INDIA

Guide To Chitkul Village In Himachal Pradesh + Places To Visit In Kinnaur District

Things To Know Before Visiting Chitkul Village in Himachal Pradesh, India

After visiting the last village in the state of Uttarakhand on the India-Tibet Border, I traveled to the last village in the state of Himachal Pradesh on the India-Tibet Border. Chitkul is an offbeat location. It is located in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. According to one study, Chitkul village has the cleanest air in India. Chitkul Village is located on the right bank of Baspa River in Sangla Valley at an elevation of more than 11000 ft. Apart from the Chitkul travel guide, this post will be about the places to visit in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. This is the first post of my Himachal Pradesh Series. Many amazing posts to come. Stay Tuned! Warning: You are about to see some jaw-droppingly beautiful images 🙂

Alright, get do this!
When I opened my eyes in the morning 🙂
And sheeps and goats welcomed us!
Thrilling roads
This where I got down
Took another bus to reach Chitkul. Typical Himachali cap was worn by almost everyone on the bus
Soothing views on the way
Almost there
Welcome to Chitkul
Goodbye bus


REACHING CHITKUL VILLAGE

I took a bus from Haridwar to reach Chitkul. After passing through the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, I entered Himachal Pradesh. We had one long halt in Shimla before commencing our journey. The last destination of the bus was Reckong Peo. Around an hour before the destination, I got down at the intersection of Karcham. From Karcham, I board another bus for my final destination of Chitkul village. The last bus passes at around 3 pm. It was one of the longest bus rides of my life. It took me almost 24 hrs to reach Chitkul Village from Haridwar but I have no complaints!

And the morning looked like this 🙂
Even dogs are mesmerised by the view 🙂
When the outside view from your room looks like this 🙂
Even the view from the bathroom’s window is stunning 🙂
Wanderer’s Nest hostel
Village art
Way to India’s last restaurant

Local Temple
Raj Homestay
View from my room’s window at Raj Homestay


EXPLORING CHITKUL VILLAGE & THINGS TO KNOW

Chitkul is that kinda place where you don’t need to go long distances for the beautiful views. Come out of your room and voila! Chitkul is such a beautiful village to walk around and connect with local people. There’s a river, mountains, temples, snow, an abundance of greenery to lose yourself 🙂 During my 3 nights stay in the village, snowfall happened every day. I visited the village in Mid April. Generally, the sun came out in the afternoons and the temperature drops drastically during the nights. There are many staying options in Chitkul Village. The village has more homestays than homes. There are all kinds of options for every kind of traveler(s). I recommend Wanderer’s Nest for its ambience and staff & Raj Homestay for budget-friendly travelers. Indians & Foreigners don’t need any permit to visit the Chitkul Village. As of May 2021, there are no ATMs in the Chitkul village and no mobile service works in the Chitkul Village except BSNL. You can get both in Rakcham Village which 9 km from Chitkul Village.

The mountain that I had to climb
View of the Chitkul village from the mountain
And the snowfall!
Snowfall selfie 😉

Made it back to the bottom


TREK TO THE FLAG

This is a famous trek in the village. I climbed the adjacent mountain to the village in the hope to find this flag but it starts to snowfall very heavily on the way but I kept going. At one point, I had such a mesmerising view of the Chitkul Village. It kinda had a spell on me and I just sat down there to absorb the beauty of my surroundings. It is 2 hrs long trek in total.

On the way to the Checkpost
Pictures says it all!
DO NOT MOVE AHEAD!
Returned and meditated for a while at this spot

 

A WALK TO ITBP CHECKPOINT

The India-Tibet border police (ITBP) checkpoint is approx. 4 km from the Chitkul Village. It is a flat road to walk upon. The views on the way will make you forget the time you spend walking. One cannot go ahead of this checkpoint. During the festival of Janmashtami, local people trek to the mountains beyond the checkpoint for religious purposes.

Riverside
Time to play some cricket!
Went inside the forest nearby

One of my favourite clicks from Chitkul

 

RIVERSIDE HIKE

Get down to the Baspa river and explore the riverside area. During my visit, I met people from Rampur who were playing Cricket at the riverside. Playing cricket at an elevation of more than 3400m has its own thrill! I walked along the river. Listening to the water flow while navigating through the big rocks and looking at the humongous Sangla Valley. It was such a beautiful experience.

 

Sangla Village
Rakcham village

PLACES TO VISIT IN KINNAUR DISTRICT: RAKCHAM & SANGLA 

Rakcham and Sangla are nearby Villages. Rakcham is 9 km and Sangla is 24 km from Chitkul Village. Rakcham is a quiet little town. If you are staying in Chitkul village, Rakcham can be a lifesaver. Rakcham has an ATM and high-speed internet connectivity. One can walk(not for everyone) or hitchhike or take a bus from Chitkul to Rakcham. While Sangla village is known for Bering Nag Temple, Kamru Fort, Trout fish farm.

On the way to Reckong Peo
Kalpa village


PLACES TO VISIT IN KINNAUR DISTRICT: KALPA

Kinnaur District has a lot more to offer. One can visit Kalpa which is a beautiful picturesque small village. Temples in Kalpa are dedicated to Hindu and Buddhist gods. An Interesting fact about Kalpa is India’s first-ever voter belongs to Kalpa. Do hike to Chaka meadows when in Kalpa. You can take a sharing vehicle from near Reckong Peo bus station to reach Kalpa. It is approx. 20-25 mins drive.

A Bus to Nako
During the bus detour, captured this unknown village
Confluence of Spiti river and Sutlej river
Our bus broke down here
Making good use of the free time 🙂
Nako Village
Nako Lake
My effort to capture milky way in Nako
Nako monastery
Stupas
Nako lake in the morning


PLACES TO VISIT IN KINNAUR DISTRICT: NAKO

After exploring Kalpa, one can take a bus from Reckong Peo for Kaza in Spiti Valley and get down at Nako village in the Kinnaur district. The last bus to leave for Kaza from Reckong Peo is around 9 am. It is approx. 3-4 hrs long ride. I missed that bus and took a bus going to Hango village. The bus took us on detours to several villages which was the icing on the cake as I get to see some isolated villages nestled in the mountains. Our bus broke down before the intersection(Leo village) where I was supposed to get down. So I ditched the bus and hitchhiked to Nako. In the mountains, always consider extra time while commuting because of mountainous terrain and extremely narrow roads. Iy was one of the most thrilling roads I have ever traveled to. It reminds me of the road I traveled in South America while going to Putumayo from Pasto. Nako is known for its Nako lake and hundreds of years old monastery. One night stay is enough to explore Nako or less if traveling by private vehicle. One can get a sense of Spiti Valley from Nako thanks to its desert mountains. It was a perfect trailer for Spiti Valley before the feature film. Stay Tuned 🙂

Reckong peo bus station


HOW TO PLAN YOUR TRIP TO KINNAUR DISTRICT

You can plan your trip to Kinnaur district via bus as follows. If you are into Hitchhiking then you can definitely give it a try. Hitchhiking is relatively easy in this region.

Take a bus to Reckong Peo–> Get down at Rakcham intersection–> Take another bus to Chitkul –> Chitkul to Sangla –> Sangla to Reckong Peo –> Reckong Peo to Kalpa –> From Kalpa back to Reckong Peo –> Reckong Peo to Nako

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An Indian Traveler

Hello! My name is Saurabh and I am the voice behind the “An Indian Traveler” blog. I'm a cinephile, travel writer, an avid traveler with a song stuck in my head which I keep humming till ad nauseam :)

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21 Comments

  1. Chitkul Village looks amazing. I love the way it’s sort of feels untouched. I’d love to visit one day.

  2. I love your articles through which I too can experience your adventures through reading. Glad that you share them with us, thanks!
    Nina

  3. The pictures you shared are so inviting. Although I have never heard of Kinnaur District before, now I can say that I want to visit.

  4. Wow! Some of those roads do look kind of scary! And it’s always fun to have animals there to greet you – so many! I haven’t been to this part of the world, but I hope to get there someday!

  5. When I think of India, it doesn’t come to mind that there are snowy mountainous places like chitkul. It does sound like you’ve had a lot of adventurous bus journeys in order to get there. The views are magnificent though!

  6. I must say these stories and images are stunning. I have never been to India but know that I really must add this to my list and get there sooner than later

  7. What a beautiful view, I love the snowy mountains in the background. Is the culture (food, language, and etc) a mixture of Indian and Tibetian or is it something else?

  8. Chitkul Village looks like a lovely spot to visit in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. Thanks for the advance warning about the amazing scenery you saw! Those stunning mountain vistas look breathtaking. Those views of the snow capped mountains would make getting up each day a treat. So many great routes to hike. I can see why the views caused you to forget the time.

  9. The road leading to Chitkul looks quite scary and challenging but I think it’s worth the trip. Chitkul village looks so beautiful with mountain views and rustic houses. It’s interesting to know that the village has the cleanest air in India! Trekking to the flag and the ITBP checkpoint sounds like an interesting hike too!

  10. I have yet to visit this part of the world. Chitkul Village in Himachal Pradesh looks like a perfect place for meditation and being one with nature. I can literally spend hours looking at that scenery. The 24hour bus ride to get there sounds a little intense, but I’m sure it’s worth it, especially with the amazing views.

  11. Chitkul is still on my list. the gorgeous landscape of Chitkul is quite inviting. I would love to visit it in winter as the snow-capped mountains are just spectacular. You had quite an experience of traveling from Uttarakhand to Chitkul. I was virtually traveling to Chitkul through your post.

  12. I love this part of India and would love to back for longer. Chitkul Village In Himachal Pradesh and Kinnaur District seems perfect for me. I visited the Dharamshala region, and Shimla area, but had no enough time to go to Chitkul. The road and the scenery are fabulous. It’s a truly remote area. I hope to visit it one day. I add to my itinerary also walk to the India-Tibet border police (ITBP) checkpoint and trek to the Flag. Rakcham and Sangla, nearby villages, looks also great for a trip. Your tips are very useful, and the photos are stunning as well.

  13. Woah! That’s a lot of sheep and goats. This post is really helpful, especially for first-time visitors. The morning view is beautiful. I was surprised to see the view from the bathroom window. Initially, I thought it was a poster or a painting. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience.

  14. Himachal & Uttarakhand are are my favorite states and I used to rush to them at the slightest opportunity when I was staying in Delhi. It’s a shame I missed out on Chitkul. What a fabulous destination. Right from the time the sheeps welcomed you, your hotel, the village art, the journey, the peaks and a feel of Indian food in the Dhaba this trip has all the elements. Hope to get there sometime.

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