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Tales from Himachal: Chitkul, last Village of Baspa Valley

Colourful Baspa Valley near Rakcham
                                      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
                                        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.
Kagyupa Buddist Temple Chitkul
                                          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
                                  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
                                      Chitkul the last village of Sangla Valley

Travel Tips:
* Two busses to/from Chitkul every day during summers.
* 4-5 Budget Accommodation options (300-400 INR) and Kitchen inside each Hotel.
* There is a bridge on River baspa which will take you on the right bank of the river. Right bank is more secluded and covered with dense forest of Deodar. One should try it.
* Chitkul is recommended for long term travelers.
* For adventure seekers: Trek to Lamkhaga pass (5000 meter), Barasil pass (5000 meter), Rupin pass (4800 meter), Booranghati (4850 meter)

 

Tales from Himachal: Complete Series (In Chronological order)

Tales from Himachal: Beyond Narkanda to Satluj River

Tales from Himachal: Bhimakali Temple Sarahan

Tales from Himachal: Touching upon Sangla, Baspa Valley

Tales from Himachal: Chitkul, last Village of Baspa Valley

Tales from Himachal: Kalpa, Winter home of Lord Shiva

Tales from Himachal: Road to Tibet, Shipki La

Tales from Himachal: Nako, Overlooking Spiti from the top

Tales from Himachal: Kaurik and Gue, Good bye Kinnaur

Tales from Himachal: Tabo, Confronting the darkness within

Tales from Himachal: Dhankar, virtually falling on the head

Tales from Himachal: Kaza, beyond my foolish speculations

Tales from Himachal: Langza, Pastures of Prehistoric life

Tales from Himachal: Komic, Destination which visits you

Tales from Himachal: Key Monastery and Kibber Village

Tales from Himachal: Losar, setback and coming back

 

Click to read a very useful & comprehensive article about this circle

What an excellent series!

What an excellent series! Shared with quite a few friends. 

Can you please tell me what would be the perfect plan for me to travel Himachal, provided (1) I will be going in late-January or early February, for 15-20 days and (2) my budget is 20k (25k at most). I am ready to stay in dormitories/or similar cheap options to increase the length of the tour.

It would be very helpful if you respond.

Thanks in advance.

 

my plan april '15

my plan april '15 shimla-kharapatthar-sarahan-chitkul-pooh-kangri/batal-losar-manali.

Is it possible in 4th april-15th april?

It is not possible to do the

It is not possible to do the whole circuit. You can not go beyond Losar and even Losar might not be reachable. You can reach till Kaza from this side. There would be lots of snow and road might get blocked.

+- Vishnu

Hello Vishnu Four of us

Hello Vishnu

Four of us (adults only) will be traveling to Kinnaur [Gurgaon-Asan Barrage-Chakrata-Kanasar-Rampur-Sangla-Chitkul-Kalpa-Narkanda-Chandigarh-Gurgaon] during October 3-12, 2014.

What do you suggest a good place to stay at Sangla? We are budget tourists. Hotel Rupin View at Rakchham provides rooms but not on the upper floors. Do you have the contact number of Thakur Guest House Chitkul?

Is it true that we need to get ITBP passes from Delhi if we have to trek beyond the gate ?

Waiting for your response.

Regards

I don't have contact number

I don't have contact number of guest houses in Chitkul... There are many now and all of them are suitable for budget travelers.. as its the end of season so you can bargain to some extent... There is  no need to stay in Sangla.i would recommend you to stay in

There is no special permission required to visit Chitkul however i am not sure if there is any document which can allow you to go beyond ITBP checkpost which is ahead Chitkul

=== Vishnu

Planning to go in the 3rd

Planning to go in the 3rd week of Sept.14.

On reaching Kalka we have decided to take a car and go directly to Sarhan (1 n/s), then Sangla (1 n/s), Kalpa (2 n/s), Tabo (1 n/s), Kaza (1n/s), Gramphu (1n/s), Kullu (1 n/s), Shoja (1 n/s) and next day to Kalka to board the train.

Could you please tell if this is going to be too hectic and is September a good time to visit Spiti valley.

Thanking you

Sushmita

 

 

 

Hi Sushmita... Your

Hi Sushmita...

Your itinerary is very much do-able however i would suggest to break the journey at Nako between Kalpa and Tabo... Nako is a nice a village and next morning, you can visit Giu enroute..

Another thing, which i could not understand, why you have just one night stay at Kaza... why there is no tour to Dhankar lake, Kibber, Key monastery, Komic, Langza and pin valley... you should at least spend 2 nights at Kaza to get a feel of Spiti valley...

1 day tour to Key monaster, Kibber is must and similarly a tour to Langza and Komic is must..

You can reach Manali from Kaza in a single day so there is no need to stay at Gramphu... If you want then visit Chandra Tal enroute while coming to Manali from Kaza....

Instead of staying at Kullu or Shoja, i would suggest to spend more time in Spiti... extend your stay in Kaza and if possible visit Pin valley...

September is good time to travel to Spiti

Regards
Vishnu Kumar

I just got back from Chitkul

I just got back from Chitkul 2 days back ! We stayed at Rani guest house which was very basic but the rooms upstairs get lots of sunshine. They don't have a kitchen. The best eating place is Thakur guest house. The food is basic but nice - dal, rajma, mutton - very homely kinda food. Their rooms are also nice. You can trek beyond the itbp camp but you need permission from Delhi itbp. 

you stayed at rani guest

you stayed at rani guest house what is the tariff means how much it costs per room?? and how was the accomodation?? is it comfortable?? i heard chitkul is very costly so i was planning to stay in sangla but i love to stay at chitkul 

Thanks for your trip report

Thanks for your trip report Nandita.. it will be very useful for fellow travelers planning to take the same trail... And i hope  you enjoyed your stay in Chitkul... Chitkul is serene and vista is awe-inspiring...

I was not aware of the permission part for trekking beyond ITBP post.... I was under the impression that its not allowed at all...

Have you seen wild-flowers around or buck-wheat plantation.... i assume landscape would have been quite colorful....

Happy Travels..
Vishnu Kumar

Hey! I am visiting the

Hey! I am visiting the Kinnaur district with my family in last week of May- it seems I will miss the flowers... What can I expect at Sangla & Chitkul? Hopefully no more rain? I have a wide age range of 4 yrs to 71 yrs in the group of 6. What would be a recommendation for stay for 2 nights in either Sangla/ Rakchham/ Chitkul? I would be travelling from Kalpa after a night stay there. I would be heading to Sarahan after 2 nights in this place. Super excited to be visiting this region!

YES... there should not be

YES... there should not be rain in the month of May... flowers you might not be able to see.. not sure about buckwheat plantation..its very colorful...

I will recommend to stay both nights in Chitkul and spend time leisurly, sit back... if you still want to add another overnight option then Rakchham is better than Sangla... Kalpa, Sarahan and all are simply gorgeous.. you would love this region...

Hey in which month did you

Hey in which month did you visit Chitkul. I would love to be there when the red flowers as in your first pic are seen.

It is in August... August is

It is in August... August is the flower's time... make it before it passes...

Hey guyz im planning ma trip

Hey guyz im planning ma trip in last of august may b i il go alone .i wana knw as vishnu told tht in sangla nd chitkul we cn get accomodation in 300-400rs .plz refer me their names if u knw any both at sangla nd chitkul ..if they offer this rate or we have to negociate fr low price

Hi Karan, I do not

Hi Karan,
I do not remember the name of the hotels in Sangla, Chitkul or Rakhcham but prices are almost the same which i mentioned.... There are couple of hotels (homestays kind of) in Chitkul and similarly in Sangla... Getting accommodation should not be a problem Karan... For solo traveler, you can even get lesser price...

====== Vishnu

it is not kagyupa budhist

it is not kagyupa budhist temple it is mata devi temple chitkul

Thanks for letting me know...

Thanks for letting me know... Corrected that...

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