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Himachal Guide - Kinnaur

MapGeneral Info

Kinnaur is one of twelve administrative districts of Himachal Pradesh, India. The district is itself divided into three administrative areas - Pooh, Kalpa, and Nichar - and has five Tehsils or counties. The administrative headquarter for Kinnaur district is at Reckong Peo. Due to the network of motorable roads all the essential facilities are available. According to ancient Hindu texts Kinners are halfway between humans and gods. From here Sangla valley, and district headquarters Recong Peo, Kalpa, Kinnaur Kailash, considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva, can be viewed.
Kinnaur surrounded by the Tibet to the east, in the northeast corner of Himachal Pradesh, about 235 kms from Shimla is a tremendously beautiful district having the three high mountains ranges i.e. Zanskar, Greater Himalayas and Dhauladhar, enclosing valleys of Sutlej, Spiti, Baspa and their tributaries. All the valleys are strikingly beautiful. The slopes are covered with thick wood, orchards, fields and picturesque hamlets. The much religious Shivlinga lies at the peak of Kinner Kailash mountain. The beautiful district was opened for the outsiders in 1989. The old Hindustan - Tibet road passes through the Kinnaur valley along the bank of river Sutlej and finally enters Tibet at Shipki La Pass. And it is not only the scenic beauty which appeals to the young and old alike but also the life styles of the people, their culture, heritage, customs and traditions.

Altitude: High Altitude Valley from 2,320 to 6,816 meters
Temperature: Summer - Max.30°C, Min.10°C & Winter - Max.15°C, Min.-10°C
Clothings: Light woollens in summer and autumn and heavy woollens in winter.
Best Season: June to October.
Languages Spoken: Hindi, Himachali.
STD Code:01785.

TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION
Air :
Nearest Air port is Shimla which is approx. 200 km.
Rail:Nearest railhead is Kalka in Haryana. Then narrow gauge line upto Shimla.
Road:Well connected by road to Shimla The National Highway No. 22 runs through the district. Buses, taxis and jeeps are available from Shimla and Rampur.

DISTANCE
Sanawar: 6-km, Dharampur: One can travel in a taxi or jeep on National Highway 22 for the entire journey from Kalka to Kinnaur. Some of the parts of journey can be done by long route buses run by HRTC. Distance from Shimla to Kalpa is 244 km.

SHOPPING
The most promising object of Chamba will be the rumaals and chappals that are fervently promoted by the Himachal Tourism department. You should also lay hands on metal and stone work items that are excellent souvenirs. In Chaughan Market, go to Amichand Dheems, form where you should buy the miniature paintings. For shawls and woolen artifacts in Chamba, go to Handicrafts Centre inside Rang Mahal. However, one item that you should dare not miss is the spicy Chamba Chukh, which is a unique mashed chillie pickle - exclusive of Chamba valley.

RESTAURANTS
  • Hotel Kinnaur Kailash
  • Hotel Sairag Inn
  • Kinner Villa
MapKinnaur

Travel Destination Kinnaur is situated on the National Highway No. 22 connecting Indo Tibetan border and is one of the famous adventure tourist destinations of Himachal. This stunning place is at a distance of 200km from Shimla. It houses the river Satluj that flows through the high mountains.
There are about 77 villages in the district and Kalpa is one of the biggest of them. There are almost no urban centers. One can enjoy sightseeing, trekking and camping in Sangla Valley and Hangrang Valley. Kinnaur holds three of world's greatest mountain ranges-the Zanskar, the Greater Himalayas, the Dhauladhar and the famous 4,573-meter-high Kinner Kailash Mountain by whose side is the seventy-nine foot vertical rock formation that resembles a Shivalinga and changes color as the day passes. People from all over the world come for adventure trekking tour to Kinnaur from which Kinner Kailash parikarama is the most popular trek.

Sangla:
It is 98 Km from Rampur. It is Kinnaur’s most beautiful side valley. It has a tower like fort and a temple housing the idol of Kamakhya Devi brought here centuries ago from Assam. Sangla, a populous village, situated on the right bank of the Baspa river, is famous for its high fertile soil, at an elevation of 2621 m above the sea level and falls at a distance of 17 km from Karcham. It is built on a slope with the house rising one above the other; the scene being closed by the gigantic Raldang peaks towering behind. The forest scenery all-arround and the eternal snow peaks are picturesque. Journey from Karcham onwards is enjoyable and adventurous throughout the valley. The natural scenery all arround and the eternal snow view are picturesque and charming. It is located in the famous Baspa valley. The whole of the Baspa valley is one of the prettiest valleys mainly due to its flat terrain and green vegetation on the slopes which are not very steep.

Recong Peo:
Reckong Peo is situated at an altitude of 2670 m from the sea level, located 235 km from Shimla. It is the District Headquarter having a panoramic view of Kinner Kailash. Kinner Kailash mountain is regarded as one of the mythical homes of Lord Shiva, here is a 79 feet high rock formation that resembles Sivalinga. This Sivalinga changes the colour as the day passes. Also visible on the stretch is the peak of Raldang (5499 m). Reckong Peo has many hotels and rest houses. There is a Buddhist Monasteries in the Reckong Peo.

Kalpa:
Kalpa is situated at an altitude of 2759 m from the sea level, on the old Hindustan Tibet Road at a distance of 260 km from Shimla. Earlier it was the District Headquarter of Kinnaur. It is 14 kms. and half an hour's drive from District Headquarter Reckong Peo. It has all the characteristics of a heritage village. Kalpa came into prominence in the wake of British Governor General Lord Dalhousie's visit in th 19th century. The Narayan-Nagani temple is an exemplary of local craftmanship. There are couple of Buddhist monasteries at Kalpa including the Hu-Bu-Ian-Car Gompa, said to be founded it by Rinchensang-Po (950-1055AD).Kalpa is dramatically located close to the foot of 6050 meter high Kinner Kailash. This is the legendary winter home of Shiva. This is a spectacular sight early in the morning as the rising sun touches the snowy peaks with crimson and gold light.

Kothi:
Kothi is also called Koshtampi is an ancient large village in tehsil Kalpa, little below the Kalpa and nearby Reckong Peo. The village is environed by the fields and fruit trees punctuated by vineyards. It is over shadowed by Kinner Kailash peak which forms a magnificent backdrops. The village with its attractive temple, tanks and gracious willows makes an altogether lovely landscape. The goddess Shuwang Chandika temple is in the village. The local people hold the goddess in great reverence and consider her to be one of the most powerful goddess.There is an image of gold seated in an ark. It is danced up and down by four persons at the time of worship.There is yet another temple dedicated to Bhairon.

Pooh:
Pooh - also known as 'Spuwa' - is situated 58 km from Powari along National Highway 22, at an altitude of 2,837 m. This small town is well known for its natural beauty, green fields, apricot orchards, vineyards and almond trees. Historical evidences, such as inscriptions, suggest that Pooh was an important trading center in the early 11th century. The main attraction of Pooh is a Buddhist temple dedicated to Sakyamuni or Lord Buddha. The shrine has wooden columns supporting a high ceiling and a circumambulatory path around the altar.

Nichar:
This village is situated between Taranda and Wangtu on the left bank of Satluj about 5 kms above Wangtu.The scenery is enchanting and the climate is noted for its mildness. In the thick forests and rocky glen from this place downward goral and thar antelopes abound in. Black and red bears are also seen in the higher and colder portions of the range. The village deity is goddess Ukha.

Mathi Temple at Chhitkul:
Mathi is the local goddess of the people of chhitkul having three temples the main one said to have been constructed about five hundred years ago by a resident of Garhwal. The square ark of the goddess is made of walnut wood and is covered with clothes and surmounted by a tuft of yak tail. Two poles called bayanga are inserted into it by means of which it is carried. Her legend goes that she started from Brindavan and passing through Mathura and Badri Nath reached Tibet. Afterward she came to Garhwal, and via Sirmour reached Sarhan in Bushahr and ultimately reached the Barua Khad. Beyond Barua Khad she found the territory divided into seven parts. The deity of Shaung village was Narenas, her nephew. She appointed him to guard the territory.Then she proceeded to Chasu village. There too she appointed the Narenas of Chasu, her nephew as a guard. Then she visited the Kamru fort where her husband Badri Nath, was a guard of the throne of Bushahr. She further went to Sangla where her another nephew, Barang Nag, was responsible for safeguarding the Rupin Ghati. Thereafter she proceeded to Batseri village, where Badri Nath of Batseri, her husband was responsible for guarding a place named Dhumthan. Thence onward she arrived at Rakchham where Shanshares, yet another nephew was appointed as a guard of Dhumthan. Finally she arrived at Chhitkul and settled there permanently assuming the overall responsibility of safeguarding the seven divisions. After her arrival, people had plenty of food, animals had sufficient grass and the village began to proper. She had also a pujares. In the morning the pujares bring water from the nearby spring and worship goddess by burning incense, while musical instruments are played by Domangs.

Chango Temples:
Chango has three temples. In lower Chango, the red walls of Rinchen Zangpo temple stand out atop a little promontory but contain little of note. Nearby, the village temple, in more regular use as a place of worship, has a large prayer wheel, clay idols and contemporary wall paintings. A large image of Avalokiteshwara, crudely carved in stone, lies on the path between these two shrines. It was found in some out of the way and the monks decided to place it in a temple but the combined strength of many men was insufficient to lift the stone. Then the present location was though. The temple in upper Chango is the best kept but of relatively recent vintage. Close by, a new prayer hall, library and guest rooms are nearing completion. Across the Chango stream, perched above yellow, alkaline cliffs, is an older collection of religious buildings.

Chhitkul:
This is the last and highest village in the Baspa valley. It is situated on the right bank of the Baspa river. There is a road along the left bank from Karchham. There are three temples of local goddess Mathi, the main one said to have been constructed about 500 years ago by a resident of Garhwal. The square ark of the goddess, is made of walnut wood and is covered with clothes and surmounted by a tuft of yak tail. Two poles called bayanga are inserted into it by means of which it is carried. The goddess has a mouthpiece.

Nako Lake:
This beautiful lake is located in the Pooh sub-division of district Kinnaur. The lake is surrounded by willow and polar trees. There is a small village on the bank of this lake - and the village seems to be half buried by the lake's borders. On the water's northern side, are four Buddhist temples with stucco images and murals. Near Nako is a footprint-like impression ascribed to the saint Padmasambhava. It freezes in winter and people enjoy skating on this lake.