Kinnaur is among the least explored and visited areas of Himalayas. It is a narrow valley bisected into two longitudinal sections by the ferocious Sutlej River. It cascades like a hurricane from the Tibetan Plateaus and rushes through Kinnaur. On both sides of the deep gorge carved by Sutlej stands some of the most difficult and majestic Himalayan peaks. Sangla valley along with Chitkul is one that sees most of the tourists, while the rest of Kinnaur mostly lies shrouded in mystery. It has many hidden and unknown jewels. One such place is the magnificent Temcho Lake and its surrounding villages.
The start of the journey
Kinnaur is a rugged region and as the river falls below the brown stark mountains all around fills up the horizon. We will see local village temples with typical Kinnaur style woodwork. We can take some rest here and climb ahead. Then soon we will find shepherd’s huts where we can spend the nights. The shepherd families offer their finest food and bed as if they got some of their long lost members. Their generosity despite their poverty is heart touching.
The next morning as we start climbing we will have to walk for almost 15 hours to reach Temcho Lake. After reaching the area all we need to do is follow the stream and climb up. It will be a pleasant climbing and boulder hopping and will take us to the top of the hill to discover the Temcho River. The lake sprawls like a tiara right in front. It is surrounded by more brown mountains and hills covered with patches of snow and the gentle breeze is the caress of an Egyptian Belly dancer.
The Temcho is quite a big lake with crystal clear water and we can see through it till the bottom. Few prayer flags flutter in the breeze and we can see names of pilgrims painted on the stones around. We can drink from the lake, splash it on our face and seek blessings from whoever cared to listen. The hiking will become even more fun if take a guide or some local along because they will be able to tell us about the landmarks and stories.
From the lake, we will follow the regular well-marked trail down to the village and then back to Giabong and onward to Ropa.