Kinnaur is located in the North-Eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. Kinnaur shares its Eastern boundary with Tibet. The Zanskar mountains form the international frontier between Kinnaur and Tibet. Kinnaur is a tribal area of Himachal Pradesh in true style. The breathtaking Sangla valley offers the visitors the breathtaking view of captivating lush green orchards in the lap of majestic mountains covered with pure and dazzling white snow. The district has a number of valleys varying in altitude from 1000 metres to 4000 metres. The main of them are – The Satluj valley, The Hangrang or Spiti valley, The Ropa or Shiasu valley, The Baspa or Sangla valley and the Tidong valley. Among these, the Satluj valley is the largest river valley of the district and traverses for about 140 km. in the region.
Kinnaur has some very important rivers as – the Satluj, which divides Kinnaur almost in two equal parts. The Spiti is the second major river of the district. The Baspa river rises on the North-Eastern declivity of the Dhauladhar range. The Yolong also joins the Spiti. The Ropa river rises on the declivity of the range that divides the district Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti and merges with Satluj near Shiasu. From the riotous green of the Sangla Valley filled with orchards of apricots, peaches, chilgozas and apples to the magnificent desolation of the Hangrang Valley, Mother Nature’s portrait is an ever changing one in Kinnaur. This land lying on the ancient trade route between India and Tibet, ringed by the majestic mountain of the Himalayan and Dhauladhar range is the land of plenty.
The gushing rivers of Kinnaur abound in Trout-the angler’s prize catch, their waters have over the centuries chiseled beautiful gorges across this picturesque land and nurtured one of the most unique societies on there banks. In the lush land live the descendants of the Kinners-the demi gods of the Hindu pantheon, whose deeds have been immortalized in epics and the poems of ancient Sanskrit poets. It is no wonder that a local tradition maintains that Kinnaur with all its beauty fell from the clouds as a gift from the gods.
Famous Places Around Kinnaur :
Sangla : ( 2,680 metres ) It is an important village of the Baspa valley situated on the right bank of Baspa river is built on a slope with houses rising one above other with gigantic ‘Kinner Kailash’ peak ( 6,500 meters ) towering from behind is also famous for ‘Kamru Fort’. This fort was the place where so many Rajas of Kinnaur were crowned. The entire place is adorned by soothing saffon fields and alpine meadows.
Rakchham : ( 2,900 metres ) Its name has been derived from ‘Rak’ a stone and ‘Chham’ a bridge. The location of the village is striking. It is located on the right bank of the Baspa river.
Kalpa: (2,670 meters) it is one of the main villages of the district connected by link road 14 km. from Powari beyond Rekong Peo. Looming in front of Kalpa is an imressive view of ‘Kinner Kailash’ directly across the Satluj River. This mountain changes colors several times a day with a change of weather conditions or may be as destined by Lord Shiva his eternal abode. ‘Parvati Kund’ is located on the top of Kinner Kailash. The ancient villages of Pangi, Moorang and Kanum are situated close to Kalpa.
Recong Peo: (2,760 meters) it is the head quarter of the district Kinnaur.
Kothi: It is also called Koshtampi. It is little below Kalpa proper and it is overshadowed by Kinner Kailash peak. Goddess ‘Shuwang Chandika’ temple is a famous one in the village.The village with its attractive temple, gracious willows, green fields, fruit trees makes an altogether a beautiful landscape.
Pooh: (2,830 meters) it is also known as ‘Spuwa’ and it is a tehsil headquarters located on National Highway-22. The place is famous for vineyards, apricot, almond and grapes orchard. It is 58 km. from Powari along the National Highway. It has modern facilities for comfortable stay. The local god is called Dabla, who neither has any dwelling nor possesses an ark. The only manifestation of the deity is a pole with a small idol set on its upper portion and adorned with Yak tail hair and long pieces of colored cloth. The whole being called Fobrang, it is occasion brought to the Santhang.
Nako: (3,662 meters) it is the highest village in the valley and the existence of lake formed out of the masses of ice and snow above adds to beauty of the village.Situated about 2 kms above the Hangrang valley road and is 103 kms from Kalpa on the western direction of the huge mountain of Pargial. Local village deity is Deodum and another Lagang temple with several idols exists here. There is a staying hut for visitors.
Ribba: (2,745 meters) it is also called ‘Rirang’. It is another popular village at a distance of 14 kms from Morang, the tehsil headquarters and situated between the villages of ‘Purbani’ and ‘Rispa’ is known for grapes, orchards and the alcohol distilled from grapes (angoori).
Leo: Located on the right bank of the Spiti River. It is the headquarters of sub tehsil Hangrang in Pooh sub-division. There is temple of ‘Jamato’ worth visiting.
Chitkul: (3,450 meters) this is the last and highest village in the Baspa valley in district Kinnaur. It is situated on the right bank of Baspa River.
Lippa: (2,745 meters) it is in Kinnaur, situated near the left bank of Taiti stream. Three Buddhist monasteries are there, which are dedicated to Galdang, Chhoiker Dunguir and Kangyar. The place is also famous for Ibex found in the nearby forest.
Chango: (3,058 meters) it is in Kinnaur district and is a collection of four hamlets in pargana ‘Shuwa’ sub-tehsil Hangrang, on the left bank of Spiti River. It is encircled on every side by high hills which is a witness to the presence of a former lake. This village is under the influence of Buddhism, but there are some local Hindu deities too namely ‘Gyalba’ – ‘Dabla’ and ‘Yalsa’.
Karchham: (1,900 meters) the confluence of Satluj and Baspa rivers marks the location of Karchham on Hindustan-Tibet road.
Nichar: (2,150 meters) This village is situated between Taranda & Wangtu on the left bank of Satluj about 5 kms above Wangtu. The scenery is enchanting. Ghoral, antelopes, black & red bears are seen sometimes in higher ranges.
Morang : ( 2,591 metres ) This village is situated 39 kms away from Kalpa on the left bank of river Satluj. The location is very beautiful and approach to this picturesque village is through apricot orchards. The local deity is Urmig and there are three structures dedicated to the deity each existing in Thwaring, Garmang and Shilling. Generally these are empty as the ark of the deity remains in the fort. On a sacred day the ark is taken to the above named places. The ark has got 18 ‘mukh’, made of silver, gold and brass. The 18 mukh represents the 18 days of the great epic Mahabharat.
Kinner Kailash Circuit (Parikrama) : One can undertake this holy parikrama from Morang and return to Kalpa / Karcham in 7- 8 days.
Altitude: varies from 2,550 metres to 6,791 meters.
Headquarter: Recong Peo (altitude 2,760 meters) – former HQ. Was Kalpa (altitude 2,770 meters)
Location: Kinnaur is situated 77°45′ and 79°00’35” East Longitudes and between 31°55’50” and 32°05’15” North Latitudes. Kinnaur shares its Eastern boundary with Tibet. On the South and South Eastern sides, it has Uttar Kashi district of Uttar Pradesh. On the Western side lies the Shimla district and on the North and North-West is situated Lahaul and Spiti.
How to reach Kinnaur
Access by Air: Nearest airport is Jubbar Hatti (from Shimla to Kalpa) 244 km.
Access by Rail: The nearest narrow gauge railway station is at Shimla 250 km. (approx.)
Access by Road: Almost each and every part of the state is linked by roads. The Himachal Road Transport Corporation is running its buses covering the whole state. There is huge network of HRTC to cater the needs of the people.
Distances: 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.