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Himalayandiaries

Kinnaur

KINNAUR

The mystical land of beautiful picturesque valleys and vibrant culture. Known for its lush green pine nut forests, vast apple plantations, thrill creating roads and high snow capped mountains, Kinnaur is like a fairy tale destination for travellers from all over the world. The contrast in landscape varies as you travel along , from the lush green Sangla valley to the desolate yellow golden Hangrang Valley. The altitude here ranges from 2200 metres to 6800 metres. Due to this elevation this place has a pleasant climate when rest of the country has soaring temperatures. It has very cold winter months especially from October end till last weeks of April. The lower part comprising of the Sutlej and the Baspa valleys receive monsoon rains. The upper region is mostly in the rain shadow and is arid like the neighbouring Spiti and Tibet.

Kinnaur is famous for its Handicrafts and Handlooms especially Pasmina products. There is trademark Kinnaur shawl, which is famous worldwide. The place has ample amount of dry fruits like Chulli (Dried Apricots), Chilgoza( Pine nuts), Kagazi Almond and walnuts to name a few. Make sure to try some of these exotic varieties on your stay here.


There are many activities for a true adventure seeker here. This region has some amazing mountaineering and trekking routes. There are a few 6000 metres plus peaks for climbing like Manerang and Leo Purgyal. There are numerous treks here which go as far as the valleys of Uttrakhand. you can make some amazing road trips here which go along the Baspa, Sutlej and Spiti valleys. 

The people are simple hardworking and friendly. The men and women wear a green Bushari cap, which can be seen everywhere. Kinnaur has very rich and vibrant culture and traditions. You mostly will find people in their traditional attires. If you ever get lucky to witness any Kinnauri ceremony you are one lucky person. If you can handle it try a few glasses of Angoori a local drink made out of grapes.

PERMITS FOR FORIEGNERS

Foreign nationals need a permit to visit this place.

Foreign Nationals visiting the protected areas of Spiti Valley and Kinnaur Valley are required to get the inner line permits or ILP. Domestic (Indian) tourist do not require any permits. If you are Indian, then just carry a valid photo ID proof of your nationality to be on safe side.The permit is valid for a period of 2 weeks. After you get the permits, make 5-6 copies of it as you will be required to submit them at police checkposts mainly at Jangi and Sumdo.There are check points at Akpa and Sumdoo.

The permits are available at
M.H.A. Govt of Himachal Pradesh
Commissioner Tourism, Himachal Pradesh
S.D.M. Recong Peo.

KALPA (2580 m)

Kalpa Village

Situated at an elevation of 2759 metres, 260 kms from Shimla. It is famous for the majestic view it offers of the snow clad mountains, the most prominent of them being the famous kinner kailash peak.This peak is said to be the winter abode of Lord Shiva. It is a spectacular view early in the morning as the sun touches the snowy peaks with crimson and gold light. As the day progresses the light of the sun falls on the peak from different angles and the colour of the peak keeps changing. Kalpa has a landscape full of apple plantations surrounded by forest of Pine, Deodar and Pine Nuts. This place is a perfect destination for travellers looking for spending some time in wilderness and solitude. There are a lot of short hikes and walks here going though apple trees and lush green forests.

RECONG PEO ( 2670 m)

Altitude 2670 mts. Situated 245 kms from Shimla, 15 kms short of Kalpa. This is the District Headquaters  of Kinnaur. There is always a hustle bustle of visitors here, because this place has ample accommodation catering to different budget groups. Reckong Peo has a big market which is a main shopping point for the nearby villages. There is a  circuit house, A P.W.D Rest house, and a forest Rest house here.   Permits for foreigners can be arranged here at the D.C. Office. . This palce also acts as a base for further journeys up the Sutlej and spiti valleys.

Kothi

This is an ancient village in kalpa tehsil. It is also known as Koshtampi. There is Chandika temple here dedicated to Goddess Shuwang. There is a big ark, where there is a image in gold.

SANGLA ( 2621 m)

Altitude 2621 mts. Sangla is 220 kms from Shimla. From a place Karcham ,you have to follow the Baspa valley. It is 17 kms from Karcham. It is situated on the right bank of Baspa. There is a view of the village Kamru, and Raldang peaks from here. The forest scenery all around and eternal snow peaks are picturesque. Sangla is the first and the biggest of the villages in the Baspa valley. Hotel and tented accommodation is available here.

RAKCHUM ( 3050 m)

Rakchum

One of those villages which just comes out from a fairy tale. It is indeed a place where heaven meets earth. It has enchanting landscapes which cast a mersmerising spell on you. Raksham is 10 kms ahead of Sangla. Sangla has over the years become more commercialised and overcrowded. Rackchum offers a traveler with the element of ultimate vibrant charm of the mountains. The village is located on the base of the majestic Shoshilla peak. The mountains above the village are rocky and steep and are mostly have  a cover  of snow and mist. The mountains across the river are covered with lush green forests, and there are snow feild areas in between. the tops of the mountains are snow covered almost all through the year. There are varoius escapades from Rakchum into the mountains and the forests, the best being a short walk across the river toward Chitkul. The landscape at Rakchum is different from all Kinnaur, as it is a perfect combination of Huge white boulders blending with the lush green forests. In the recent yeras this place has become a popular destination for mountaineers, trekkers, movie makers and leisure seekers from all over the world. There is something for every one here, you can just venture into the forests for short walks along the river or relax at a hotel gazing at the wonderful mountains.

Rakchum has a few staying options, and there’s one hotel near the gate when you are about to enter the village, with athe view of the river by the name of Rupin view. The primary occupation of the people here is apple cultivation. There are also trees of Apricots and Almonds. The valley is also known for its cultivation of Organic Buck wheat locally known as Ogra. If you happen to find some  can get some in the market, do carry it home with you, as it has exellent nutritional and medicinal qualities.

 

CHITKUL (3450 m)

view from Chitkul

 

A village where the Road virtually ends. Located at an altitude of 3450 metres on the right bank of the Baspa valley. This is the last inhabited village on the Indo Tibetan border. This place is 25 km uphill from Sangla, and 10 kms from Rackchum. Chitkul is a place out of a fairy tale. There are fields of peas and potatoes, a blue gushing river nearby, The hills towards the left bank have lush green forest, with their tops being white with snow cover. The Village is clustered and small. Mostly the houses are made of locally sourced material like mud, wood and stones and have their roofs made of slate. Above the village lie high cliffy mountains with steep gradient.

The landscape beyond the village spreads far and wide. You can gaze into the high mountain summits, which are always covered with snow. The melts of these mountains are the source of River Baspa. You have to walk beyond the village as there is no road. The walk along the River is an amazing experience. The bluish white Baspa flows in its full fury and makes a roaring sound. Nagasti is a 1.5 Km walk from Chitkul and is the last point till where a civilian can go towards the Border. The area is manned by the ITBP.

The people are simple, kind and hardworking. The hard terrain and long snowy winters have made them hard and tough over the years. There is a temple dedicated to Goddess Mathi Devi in the centre of the village.This temple is a perfect example of the Sutlej style of temple architecture. The temple is built of wood and stones and is believed to be about 500 years old. According to a legend the Devi settled here after a long and arduous journey. The people of the village prospered a great deal after she settled here. There is also a temple dedicated to a deity which is related to Badrinath in Uttrakhand. Every year the deity is taken on foot across the high passes to Badrinath.

The place is still left out as far as basic infrastructure is concerned. There are no medical facilities available here. The nearest emergency and medical facilities are at Sangla. There is no ATM. There is a P.W.D rest house, and a few hotels here.

There are various trekking routes from here across to Uttarakhand like Lamkhaga pass trek which finishes in Harshil, and Borosu Pass trek which ends up in Har Ki Dun Valley. The Kinner Kailash Parikrama Yatra across the 4950 mtrs high Charang pass ends here.

You can spend a day at Chitkul strolling down the Baspa, or going across the river to venture into the forest. In all, it’s a wonderful place to spend a few days in solitude and serenity.

 

Moorang

Altitude 3591mts.
The village is surrounded by high mountains on three sides. The valley opens towards the Satluj river. Threre is a old fort there, believed to have been built by the Pandavas. The Fort has a square structure , on a small hill overlooking the river.

Nichar

Altitude (3150 MTS).
A road cuts between Taranda and Wangtoo, on the left bank of Rriver Satluj.The scenery is enchanting, and the climate is pleasant during the summers.There are thick forest and rocky slopes. Wonderful place for short walks and hikes.

NAKO (3663 m)
It is the highest village in the Hangrang valley of Kinnaur. Behind it are the two huge mountains Leo and Rio Purgyal. It has one of the most breath taking views from everywhere. A lake is formed from the waters of the high mountains. It is the road head base for The Pargyal mountain expeditions. It is also the starting of the trek to Tashigang village, where an image is said to grow hair.

Namgia

Altitude (3048 mts)

It Is the last viilage towards Tibet, from the side where Satluj enters India. It offers a magnificient view of the Rio Purgyal mountain, the highest peak of Himachal.

Chango

Altitude (3058 mts)
Lies on the bank of spiti river. More famous for its delicious apples. Home to the temles of the deities Gyablo, Dabla, and Yulsa.