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 🙂
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
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