The Kinnaur district in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh has long been revered as the land of fantasies and fairy tales, thanks to the enchanting lush green landscapes and snow-covered peaks. One of the most important cities in Kinnaur and the tribal circuit en-route is Kalpa. Also, here the majestic Kinner Kailash mountain range of the Himalayas provides the perfect backdrop, along with the mighty Sutlej flowing alongside. The morning sun reflects off the high, snow clad mountain peaks of the Kinner Kailash create a surreal view.
The town and in fact the whole district is known for its sprawling orchards of apples and this also incidentally forms the major cash crop in the region. At 83.5%, Kalpa stands amongst the cities with the highest literacy rate in the region. Also, the first ever voter in the country belonged to this very city. The most celebrated musician in Himachal, Surender Negi, also hails from Kalpa. Two well-known religions of the world – Hinduism, and Buddhism find their rooting in Kalpa.
History Of Kalpa
There has always been an air of mystery about the history of Kalpa and the neighbouring regions in Kinnaur. Kalpa formed a part of what was referred to as Kanaurra in the ancient times. They swore allegiance to the kingdom of Magadha which was later annexed by the Mauryans during the 6th century B.C. The major inhabitants of the region in those times were Valhika, Kamboja and Panasika. The region was later divided into chiefdoms and a power struggle ensued between these small kingdoms. A host of small fortresses such as Kamru, Labrang, and Moorang still stand testament to those times. Kinnaur later passed into the hands of the Mughals with Akbar’s conquest of the region. Post the fall of the Mughals and coming of the British, the area of Kinnaur and the cities of Kalpa and Kaza formed what was known at that time as Chini Tehsil. It was later merged into the Mahasu district for administration and remained there till 1960 when it was re-organized. The reorganisation was put in place owing to the ethnic and cultural considerations. Traditional polyandry was followed in Kalpa and the adjoining villages, but with a growth in education and changing mindsets, this is fast changing. Kalpa also suffered an unfortunate earthquake in 1975.