A quaint town located in the Panchkula, Haryana, Kalka is named after Goddess Kali, one of the prominent Hindu deities. Located in the foothills of the enchanting Himalayas, it is the gateway to Himachal Pradesh. It lies between Shimla and Chandigarh and is famous for its Kalka-Shimla Railway Terminus. Surrounded by nature’s choicest elements, the town is perfect to spend some time relaxing and rejuvenating. The peace, serenity, and tranquility offered by Kalka help tired souls find a reprieve from stressful urban lives. Despite industrial development all around, this town has surprisingly remained largely unaffected by these changes. During Navratri, this place witnesses a heavy footfall owing to an increased influx of devotees reaching here to seek blessings from Goddess Kali at the famous Kali Temple. It is also famous for its toy train that plies between Kalka and Shimla. Plan a trip to Kalka, Haryana and enjoy a perfect blend of natural and scenic beauty with spiritual attractions.
Best Time to Visit Kalka
Kalka is an all-year round destination. Weather of this place stays moderate and pleasant, perfect for leisure travel. If looking for an ideal time to visit this place, plan a trip to Kalka in January when the weather conditions are ideal. In summers, the maximum temperature of this place touches as high as 48°C, which makes exploring the area and its attractions uncomfortable. In July and August, Kalka experiences frequent wet spells that makes the place all the more beautiful and appealing.
History of Kalka
Kalka in Haryana got its name from the ruling deity, Goddess Kali. The place has a lovely temple dedicated to Maa Kali and witnesses huge crowds during Navratri. It is believed that the temple was built by Pandavas. In 1843, the place was acquired by the East India Company from the princely state of Patiala. It was used as a depot and also a place to relax while on the way to Shimla. Later on, it was transferred to Shimla and then Ambala district. The major area of the town was developed by the erstwhile Rajput clan, who were referred to as Chaoudhary or Pundhir. Ruled by local zamindars, the area was under the rule of Maharana Patiala. It was taken away by the Britishers from Patiala rulers for rail development in the 1800s. It helped in rapid economic development of the area. In 1903, it opened as Kalka-Shimla railways. Today, it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city is well-connected with major cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Patiala, Ambala, Shimla, etc. Today, there is no dearth of Kalka tourist places worth visiting.
Places to Visit in Kalka
Kalka is a small town located close to the hilly region of the majestic Himalayas. The place is popular for its Goddess Kali temple and Kalka-Shimla Railways, which is one of the finest examples of engineering prowess. The place itself is known for its scenic beauty. Let us have a look at the best 10 places to visit in Kalka and make the trip worth remembering for a long time.
1. Kali or Kalki Mata Temple
Let us begin exploring this lovely destination from one of the oldest shrines located here, Maa Kali Temple. Located in Panchkula, Haryana, this shrine is believed to be the gateway to the eastern region of Himachal Pradesh. The major highlight of this temple is the impressive 6-ft tall statue of Goddess Kali. The inner walls of the temple are beautified with the figures of animals and birds, depicting the art and cultural heritage of this place in the medieval period. Just adjacent to the temple, there is a Gurdwara where a lot of Sikh devotees come to seek blessings of the Guru.
2. Morni Hills
It is one of the most scenic attractions in Kalka. Located 45 km from Chandigarh, it is nestled atop a hill at an altitude of 3,600 feet. Perfect for trekkers, hikers, and campers, the views from the top are simply breathtaking and arresting. Many people visit this area and enjoy it as a weekend getaway. Enjoy the rich biodiversity of the area and enjoy exploring its unique flora and fauna. Fast-moving Ghaggar River in the area adds to its beauty and charm. During monsoon season, this area comes alive with rich emerald green-coloured hills all around.
Also referred to as Yadavindra Gardens, Pinjore Gardens is a lovely place that helps you get closer to the virginal beauty of nature. Spread in a vast expanse of 100 acres, it is a 17th Century old historic garden. Landscaped in typical Mughal Garden style and was built by the Patiala Dynasty. The architectural style of this garden showcases the perfect blend of Mughal and Rajasthani style. Verdant greenery, lush landscapes, beautiful fountains, Hawa Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Rang Mahal, and more are some of its appealing features worth exploring.
Also known as Nek Chand Garden, the Rock Garden is another major attraction worth visiting and exploring in Kalka. There was a time when industrial waste from nearby industries was dumped into this area. The unmatchable creativity of Nek Chand transformed the look of this place, from a dumping ground to a beautiful garden made up of best out of waste items. Small items like caps of bottles, plastic bottles, metal bangles, etc were used to create animal and human shapes. Today, this rock garden draws a lot of tourists who love taking a stroll through this place.
5. Hanuman Temple
Also known as Manki Point, this place is the finest example of spectacular views, peace and quiet all around, and a sense of all-pervading peace. Located at an altitude of 6200 miles above sea level, it provides commanding views of the picturesque valleys and hills all around. Another attraction of this area is a beautiful Hanuman Temple in the form of a foot located on the top of the hill.
6. Sunset Point
Photography enthusiasts, nature lovers, and adventure buffs love visiting this place from where they can enjoy awe-inspiring views of the sun setting at the horizon. The peace and quiet of this area couples with its unexplored beauty leave the visitors awestruck. Nature and its magnificence can be enjoyed and experienced in its purest form.
7. Sukhna Lake
It is another one of the many natural gems that makes Kalka a stunningly beautiful destination. This man-made lake was created in 1958. When boating in this lake, people enjoy admiring the vast expanse of azure waters against the backdrop of verdant Shivalik range. There are a lot of fun-filled activities available for kids and families visiting this attraction. Just sitting on a bench and admiring beautiful views spread all around brings a sense of calm and peace.
8. Gurudwara Nada Sahib
This prominent Sikh religious site is located approximately 19 km from Kalka. This gurudwara holds immense spiritual, devotional, religious, and historical significance. Its location close to the gushing Ghaggar River makes it look more impressive. This gurudwara attracts devotees from Sikh and other communities who come here to seek blessings of God Almighty. The langar held at the gurdwara serves food for people of all castes and religions.
9. Cactus Garden
Sprawled in a vast area of seven acres, this garden, as the name suggests, showcases a diverse array of cactus varieties. It is the largest outdoor succulents and landscaped cacti garden in Asia. Here, nature lovers can enjoy exploring the massive collection of endangered species of Indian succulents and cacti. Botanists and plant lovers enjoy visiting this garden.
10. Mata Mansi Devi
An ancient temple spread over a 100-acres area, Mata Mansa Devi temple is dedicated to Goddess Shakti. This temple holds a lot of significance for Hindu devotees who visit the temple in large numbers to seek blessings of the deity. During Navratri, the temple witnesses a heavy footfall. A visit to this place brings a sense of immense peace and solace to the tired souls.
How To Reach Kalka
Kalka is a popular destination that attracts a large number of visitors for leisure, pleasure, and spiritual purposes. It is well-connected and can be accessed using diverse modes of transport. Here are the details of how to reach Kalka using different modes of transport!
The closest airport to Kalka Valley is Chandigarh Airport. It is well-connected with flights from major cities of India. Hire a cab or a taxi to Kalka which is about 38.7 km from the airport.
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The Kalka railway station is the nearest railway station to reach this awe-inspiring destination. The rail head is well connected to all major cities of India and serves many railways from different states. After deboarding, take a cab or a taxi to reach Kalka.
Kalka is well connected to nearby tourist attractions in Haryana and hill stations near Kalka via well-maintained highways and road networks. Regular buses ply to and fro between all cities in the state. You can hire a cab according to budget and convenience.
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Frequently Asked Questions Related to Kalka
Ques 1. What makes Kalka popular?
Ans 1. Kalka is famous for its scenic and picturesque views and Goddess Kali temple after which it has been named.
Ques 2. What is the best time to visit Kalka?
Ans 2. Although Kalka is a year-round place, the ideal time to visit this amazing destination is in January. This time of the year, Kalka experiences moderate climate and pleasant weather.
Ques 3. What is the distance between Shimla and Kalka and what is the best way to visit Shimla from Kalka?
Ans 3. The distance between Shimla and Kalka is approximately 94 km and the toy train, also referred to as the Shivalik Express is the best way to reach Shimla from Kalka.
Ques 4. Why is Maa Kali Temple in Kalka famous?
Ans 4. Located in Panchkula, Haryana, this shrine of Goddess Kali is believed to be the gateway to the eastern region of Himachal Pradesh. The major highlight of this temple is the impressive 6-ft tall statue of Goddess Kali. The inner walls of the temple are beautified with the figures of animals and birds, depicting the art and cultural heritage of this place in the medieval period.
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