No trip to Himachal Pradesh can be complete without a few days in Kinnaur. It is one of the 12 districts in Himachal Pradesh. It is about 250 kilometres from Shimla. We will find Kinnaur on National Highway 22, better known as the Hindustan Tibet Road. It is located at an altitude ranging between 2320-6816 metres. The region is surrounded by Tibet to the east, offering spectacular views of the sacred Kinner Kailash. Legends say that the Pandavas resided in Kinner while they were in exile. So if we are planning a trip to Himachal Pradesh we must look beyond the predictable Kullu, Manali, Lahaul and Spiti tour. There are various reasons to add Kinnaur in our travel plans.
Sangla is situated in the banks of Baspa River. It is also known as Baspa Valley. This Valley is located at an altitude of 2696 metres. We might have had the glimpse of its beauty in movies and ads. Nothing can beat the experience of actually breathing in the crisp air. It has stunning sights of forest slopes and mountain ranges with the Raldang peaks offering a gigantic backdrop. The best way to cover all the temples, forts and the trout fishery farming the neighbourhood as a part of our Himachal trip is to stay for a day at Sangla. There are hotels in Sangla valley which suits all budgets. It has modest guesthouses to luxurious stay options.
It is nearly 28 kilometres from Sangla Valley. It is located at an altitude of 3450 metres. Here lies the last inhabited place in India before the Indo-Tibet border. Chitkul village is a paradise for trekkers and nature lovers. It is situated on the banks of Baspa River and offers a stunning canvas of modest wooden houses. It has gorgeous mountains, grasslands and forests. This place is also renowned for its potatoes. In winters, the temperature in Chitkul drops very low. The villagers have to move to lower Himalayan regions for a couple of months every year. The hotels here are also shut down during this period. So if we are planning a trip we need to keep this in mind.
Kalpa is situated at an altitude of 2960 metres. It is less than 60 kilometres from Sangla Valley. It has the most spectacular sunrise. Its location is close to the foot of the 6050-metre high Kinner Kailash. Everything about this erstwhile haunt of Lord Dalhousie is simply majestic. Kalpa is the former districts headquarter of Kinnaur. The hotels in this place are among the best that Himachal tourism has on offer. All of them provide an exceptional view of the rising sun touching the snowy peaks. No camera in the world can do justice to this scene.
If we are in Kalpa, we must make time to visit the Chandika Devi temple. It is situated in the Kothi Village of the district and is known for its architectural marvels. We can stop by the Narayan Nagani Temple, for a glimpse of local craftsmanship. There are a few Buddhist monasteries also in the region.
Kinnaur is a lovely place. It has rich green flora, full of its abundance and the panoramic valleys with snow-clad Kinner Kailash at the background is a perfect location. It is a small package of nature, beauty and devotion. A person can enjoy, trek and worship all at the same time and place. The people here are also very welcoming and lovely.