Are your vacation plans ready? Or planning to visit Kinnaur Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh? Trust us, this is one of your best decisions of life, this place is a paradise on earth. This blog is to help you out to understand how to reach the place, which places you must visit, where you can stay, what you must shop and how you can plan the entire trip. Here we will provide all the details required to plan you trip to Himachal. Himachal is full of tourist spots such as Shimla, Manali and Kinnaur Vally too. Kinnaur Valley is not much known by the tourists and hence is neither too crowded nor too empty. It is one of the best untouched natural beauty that can calm you and soothe your mind. The valley is further divided into different valleys and small places having their own specialty and view. Let us discuss all the necessary details regarding the place and trip.
Kinnaur Valley is also known as Kinnaur District which is around 230 kilometers from Shimla. It is mainly divided into two parts, the lower Kinnaur covering the towns such as Chitkul, Sangla, Reckong Peo, Kalpa and upper Kinnaur including towns such as Khab, Pooh, Nako as well as Chango. Reckong Peo is the headquarters of Kinnaur district which was kept open for tourism after 1989. It is one of the smallest districts in terms of population all over India. The ancient time Hindustan Tibet Road passed from the Kinnaur Valley resulting in ban on tourism.
Kinnaur Valley is each to read by road via Shimla and Rampur Bushahar. Busses from Shimla and Chandigarh are available on routine basis. It is a small beautiful place a bit far away from the crowded places. A cover of lush green valleys, surrounded by rivers and snow-capped mountains equal to little paradise. A small paradise hidden in Himalayas. It is not much difficult to reach Kinnaur as it is connected to every possible part. You can either choose a private vehicle or also opt for the public transport facilities available to drive down to Kinnaur. To reach this beautiful place from your location, you can use bus, private vehicle such as car or bike, flight as well as train. There are possibilities that you might need to change multiple vehicles to reach the exact place. Once you reach Kinnaur, you can either stay in the hotels or select the HPPWD guest house to get the best experience of the place.
The main point of attraction of Kinnaur Valley is the nature and its beauty filling you with energy and happiness. It is an endless journey of vistas, apple orchards, dense forests, snow-capped mountains, meadows and hamlets. Even if you do absolutely nothing, still you will never be full with Kinnaur. The outside view from every hotel room window and the beauty of place is enough to force you to stay for longer. Apart from the natural beauty, there are many more places that must be seen if your visit Kinnaur. Let us have a look over all such places.
1. Sangla Valley/ Village
Sangle Valley is also known as Baspa Valley which is named after the Baspa River flowing right through the town. Sangla town is the largest town of the place serving as the base to collect people visiting as tourists. It is connected to roads for private vehicles as well as the direct bus facility from the Shimla and Reckogn Peo. This famous town is highly populated and includes all the modern facilities such as petrol pump, banks as well as ATMs. If you are attracted to this place and have decided to visit it, make sure you also cover the below parts of this place:
If you are not staying for a long at the place just have a quick visit to Kamru fort as it is one of the must visit places. Karcham Dam will probably in your way to some or the other place. Hence you might avoid visiting it specially.
Next village of Baspa Valley is Chitkul. This place is known for its beauty and picturesque location. One side of this place are snow-covered mountains and the other side is full of apple orchards and wooden houses that indulge more in beauty. Chitkul remains covered under thick sheets of snow in winters and hence the place is not open for visitors. At some points even the locals have to move out of the place. A road from Karcham bifurcates and reaches Sangla valley in around 40 kilometers. It first reaches Sangla, followed by Rakcham and lastly Chitkul. It can be stated that Chitkul is the last village located on the Indian side border. It is the last dead end till where the people are allow to roam. The remaining area stays under the control of ITBP police as Tibet border is not more than 90 kilometers from Chitkul. There is nothing much to see near Chitkul. However, Mathi Devi temple and Chitkul fort must be given a try. Apart from this, you might try taking trek or just walk by the banks of river Baspa.
Kalpa can be defined as the heart of tourism in entire Kinnaur valley. One of the best thing regarding this place is its location. Approximately 16 kilometers above Shimla Kaza highway is a steep and narrow road reaching to a sharp altitude. Reaching Kalpa you get to see a majestic view of Kinner Kailash peaks even known as Kinnaur Kailash Parbat. It is next to impossible that you might have visited such a beautiful place before. The entire journey to this place is supported and mesmerized by a beautiful view and it is totally worthy. Not only the Kinner Kailash Peak but also the apple orchard surroundings make this a quiet and beautiful place worth to be visited atleast once in your life. Some other place that can be visited around Kalpa are:
These are a few places that can be visited from Kalpa if you have enough time to do so.
Nako is the last but not least village of Kinnaur Valley. When you continue travelling the road, it ends down in the Spiti Valley. If we talk about facts, Nako is considered as the part of Spiti Valley and not Kinnaur Valley by most of the people due to some similarity in the landscape of the places. It is seen that most people reach up to Kalpa and then return back to Shimla missing out Nako. Kinnaur trip rarely includes Nako. The ones who complete Spiti circuit reach up to Nako but this place is equally scenic. It is quiet surprising and beautiful to watch how the landscape changes instantly from the lush green hills to barren lands. Slowly and gradually as you move from Kalpa to Nako, the greenery start disappearing and all you see is brown lands. Nako is located at a good height and hence gives a stunning view. The view is one of the most amazing view of the entire trip. Nako also has a few places that must be visited such as:
Overwhelmed by the list of places to be visited in Kinnaur Spiti Valley? Never mind but much more things are left that can be and must be done at this place. There is a lot more adventure in Kinnaur Valley. There are Ski slopes, trekking routes as well as rock climbing opportunities for the young people to love to take adventures. Have a look over the below activities that must be done:
One of the best adventure and tourist friendly activity is trekking. Depending on your age, health, capability and preference you can opt for one day trek or other severe treks that last up to multiple days. Rani Kanda Meadows and ITBP Post located in Bashal Peak, Chitkul as well as Chaka meadows in Kalpa are a few short single day treks.
Night stay and no camping? Too bad. Camping can be done at several places in Kinnaur. Campsites at Rakcham, Sangle and Chitkul are best and joyful. If you are the one with you own camping kit, entire valley can be a camping site for you and you will never face trouble in finding a suitable place.
Regardless of place, we always click photos of every place we visit. What if the place itself is beautiful and attractive? The same is going to be at Kinnaur Valley. You will never get tired of taking snapshots of every time and every part of this valley as it is beautiful from every single side. You can get best landscape shots from this place.
4. Enjoying night life
All of us enjoy sleeping under skies and watching sky as well as moon and stars. If you are at a pollution free place and get a mesmerizing sight at night, you are definitely going to get lost. You will never be tired of watching night view and clicking pictures of the same.
5. Learning the local culture
Kinnaur is full of gentle and helping people. The culture here is also a bit different from others and hence fascinating. You will surely find it interesting to talk to locals and listen to their stories regarding the place, culture and their beliefs. Knowing how they spend their entire life in those small little heavens is quiet interesting. You can also purchase some local dresses and especially the Kinnauri caps to have a Kinnauri look. You can purchase products from any of the shop that you find in entire valley.
Due to Kinnaur Valley being at a height, the temperature here is cool. Winters are felt for a longer time from October till April. It snows in January and February at the above discussed places such as Chitkul, Kalpa, Nako, Sarahan and Sangla. Sometimes the roads even get blocked due to heavy snow making it impossible to travel. The temperature at Chitkul and Kalpa might even drop to -21 degree minimum. If you visit place in May June or July you might face summer. April and March are comparatively cold. June is warmer and allow you to easily roam in regular cotton clothes. Pleasant warn days and colder nights make the weather agreeable. This is the time when Kinnaur finds most of its tourists. It is unsafe to travel to Kinnaur in July and August due to heavy rains in the lower parts of Baspa Valley and Sutlej Valley. Landslides also cause severe issues and fear among the tourists. The upper part of Kinnaur such as Nako rarely see rain. It is considered as an arid region having climate similar to that of Tibet. September sees end of monsoon leaving behind greenery and beauty. It seems as the entire place is washed and covered with green. As a result, September is a pleasant month here. Turning the place into beauty, autumn arrives in October. This month turns all the greens to orange making the place extremely beautiful. This is when temperature again starts getting colder.
April, May and June are considered as the best time to go to Kinnaur Valley. This might change as per your preference i.e. whether you wish to visit in snow, rain or in intermediate climate. Kinnaur is open for all 12 months but you need to plan trip keeping your safely and accessibility in mind. Road trips need special attentions due to road blockage in snow and landslides in monsoon. If you want to travel in snow, February and March would be perfect but if you want to see lush green valleys then you must visit in September. July and August are months facing high rain and considered as bad times. If you have a tight budget and need a budget-friendly trip it is suggested to visit in August and November. This is the time when least tourists visit Kinnuar and hence you might get budget friendly accommodation. If you are planning to have a family trip, go for April to June. This will be the time when the Kinnaur weather suits most of the people and as a result there are more tourists. If you surely wish to visit Chitkul, you need to plan your trip after March as Chitkul remains closed from December to Mid-March. November is always a bad choice due to vivid weather. In November, Kinnuar will be dull and dry, extremely cold but having no snow at all. Hence depending on your preferences, likings, partners and many more aspects make sure that you select the perfect time to visit Kinnaur to get the best experience of the place.
Every place has its own variety and specialty and so does Kinnaur. A few of the best items that can be purchased from Kinnaur are handloom and handicraft items such as caps, shawls, wood-carved articles, mufflers, silver and gold ornaments, metalwork, and much more. However, you need to take utmost care while purchasing as you can never go back to the place to get it exchanged. One of the best things you can get from Kinnaur is Kinnauri apples that are one of the best apples of the world. You might also like to buy apricots, almonds and grapes. Apart from this there is nothing much to purchase from Kinnaur. Kalpa, Sarahan, Nako and Chitkul are small villages having shops of everyday products and a few handicraft items. If you are highly interested in shopping than make out to the market in Rampur Bushahar or Reckong Peo but yes Shimla ranks highest for shopping. Shimla has all the variety and options for everything you need. Or else, if you just wish to have something as a remembrance, the small shops will be enough.
In this post, we tried to cover all the major aspects related to Kinnaur Valley, its places to visit as well as the best time to visit every place. Apart from this we also shared the shopping options covering everything that you need to have a happy and mind-blowing trip. If you need any further guidance, get in touch through the comment section.