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

kalpa hotels

Sangla Valley rooms
Jan16

Sangla Valley is located in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is supposed to be one of the most beautiful valleys in the country. In Tibetan, the term Sangala means “pass of light” which refers to the valley receiving sunlight during the day. To get here, tourists must make their way to either Delhi or Chandigarh. From Delhi, Sangla Valley is more than 500kms away. From Chandigarh, it is around 350kms. Whichever city you choose to make your way to Sangla, you will have to pass through Shimla. From Shimla it is another 6-8 hours away. Visitors were prohibited to enter this region before because it was situated close to the Tibetan border; 25 years on and this valley has been explored by many enthusiasts. Spread over an area of over 40kms, it’s a magnificent sight to behold. Snow clad mountains surround you and you get to see the Kinner Kailash peak. The Baspa River flows through the valley and that is why it is also known as the Baspa Valley.

Sangla Valley

Things to do in Sangla Valley

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

There is a monastery close by which you can visit.

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

As mentioned there is accommodation available at the many camps here in Sangla. For places to stay in Sangla and other surrounding areas you can book our hotels at best price.


To get to Sangla one can hire cabs or take a bus from Chandigarh, Delhi or Shimla. The best time ot visit is between March and October. The other months are when Sangla receives heavy snowfall. Also, during the rainy season, one needs to be careful because sometimes this region has cloudbursts which result in extremely heavy rainfall. However, this only happens occasionally.

ref: india.com

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