Sep13

Sangla Valley is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful valleys in the country which is why it makes a popular destination among tourists. Set on the banks of Baspa River, one can enjoy the exceptional views of the Himalayas from the valley. The scenic villages of Sangla let you experience the simplistic lifestyle of Kinnaur.

Sangla is where Rupin Pass trek ends. Chitkul, another scenic village near Sangla is where Borasu Pass Trek ends. Therefore, to make the best of your time, here are all the places you can visit in Sangla & Chitkul.

Kamru Fort

Kamru Fort

Located in the picturesque Solang Valley, Kamru Fort is a portal to a bygone area. The unique 3-storey wooden fort is a 15th-century architectural marvel. The fort has now been developed into a temple dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya. The idol of the goddess is placed on the third floor and is said to have been brought from Guwahati. The temple has a huge religious importance among the locals.

Bering Nag Temple

One of its kind, Bering Nag Temple holds a religious importance among people. The temple is dedicated to Lord Jagas, a form of Lord Shiva. It is constructed with wood and can be considered as an architectural marvel from olden times. Every year in months of August and September, Phulaich Fair is celebrated in the temple which makes it all more interesting attraction. It is 2 km from Sangla Village.

Chitkul Village

Chitkul Fort

Chitkul is a small hamlet in this region of Himachal Pradesh. The interesting fact about this village is that it is the last inhabited village near Indo-Tibetan border. The beauty and charm of this village are no less than a fairyland. It is located 20 km from Sangla. There is even a temple of a local goddess, Chitkul Maathi, which holds huge importance for people from Kinnaur district. This village experiences heavy snowfall in winters.

Baspa River

Sangla Valley is inhabited on the side of mighty Baspa River. The river is surrounded by the gigantic Himalayan ranges. The views around the banks of the river are to die for. One can find a variety of fish in the freshwater of the river. There are even baskets hanging above the river which are used as a mode of river crossing by the villagers. Have a little ‘you-time’ sitting by the side of the beautiful river contemplating about life.

Tibetan Wood Carving Centre

In case you are looking for a souvenir to take back from your trek, Tibetan Wood Carving Centre is the place to be. You will find object made from wood with intricate carvings in Tibetan Style. There is a display of an array of beautiful objects that are also available for sale. The center is located on the outskirts of Sangla near the Saffron Farm. It is one of the popular sightseeing places in Sangla.

Batseri

Batseri is another hamlet in this region which is famous for its scenic beauty and local handicrafts. The village is located 8 km from Sangla. What makes it a must-visit are the Himachali shawls and Kinnauri caps. Trout Farming is also prevalent in this region which is not to be missed. Also, get pine nuts and chilgoza from the village.

Brelengi Gompa

When you are in Himachal, you ought to visit the monasteries here. Brelengi gompa is a beautiful monastery near Sangla that you can visit. It was established in 1922 by the Mahabodhi Society to perform the Kalachakra ceremony. There is even a 10 m high statue of Lord Buddha near the monastery. A lot of people visit this fine Buddhist monastery to seek peace and solace.

ref: bikatadventures.com

kalpa hotels

Time to Visit Kinnaur
Sep06

This article will help you understand pros and cons of visiting Kinnaur Valley in different seasons and also help you opt for the right time to travel. In general, the roads to Kinnaur Valley remains open all around the year barring few days of heavy snowfall on Hindustan Tibet Highway, especially near Narkanda. There is no high mountain pass that falls on the Hindustan Tibet Road, so even in winters, there isn’t much issue about closing the road. However, there are certain factors that should be kept in mind depending on the month you plan to visit Kinnaur Valley.

You can travel to Kinnaur Valley by taking the route from Delhi / Chandigarh to Solan – Shimla and then further towards Narkanda – Rampur and enter Kinnaur Valley. Alternatively, you can travel from Solan – Chail – Kufri – Narkanda route as well to reach Kinnaur Valley. The first major attraction that falls on the route to Kinnaur Valley is Sarahan village, just about 16 KMs diversion from Jeori after you enter Kinnaur dwar. Some people will travel directly to Kalpa or Sangla from Shimla / Narkanda and then while coming back they will stay at Sarahan. And if you are traveling further towards Spiti Valley to visit Kaza – Tabo, and exit from Kaza – Kunzum Pass – Manali road, then it is much better to halt at Sarahan for a night. However, the road from Kaza to Manali over Kunzum Pass remains closed for about 6 months in winters. Hence, people traveling to Spiti Valley in winters will have to go & come back from Kinnaur Valley side only as there is no other choice. Sarahan is just the start of Kinnaur while there are some other interesting places in Kinnaur Valley as well such as Kalpa, Sangla, Chitkul, Nako and many unknown yet extremely beautiful villages. I will talk about these beautiful villages of Kinnaur Valley in some separate dedicated articles on them.

Best Time to Visit Kinnaur Valley

In the remaining part of this article, let’s check in detail that how the whole year looks like as a good time to visit Kinnaur Valley. After reading the article, you can evaluate which month or period shall be best for you to travel to Kinnaur Valley.

March to April, is the time period when snow melts and flowers in apple orchards bloom in the spring season. Perfect time to see snow-laden peaks of Kinnaur region and enjoy the colors of the beautiful landscapes. The road to Chitkul also opens by the second week of March and the rivers emit some beautiful colors of water too. You can even hike around to get to snow and play with it especially in March. The nights and early morning are a bit cold and rest of the day is cool to warm. Fewer tourists also visit Kinnaur Valley before May and hence, very nice time to travel to Kinnaur Valley.

However, keep in mind that in March – April the snow melts, so road does gets blocked often and are in not so good conditions. Also, expect slush on roads and occasional rainfall/snowfall too.

May to Mid – July, is the peak season for Kinnaur Valley and Spiti Valley. The road from Manali to Kaza also opens by that time, so a lot of people come down as well from that route. Mostly all the link roads to various sightseeing places or remote villages in Spiti Valley are open during this period and you can plan your visit. It is the time when holidays are in school and HEAT is beating the humans in North Indian cities. People just travel to get the cool air and refreshment from the summers. You can really enjoy and camp along the rivers in Sangla / Baspa Valley or around Chitkul (Read more about Baspa Valley at the wiki link here). If you are traveling further to Spiti Valley then I will suggest you follow our golden principle of “Leave Early, Sleep Early” very strictly to avoid heavy water flow in water crossings.

In the recent past, June appears to have good pre-monsoon showers in Kinnaur Valley and not to forget the recent (June 2013) tragic flash floods in Kinnaur district. So, the weather is somehow becoming unpredictable nowadays and hence, always better to check weather updates before embarking on the journey. In any case, this period is considered as one of the better times to travel to Kinnaur Valley.

Mid – July to August, is the time when the monsoon is in full flurry in Kinnaur Valley and lower Himachal region. Please DO NOTE that Kinnaur Valley is not a place to be in monsoons due to its fragile mountains and history of massive landslides. In this period, roads are almost in a bad state as compared to the rest of the year in Kinnaur Valley. If you are traveling to Spiti Valley, keep in mind that Spiti Valley falls under Trans Himalayan region which is generally rain shadowed. However, in recent past, even Spiti Valley gets frequent drizzles and overcast skies. In my opinion, generally, this time shall be avoided, if possible. If still, you want to embark on the journey to Kinnaur Valley in monsoon time then you should have enough number of buffer days in hand to face intermittent delays or even cancellation of the trip.

Around August, even Apple season starts too in lower Himachal and Kinnaur. So, crop transportation creates a good amount of traffic jams owing to a high number of trucks that ply on Kinnaur Valley route to transport the apple crop. If you happen to be there, then do take one or two cartons of golden apples or red apples from Kinnaur Valley.

September to November, is the time which is my favourite especially late September/October when the fall or autumn season is at its peak. The colors of the valley are surreal and blooming with oranges leaves on the trees enhancing the beauty of magnificent backdrops by many levels. The aqua colors of water in the river just add jewels to the pristine beauty of Kinnaur Valley. The temperatures become warm in the day time with cool to cold nights. So, carrying woolens clothes and light jackets is highly recommended. If you are going further to Spiti valley, then you can also get your hands on super delicious Spiti Apples around Tabo or Hurling and even in Kaza at the house of locals. DO NOT miss to taste them or buy them if possible, I am sure you would not have tasted such an apple before.

The roads are in the best conditions as compared to rest of the season with minimal roadblocks. However, if you are a snow lover then this is not the time for you as most of the snow melts away from the peaks by this time of the year.

December to February, is when winter starts to set into Kinnaur Valley. The road to Chitkul closes down for 4 months due to heavy snowfall and even at times, the road to Sangla gets closed for a prolonged period. Kalpa is the best place to enjoy winter in Kinnaur Valley. If you plan to visit higher Kinnaur Valley like Nako, Hangrang and further then while traveling you need to go through lots of hardships of ice on the roads, lack of electricity, extreme winter conditions with sub-zero temperatures. Also, only basic facilities and food will be available. Sometimes you need to use boiled water in hotels as even pipes tend to freeze, so running water in toilet becomes difficult to get. A lot has already been discussed about this time period in the article on visiting Kinnaur Valley in winters.

If you need modest adventure, have some buffer days in hand and loves to enjoy snow/snowfall in abundance then Kinnaur Valley is a less risky option than more harsh & unforgiving Spiti Valley in winters.

ref: devilonwheels.com

kalpa hotels

Aug23

1. Camping – Stay at the many camps that are situated on the Baspa River banks. Camps such as Banjara, Kinner, Igloo Nature, Baikunth Adventure Camp, and the Sangla Valley camps offer tent and cottage accommodation. The camps itself will organize various adventure activities for you.


2.
Walks – Enjoy undisturbed walks across the valley where one gets to admire the plethora of flora and fauna including orchards, cedar trees, and fir trees to name a few. These walks can be done in a day.

3. Adventure activities such as rappelling, rock climbing, river crossing are provided by the camps.

4. Treks are a good option if one wants to cover the valley and the surrounding areas. One can get to see the beautiful Kinner Kailash peak up-close during the trek. A trek one should attempt is the Rakcham trek. There is a glacier trek which will take you to the snowy regions of the mountains.

5. Opt for a yoga retreat. There are some camps and tour operators who organize yoga retreats. What better way to do your yoga when surrounded by gorgeous mountain views.

6. For those who love angling, the Baspa River is renowned for their trout. The river has crystal clear waters and one can easily spot the trout. For those who do not want to indulge in angling, then gazing at the beautiful shoals of trout is a great experience.

7. There is a monastery close by which you can visit.

8. The Kamru Fort is over 800 years old. It houses the famous Kamakshi Devi Temple.

9. The Bering Nag Temple is dedicated to the snake of Lord Shiva.

10. A beautiful Tibetan wood carving centre has exceptionally beautiful carvings of different things.

11. The Fulaich Fair is held every year between August and September. It is a festival of flowers. There is much fanfare involved including traditional dances and songs. The Kinnauris wear their traditional costumes and perform certain rituals for their departed loved ones.

12. Sangla meadow is a pretty spot that offers views of the Kinner Kailash.


13.
There is a trout farm which has been created by the Ministry of Fisheries. Here, one gets to observer the beautiful trout floating in huge tubs.

14. There is a saffron farm located on the outskirts of the town.

15. Visit nearby places such as Chitkul which is the last town on the Indian border, after which the Tibetan border begins. Also visit Batseri, Karchem, & Kalpa, all of which are located close to Sangla.

16. A trip to the Baspa Dam Reservoir is a must as it offers beautiful views of the placid waters of the river.

17. Try the apples that are grown here. They are extremely sweet and juicy. Visit the Sangla Market and buy local spices and if you can find it then try to buy some of the traditional clothes. Taste some of the local food here. Since it a tiny town, the shopping and facilities are very basic.

ref: india.com

kalpa hotels

Sangla Valley
Mar20

High up in Himalayan country, price crowned with lofty peaks in Kinnaur lies Sangla, one of the most picturesque valleys of Himachal.

It originates around the Chung Sakhago pass, sick on the border with Tibet. The Baspa river has carved out this beautiful 95 kilometer long valley stretch, before converging into the Sutlej river. According to local legends Baspa is referred to as a brother of the Sutlej.

Among its scenic settings lie sprinkled habitations of the noble tribes. These tribals hold onto age-old pagan Hindu Buddhist beliefs, worshiping the peaks around. They believe that the gods reside in them. Sangla happens to be the main village in this valley.

To reach Sangla one needs to travel on the highway, beyond Shimla, past the hill station of Narkanda. You then need to descend into the Sutlej river valley. After negotiating the deep gorge beyond Rampur one reaches Karcham, which marks the confluence of Sutlej with Baspa.

Negotiating hairpin bends hanging dangerously over cliffs in the steep gradient, the 17 kilometer diverging road from Karcham into Sangla valley, with the Baspa roaring several thousand feet below is something of a shock. This road is not for those with a weak heart or unsteady hands on the wheel.

Chitkul

Beyond Sangla village, the valley opens up. Chitkul with its lonely ambience happens to be the last inhabited village in the valley. In sharp contrast to the rugged mountains around, the flora in the valley is lush. Well chiseled terraced fields with fruit laden orchards, forests of oak, cedar, blue pine, alpine shrub and pastures, amidst snow covered perennial peaks conjures up an image of a Shangri-La. The rich pools of trout fish in the icy cold waters of Baspa will seduce any angler. As if in a trance you will choose to forget the stressful and ordinary life that you lead otherwise.

Home to a rich cultural life, the people in the valley are simple and hospitable. Despite inroads of alien influences they retain much of their traditional dress, music and dance. Farmers still till the land with devotion, and shepherds in search of greener pastures cross high mountain passes with their flock of sheep. The ancient traditions of wool-weaving employs many, as Kinnauri shawls and woollens are much sought after.

Quaint little houses, temples, gompas and chortems (Buddhist temples and shrines) dot the countryside from Karcham to Chitkul. The pastoral villages with ancient folklores beckon visitors. Some villages worth a visit include Sangla, Rakchham, Kamru and Chitkul.

Sangla village, in the shadow of the mighty Raldang peak of the greater Himalaya range, is built on a slope with roofs of the houses rising one above the other. This village has some of the most beautifully carved wooden temples in the valley. These ancient monuments are decorated with prized horns of Ibex, Bharal and other animals that have been hunted or sacrificed over the centuries.

Kamru village is a brief stop away from Sangla. The village is compact and cozy. Some of the finest specimens of Kinnauri architecture and craftsmanship on wood adorn the Badri Nath, Bhimakali and Buddhist temples of Kamru.

In a commanding position, on the protuberance of a hill just above the village stands the famous five-storied old hill fort of Kamru. The erstwhile royal family of Bushair estate traces its lineage to this house. The enthronement ceremony of these former rulers is still said to be preformed at this ancient fort. Built of dressed stones, bound at small intervals with wooden rafters, the fort is a lofty square structure. A room in the fort houses an idol of Kamrakh or Kamakhya Devi.

At the western extremity of a glen in the valley is the striking village of Rakchham. From its base a huge mass of bare rocks, which rise abruptly in numerous black spires above the village, give it a dramatic setting.

The isolation of Chitkul is haunting. The over thousand year old Pramukh Buddha statue, housed in a Buddhist temple here, is a masterpiece of metal craft. Beyond Chitkul lies the vast rarefied Himalayan expanse which pilgrims out on a mount Kinner Kailash Parikrama sometimes trek.

Fast Facts

The 226 kilometers from Shimla to Sangla is a ten-hour journey by road.

Important Distances

Delhi – Shimla by road 380 Km
Shimla – Rampur 131 Km
Rampur – Karcham (1899M) 76 Km
Karcham – Sangla (2621M) 18 Km
Sangla – Chitkul (3435M) 28 Km
Rampur – Sangla 94 Km

ref: theoktravel.com

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Undiscovered Sangla Valley
Mar06

This summer explore the best kept secret of Himachal Pradesh. The colourful summer and the snowy mountains in this part of the world will surely make your trip a memorable one, a vacation that will make you feel rejuvenated and refreshed for sure.

We have handpicked this region in the lap of beautiful Himalayas. Sangla is surrounded by towering mountains on all sides, with apple orchards all around , it is situated on the banks of the Baspa River. A comfortable stay with the view of snow covered Himalayan peaks makes this destination a unique one. Experience the warm hospitality and savour the unparalleled beauty of this region on this Tour. The evenings will also be special as they will be spent besides the crisp crackling of a bonfire.

This vacation will surely be “the change” you needed from your regular rushed routines. You’ll be back with loads of memories and a new you! So what are you waiting for? Get to explore the unknown secret of Himachal.

Highlights

  • Stay in exclusive and cozy resorts that offer unsurpassed views and hospitality.
  • Get to see breathtaking vistas of Kinnaur.
  • Visit the last town on the old Indo-Tibetan trade route; Nagasthi and get to see the Nagasthi outpost.
  • Hike to Hatu Peak and visit the Bhimakali temple, which is one of the Shakti Peethas.
  • Enjoy a glacial walk at Rakcham
  • Explore Shimla, its beautiful architecture and markets.

Itinerary

Day 1 : Kalka to Shimla

Pick up from kalka railway station to hotel at shimla. o/n at shimla hotel.

Day 2 : Shimla to Sarahan

Shimla to Sarahan on the way covering kufri, fagu,. Narkanda, rampur. O/n at sarahan hotel.

Day 3 : Sangla Valley, Kamroo Fort and Rakcham

Drive to sangla valley. Afternoon visit kamroo fort drive to rakcham. o/n at hotel rupin river view.

Day 4 : Chitkul

After b/fast drive to chitkul the last village of the valley. Evening back to same hotel.

Day 5 : Kalpa

Drive to kalpa. O/n at rolling rang resort / royal voyages kalpa.

Day 6 : Rogi and Chini Village

Visit rogi and chini village. O/n at same hotel kalpa.

Day 7 : Rampur / Narkanda

Drive back to Rampur / Narkanda. o/n hotel.

Day 8 : Back to Kalka

Drive back to kalka to board train

ref: infinitejourneys.in & himalayadiscovery.com

kalpa hotels

Kinnaur Valley
Feb24

Continuing on towards laying the foundation of comprehensive Travel Guide for Spiti Valley and as discussed in the last article Hindustan Tibet Highway, first let’s cover the lower Kinnaur Valley in depth before going further towards upper Kinnaur Valley and Spiti Valley. The lower part of Kinnaur Valley is also very much visited by many people during summer time due to ease of accessibility from Shimla/Delhi/Chandigarh and less crowd or offbeat location. By lower Kinnaur, I mean that I will be covering Kalpa, Sangla Valley and Chitkul in this travel guide and may be upper parts like Nako, Chango, Ropa, Hangrang can be covered in time to come, if required.

Kinnaur Valley is one of the 12 districts in Himachal Pradesh which is known for its apples & orchards, beautiful small hamlets, beautiful meadows surrounded with thick dense woods and not to forget the ever adventurous roads. One of the road to Sangla Valley was also got popularly featured by the name Ledge in Discovery Channel as Deadliest Roads in the World … This adds just the right charm of adventure in the trip. In winters, the presence of snow makes it just a jaw-dropping experience to be in Kinnaur Valley where the major attractions is the breathtaking view of Kinner Kailash, a mountain sacred to Hindus, close to the Tibetan border. The beautiful meadows in Sangla or Baspa Valley and Chitkul which is considered the last village in India where one can reach from Kinnaur side, are also covered commonly on a trip to this part of Himalayas.

Location

Kinnaur Valley is located in the Northeast corner of Himachal Pradesh about 235 KMs from state capital, Shimla.

Altitude

Kinnaur Valley has a mountainous area, ranging in altitude from 2,320 Mtrs to 6,816 Mtrs (7,610 ft to 22,362 ft) where Kalpa is located at an altitude of 2,960 Mtrs (9,710 ft) and Sangla Valley is located at an altitude of 2,696 Mtrs (8,900 ft). Chitkul is the highest in the lot at an altitude of about 3,450 Mtrs (11,320 ft).

Season for Traveling to Kinnaur Valley

You can visit this beautiful valley throughout major part of the year but in winters things get very tough and heavy snowfall makes it inaccessible sometimes too. But, apart from peak winters Kinnaur Valley including Kalpa and Sangla Valley can be visited rest of the year without much fuss. It is important to note that monsoon is not the right time to be in Kinnaur Valley due to common landslides and worse roads, so in any case avoid monsoons My favorite time is Autumn or Fall when monsoon just resides away and you might still see some apple orchards loaded with apples with clear skies in the background. Also, Chitkul becomes inaccessible at the time of peak winters, so please avoid going there in late winters without knowing the weather conditions. One snowfall can trap you for months in Chitkul :)… In case you are going in Apple Season, that is around Late July or August in Kinnaur Valley then be ready for massive mess of trucks traffic too along with rains.

How to Reach Kinnaur Valley

Below is the most general route to Kinnaur Valley from Delhi that most people usually follow. You can reach Kinnaur on the second day with overnight halt at Narkanda or anywhere far from Shimla or Chail. The route to Kinnaur Valley from Delhi along with distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

Delhi – Shimla (360 KMs) – Narkanda (420 KMs) – Rampur (488 KMs) – Karcham (566 KMs) – Reckong Peo (587 KMs) – Kalpa (595 KMs)

Road from Karcham bifurcates towards Sangla Valley and Chitkul as: Karcham (566 KMs) – Sangla (582 KMs) – Rakcham (596 KMs) – Chitkul (610 KMs)

ref: devilonwheels.com

kalpa hotels

Sangla Chitkul Tour
Feb13

How to reach Sangla and Chitkul?

Buses mostly leave from either Recong Peo or Rampur to Sangla and Chitkul. If you are going via Shimla, you will reach Rampur first.
In case you do NOT get a direct bus, reach Karcham from Rampur on the Hindustan Tibet highway. After that there is a diversion (while the main road goes on to Recong Peo and Kalpa). Wait there for connecting buses to Sangla and beyond. It is not more than 20 kms from that point to Sangla.

What about Road Conditions in Kinnaur?

The roads will not be in a very good shape once you enter Kinnaur. Especially the stretch just between Tapri to Karcham is atrocious, due to some ongoing construction of the Wangtu-Karcham hydroelectric project. The 80 km from Rampur to Karcham takes more than 5 hours.

Where to stay?

There are enough budget hotels in the INR 500-600 range in Sangla and Chitkul. You can also find some good nature camps located amidst apple orchards if your budget is higher.

Budget hotels offer very basic services.

You can also book our hotels for your memorable stay at Sangla.

What are the bus timings for Chitkul?

Buses keep going towards Chitkul in regular intervals. The same buses also come back in half an hour. So, the last bus comes back at around 4 pm and you need to catch it if you are not spending a night there.

What or where is Rakcham?

It is a small village midway to Chitkul. You can find hotles here too. It is a good idea to trek to Rakcham in the morning for good views en route instead of waiting for the bus. You can catch a Chitkul bound bust from Rakcham at around 1 pm and move ahead.
What is the best season for Sangla?

Post monsoon season in September and October offer the best colors. But it is also good during spring. Winter is too cold and monsoon is too risky.

Where to see the Apple Orchards?

Don’t worry… you will start seeing the Apple orchards from the buses itself. Once you reach Sangla, you can take a walk around to locate more of the same.

ref: travellingslacker.com

kalpa hotels

Sangla Valley
Feb07

Stunningly beautiful throughout the year, the road to Sangla is certainly paved with good intentions. Loose rocky terrain makes most of the drive to Sangla seem like an adventure in itself with gorgeous apple orchards and ‘hanging’ villages on the other side of the gorge. The valley’s largest inhabited settlement, Sangla has interesting Tibetian eateries and an ATM, but a taste of Sangla’s renowned potatoes is a must (the area grows some of the best-quality potatoes in the world).

There are fantastic hiking opportunities right up to the last village of Chitkul at the Indo-Tibetan border. A short walk away is the fascinating Kamru Fort with the Kamakhya Devi Shrine. A perfect blend of history and tradition, old forts and ancient Tibetan wood carving make for much of the architecture here. Tourism is, however, an integral source of income for people here in the valley and warm welcomes are part of the charming culture of these lovely Kinnauri-speaking locals.

Places to see in Sangla

Basteri

Get to this quaint village on the other side of the Baspa River with an easy hike from Sangla, across a small bridge that connects the village to the larger valley. Basteri village is the stuff old fiction arose from, old buildings in wood and stone, some refurbished but most crumbling, just 8 km from Sangla. Complete with an ancient wooden temple, partially burnt but rebuilt through the years, with the Kinner Kailash peak looming large overhead. Basteri has some interesting local handicrafts and shawls you might want to pick up before you leave.

Hike to Kamru Fort

Kamru Fort

Hike from over to Kamru Fort from Sangla, fortified by high peaks with the sparkling river for company.Built around the 15th century, Kamru is considered one of Himachal’s oldest forts. Made of wood, the fort’s is a perfect amalgamation of Indian and Tibetan architecture. Get closer for the idol of Kamakhya Devi (originally brought from Assam) as well as the 15th century shrine of Lord Badrinath.

Chitkul

Chitkul

Officially the last Indian village before the Tibet border, Chitkul is renowned for its natural beauty and quaint architecture. Spectacular views of the Baspa valley coupled with its quaint wooden houses make Chitkul the day-trip village to visit from Sangla. Renowned for its, rather expensive, potatoes, Chitkul is surrounded by lovely golden buckwheat that is covered with snow for a good 6 months (October to February). With a little over 600 inhabitants here, Chitkul has some very friendly inhabitants who are always happy to interact with visitors. Get to know a little more about life in this high-altitude border village – the culture, traditions, hardships and the simple joys that make it all worthwhile.

Wood Carving

A short trip to the outskirts of Sangla would lead you to the Tibetian Wood Carving Centre. Stop by for a visit before another intricate art form becomes history. Meet the last surviving masters of this dying tradition whose masters and forefathers installed and took care of most of the wooden temples in Himachal from Basteri and Manali to even Hatu. The fine precision of their intricate work and impeccable dedication leave you with imagines of a time when wood carving was the occupation of choice. Get a brief glimpse into their simple lifestyle and watch the making of these beautiful wooden structures. Leave with a little souvenir of this ancient art.

Best time to visit Sangla

March-June and September-December, the summer and monsoon months respectively are the best times to explore Sangla to satisfaction. Although the summers are hot with temperatures going up to 30 degrees, they are not scorching and monsoon rains aren’t as heavy as you’d expect. Winters, on the other hand, are capable of turning you into popsicle sticks with the lowest reading being -10!

Things to carry

Pack as light as possible given the amount of road travel involved here.

  • Cotton clothing for summer and a light jacket would work for when evenings get cooler. If you’re un[travel]ling in winter, warmer clothes complete with thick socks and warmer jackets. Carry your windcheater and umbrella if you’re here in the monsoons as well.
  • Sturdy walking shoes, mandatory if you’re hiking, make sense given the amount of walking involved here.
  • Sunscreen, especially if you’re going up to the higher reaches. Usual prescription medications.
  • Mobile and tablet electronic chargers.

ref: untravel.com

kalpa hotels

Places to visit in Chitkul
Jan31

“Chitkul – the name itself sounds like the twitter of birds”. Located in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, where the Indian roads come to an end and is the last inhabited village close to the Indo-Tibet border. Surrounded by tall deodar trees, this village is mostly covered with snow during.

The village is filled with small huts and houses made of wooden planks and number of Buddhist temples located in and around the village. This place can be best explored during the month of June. Tourists go for trekking the hilly areas near a place called. Chitkul is surrounded by fields of wild yellow plants and lush vegetation that provide the most refreshing experience to tourists who look or an escape from their busy lives. The culture of Chitkul is fascinating and captivating. Come and be mesmerized by the intoxicating culture of Chitkul.

1. Last Dhaba of India-Akhiri Dhaba

India ka Akhiri Dhaba

Situated on the banks of Baspa river in the Baspa valley lies the last dhaba of India near the Indo-Tibetian border in the Chitkul valley. It is located at a height of 3500 m and it serves delicious local cuisine and snacks for the hungry travelers.

There is a huge sign board put up near the Dhaba describing it as the last dhaba of India. The sign board says ‘Hindustan ka Akhiri Dhaba’, The food is tasty and the people are very friendly. Do visit this Dhaba when you are in Chitkul.

2. Rejoice at Baspa River Banks

Baspa Valley

One of the most scenic beauties of Himalayas is the Baspa Valley which is also called the Sangla valley. It is a 9 hour drive from Delhi. It experiences moderate climate during summers and cool climate during the winters. One of the most picturesque villages in the Himalayas can be found here. Rafting the Baspa River is a popular activity.

Baspa Valley is loaded with culture, history and nature. The valley is filled with dense oak and pine forests, which is the essence of the natural beauty of the valley. The valley is a good attraction for trekkers and campers. Tourists can enjoy crossing the river in a basket, which is a unique kind of ride here. April to October is regarded as the best time to visit Baspa River because the climate is mild and soothing. As compared to other rivers the Baspa is fairly turbulent and frequently changes its course. An outland ship fish species known as brown trout (salmo fario) is found in this river.

3. Mathi Temple, Chitkul

Mathi Temple

The Mathi Temple is dedicated to goddess Shri Mathi, who is the local goddess of the people of Chitkul. The beautiful temple consists of the goddess made up of walnut wood and covered with clothes and decorated by a tuft of the tail of yak. The temple is said to be about 500 years old.

This temple has three shrines, the main one said to have been built by a resident of Garhwal.The goddess is on square ark made up of walnut wood and covered with clothes and decorated by a tuft of the tail of yak.Two poles called bayanga.Then that are inserted and the Goddess is carried out at times. According to a local legend, the Devi undertook a long and arduous journey before settled in Chitkul village. When Mathi Devi finally settled in Chitkul, the village found great prosperity and she continues to be worshipped with great fanfare. Every year lots of people visit this temple.

4. Chitkul Fort

Chitkul Fort

Chitkul is the last inhabited village of India situated at a height of 3500 m, 24 km from Sangla near the Indo-Tibetian border. This village remains unaccessible during the winter and is covered in a blanket of snow all through the winter. The Chitkul fort looks like a watchtower. Covered in intricate wooden carvings the fort is one of the main attractions of this small village after the Chitkul temple complex.

5. Hydro flour mill in Chitkul

Hydro flour mill

Chitkul might be the last and highest human settlement on the old trade route but it has some pretty interesting places to see. One of them is the Hydro power flour mill which is used by the villagers who are very proud to have it. It has been created in a small settlement and hydro power is used to operate the flour mill.

ref: traveldglobe.com

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Sangla Valley
Jan24

Having heard so much about the beauty of the Baspa river and Sangla Valley, I had made sure to venture this side on my first trip to Spiti, back in 2011 or 2012 and again in the subsequent years. After having visited Ladakh & Spiti in the winters, I think 2017 will be the year when I visit Sangla Valley & Kinnaur in the snowy cold weather.

The drive till Karchham hadn’t even given me a whiff of an idea of the greenery that existed in this fabled valley. After traversing the NH-22 till Karchham (Also spelt Karcham), a road bifurcates for Sangla near the dam site.

First up came Sangla, the biggest town in Sangla Valley and also the administrative headquarters as far as work matters are concerned. It is an uninspiring town full of concrete buildings but was popular earlier because of limited accommodation options in the other villages of Rakcham & Chitkul.

Sangla

Sangla is 18 kms away from Karcham and the natural beauty of the valley in on full show after that. There is a big market at Sangla, a comfortable looking PWD rest house, a HPSEB Rest House and a few dhabas and restaurants.

The lush green valley with the Baspa river flowing below is the true delight of Sangla Valley. The road leads to Rakcham village, which was given the honour of a Modern Village in 2010 and the President’s prize was also bestowed upon it. Wooden houses appear very pretty in the landscape and a few newly built hotels are also visible. The distance of Sangla to Rakcham is only 12-13 kms and I hoped that the pretty road will never end.

The Baspa river ambles along a wooded valley past picture perfect villages surrounded by forests of deodhar, pine and birch. Pretty fields are flanked by snowy mountain peaks in the Sangla Valley. The road is quite adventurous and has been carved from a mountain and clings to a cliff for most of the journey.

Smooth peaks shone brightly in the sun at the end of a non-existant road. The most beautiful stretch of the Sangla to Chitkul road came between Rakcham to Chitkul where a waterfall flows on the road itself, surrounded by a gorgeous green forest and boulders spread intermittently. We made a stop instinctively and clicked some photographs. It was a memorable time spent in the love of nature.

There are lots of apple trees in entire Sangla Valley and among the crops grown are millet, potatoes, buckwheat etc. The pine nuts (chilgoza) of this area are quite famous for their high nutritive value. During April, Sangla Valley is a riot of colours of various blossoms and also during September when the crops are ready to be harvested, pink is a dominating colour in the fields (maybe due to the buckwheat crop).


The houses in Chitkul are all made out of wood and all seem to have notable carvings. There are influences of both Hinduism and Buddhism in the village. We visited a brilliantly carved temple and saw a few local Kinnauris wearing some flowers on their hats. The non-existant clouds of the afternoon had decided to come with a vengeance in the evening creating beautiful patterns in the sky.

There was a signboard with ‘Hindustan ka aakhri dhaba’ that was the first thing I noticed after entering Chitkul. My friends were looking for some maggi joint but the dhaba could not be found (ha ha). I also remember trying to buy my first Kinnauri hat in Chitkul, after having tried the same with a local in Kinnaur. We rushed towards the open green fields and clicked many photographs with the snowy peaks in the background.

The walk on Baspa river bed from the small hamlet of Batseri to Rakcham or Chitkul is a slightly longer hike but is absolutely worth it for the grand feeling of being among nature’s bounty. It also allows one to have a closer look at nature and the fields and apple orchards of Baspa Valley.

Chitkul

There were very few guest houses in Chitkul at the time of my first visit and I recollect seeing a few buildings to be constructed as hotels. After the next visit, I was quite surprised to see a major change in Chitkul when it had become a full fledged town catering to groups of tourists. I remember staying in a small guest house once in Chitkul where the rest of the tourists were from Israel and the villagers had learnt to make Shakshuka & Falafel!

Chitkul (at 3450m) is also popularly known as the last village on the India – China border, although the border is around 80 kms away. One is permitted to go to the ITBP check post that is around 3 kms from Chitkul and is an hour’s trek on narrow paths by the meandering Baspa river. It remains one of my best memories of spending time in this fairytale village. Indeed, it is only on walks where we are with our thoughts and time seems to stand still at that moment.

ref: travelshoebum.com

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