Kalpa & Charang Snow Hikes | Winter in Kinnaur

Snow-covered Kalpa village of Kinnaur
Snowy peaks of Kinnaur Kailash towering over Chini village --blanketed by fresh snow-- of Kalpa.
Home » Blog » Kalpa & Charang Snow Hikes | Winter in Kinnaur

After a long delay, I’m finally posting pics of our winter trip to Kinnaur — i.e. Kalpa (Chini village), Charang Village & the Charang Rangrik Monastery of Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh. Charang village is the last village on the Indo-China Border. The last ITBP post is located in this village.

Wintertime in Kinnaur 

For the city folks, Charang village offers a complete escape from the busy city life. There is no network coverage — bosses can’t call you. For comfort-seeking travelers, I would recommend Charang only during summers. In winters, with the temperature plunging to about -15 ºC & heavy snowfall blocking all the roadways for weeks — the place is either for the brave hearts or for ignorants like us. 

Hikes around Chini village of Kalpa valley

We reached Reckong Peo early in the morning and headed for a beautiful Chini village in Kalpa. We strolled there for an hour or two and visited the Kalpa Buddhist monastery and the newly renovated Narayanas temple. We spent the rest of the day at a friend’s place in Reckong Peo and took a rest after 12 hrs enduring journey in the Chandigarh-Reckong Peo HRTC bus.

View of Snow covered Pangi village from Kalpa village of Kinnaur
A view of Snow-covered Pangi village from Kalpa
Unnamed peak on Kinner - Kailash mountain range[Winter in Kinnaur]
Unnamed peak on Kinner – Kailash mountain range
Newly renovated Kalpa Narayanas temple
Newly renovated Kalpa Narayanas temple
View of the valley , Kalpa , Kinnaur
View of the Kalpa valley Kinnaur
Roof of the Kalpa temple & Kinnaur Kailash peak (6050 m) in background
Roof of the Kalpa temple & Kinner Kailash peak (6050 m) in background
Snow covered Chini village of Kalpa in Kinnaur
Chini village of Kalpa, Kinnaur
Chini temple of Kalpa in Kinnaur
Chini Temple of Kalpa, Kinnaur
Unnamed peak on Kinner Kailash mountain range
Unnamed peak on Kinner Kailash mountain range
Snowy mountain tops above Barang village in Kinnaur
Snowy mountain tops above Barang village of Kinnaur
Jorkanden peak & adjoining peaks on Kinner Kailash Mountain range
Jorkanden peak and adjoining peaks on Kinner Kailash Mountain range
Hiking in deep snow near Kalpa football ground in Kinnaur
Hiking to Kalpa football ground, Kinnaur
Snowball fighting on Kalpa football ground in Kinnaur
Snowball fight at Kalpa football ground of Kinnaur
Winter landscape of Chini village of Kalpa in Kinnaur
Magnificent Chini village of Kalpa, Kinnaur
Raldang peak overlooking Chini village of Kalpa.
Chini village Kalpa, Raldang peak (5425 m) visible in background
Snow covered fields of locals from Chini village of Kalpa
Snow-covered fields of locals from the Chini village of Kalpa
Hiking on snow near Kalpa football ground in Kinnaur
Snow hikes near Kalpa football ground of Kinnaur
Snowy Raldang peak of Kinner - Kailash mountain range in Kinnaur
Raldang Peak (5425 m) of Kinner – Kailash Mountain Range, Kinnaur
Icy road en route Kalpa village of  Kinnaur
Road to Kalpa valley of Kinnaur
Strolling in snow in Kalpa football ground
Strolling around Kalpa
Snowballing in Kalpa football ground of Kinnaur
Snowballing and killing time in Kalpa valley of Kinnaur

Reckong Peo to Akpa Check post bus ride & Long walks along the NH-05 Highway

Now coming to our next day’s experience which I consider no less than an achievement. Trekking on steep icy slopes for 20 km for 8 hrs continuously. With no one to your rescue walking endlessly with those baby steps in the snow…having no idea if we will be alive in the next 1 hr or not.

We missed the early morning Reckong Peo – Thangi bus and had to take another bus which dropped us near Akpa check post around noon. We started walking along the highway, reached Moorang village around 1 PM, and took a taxi to Lambar village (the last motorable stop) in winters.  

National Higway 5 en route Moorang village of Kinnaur
World’s most treacherous road, National Higway 05, en route Moorang, Kinnaur
Walking on NH 5 near Moorang village of Kinnaur
Walking the Himalayas , near Moorang bridge, Kinnaur
Moorang village of Kinnaur
A village with a buddhist monastery & many chorten – Moorang
Slippery road near Moorang village of Kinnaur on NH 05
Slippery road near Moorang on National Highway 05
A bridge on Satluj river connecting
Moorang bridge. The gateway to Tidong valley of Kinnaur

Moorang to Thangi village taxi ride & the long hike to Charang village

We started the trek from Lambar village at around 3 PM and reached Charang at about 11 pm. In the 20 km long stretch, there were only three of us walking continuously. Because in that extremely cold weather a comma means full stop!

If you stop you will freeze within minutes. At about 5 pm there was complete darkness…and even a slight sound nearby will flash images of a snow leopard or wild bears in your mind.

Trekking in the night without a torch..the only thing to our rescue was the moonlight and the marks on the steps of the ITBP jawans in the snow…which kept us hopeful that we were heading in the right direction. Each one of us was having plenty of dry fruits but none of us was able to — due to the prevailing freezing cold — stop & take those out of the bag.

We were three friends, Pawan Ranta, Amandeep Dhiman & myself. There is one ITBP post on the way to Charang which served as a base camp for the last post at Charang village on the Indo-Tibet border.

Thereafter traveling for about 14 km we got some warm water to drink. That warm water was like ‘amrit‘ and we thought that “ab hum bach jayyenge“. We stayed there for 15 to 20 minutes & then about 8 pm we started our trek to Charang with new hope & determination…but then again after traveling for about 1 km, we were regretting that why we didn’t stop there & request those ITBP jawans to allow us to stay there till morning.

Now again, we were at the mercy of the mountains. We were not able to even speak….we were just moving & moving. During the complete trek, I was reciting God’s name and was hurling abuses & curses at Pawan who gave the idea of that trek. After traveling for another 6 km, there in the dark near the entrance of the Charang Village, were Sonu bhai, our savior standing there in the dark waiting for us. Sonu bhai took our backpacks and gave us new hope. Again we said ” Ab to lagata hai bach gaye“.

Sonu bhai offered us shelter in their house, offered food & saved our lives.  Raante credit goes to you as well. We sat near a fireplace and ate food thanking God for keeping us alive. I started chanting my daily mantras thanking God.

The trails to Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]
Snowy trails to Charang village of Kinnaur
In Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]
In Charang village, Kinnaur
View of last ITBP check post and Rangrik Tungma monastery, Kinnaur
Halting place, en route Rangrik Tungma monastery, Charang Kinnaur
Waiting for the sunshine, Kinnaur in winters.
The snowy trial to Rangrik Tungma monastery of Charang.
Snowy vista of Charang village.
Rangrik Tungma Monastery hike
Curious Dogs of Charang
Prayer flags in Rangrik Tungma monastery.
Fresh snow adorning the roof of Chorten — A buddist stupa in Charang.
Peaks of the Greater Himalayan range towering over Charang village.
The ubiquitous mane flags.
Finding a cellular network. Needless to say, it proved fruitless.

The next dawn gave us a new hope & we visited the Rangrik Monastery and offered prayers and visited the last ITBP post on the Indo China border.

Walking with the wind , returning from Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]
A pleasant walk on the snowy trail. Though it feels good to walk on fresh snow in sunny daytime, reflected sun rays may cause snow blindness if eyes are exposed for a long duration. Do carry your UV-block sunglasses. Picture was taken while returning from the Charang village of Kinnaur.
Singing stream , Tidong [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]
Singing stream, Tidong.
Walking along Tidong stream while returning from Charang.

Oh! I have written such a long story…I know many of you won’t read it but I know that many more will read. The story is to keep my memories on record.

Blog by: Saurabh Tiwari

7 comments

  1. Is there road connectivity to Charang village? I want to go to the snout areas of Gara, Lamber and Racho glaiers.

  2. We are plannig to travell to kalpa around 26th January.

    Can we experience this type of snow? availability and cost of stay, transport ,hiking etc?

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