Kinnaur is a district in Himachal Pradesh, India. It is located in the south-eastern part of the state and borders Tibet on its eastern end. Most of the villages of Kinnaur lie at quite an high altitude, some close to 13000 feet. It’s a dry and very cold area, and in the right season (July-August) its quietness, great visibility, wonderful views and somewhat mysterious atmosphere all collectively make it a great area to explore.
Most of Kinnaur enjoys a temperate climate due to its high elevation, with long winters from October to May, and short summers from June to September. The lower parts of the Sutlej Valley and the Baspa Valley receive monsoon rains. The upper areas of the valleys fall mainly in the rain-shadow area. These areas are considered to be arid regions, similar to the climate of Tibet. Central Asian landscape are common.
Places to Visit:
Chitkul is a village in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is the last inhabited village near the Indo-China border. The Indian road ends here. During winters, the place mostly remains covered with the snow and the inhabitants move to lower regions of Himachal. Potatoes grown at Chitkul are one of the best in the world and are very costly. It is the highest village in Baspa valley on the right bank of beautiful Baspa river. It is the last inhabited village near the Indo-China border with a population of around 900 people. Almost all the houses are built with either slate or wooden planks. It is the last tourist destination in india on this route, where you can travel to without permit. It is one of the places where worship of Buddhist idol is performed by Hindu Matha Devi. Chitkul is about 589 kms from Delhi via shimla- rampur- sangla. It is 24 kms from sangla. The road conditions in the area is good and 2 way newly constructed metal road is used to travel to chitkul. A special care needs to be taken while travelling in this picturesque himalayan region, especially in winters. Weather changes very rapidly and even in summers a sudden fall in temperature may trigger winter like conditions. The temperature is around 20/ 5 in summers and 10/2 in autumn and 3/- 20 in winters. The nights are chilly even in summers so you should bring jackets and warm clothes. While in Chhitkul make sure you carry adequate cash and petrol or diesel for your car as there is no ATM facility or fuel stations in this hilly area. There is also neither a clinic nor any hospital in this area and one has to travel back to Sangla for emergencies. Chitkul is very cold and windy and the road normally closes down around November after the first snowfall. There are HRTC buses from Sangla to Chitkul on regular interval. Those buses will back to Sangla after 30 Minutes halt at Chitkul. Last bus to Sangla is around 3:30 PM .
Sangla Valley is located in Kinnaur Distict of Upper Himchal Pradesh,India. The road leading to the Sangla Valley is challenging. Situated on the banks of river Baspa, the Sangla Valley boasts of Kinner Kailash Peak, which can be seen from the Sangla Village. The Kinner Kailash peak is the said to be winter home of Lord Shiva
Sangla village is on a slope with houses rising one above the other with gigantic Kinner-Kailash peak (6,050 m) towering over it. Sangla is also famous for Kamru Fort. This fort was the place where rajas of Kinnaur were crowned. Now this fort is dedicated to Kamakshi Temple. The Goddess idol was brought from Guwahati (Assam).
The valley is surrounded by richly forested slopes and offers delightful views of the high mountains. The best time to visit the beautiful Sangla Valley is in the months between April and May and again in September and October. All these months are good for camping.
Kalpa is a small town in the Sutlej river valley, above Recong Peo in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh in the Indian Himalaya. Inhabited by Kinnauri people and famous for its apple orchards. Apples are a major cash-crop for the region. The local inhabitants follow a syncretism of Hinduism and Buddhism, and many temples in Kalpa are dedicated to both Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses. Kalpa is a town with a history of ancient temples. The Sutlej River below hurtles through deep gorges, the winding mountain road is bordered by chilgoza forests. The serenity of this sleepy hamlet was not often visited by foreigners until recently, but there are still relatively few visitors. There are now over 5 places to stay in Kalpa and more, below, in Reckong Peo where travelers must stop to get their inner line permits to continue upwards to the Spiti Valley, which is a small ancient part of what used to be Tibet. The view from Kalpa is beautiful with an observer getting the feeling that he is sitting in the lap of the mountains with the entire range of peaks being visible. Also visible from this place is the sacred Shivling rock on the Kailash mountain that changes its color at different points in the day.
Trekking in Kinnaur:
There are 10 popular trekking routes which the trekkers can do in the Kinnaur Himalayas which are as follows:
- Reckong peo to Nako (6 Days Trek)
- Chhitkul to Gangotri (5 Days Trek)
- Sangla to Dhamwari (5 Days Trek)
- Tappri to Chhitkul (5 Days Trek)
- Bhabha- Pin valley (4 Days Trek)
- Kinner Kailash Parikarma (3 Days Trek)
- Sangla to Dodra Kawar (3 Days Trek)
- Tapri to Kalpa (3 Days Trek)
- Black Glacier Trek (2 Days Trek)
- Sangla to Barang (1 Day Trek)
Events and Festivals:
Several cultural and Local Festivals are organised in the village chitkul such as:
- Sazo/Sajo Festival – This festival is celebrated in the month of January at the beginning of New year. it is believed that this is the period when the god depart for heaven for a short spell of rest. In the villages the palanquins for the gods are laid open and the doors of temples are closed.
- khepa Festival – The word Khepa means the ‘Siddha’ or ‘ Tantric guru’. this the festivals of chaising hte demons, On the roof top the thorny shrubs are placed to scare away the demons and evils.
- Fulaich festival – It is held in the first week of octber month The festival is alos called as festivals of flowers. the festivals is celebreaated to pay respects to the departed ancestors of the reigon it is celebreated for four to five dasy. Youg men climb up to top of the mountain in search of exotic flowers ‘Bhrama Kamal’. Local deities and Local people dance together in temple premisies. Local rice & grain wines are served as ‘Prasad’
- Dakhrain festival – It is held in month of july. Young people climb to several mountain top to gather exotic flowers and are presented to local deities Matha devi and Local people at night. This festival is celebreated at temple premisies . Local people are dreseed iup in cultural dresses and Local nati Dance is performed with local deity.
- Jagro festival- this is two day festival celebrated in mid-september dedeicated to Mahasu devta which comes outside of temple once a year. Local food and Local wine are served at premises of temple for two days. People stay at temple for two days and celebreate the festival eating local food and dancing to folk music performed by local artists with all the instruments.