As you ascend from Reckong Peo, it becomes greener; the air is cooler, the woods turn deeper and prettier. The pine trees surround you and cast their scent in your path. The winding road lets you catch glimpses of the big fat mountains on the horizon.
Kalpa is a village set amidst orchards; we mean the apples might be reaching in through your bedroom window. A lot of the houses and guest houses are set in the fruit groves. When the season is ripe, a gust of mountain breeze will drop the apricots on to your head. The trees by the side of the road are usually picked clean; you know, passers-by!
Don’t steal! But you’re very welcome to ask the local folk for fruit; they’ll gladly let you sample, even point out the particularly delicious ones. Where there aren’t orchards, there are pine trees. So you see that this place is very green!
Also you understand that apples, apricots, peaches, plums and fruit in general is the cash crop and means of livelihood over here. And it has brought prosperity and wealth to the people of this village. So much so that many guest houses are sprouting up here.
It is beautiful to see how the whole ecosystem comes together for this lifestyle to flourish. The fertile slopes of the Himalayas fed by glacial streams channeled through the fields; the birds and bees pollinating the trees; the lizards and rodents watching over the insects; the livestock putting in hard work; the human beings with their organization; the worms and microbes replenishing the soil; all of it to produce the fruits of labor, quite literally.
We came across a large boiling vat throwing off fruity aroma by the bucketful. Upon enquiry we were told that a local liquor ‘Arra’ was being made. It is brewed with Chulli (local name for apricot), apple and some local herbs. The mixture is fermented in earthen pots for a few days and then put to boil. It is a proper distillation process where the steam coming out of the vat is directed in to another vessel via a pipe. When cooled, it has a clear water-like color and texture. And it’s available at the village market for cheap.
Enjoy the goodness!