Blog Garhwal Kinnaur Spiti valley Trekking

Crossing the Himalayas: From Leh To Kathmandu

Home » Kinnaur

The 28-year-old French adventurer Eliott Schonfeld, winner of the GEO Adventure contest, crossed the Himalayan chains on foot and on horseback from August to December 2017. After four and a half months of trudging in trans-Himalaya, he gradually got rid of the modern comforts & paraphernalia. The aim was to replace the products of modern civilization with their natural alternatives adopted by the local communities of the Himalayas.

Drinking water from a mountain stream in Ladakhb
A return to nature. Drinking water from a mountain stream in Ladakh

My body is tossed in all directions as Rinpoche, a horse farm owner, maneuvers his 4×4 on the broken stone roads that crisscross the Ladakh range. My heart and head hurt like being caught in a vice. Going from Paris(with an elevation of 35 m) to the 3,500 meters of average altitude of this high desert plateau, it takes time and I think I am not yet acclimatized. But for now, it is not vertigo that worries me than the new world around me. 

August 10: Choosing The Horse in Ladakh 

I spent a few days in Leh, the regional capital of Ladakh Union Territory of India, to find someone to sell me a horse. I witnessed the Trans-Himalayan mountains up close.

Changthang Plains of Ladakh
Changthang Plains of Ladakh
A lady from Changthang plateau of Ladakh
A lady from Changthang plateau of Ladakh
A child playing with his father in Ladakh
A child playing with his father in Ladakh
Tso-Moriri Lake
Tso-Moriri Lake in Changthang plains of Ladakh
Stok village of Ladakh
The village at the end of the road. Stok village of Ladakh.
Ladakh is a magnificent high altitude cold desert… but very sparsely populated. Before clicking this image, I walked for weeks without meeting a single soul. Then, seeing the village of Stok – the green patch at the end of the gentle slope – I felt immensely joyful.

They are no longer on the horizon, but vertically, erected like a tangible wall, and too high, much too high. Why did I decide to tackle such monsters? For me, who had spent all my life at sea level should have started with the lower altitudes. After two hours of driving and deep contemplation, we reached the horse farm. I see a tent in the shape of a teepee, and all around, thirty horses grazing peacefully.

Ladakhi horse standing on meadows
My Ladakhi horse

The introductions were brief & the farm owner offered me a horse. The horse was white & not very big. Rinpoche helped me to saddle the horse, gave me some pieces of advice and the animal’s rope, then left me to my fate. 

In front of me, around 2,000 kilometers of trail awaits me to Nepal. I calculated that it would take me five months to get through it. Before I start, I decide to baptize my steed. He needs a name that is familiar & comforting in the midst of the unknown universe that I am about to explore. It’s decided, his name will be Robert. My Ladakhi horse would be called Robert.

Drinking water straight from a river in Ladakh
Drinking water straight from a river in Ladakh. We walk about 8 hours a day, so we are often thirsty.

September 4: Robert’s fall in Spiti valley

We had been progressing on high altitude trails for a month now. Robert never gave up. As for me, I ended up taking the plunge and felt at ease when we reached Spiti valley, a cold mountain desert in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, the most perilous mountains since the beginning of the expedition. 

Base of Parang-La pass
Climbing towards Parang-La pass. I arrived at the base of the Parang La pass on the afternoon of August 28, 2017. In front of me was 5,600 meters, a high rock giant. I would have preferred to start the ascent after a good night’s sleep. Problem: It was impossible some grass at the base which was essential to allow Robert to sustain himself. So we had to climb, on sheets of ice melting. After skidding and sliding for four hours, we finally arrived safely at the top of the pass.
Climbing Parang-La pass
Climbing Parang-La pass with my horse
My horse reveling in abundant tufts of grass in Spiti valley
Robert reveling in abundant tufts of grass after descending from Parang-La pass. After descending from the top of the Parang La pass, Robert was able to revel in abundant tufts of grass, and I admired the breathtaking view. I was lost on the roof of the world. There was an ideal place to pitch the tent and get a good night’s sleep. The crossing of the Parang La pass also marked the end of Ladakh and entry into the state of Himachal Pradesh.

I crossed the Manirang pass(also spelled as Manerang) on one fine morning, a pass at an elevation of 5,590 meters. The landslides on this route are normal, and you have to remain focussed on each step. Four hours walking continuously… and an obstacle blocked our path — a gigantic rock was in the middle of the descending route. To move ahead, there was no choice except to climb over it.

We ventured on the rock surface and progressed a few meters when suddenly the rope that connects me to the horse yanks me back. Robert had lost his footing, he was sliding down the slope. Panicked, he struggles to get up, but that only accelerated his fall. My heart was racing. At this rate, it would fall permanently into the abyss and crash 20 meters below. I pulled the rope with all my might, but to no avail, I had to let go of the fear of being dragged myself into the void. 

But a miracle happened: Robert landed on a narrow ledge from where he can no longer move or risk falling into a deep gorge. I tried everything possible to get it out of there but with my 60 kilos weight did not make the cut. There was only one thing to do: descend to the last village I encountered, 20 kilometers before, and 1,000 meters of elevation drop. 

I reached there at night, exhausted and in tears. Watching me in distress, the villagers decided to organize a rescue mission. Two men, Tanzin and Karma, offered to accompany me with ropes.

After an exhausting return trip, we left for six hours of night climb. We arrived at the accident site, at 2am, I pointed my flashlight on the ledge, I scanned the light beam down the slope, expecting the worst. Robert was there, unharmed. He quietly turned his head towards me, with an air that seems to say: “But what have you done for the past ten hours?”

Bewildered, released from an immense weight, I exploded with laughter and went to hug my trek partner. I’ll never know how he got out of there alone, getting away with a few scratches. As for me, I had walked 60 kilometers, 20 hours straight, with 3,500 meters of cumulative elevation… for nothing! Whatever. Considering the relief I felt, it was worth it.

September 27: Waking Up From Oblivion In Kinnaur

But what took me? How can I be so stupid? I’m going to cross the roof of the world and I’m not carrying a pair of gloves… As I climb the frozen mountain range(Kinnaur Kailash range) that separates me from the pass of Charang-Chitkul pass or Charang La, I curse myself out loud. I’m paying for being thick-skinned. Because I was using my bare hands to climb, I no longer felt my fingers. Of course, I did not take crampons or ice axes either and I had to kick in the ice to create required traction.

Glued against the wall, I assessed my progress. It took me some hours to climb just 200 meters from a vertically packed ice slope. I told myself that I did well to sell my little Robert to a horse breeder a few days earlier. No matter how well he showed his talent as a tightrope walker, he could never have climbed such a thing. I finally reached my goal, at 5,300 meters above sea level, I was at Charang-La pass. 

Climbing the steep Charang-Chitkul pass
Climbing the steep Charang-La pass

As I caught my breath, I observed the thick layer of snow covering the ground. I was not the only one to have successfully climbed that day. Pugmarks of a snow leopard, all fresh, dotted the ridge before disappearing on the other side. Amazed, I touched the imprints of paws’ of the grey ghost, so beautiful, so pure. Then I scanned the surroundings, hoping to catch a glimpse— not a single soul found in sight. I hoped I didn’t scare him off. The Himalayan grey ghost lurks, I can feel it. Even invisible, he accompanies me. 

Pugmarks of a snow leopard near Charang-Chitkul pass
Pugmarks of a snow leopard near Charang-La pass

October 1, 2017: Going Incognito in Baspa valley

I had been walking very close to the Indo-Tibetan border for three weeks now. I had absolutely no permission to venture in these troubled terrains. Because of the territorial conflicts between India and China, the region is tightly controlled. Tourists and Indians are required to obtain permits to do any activity on the border areas. Traveling alone is prohibited. 

I managed to sneak through the last military posts by walking during the night. It seemed to be playing a cat and mouse game with the Indian army patrols. More than the detours that I was forced to make, the anxiety of getting caught made every step more painful.

According to my maps and the villagers of Chitkul, the route is restricted up to the Lamkhaga pass (5,280 meters).  After crossing Lamkhaga pass, I would be back in the free zone. The weather was perfect, the sky was of a serene azure color. I was walking at a leisurely pace, at a distance, I saw two silhouettes. Two trekkers, bags on their backs, were heading in my direction.

As I was about to greet them, my head spun. They were not trekkers, but soldiers. They were not two, others were behind them. I ran towards a big boulder. A minute later, I heard the sounds of the boots of the first patrolmen, around 20 meters from me, in camouflage dress, weapons on the back. It was the Indian Tibetan Border Police(ITBP), the sentinel of the Himalayas. 

I curled up as much as possible in my hiding place. Getting caught here would be fatal, I was aware of it. I was trekking without due authorization, with a satellite phone and a camera. I could never make them swallow that I was unaware of the restricted area. I would have ended up in prison. I was trying to calm down. The march of the soldiers continued. Twenty or thirty men had already passed.  When will it stop, damn it? It was like the whole army of the subcontinent was hidden in these mountains.

After a while, silence fell. I stood still for another fifteen minutes, then got out of my hole. At a distance, the Indian army men went up the valley and trekked to the exact place where I had planned to pitch my tent. I realized that this situation, which could have turned serious, has become a godsend for me — the army men had mapped a track in the deep snow, which made my ascent infinitely easier. One soldier even dropped food just before the summit: caramels & a packet of noodles. The army mend does it to lighten the load and use it on their return journey. 

Summit of the Lamkhaga pass(5280m)
Summit of the Lamkhaga pass(5280m). The pass forms a drainage divide between the Baspa valley of Kinnaur & the Harsil valley of Uttarakhand.
snowfields below Lamkhaga pass
Immaculate beauty of Lamkhaga snowfields. Jalandhari Gad glacier of Harsil valley. This soft white coat is not only pleasant for the eyes, it marked for my a return into the unrestricted zone. For several weeks, I had been traveling along the Indo-Tibetan border. An area prohibited to tourists unless accompanied by a permit authorized by the Indian government. From now on, our adventurer will no longer need to play hide and seek with the military patrols of the region. Phew!
A nomadic man near Harsil village.
A nomadic man I met near Harsil. I met this Indian nomad as I was walking towards the village of Harsil, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Oddly, there was only this gentleman and his son, I do not know where the rest of his family was.
Himalayan goats near Harsil
Himalayan goats near Harsil. These are the biggest goats I had ever seen! This herd of extraordinary herbivores belonging to the Indian nomad, I decided to help him milk them. A nice way to thank him for his hospitality.

October 20, 2017: Paradise found in Nepal  

On my raft, I assume myself for Tarzan. The langurs &  the white and black monkeys that populate the jungles of the middle Himalayas, jump from tree to tree while I raft on the Mahakali, river marking the border between India and Nepal. 

Rafting in turquoise waters of Mahakali River
Rafting in Mahakali River. After the high peaks, the rapids. I traveled 200 kilometers on the Mahakali River. A trip made on a raft which I built himself using pieces of wood and some tubes.

I started my descent a week ago, letting myself be carried by the currents. I still had 200 kilometers to sail to Banbassa, the Nepalese border post. I finally landed in Nepal on a riverbank.  I started my exploration deep into the forest, where I came across natural pools, large holes in the polished rock filled with turquoise water, and linked together by the pearled necklace of the waterfalls. Paradise, I tell you.

Turquoise waters of Mahakali river
Turquoise waters of Mahakali river
 Sun rises over the Nepalese jungle near the Makhali river
The sun rises over the Nepalese jungle near the Makhali river

I loved to explore, like a tracker, for the traces of wildlife that swarmed around me. Here, a wavy line on the ground indicated the passage of a snake. There, handprints, tiny feet: probably a bunch of macaques. Farther on, between the trunks, the gigantic web of a Nephila Pilipes, a spider with long legs, capable of capturing small bats in its nets. 

Nothing makes me happier than blending in such wilderness. I certainly feel very small, vulnerable amidst nature. But the feeling of this insignificance, instead of frightening me, releases me. It teaches me not to make humans the measure of everything anymore.

Rafting in Mahakali river of Nepal
Rafting in Mahakali river of Nepal
A raft on Mahakali river banks
The Naked Explorer & his raft on Mahakali river banks. It was the simplest device that went down the Mahakali river, stopping regularly on deserted beaches. 
Perfect places to pitch the tent and observe the traces of monkeys … or tigers!
Natural pools in Nepal
Natural pools

What terrifies me would be an entirely “civilized” world, where the city, the road, and the cement would have thrown their grip on everything. And where a man would only meet himself. That’s what I was thinking, lying on a bed of palm leaves, by the fire. A string of green dots lit up in the warm air. The fireflies had started their ballet of stars, while hundreds of little beings, carpeted in the trees, were singing the big night concert. That evening, I slept well.

November 10, 2017: Meeting the people of Rautes: The Last Nomadic tribe of Nepal 

Before I started this expedition, I had a dream: to meet the Rautes. This nomadic tribe, whose name means “kings of the forest”, lives in the remote jungles of western Nepal. These are hunter-gatherers who track down the monkey and feed on wild fruits and tubers. 

After ten days of research & miles & miles going around in circles, I was on the verge of giving up when luck struck me. From the top of the hill that I had just climbed, there was indeed one of their encampments that I discovered at the bottom of the valley. Shelters, made of branches and foliage. Under one of them, a man was cleaning peppers. A woman came back from the forest with some trunks under her arm, and a  teenager who was cutting something out of a large piece of wood.

Children of Raute tribe bathing & playing by a stream
Children of Raute tribe bathing & playing by a stream

The children, who were playing in the river, finally noticed my presence. Intrigued – I must have appeared to them as an extraterrestrial – they surrounded me. It provoked the adults, who looked suspicious and started talking. They were very small, dressed in a light dress that revealed parts of their body. They finally lead me to the royal tent – because the Routes have kings. A man even more naked than the others came out and stared at me straight in the eyes. I greeted him in a solemn way, then shook his hand, impressed. It is the first time that I shake the hand of a king. It is also the first time that I have seen royal testicles. What a day!

Children of Raute tribe of Nepal
Innocent children of Raute tribe of Nepal
A Raute tribe couple harvesting the wheat crop
A tribe couple harvesting the wheat crop. These two villagers I met near the Rautes camp were harvesting wheat without machines, they use the oxen to crush it, and the wind to separate the grain from the chaff.
Raute tribes' camps
Raute tribes’ camps
An old Route tribe man with a child
An old Route tribe man

December 6, 2017: The Final Offload

I left the wood and stone hut that I built for the night and extinguished the brazier ignited by friction. Handmade bag on the back, goat skin on the shoulders, the bamboo fire starter, on one hand, I feel metamorphosed. I had set myself a challenge: replace all of my Western things with their natural counterparts. Not only did I manage to take it up, but in addition, I absolutely did not have the impression that it is limiting. On the contrary, I felt more free, independent. I learned to settle for the basic & minimum, to build what I needed to survive.

Terraced fields of wheat in Nepal
Terraced fields of wheat in Nepal. Terracing allows the Nepalese to practice agriculture on the steep slopes of the mountains.
A Nepali lady & her wooden pipe.
A Nepali lady & her wooden pipe. In this photo, it is not Captain Haddock, but a Nepali woman. I met her in the Dailekh district, in the western region of the country. The venerable lady was taking a break to smoke tobacco packed in an artisanal pipe.

If I had been told a few years ago that I would be able to manage on my own in nature (and what nature!), I would not have believed it. After three days of a final ascent through the rocky peaks of the Dolpo region, in northern Nepal, I finally reached the Phoksundo

Dolpo Shey Phoksundo lake of Nepal
Dolpo Shey Phoksundo lake of Nepal

Phoksundo is the most beautiful lake I have ever seen: an aquamarine crescent moon set like a relic in the galaxy of the Himalayan mountains. I sat in front of this splendor and allowed myself all the time it takes to soak up this moment. I felt good and would have gladly stayed there for days to meditate … if only I could. But the first snowflakes began to fall. Winter was coming. I was thinking about going back, going back to college, and going on with my life. Once again in Paris

Undulating ranges of the lower Himalayas of Nepal
Undulating ranges of the lower Himalayas of Nepal
Blog Kinnaur Mountaineering Spiti valley

Exploration Of Peaks in Kinnaur & Spiti Valley of Indian Himalaya

Home » Kinnaur

We went to Kinnaur and Spiti region in the summer of 2014 to explore the untrodden virgin peaks. Our expedition team consists of five members, Akira Taniguchi, Masahiro Fukumoto, Masayasu Murakami, Etsuko Kobayashi, and Kimikazu Sakamoto (Leader).

We are so much interested in the Spiti area, being impressed with the book “Spiti – Adventure in the Trans-Himalaya” written by Mr. Harish Kapadia. There seems to be still many veiled untrodden peaks in Spiti and Kinnaur. It was a big surprise to me that in Kinnaur region, only eight peaks were climbed according to the climbing record by Indian Mountaineering Foundation(IMF), the summitted peaks are:

  • Kinner Kailash of Kinnaur (6050m),
  • Jorkarden (6437m),
  • Phawarang (6349m),
  • Rangrik Rang (6553m),
  • Gangchhua (6228m),
  • Manerang (6593m),
  • Gangchuua (6030m),
  • Leo Pargil (6791).

Perhaps, climbing in Kinnaur has been restricted by Indian Govenment because of there are disputed regions on Indo- Tibet border claimed by both India and China.

We left Japan on June 13th and stayed one night at Karol Bagh of New Delhi. On June 14th, we drove to Shimla on two hired cars via Chandigarh and reached Shimla on June 15th. The main market street in Shimla was so crowded with many tourists as Indian summer vacation already started.

Day 1: Shimla – Sarahan

On June 16th, We drove down the very steep zig-zag road to Saltuji River and went to Sarahan. After checking in Hotel Srikhand at Sarahan, we visited the very unique Hindu Temple “Bimakali” constructed with wood.

Day 2: Sarahan – Sangla valley:

We moved to Sangla valley of Kinnaur from Sarahan and arrived in Sangla village around noon time. After lunch, we left Sangla to see the mountain peaks of Baspa Valley.

The first branch, Saro Garang, should have five big peaks like

  • P5983,
  • P5990,
  • P6240,
  • P6170,
  • P6080(Daboling) on Leomann Maps

But we could not see any peaks, because Saro Garang was high gorge and the mountain tops were covered with clouds. There should be P6080 (Daboling) and P6080 (Saro) on the top of the next branch, Gor Garang. But, unfortunately, we could not see any high peaks because of the prevailing clouds.

Other two branches, Mangna Nala and Sushang Nala were also not visible and did not show any peaks. However, we could see the attractive twin peak P5712 in Sushang Nala, the other side branch of Baspa River. We went back from Mastrang to Sangla village.

Day 3: Sangla village – Kalpa

We checked out of our in Sangla and drove to Chitkul village, where we arrived at around 9.15 am. Again, we could not see any high peaks because of the same weather conditions. The road ended at Chitkul village. But a new road was under construction up to Ranikanda, as ITBP (India Tibet Border Police) camp was recently set up there. The new road was opened up to the halfway to Ranikanda.

We expected to see P6465 and P6447 near the top of the Baspa River, but we could not see them because of the heavy cloud cover. We waited for about one hour on the hill near Ranikanda. The heavy cloud did not disappear, and P6465 and P6447 did not show up. We gave up seeing these mountains and went back to Chitkul village with disappointment.

After finishing lunch at a small restaurant in Chitkul, the cloud cover was clearing up. Finally, we could see P6465 and P6447 from the front of the restaurant. We were so excited to see the whole view of the attractive peak P6465 and the head of P6467 peeping from the left side shoulder of P6465.

Mountain peaks visible from Chitkul village
Peaks visible from Chitkul village

We were very happy to see these expected peaks. We moved to Kalpa by our hired cars and checked in Hotel Grand Shangrila in Kalpa at around 5:15 pm. But, we could not see any peaks from there, as the mountain massif of Kinner Kailash was covered with the heavy clouds.

Day 4: Kalpa(Chini) – Nako village

On June 19th, We got up around 4:30 am to see the high peaks of Kinner Kailash massif from the hotel terrace. But, the mountains were still covered with dark clouds. After waiting for about one hour, finally, the sky cleared up and the mountain range of Kinner Kailash started to appear with the sun peeking out from behind the Kailash massif. We enjoyed the nice view of high peaks.

Panorama of Peaks on Kinner Kailash massif of Kinnaur
Kinner Kaliash mountain range panorama. Photo courtesy: Souvik Maitra

On Kinner Kailash massif, P6240, P5990, and P5983 on the west of Jorkanden are still untrodden according to the IMF site.

After breakfast, we moved to Nako. We stopped for awhile at Kinnaur district administrative HQ, Reckong Peo which is located at a lower elevation(2290m).

After about one hour drive, we reached Akpa where we could have the view of the exciting rocky peaks in the east of Tirung Gad River :

  • P6120 (Bisa Rang),
  • P6248 (Saser Rang),
  • P6120 (Beshrang)
  • and P6209 (Shagchang Rang).
Peaks of Tirung valley of Kinnaur aka Tidong valley

The Circuit or Parikrama of Kinner Kailash trek of Kinnaur starts from Charang village of the Tidong valley.

Raacho Trekkers

IMF confirmed to us that these peaks are still unclimbed according to their climbing record book. But, we wonder why these attractive mountains near the main traffic road have not been climbed yet and why the mountain names were already given to these unclimbed peaks.

From Ka village, we could have a view of

  • P6030 (Gangchuua),
  • P5935 and
  • P5965 in the branch called Tiang Lungpa.

In Pooh village, we met one Japanese trekker. He said that the main traffic road from Kunzum La (4551m) to Chandra River was damaged by landsliding and closed, and so he was obliged to turn back from Kaza. Anyhow, we decided to proceed to Kaza as per our original schedule, expecting the traffic road would be repaired by then and re-opened before we arrive in Kaza town.

We drove up on east side mountain road from Pooh and reached Nako which was the very beautiful hill side village at 3660m by a lovely lake.

We took a walk in the Nako village. From Nako Gompa, we could see P6791 (Leo Pargial) which is the rocky pinnacle standing on the border ridge between India and Tibet. We could not see the untrodden peak P6816 in the south of Leo Pargial from Nako village.

From the garden of Kinner Camps Nako, we could have the panormic views of west mountains range on the other side of Hangrang Valley.

P6000 (Singekang), P6031, P5800 (Talanrang), and P5610 (Harman Chhang) are standing on the top of the Lipak Lungpa branch. These peaks are still untrodden virgin peaks, according to the IMF website.

Peaks in Hangrang valley

Day 5: Nako village – Tabo monastery

On June 20th, We left Nako at 7:40 am and reached Tabo village at 2:00 pm after showing our passport and Inner Line Permit(ILP) at Sumdo Check Post. Just before Tabo, we saw the mountain range with P6000, P5901 (Tongmor), P5761 (Lungma), P5700 (Sibu), and P5843 (Shijabang) in the north of Tabo village.

We visited Tabo monastery Gompa, which was the small temple but had a lot of wonderful Buddist statues and the wall paintings in Kashmiri style like the arts of Alchi Gompa in Ladakh. We were so impressed with the exquisite Buddist arts.

Day 6: Tabo – Pin valley

On June 21st, We left Tabo and visited Dhankar Gompa and Lalung Gompa as a day tour. Dhankar Gompa was a small temple and most of the Buddist wall paintings were unfortunately damaged. After Dhankar, we visited Lalung Gompa, which was also a small temple but had very beautiful Buddhist wall paintings. Near Lalung Gompa, we could see the rocky mountain P5902 in the southwest of Lalung Gompa.

We paid a visit to Kungri Gompa which had a new main building under the support of Dalai Lama 14th. Kungri is Spiti valley‘s second oldest monastery after Tabo. It was built around 1330 AD.

After a short drive from Kungri Gompa, we arrived in Sagnam village at 11:30 am. We could see the attractive snow peaks P5903 and P5870 in Kuoki River, the branch of Pin River, from the entrance of Sagnam village.

Peaks in Pin river valley. Photo taken from Sagnam village.

After lunch at the local private house where we stayed, we had a short excursion to Mud village, the last village of Pin valley.

With its snow laden unexplored higher reaches and slopes, Pin Valley National Park forms a natural habitat for a number of endangered animals including the Snow Leopards and Siberian ibex.


We reached Mud after about an hour’s drive and took short hiking on the left branch of Pin River. We turned back to Sagnam after one hour walk, as the rain started suddenly.

Day 7: Sagnam village: Exploring Debsa Nala

On June 23rd, We went to explore the right branch of Pin River. We drove to Kaa and started walking along the Parahio stream, a tributary of the Pin river to explore Debsa Nala. We went down the steep narrow path from the village to Kidul Chu, the branch of the Parahio stream, and crossed this small stream and traversed on the other side, by climbing up and down.

At the head of Debsa Nala lies the Ratiruni Col which leads to the Dibibokri Nala – Spiti: Adventures in the Trans-Himalaya by Harish Kapadia

Finally, we went down to the flat Parahio River, spending more than one hour. Just before Thidim, we could see many challenging peaks in Debsa Nala, P5975, P6126, P6507, P6410, P6130, P6222, P6202, and P6243. Referring to the information from the IMF, we suppose that all these high peaks are still untrodden and virgin peaks. We were overwhelmed with this marvelous mountain view.

Though we wished to peep into Khamengar Valley, we did not have enough time left.

After lunch, we decided to go back and came back to the parking place at Kaa around 4:00 pm. We were very happy to have a nice view of the 6000m peaks in Debsa Nala. But it was a great regret that we could not see any mountains in Khamengar Valley. It was my mistake that we did not plan to spend two or three days exploring both Debsa Nala and Khamengar Valley with enough food supply and tents.

Day 8: Sagnam – Mud village

On June 24th, We went to the left branch of Pin River again. The left branch of the Pin River is the very wide and open pastures. There are several grazing huts. We could enjoy the wonderful view of the Pin River. P5650 was sitting with the big bottom like a mother on the top of this branch. At the junction with the path coming down from Lalung La, we had lunch and left for Mud at 11:45 am. It was a very pleasant walk.

Day 9: Mud – Kaza

On June 25th, We left Sagnam at 7:40 am and arrived in Kaza at 9:20 am by the chartered cars. The master of the Hotel Spiti Sarai at Rangrik where we stayed told us that the main connecting road is still closed between Kunzum La and Chandra River. As nobody knew when the main road would be opened again, we gave up going back to Shimla via Rohtang Pass and Manali and decided to return to Shimla via the same way via Tabo, Nako, and Kalpa.

After taking lunch at the hotel, we visited Key Gompa on the top of the hill. Then, we went to Langza which is a very beautiful pasture with several local houses. We saw the white snow peak “Chau Chau (6303)”, which was first climbed by a British party in 1993. On the other side of Spiti River, we could see Ratang Tower (6170m) which was first climbed by Indian Party (Leader: Haris Kapadia) in 1993 and the untrodden peak P6060 in the branch Ratang stream. On the left side of the Ratang, we could see P5877 which looked like Mt. Alberta in Canadian Rocky.

Kaza – Shimla – Delhi return journey

After we had one rest day on June 26th, we left Rangrik of Kaza and drove back to Shimla, via Nako, Kalpa, and Rampur, spending three days. On June 30th, we enjoyed sightseeing in Shimla. And on July 1st, we went back to Delhi by train. After two nights stay in Delhi, we came back to Japan on July 4th.

We were very happy to see many attractive unknown mountains in Kinnaur and Spiti. These areas are very vast. I regret that I made a plan to explore these big areas in a very short time. We should try again to have a more detailed exploration of one or two limited places next time.

Blog Homestay Kinnaur Sangla valley

Smitten by Sangla village of Kinnaur

Home » Kinnaur

Smitten by Sangla

Visiting Kinnaur and spending some time with the locals was high on my bucket list for a long time. Finally, I got a chance to check out the Chitkul village in Sangla valley before our Lamkhaga Pass trek in May 2017, thanks to the impeccable planning of Gautam Baliga ji. On the 18th of May, Gautam, Aashish and I boarded the only Shimla to Sangla(altitude 2300m) direct bus to reach our destination for the day – the Sangla valley.

Mesmerizing views on the way to Sangla
Mesmerizing views on the way to Sangla

After an 8 to 9-hour journey on the HRTC bus, we reached Sangla at 5 pm. Tucked in the lower Himalayas in the district of Kinnaur, the Sangla valley is one of the most picturesque valleys in Himachal, located around 25 km away from the Indo-Tibet border. Sangla derives its names from a Tibetan word Sangala which means “passage of light”.

Sangla village temple campus
Sangla – A blend of culture and natural beauty

We checked into Baspa guest house in the valley and after a few minutes of break, we headed out to explore the Sangla valley. After 10-15 minutes of walk, we reached the Bairing Nag temple.

Sangla Bairing Nag Temple
Sangla Bairing Nag Temple

After reaching there, we came to know that outsiders are not allowed inside the temple. But it’s still worth a visit for the amazing exteriors of the temple and the peaceful surroundings.

Some mind-blowing wooden work in Bairing Nag temple
Some mind-blowing wooden work in Bairing Nag temple
Amazing exteriors in the monastery in Bairing Nag temple complex
Amazing exteriors in the Buddhist monastery in Bairing Nag temple complex. Architecture of the temples in Kinnaur is a beautiful blend of Tibetan architecture and local Kath-Kuni architecture

A few hours into Sangla, I could feel that the best thing about this place is not just the beauty of it, but also the most friendly and amazing locals in this place. We had a great time in the Bairing Nag temple playing a game of volleyball with the kids and clicking pictures with the locals visiting the temple.

Meet the volleyball gang of Sangla Bairing Nag. Group photo clicked by Gautam Baliga
Meet the volleyball gang of Sangla Bairing Nag. Group photo clicked by Gautam Baliga
Gala time with kids in Sangla
Gala time with kids in Sangla
Local ladies of Sangla valley , Kinnaur
These young ladies in Sangla happily posed to our camera and selfies
The game of volleyball with kids in Sangla
The game of volleyball with kids in Sangla

The next day, we visited the Sangla Buddha temple/monastery. One of the monks in the monastery had done a part of his monk studies in Bylakuppe, and he got immersed into a long chat with us after he came to know that Gautam and Aashish were from Bangalore. With our visit to Sangla happening just after the release of Baahubali-2, it was evident from our conversation with monks that the Sangla valley was no exception to the bahubali fever that had gripped the entire nation that time. The monks in Sangla told me how several locals in Sangla had traveled to Shimla to watch this movie as there were no theaters in Kinnaur.

Sangla Buddhist Monastery gate
Sangla Buddhist Monastery gate
Inside Sangla Buddha Monastery.
Inside Sangla Buddha Monastery. Group photo clicked by Gautam Baliga

If you are one of those traveling to Kinnaur. no matter how much packed your itinerary may be, you must take a day off to explore the beauty of Sangla and Kamru. Sangla is undoubtedly one of the most idyllic spots I have visited in Kinnaur, thanks to the natural beauty and the super amazing locals there.

Places to visit:

Bairing Nag Temple
Sangla Buddhist Monastery

Reaching Sangla Valley

Sangla is 360 km from Chandigarh and the travel may take 15 to 16 hours. Delhi to Sangla is approx 580 km. Below is the approach route for Sangla:
Shimla ⇒ Kufri ⇒ Fagu ⇒ Narkanda ⇒ Rampur ⇒ Jeori ⇒ Tapri ⇒ Karcham ⇒ Sangla
Public transport: There is a Chandigarh-Shimla-Sangla daily direct bus that starts from Shimla at 6 am. 2-3 buses also start from Reckong Peo for commuting within Kinnaur that stops at Sangla.

Best time to visit Sangla:

Best months to visit Sangla village is from mid of May to early October.

Blog by Sandhya Sourirajan – Travel directory.

Blog Garhwal Mountaineering Trekking

Lamkhaga Pass Trek – May 2018 Expedition Blog

Home » Kinnaur

Chitkul to Gangotri/Harsil Trek

Lamkhaga Pass (5282m) (Chitkul to Harsil), May 2018
This Himalayan high pass divides Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh from Uttarakhand in India. We followed the following route:
Chitkul to Rani Kanda
-Rani Kanda to Dhumti
-Dhumti to Gundar
-Gundar to Lamkhaga advance base camp (Kinnaur side) (One may break this climb till base camp 1 and next day to advance base camp…….we skipped)
-Advance base camp to Upper Kyarkoti after crossing Lamkhaga pass (Again, you may camp at Lamkhaga pass base camp of Gangotri side followed by trek till Kyarkoti…….we decided to continue beyond base camp and camp at upper Kyarkoti)
-Upper Kyarkoti to Kyarkoti
-Kyarkoti to Gangnani
-Gangnani to Harsilsn
This is a remote pass and very few groups have finished this. Thus it could be a good option for all those who loves to visit the under-explored! Raacho Trekkers team did the first recce of the route from Kinnaur side in 2014.

First day camping at Ranikanda near Chitkul[Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
First day camping at Ranikanda near Chitkul
View of Baspa glacier snout[Lamkhaga pass trek]
View of Baspa glacier snout
Huge icicles near Baspa glacier ice cave[Lamkhaga pass trek]
Huge icicles near Baspa glacier ice cave
Baspa glacier ice cave [Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
Baspa glacier ice cave [Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
Baspa glacier ice cave [Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
Baspa glacier ice cave [Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
Climbing up to the Lamkhaga pass base camp
Climbing up to the Lamkhaga pass base camp
Lamkhaga pass base camp [Lamkhaga 2018]
Lamkhaga pass base camp
Baspa Glacier. Chotakhaga pass is visible in the background.[Lamkhaga pass 2018]
Baspa Glacier. Chotakhaga pass is visible in the background.[Lamkhaga pass 2018]
View from base camp [Lamkhaga pass 2018]
View from base camp
Water pumped out off the glacier beneath the tent......trying to reset the tents [Lamkhaga pass 2018]
Water pumped out off the glacier beneath the tent……trying to reset the tents [Lamkhaga pass 2018]
Trying to dig out some water from beneath the glacier at advance base camp[Lamkhaga pass 2018]
Trying to dig out some water from beneath the glacier at advance base camp[Lamkhaga pass 2018]
Climbing Lamkhaga pass [Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
Climbing Lamkhaga pass
Lamkhaga pass top
Lamkhaga pass top
View of Uttrakhand side glacier
View of Uttrakhand side glacier
Jalandri Gad amphitheater [Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
Jalandri Gad amphitheater [Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
Jalandri Gad stream making way through the glacier [Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
Jalandri Gad stream making way through the glacier
Descending into the Jalandri Gad valley [Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
Descending into the Jalandri Gad valley [Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
Origin of Jalandri gad stream. Jalandri Gad is a right bank tributary of Bhagirathi river
Origin of Jalandri gad stream. Jalandri Gad is a right bank tributary of Bhagirathi river
The ridge[Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
The ridge
Upper Kyarkoti... Jalandhari gad valley[Lamkhaga pass trek]
Upper Kyarkoti… Jalandhari gad valley
Meadows of Kyarkoti. Harsil valley Uttrakhand[Lamkhaga pass trek 2018]
Meadows of Kyarkoti. Harsil valley Uttrakhand

Blog by Upasana Ray

Blog Homestay Kalpa Winter in Kinnaur

Kalpa & Charang Snow Hikes | Winter in Kinnaur

Home » Kinnaur

After a long delay, finally posting pics of our winter trip to Kalpa, Charang Village & the Charang Rangrik Monastery. Charang village is the last village on the Indo-China Border. The last ITBP post is located in this village.

Winter in Kinnaur 

For the city folks, the village offers a complete escape from the busy city life. No network coverage — bosses can’t call you. For a comfort trip seeker, I will 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 Kalpa Buddhist monastery and newly built Narayanas temple. We spent the rest of the day at a friend’s place in Reckong Peo and took rest after 12 hrs enduring journey in the Chandigarh-Reckong Peo HRTC bus.

View of Snow covered Pangi village from Kalpa village of Kinnaur
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 fighting in 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 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

Now coming to our next day’s experience I consider this as an achievement. Trekking on steep slopes for 20 km on snow for 8 hrs continuously. With no one to your rescue walking endlessly with those baby steps on snow…having no idea that 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 around 1 PM and took a taxi to Lambar ( 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
Village with a buddhist monastery & many chorten – Moorang
Slippery road near Moorang village of Kinnaur on NH 05
Slippery road near Moorang on National Highaway 05
A bridge on Satluj river connecting
Moorang bridge , Tidong valley , Kinnaur

Moorang bridge, Tidong valley, Kinnaur

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

We started the trek from Lambar at around 3 PM and reached Charang at about 11 pm. In the 20 km stretch, there were only three of us walking continuously. Because in that extreme 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 of the steps of the ITBP jawans on the snow…which kept us hopeful that we are heading in the right direction. Each one of us was having plenty of dry fruits but none of us was having the energy to 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 to the post at Charang. 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. And 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 also. We sat near the bukhara 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]
The trails to Charang, Kinnaur [Winter 2015]
In Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

In Charang, Kinnaur [Winter 2015]View of last ITBP check post and Rangrik Tungma monastery , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

View of last ITBP check post and Rangrik Tungma monastery , Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Halting place , en route Rangrik Tungma monastery , Charang Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Halting place, en route Rangrik Tungma monastery, Charang Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Waiting for the sunshine , Charang Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Waiting for the sunshine, Charang Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Trail to Rangrik Tungma monastery , Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

The trail to Rangrik Tungma monastery, Charang, Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Charang village , Tidong valley , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Charang village , Tidong valley , KinnaurHiking to Rangrik Tungma Monastery , Charang [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Hiking to Rangrik Tungma Monastery , Charang [Winter 2015]Dogs in Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Dogs in Charang , KinnaurPrayer flags in Rangrik Tungma monastery , Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Prayer flags in Rangrik Tungma monastery , Charang , Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Chorten , a Buddhist stupa , Charang Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Chorten , a Buddhist stupa , Charang Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Charang snowscape , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Charang snowscape , Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Prayer flags , Charang , Kinnaur [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Prayer flags , Charang , Kinnaur [Winter 2015]Searching for network in Charang , Kinnaur[Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Searching for network in Charang , Kinnaur

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]
Walking with the wind, returning from Charang, Kinnaur [Winter 2015]
Singing stream , Tidong [Winter in Kinnaur 2015]

Singing stream, Tidong [Winter Kinnaur 2015]Walking along Tidong stream while returning back from Charang , Kinnaur [winter 2015]

Walking along Tidong stream while returning from Charang, Kinnaur [winter 2015]

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

Blog by: Saurabh Tiwari

Blog Chitkul village Kinnaur Sangla valley Trekking

Baspa Valley Kinnaur: Valley Of Brimming Beauty

Home » Kinnaur

In the western Himalayas, bordering along with Tibet and Garhwal, the Baspa valleyalso called Sangla valley—of Kinnaur has been open to visitors since the early 90s. The valley got its name from the Baspa river which originates from Chung Sakhago pass and meanders for around 30 km before meeting Satluj on its left bank near Karcham.

Baspa valley, Kinnaur:

Unlike the Spiti valley and Hangrang region of Kinnaur, the Baspa valley is green paradise in largely barren mountains. Baspa valley or Sangla valley is known for fruit-laden orchards, cedar covered slopes and flower crusted meadows. Bhojpatra tree is abundantly found in the Chitkul region.

A land of blue skies, buzzing Baspa river, soaring peaks, deep valleys, apple orchards, and syncretic culture — Baspa valley a place for people who are seeking genuine peace and soul-calming solitude far, far from the madding crowd.

The fort of Kamru is another landmark in Baspa valley. As Gandhi once remarked that ‘the soul of India lies in its villages’— villages like Chitkul, Rackcham, Sangla, Kamru and Chansu are the soul of Baspa valley.

Rackcham village , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Rendezvous with Rackcham
Monsoon in Baspa valley Kinnaur
Rain clouds brewing — Monsoon in Baspa valley
Baspa valley Kinnaur — Monsoon in Kinnaur
Wandering clouds descending over the valley
Snowy mountain tops of Baspa valley Kinnaur
Early spring in Baspa valley…Snowy mountain tops
Snowy mountain tops of Baspa valley Kinnaur
Snowy mountain tops of Baspa valley Kinnaur, clicked in early spring season
Rackcham , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Rendezvous with Rackcham
Rackcham region - Baspa valley Kinnaur
Rakcham region – Baspa valley Kinnaur. Early spring in Baspa valley
Shallow waters of Baspa river and Snowscapes of Chitkul. Clicked in later March.
Chitkul Snow landscapes , Spring 2017 [Winter - Early spring season ]
Snowscapes of Chitkul. Clicked in later March ( Upper Baspa Valley)
Spring in Kinnaur , Baspa valley , Sangla
Snowscapes of Sangla. Clicked in late March [ Spring in Kinnaur ]
Dried apple chips , Sangla , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Apple chips. Apples are cut into pieces and spread over the slate roof or any sunny place. They get crispy after some time and eaten during wintertime. They are as nutritious as a fresh apple.
Folk music percussion instrument Baspa valley, Kinnaur. They are called a variety of names depending upon their sizes like Dhol, Dholku, Dolki, and Nagara. The skin of goat or sheep is used to make these instruments.
Kamru fort , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Kamru fort, Baspa valley
Slate roof house built in Kath khuni architecture , Kamru , Baspa valley, Kinnaur
Slate roof house built in Kath khuni architecture, Kamru, Baspa valley.
Carvings on wooden window , en route Kamru , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Carvings on a wooden window, en route Kamru
Beautiful Carvings on a metal door , Kamru fort compound , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Beautiful Carvings on a metal door, Kamru fort compound
Brass door handle of Kamru fort entrance , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Brass door handle of Kamru fort entrance
Inside Kamru fort complex , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Inside Kamru fort complex
Intricate design on wooden door , Kamru fort complex , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Intricate design on a wooden door, Kamru fort complex
Brass sculpture , Kamru fort complex , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Brass sculpture, Kamru fort complex
Old house , en route Kamru fort , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Old house, en route Kamru fort
getting up early was worth it , Sunrise from Thola peak Chitkul , Baspa Valley
Getting up early was worth it. Sunrise from Thola peak at Chitkul, Baspa Valley
Livestock feed ( dried grass ) hanged on tree to dry and later stored for use during winter season. Chitkul , Baspa valley
Livestock feed ( dried grass ) hanged on a tree to dry and later stored for use during the winter season.
Azure waters of Baspa river , Chitkul , Kinnaur
Azure waters of Baspa river, Chitkul [Autumn season: Clicked in October
Nagasti ITBP camp , Chitkul , Baspa valley
Nagasti ITBP camp, Chitkul[Autumn season: Clicked in October
Ruminating by the river , Chitkul , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Ruminating by the river, Chitkul[Autumn season: Clicked in October.
Strolling around Chitkul , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Strolling around Chitkul in Autumn season

The lush green valley, snow-capped mountains of Kinnaur-Garhwal region and melodically flowing Baspa river are the hallmark of Baspa valley. There are many trekking routes that lead to or end up in the Baspa Valley. Some of the prominent ones are the following.

Treks in Baspa valley

1. Lamkhaga pass trek.

It is a fairly remote trek and is now regarded as the classic route from Gangotri to Kinnaur, which was first crossed by Marco Pallis in 1933. The trek is also known as  Chitkul to Gangotri trek or Harsil to Chitkul trek. It trek can be done from either side. The beautiful route takes you through some of the most remote areas of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, like the Jalandhari valley that is covered with flowers post monsoon. The snow in the early season could impede your progress. Harsil is famous for Wilson’s Cottage built in 1864. Gangotri is a short drive from Harsil, while Chitkul is the last village in the Baspa valley

2. Borasu pass trek

Borasu Pass at a height of 5450 meters (17880 feet) above sea level is a high mountain pass connecting the Indian states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and is located at the border of the two states. This trek goes through the famous Har-ki-Dun valley and we witness the beautiful glacial lakes of Morinda Taal and Zhupkia Glacier. The trail for this trek passes through a glacier, narrow ridges, vertical show slopes, meadows, and boulders. Overall a very adventurous experience not to mention the unforgettable views of the mountains.

3. Buran Ghati trek

It is an old Sheppard route that connects Brua village of Baspa valley to Janglikh village of Pabbar valley, Rohru.

4. Kinner Kailash Parikrama ( Charang – La )

Mount Kinner Kailash is located in Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh. The trail provides a panoramic view of the whole range of Kinner Kailash mountain peaks. This region is located on the Indo-Tibet border and gives a wonderful introduction to the confluence of Hinduism and Buddhism. The landscape of the area varies from the lush green scenic valley of Sangla Valley to the snow-clad mountains of the Kinner ranges. This trek is packed not only with some of the best views of the mountains but also provides an insight into the rich history of trade, religion, and diverse ethnic groups, the experience of which leaves one enchanted.

5. Khimloga pass trek

It is a trade route mostly frequented by Sheppard from either side of Baspa of Supin valley of Uttrakhand.

6. Rupin pass trek

Rupin Pass is a high altitude pass across the Himalaya mountain range in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It lies on a traditional shepherd and hiking route which starts from Dhaula in Uttarakhand and ends in Sangla in Himachal Pradesh. The path itself is located across mostly uninhabited areas in the Himalayan ranges at an elevation of 15,250 ft (4,650M) above sea level

7. Yamrang la pass (5570 m) & Gugairang La

These two passes connect Baspa valley to Tibet.

Easy to moderate trails in Baspa valley:

1. Karcham to Barua

Karcham is a small town on National Highway 5 at the confluence of the Satluj and Baspa river. The trail passes through Sapni village (Visit to snake god temple is recommended) and ends up a Brua Village.

2.Brua to Chansu trail

After a gradual descend one needs to negotiate Brua Nallah and then Climb up to Chansu village.

3. Sangla to Kamru fort trail

Kamru village was the capital of the erstwhile principality of Bushahr. The Kamru Fort, a 15-minute walk from the Sangla town, houses quintessential wood-and-stone buildings with curved, peaked roofs. On the way up is the Badrinath Temple, a classic example of Kinnauri religious syncretism with both Hindu and Buddhist shrines. There are several folklores associated with it and according to one legend, there are crores of devi- devta residing inside the fort.  Entry inside the fort is restricted – only into the courtyard in front of it – but the views of the surrounding mountains are good, anyway.

Sangla Village

Sangla serves as a base to hike to nearby villages like  Kamru, Batseri, Rackham, and Chitkul.  It offers an uninhibited rendezvous with nature — walks, treks and strolling in narrow alleys of Himalayan hamlets, lively bonfires by the river. If you’re an angling enthusiast, the swirling current of the Baspa is home to both the Rainbow and Brown Trout.

Blog by Pawan Ranta

Blog Kalpa Winter in Kinnaur

Chaka Meadows Hike – The Kalpa Trek

Home » Kinnaur

Chaka meadows are mountain meadows high above Kalpa village of Kinnaur. It is a hike recommended for the ones in tireless twenties who have just started their trekking journey or for the people ones in late forties a time when knees begin to protest against the gradient and you start appreciating the least challenging of the mountain trails.

Wild himalayan flowers. Enroute Chaka meadows , Kalpa , Kinnaur
Hidden deep beneath the winter snow, mountain flowers begin to grow. Who will wake when lilies bloom? Who will appear when spring is finally here? Wild Himalayan flowers. Enroute Chaka meadows

Kalpa To Chaka Trek

The Chaka(also spelled as Chakka) is the quintessential Himalayan mountain meadow — some people call it Chaka peak but there is no peak as such — located at an altitude of around 3800m above sea level.

The route

The trails start from a point on Kalpa Roghi road near charming Kalpa (Chini village) which is around 10 km from district headquarter, Reckong Peo.  One doesn’t need any prior trekking experience but a sound pair of lungs. I would say it’s a modest trek with great returns. The hike is steep though. We started hiking from a trail near the hotel Rakpa Regency which leads to Chaka Meadows. Early morning start is advised because it gets quite arduous when the sun starts hitting on the face and suddenly you start feeling the backpack load.

Wild flower enroute Chaka meadows , Kalpa , Kinnaur
Wildflower en route Chaka meadows

A good trek is not measured just by the physical coordinates of cool heights attained and scenic ridges traversed. Perhaps more crucial is the inner satisfaction that derives from walking with companions who stay agreeable under testing conditions and whose sympathies remain as a warm afterglow. The marvelous sunrise from the Kinner Kailash mountain, breathtaking views of the mountain range and beautiful views of Kalpa village are major highlights of the hike.

Sitting by the stream , en route Chaka meadows , Kalpa , Kinnaur
Sitting by the stream, en route Chaka meadows
Chaka meadows , Kalpa , Kinnaur
Chaka meadows, Kalpa
Wild flower enroute Chaka meadows , Kalpa , Kinnaur,
Wild flower enroute Chaka meadows
Traditional house , enroute Chaka meadows , Kalpa , kinnaur
The vintage home. It is a storehouse used in summers only during the sowing season. In winter people descend to their homes in Chini village.

Distance from Kalpa

The trail is around 3 kilometers long and it runs along a stream. It passes through fields of Chini villagers and Cedar forest below the meadows.  It’s a day hike and one can comfortably descend back to the Kalpa – Roghi road in the evening.

Small foot bridge , En route Chaka meadows , Kalpa , Kinnaur
A small footbridge , En route Chaka meadows

Chaka-Kalpa Trek During Winter

Winter offers some of the prettiest, most serene trail adventures you can ever hope to have. Cleary sky, little or no crowd and snow-laden peaks are some of the perks that come with a winter hike.  Unlike in summers when you need to start early in the morning, one can start to hike in late morning in winters.  Hiking in winters has its inherent dangers. So one is advised to carry good gear and dress in layers.

Views from Chaka meadwos , Kalpa , Kinnaur
Views from Chaka meadows
Raldang peak framed! Enroute Chaka meadows trek , Kalpa , Kinnaur
Framing Raldang peak
Hiking along the stream, Chaka meadows trek, Kalpa , Kinnaur
Hiking along the stream
Frozen stream , en route Chaka meadows trek
Frozen in time and space
Chaka meadows Kalpa | Kinnaur in winters
Snow covered fields of Chaka meadows. These fields remain under the snow for 4-5 months. In summers people of Chini and surrounding villages of Kalpa climb up to their fields in Chaka Kanda and live here for 2-3 months. Imagine working in these fields in such beautiful surroundings.
Ice covered stream | Chaka meadows Kalpa | Winter in Kinnaur
Ice-covered stream
Walking besides the singing stream | Chaka meadows Kalpa | Winter in Kinnaur
Walking beside the singing stream
Winter snowscape , en route Chaka medows Kalpa | Winter in Kinnaur
Winter snowscape, en route Chaka meadows Kalpa
Chaka meadows trail , Kalpa | Winter in Kinnaur
There is no other trail that has such amazing views of the Kinnaur Kailash mountain range.
Chaka meadows trail, Kalpa
Chaka meadows hike, Kalpa | Winter in Kinnaur
Lost in thought and lost in time
While the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted
Outside the rain fell dark and slow
While I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime
I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the moment had arrived
For killing the past and coming back to life
Her majesty , Mt Raldang (5499m) | Chaka meadows hike Kalpa | Winter in Kinnaur
Her majesty , Mt Raldang (5499m)
Singing stream. Chaka meadows hike Kalpa. | Winter in Kinnaur
“Sometimes you have to turn back and follow your own footprints to find the right path!”

Blog by Pawan Ranta

Kinnaur Trek Blog Trekking

Pin-Bhabha pass trek

Pin-Bhabha Pass

Bhabha pass is located between the Kinnaur and Pin valley of Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh. From the beginning of the trek to the end, one experiences wildly vivid landscapes, people, languages, and religions.

Pin valley,Spiti to Bhaba valley crossover

Bhabha Pass Trek can be done in either direction, from the Mud village of Spiti and from Kafnu village of Bhabha valley, Kinnaur.  Normally it takes 4-5 days to reach the Mud village under normal weather conditions. Bhabha Pass connects two contrasting valleys of Kinnaur and Spiti. Lush green meadows of Bhabha valley transforms into barren moonscapes of the Pin valley of Spiti region.

Kara lake, Bhaba valley , Kinnaur
Kara lake, Bhaba valley , Kinnaur
Bhabha valley , Kinnaur
Bhabha valley, Kinnaur
enroute Bhabha pass , Bhabha pass trek
En route Bhabha pass, Bhabha pass trek
Crossing Kara stream , enroute Bhabha pass trek
Crossing Kara stream, en route Bhabha pass trek

Highlights Of  Pin Bhabha Trek:

  • Moonscapes of  Spiti valley.
  • Kara stream crossing.
  • Pin river.
  • Mulling Meadows
  • High altitude mountains.

Pin-Bhabha Pass Itinerary:

Day 1: Kafnu to Mulling (2,400 m to 3,200 m)

Approx. Trekking time: 6-7 hours,

Trek gradient:  Easy walk on a moderate slope.

Day 2: Mulling to Kara(3,200 m to 3,500 m)

 Approx. trekking time:  5-6 hours

 Trek gradient: Moderate.

Day 3: Trek from Kara to Phustirang (3,500 m  to 3950 m)

 Approx. trekking time:  4-5 hours

 Trek gradient: Moderate to tough

Day 4: Phutsirang to Mangrungse over Pin Bhaba Pass  (4,107 m  to  4,900 m Bhabha pass  to  4,100 m Mangrungse)

Approx. trekking time:  8-9 hours

 Trek gradient: Difficult.  Ascent to the pass followed by a gradual descent.

Day 5: Trek from Mangrungse to Baldhar (4,100 m to 3850 m)

Approx. trekking time:  3-4 hours

Trek gradient: Moderate

Day 6: Baldhar to Mudh (3850 m to 3700m)

Approx. trekking time:  3-4 hours

Trek gradient: Easy

Getting there:

Kafnu: Kafnu is situated in the Kinnaur district. It is around 201 km from Shimla. Drive on NH 22 from Shimla will take you to Kafnu via Rampur & Wangtoo.

Distance from Shimla to Kafnu: 201 Kms.

Mud village: Mud village is situated in the Spiti valley of Lahaul & Spiti district. First, reach Manali then take a drive to Kaza which is 201 Kms. from Manali. From Kaza, Book sumo & reach Mud village.

Distance from Manali to Kaza: 201 Kms.

Distance from Kaza to Mud village: Around 50 to 60 Kms.

Blog Kinnaur Sangla valley Trekking

Sangla – A Buddhist Town in the lap of Himalayas!

Home » Kinnaur

Sangla village of Kinnaur is a scenic & heavenly Himalayan village revered by travelers and backpackers alike. It is the largest village of the Sangla valley aka Baspa valley and one of the largest in Kinnaur. Located at the middle of the valley and about 18km from the nearest highway i.e NH 05,  it has found a place in an itinerary of every traveller or backpacker for its spellbinding attractions like Kamru, Basteri, Rackham, Chitkul village and Rankanda meadows.   

Sangla Valley

The valley is acclaimed for the Sangla Bering Nag Temple, Kamru Village Fort, Sangla Buddhist Monastery, Beautiful Baspa Valley along & Baspa riverside, India’s last village from Tibet side – Chitkul. Sangla village is the gateway to many high altitude Himalayan treks like Lamkhaga Pass, Rupin Pass & Borasu Pass Trek.  

Best time to visit?

The weather remains cold to bitterly cold from November to March. May to September are pleasant days  So better to visit Sangla is in the months of April to October.  If you want to experience the snow, then December to early March is the best time.

Sangla average rainfall | Sangla weather
Sangla average rainfall
Sangla average temperature | Sangla weather
Sangla average temperature

The Weather of Sangla village:

Sangla is located in the temperate zone. The average yearly temperature of Sangla hovers around 17°C. It peaks in the months of May and June when it reaches 30°C but the weather remains pleasant.

In July, August and September the average rainfall reach its apex point. It crosses the 300mm mark in the month of July. After July it starts decreasing and the average rainfall plummets to less than 100 mm in September month. In October it barely rains. With dwindling rains temperature graph also takes a nose dive and it crosses below 5°C mark in December month.

How to reach Sangla?

It is well connected from Shimla – The Capital of Himachal Pradesh. Once you reach Shimla, There are HRTC Buses available from the Shimla ISBT Tutikandi bus stand, Chandigarh and Delhi.

Mostly the buses leave from Chandigarh in the night, then reach Shimla in the morning. An HRTC bus will leave for Sangla or Rakchham in the morning around 7:00 AM from the Shimla Bus stand.  The long 12-hour bus ride is an adventurous one!

There is a Bus with number HP 25 A 3043 which runs every alternate day from Shimla around 7:00 – 7:15 AM from Shimla Bus stand to Sangla. One can call Shimla Bus Depo Control Room for details on Bus timings, they will help you. For us, Shimla to Sangla HRTC Bus road journey cost just Rs. 354

Note: There is a 25% concession for Women in HRTC Bus ticket fares. Please check with the conductor once you board the bus if you are a woman or a lady traveler.

The helpline number of Shimla Bus Depo Control Room is 01772656326.

If you are visiting Sangla with friends or family, try to take or book Innova, XUV, Tata Sumo or Tempo Traveler from Shimla. This will help you to stop & spend enough time en-route Sangla. The journey from Shimla to Sangla is Epic & Deadly dangerous one with Breathtaking views of Sutlej River, High Mountains, Mountain Villages, Lovely Bridges, Some Beautiful Towns of Kinnaur Valley.

Distance from different cities:

If you are traveling from the different States of India, it is better to reach Delhi or Chandigarh by Flight, Train or other transport options then plan accordingly in advance. This will help to reach Sangla without any transport issues.

From Delhi: Around 590 Kms. via NH44 and NH5 (Delhi to Sangla)

From Chandigarh: Around 354 Kms. via NH5 (Chandigarh to Sangla)

From Shimla: 240 Kms. via NH5 (Shimla to Sangla)

How to reach Sangla from Shimla: From Shimla, Take following route to Sangla: Shimla –> Kufri –> Fagu –> Rampur –> Tapri –> Karcham –> Sangla

Altitude: Altitude of Sangla Valley, Kinnaur District, Himachal Pradesh comes to around 3000 Mtr.

Bucketlist Places To See Around Sangla Village  

Kamru village 

Kamru village is around a 2-kilometer easy hike from the Sangla Town. It is famous for its Kamru Fort & Temple. Please don’t miss to explore these Ancient Buddhist architectures while exploring Sangla. It is must visit when you are in Sangla!

Kamru Temple: Kamru Temple is situated just below Kamru Fort. This temple is called Shree Badri Vishal Ji Temple of Kamru Village which is also a 15th Century shrine of Lord Badrinath, which hosts a light every three years.

Kamru village, Baspa valley,Kinnaur
Kamru village
Kamru temple , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Beautiful Kamru Temple in the lap of Himalayas!
Buddhist Temple in Kamru village

Kamru Fort

Kamru Fort is one of the Oldest Fort’s located in Sangla valley of Kinnaur District, Himachal Pradesh. Kamru Fort is the main historical place of the Valley. After 2 Kms. walk from Sangla Town, there lies the tower-like fort of Kamru at an altitude of 2600 Mtrs above sea level.

An exotic Image of Lord Buddha on the Fort’s Main Gate and an Image of Kamkhya Devi are the unique features of this fort. The image of Kamkhya Devi supposed to have been brought from Assam is installed on the third floor.

The fort seems like being placed overpacking of dressed stone that acts as a pedestal for an exalted piece of art. The tower possesses an elegant wooden balcony. There are a number of interesting myths attached to this fort. This fort is ruled by 100 plus dynasties of Himachal. Other parts of the fort are restricted for general public viewing including local Kinnaur’s except Kamkhya Devi Idol which is situated near tower-like Fort.

Only ancestors of Himachal Royal families get to go further inside the fort. Virbhadra Singh, CM of Himachal Pradesh belongs to one of the royal families of Himachal visited recently to this fort for family function as informed to us by Watch-woman of Kamru Fort Chandru Negi during our visit on 19th May 2017 mornings.

Kamru fort , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Kamru fort

Sangla Buddhist Monastery

There is a Buddhist Monastery situated in the heart of Sangla Town.  As per the monks of Monastery, this monastery is recently built and it is a very good place to meditate & relax. Don’t miss to explore this monastery of Sangla!

View of Kinner Kailash from Sangla

The back-side view of Kinner Kailash is clearly visible from Kamru Village & surroundings of Sangla where the front-side can be seen from Kalpa or Reckong Peo. This is how I captured the back-side of Kinner Kailash from the Sangla Buddhist Monastery. A classic view indeed!

Sangla Buddhist Monastery, Baspa valley, Kinnaur
Sangla Buddhist Monastery
View of Kinner Kailash from Sangla , Baspa valley , Kinnaur
View of Kinner Kailash from Sangla

Beautiful Baspa Valley

Baspa Valley belongs to the Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh. It lies at Indo-Tibet Border. This valley is famous for Baspa River, Rani Kanda Meadows, Dumti Meadows, Karu Devta Temple at Dumti, ITBP Camps & Check-posts, Nagdum River, Mighty Baspa Glacier, Moraine Stretches, Snowfields & Snow-slopes of Upper Baspa Valley, Gateway to many High Altitude Himalayan Treks like Lamkhaga Pass, Borasu Pass & Many more…

India’s last village – Chitkul

Chitkul is India ‘s last village from Tibet side which can be reached via Road. The distance from Sangla to Chitkul is 22 Kilometer and people throng into this place to experience the beauty of mother nature which is famous for the Snow-capped Mountains, Baspa River & Many more. Potatoes grown at Chitkul are one of the best in the world and are very costly.

Chitkul, Baspa valley , Kinnaur
Chitkul, Baspa valley , Kinnaur

Treks around Sangla 

Sangla Valley of Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh is Gateway to many High Altitude Himalayan Treks like Lamkhaga Pass, Rupin Pass, Borasu Pass & Many more. These treks can either start or end from Himachal Pradesh or Uttrakhand.

  • Lamkhaga Pass: Either Start from or end at Chitkul.
  • Sangla Kanda hike: A high mountain pasture near Sangla village
  • Rupin Pass trek: Either Start from or end at Sangla Town.
  • Borasu pass trek: Either Start from or end at Chitkul.

Final Words: Sangla Valley is a must-visit place for Adventure Seekers, Tourists & Travelers across the world. I will rate this valley 8 out of 10. Please don’t miss to explore this place if you plan an Adventure Trip around Kinnaur & Spiti. Must visit the region of Himachal Pradesh indeed!!!

Blog by  Gautham Baliga

Blog Kinnaur Trek Blog Trekking

Untouched Kinnaur: Rusklang village Of Ropa valley

Home » Kinnaur

Untouched & Unexplored Kinnaur

Kinnaur in northeast Himachal, surrounded by Tibet in the east, is the least explored and the second least populous district, after Lahaul & Spiti, in Himachal Pradesh, India. The old Hindustan-Tibet road, the ancient Silk Route, passes through Kinnaur along the banks of Sutlej River. Kinnaur Kailash is a peak (6500 meters) in Kinnaur, considered the abode of Lord Shiva, and sacred to Hindus & Buddhists. The Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama trek is one of the toughest in the Himachal Himalayas.

Ropa stream of Kinnaur
Ropa stream. A right bank tributary of Satluj river
Rushkalang, Giabong and Sunnam villages of Ropa valley of Kinnaur
Rushkalang, Giabong and Sunnam villages of Ropa valley. Giabong village is located at lower elevation by the Ropa stream.
Kinnaur ethnic jewellery
Hand woven shawl & hand-made jewellery
Fruits laden Apple tree in Ropa valley of Kinnaur
Apple orchard in Ropa valley

Rusklang village of Ropa valley, Kinnaur 

Most of Kinnaur is inaccessible mountainous area cut-off from the rest of the world. The valleys of Sutlej, Bispa, Spiti rivers and their tributaries are some of the most gorgeous ones I’ve seen! Ropa valley near Puh/ Pooh is famous for shawl-weavers, apple orchards, and the finest metal artisans.

Kinnaur is the most tribal part of Himachal, and the people, called Kinners, have lived in isolation since thousands of years and have a strong culture, heritage & religious beliefs. They mostly follow Hinduism or Buddhism and speak a dialect of the Tibeto-Burman family known as Kinnauri and wear distinct green caps.

Old ladies of Ropa valley
Old ladies of Ropa valley, Kinnaur
Portrait of Kinnauri Lady
Portrait of Rushkalang village lady

On the banks of Ropa river is the tiny beautiful village of Rusklang. Houses, streets and almost everything made of wood and stone, apple orchards and a bunch of warm & friendly people 🙂

Streets of Rushkalang village
Village entrance

How To Wear Kinnauri Ethnic Dress: A first timers guide 😅

Walking around in the village we met a family who invited us over for tea and generously served walnuts & almonds from their crop. They even brought out the traditional Kinnauri costume they wear during festivals, for us to see! Excited to see such exotic hand-made textiles and jewelry, we asked if one of them would dress up for us, and they obliged with much more! They dressed up one of us and we all had a good laugh 🙂

Traditional Kinnauri attire & jewellery
Traditional Kinnauri attire & jewellery
Wearing traditional Kinnauri dress & Kinnaur topi(hat)
Wearing Thepang, the famed Kinnauri topi(hat), native to Kinnaur region
Wearing traditional Kinnauri dress
Wearing dhoru, the traditional Kinnauri dress
Traditional attire of Kinnauri ladies
Wearing traditional Kinnauri dress
Wearing Dohru – A Kinnauri ethnic dress

A Kinnauri traditional dress is a handwoven woolen shawl with a bright colored border, wrapped around the body with pleats at the back. A hand-stitched green jacket worn over it with the green cap and finished with traditional hand-made intricate gold and silver jewelry.

Sharing a light moment with ladies of Rushkalang
Having a chat with Kinnauri ladies
Having a chat with the village ladies
Old lady from Rushkalang village of kinnaur

Rusklang was my first experience of a village in Kinnaur. And the untouched natural scenic beauty & the heartwarming experience with the people made it a memorable one!

Dry fruits of Kinnaur
My first Kinnauri experience at Rusklang – A blog by Ritu Saini