Colourful fields of buckwheat near Rakcham
Backpacks found their place in the chevy…. we also occupied our respective seats and geared further towards Chitkul (26 km from Sangla).. Transformation of landscape was truly overwhelming as we left Sangla. Innumerous water streams were merging to Baspa River and flowering scrubs adorned the surroundings with thousands splendid colors.. Eroded flood plain of Baspa in the backdrop of snow-capped mountains were truly enchanting.. Alpine forest, apple orchards got replaced by massive pastures of flowering meadows and ranches… Air was thinner, cooler yet refreshing.. Finally we touched town to Chitkul which is a small village on the bank of Baspa River
Rhododendron season at Chitkul
Situated at an elevation of 3480 meters, Chitkul is surrounded by Himalayan oak and pine forest. Chitkul offers mesmerizing views of Snow-clad Himalayas with Baspa River flowing beneath the village. Due to heavy snow-fall, Chitkul remains snow-covered during the winters. During summers, the transformation of Chitkul in a colorful valley with orchards of apple, apricots and wooden houses is truly overwhelming. Chitkul falls on some of the popular and off-beat treks of Himalayas and terminal of holy Kinnaur Kailash Yatra. Chitkul is also the home of Kagyupa temple which is highly revered in Buddhism.
Mata Devi Temple Chitkul
Chitkul is a small village sustaining few households and wooden houses built around the temple. After a quick visit to the temple and the village, we followed the river bed to find some place on the bank with mild flow so that we can take a dip in Baspa but it was roaring. Later we took the trail uphill passing through ranches of Mustard and peas. Trek was not outlined so we had to negotiate with flowering scrubs of sharp prickles and rocky patches. After some 2 km of trekking on the river side, we reached to a beautiful site surrounded by Glaciers and offering incredible view of Chitkul. Following the Baspa River will take you to Nagasthi, last post of ITBP and civilians are not allowed beyond that point. One may get a glimpse of a lovely waterfalls emerging from the mountains on the right but it’s a steep hike uphill.
Mustard crop and Chitkul in the backdrop
Chitkul is full of incredible treks for various needs (length and fitness level) otherwise the place offers do it yourself walking in every direction. Very few places in the country offer this gravity of freedom for recluses. We spent an entire afternoon fumbling around the Chitkul and enjoyed the sunlight reaching us through the cold wind. Our initial plan was to stay at Chitkul for a night but later we decided to leave Chitkul in a hope of finding a vibrant place in Kinnaur. Though Chitkul offers everything an independent traveler can imagine yet it was kind of devoid from travelers and I was surprised once again…
Chitkul the last village of Sangla Valley
Tales from Himachal: Complete Series (In Chronological order)