Chitkul- A Heaven on Earth

In the short journey of my life, I have attempted to travel a few corners of India where nature is still untouched by the shades of man-made development. Chitkul is one of the few such places where nature is kept to prosper on its own.

Chitkul  is a part of Kinnaur district, and is the end point of Sangla valley. It is located in the greater Himalayan range and is surrounded by forested slopes. The Baspa river flows in the Sangla valley. Chitkul marks the Indo-Tibet border. Situated in the Garhwal Himalayas, the place experiences the beauty of snowfall in the winter months.

My route to Chitkul was from Kalpa, a small town in Kinnaur district, known for apple orchards. The beauty and serenity of the place attracts nature lovers from corners of the country. The night stay at Chitkul was beautified by the full moon and its rays falling over the silver peaks of snow capped mountains!!

Chitkul is around 40 km from Kalpa and it takes around 2 hours to get there. Due to the bad condition of road, it may be a bit difficult to travel by bus. Cabs are available at cheap rates there. Being located at a height of about 3,450 m, the place remains cold throughout the year. I had to use a sweater and a jacket over my shirt! The serenity and tranquility of the place makes it a home to numerous colourful Siberian birds. You will get to see them early in the morning or during the sunset.

Chitkul 2 sangla valley


The best time to visit Sangla is from August to October ( keep in mind that Chitkul is closed from December to May). During that time, there are no rains and the temperature varies from 3 to 11 degree Celsius. Due to the clear weather in these months, the snow capped mountain peaks which surround Chitkul are clearly visible and you’ll feel like they are a stone’s throw away! I went there in the month of October. At Sangla , there is a lovely hotel called Banjara Camps and Retreats. Though a bit expensive but I can assure, you will get a life time experience in the classy tents furnished with 24 hours hot water supply, attached bath, sofa and luxurious beds. Halting at Chitkul for a night might be a little problematic as there are few hotels and the number of standard hotels is almost nil.

Sunrise is a must watch there. To see it, you must be at the banks of Baspa river by 5:30 am. If there was no rain the previous night, it won’t be foggy. You will appreciate the golden rays of the sun falling on the snowy peaks, slowly turning them into silver. The road to Chitkul passes through a few apple orchards which is something to look forward to during the journey. A one night stay at Chitkul is perfect as a part of a short trip to Himachal.

I reached Chitkul by 9 am, spent the day adoring the magnificence of the place and admiring the beauty of all the wild, nameless flowers and birds. In the afternoon, I spent some time at the banks of the river. It is a good place for photography! Evenings are too cold to draw you away from the blanket. The night will approach fast after the evening. I was lucky to view the sunrise clearly. I saw it from the rooftop of the motel I halted in, and late in the morning the next day, I left for Shimla.

Chitkul is a must visit place for all the nature lovers who admire the beauty of Mother Nature just as it is. It is truly a heaven on earth!


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