Sangla Valley view
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

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Places to visit in Chitkul-sangla
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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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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