapest option with the Delhi – Reckong Peo bus ticket costing Rs. 873 (inclusive of taxes and online booking charge).
AC Bus till Rampur Bushahr, then ordinary bus to Reckong Peo
HRTC has one AC bus, travelling from Delhi to Rampur Bushahr. It leaves daily from ISBT Kashmere Gate at 7:24 pm and manages to reach Rampur Bushahr around 9 am. Ticket costs Rs. 1,091, including online booking charge.
Even though the seats recline and there is an AC as well, the bus is old and not as comfortable as I would have wanted it to be. Certainly not in the league of a Volvo or a Scania, but still way better than ordinary bus.
From Rampur Bushahr, ordinary buses to Reckong Peo are available every hour or so, and these charge Rs. 189 for the journey.
From Reckong Peo you have to take a bus (Rs. 15) or a taxi (Rs. 500), in order to reach Kalpa.
Volvo/Scania or AC Bus till Shimla, then ordinary bus to Reckong Peo/Rampur
If you like to catch up on some sleep en route, this is the most comfortable and also the most expensive way of travelling to Kalpa in a bus. There are numerous Volvos/Scania buses plying between Delhi/Chandigarh and Shimla.
Delhi – Shimla Volvo ticket costs Rs. 980, while the AC bus charges Rs. 735.
From the Tutikandi bus stand of Shimla, you can find buses for Rampur Bushahr (including the AC one from Delhi that reaches Shimla around 6:30 am) and Reckong Peo. Shimla to Rampur ordinary bus ticket is priced around Rs. 300.
There are several buses from Shimla heading to Rampur and hence it is easy to find one in the morning. From Rampur, you have to take a bus to Reckong Peo (Rs. 189) and then bus/taxi from Peo to Kalpa.
Shimla to Reckong Peo bus ticket costs around Rs. 500 and there are a couple of buses that can be booked online, one leaving from Shimla at 9 am and another leaving at 9:30 am.
Once you reach Reckong Peo, you have to take either a taxi (Rs. 500) or a bus (Rs. 15) to Kalpa.
Important things to remember
- Jeori onward, the road conditions is bad at places and landslides due to rain and construction are a regular part of travel. Hence there can always be delays en route. Make sure you are mentally prepared for that.
- Plan to cover the journey from Shimla to Kalpa or vice versa during the day, especially in the morning, since that is when majority of the buses ply on this route.
- Ordinary buses are generally packed to the brim and unless your ticket specifically mentions a seat number, there are no allotted seats and at times people even travel standing inside the bus.
- Most of the restaurants/dhabas buses stop at are not that great and have mediocre toilets. Especially once you enter Himachal Pradesh.
- Most of the hotels, including the HPTDC ones in Kalpa are located a fair distance and uphill from the bus stand. If you do not wish to walk long distance with luggage, it is better to hire a taxi from Peo or find a bus going to Roghi and it might drop you near your hotel.
- Ticket and taxi charges mentioned above are as they were at time of writing, these might change in future.
- You can book HRTC buses online at https://www.hrtchp.com