Chitkul: The last Indian village near Indo-Tibetan border
Chitkul is a beautiful hamlet nestled deep in Baspa Valley of Kinnaur. It is the last inhabited village of India (120 km) before Indo-Tibetan border. Baspa Valley – popularly known as Sangla Valley – is a wide and picturesque valley creating a beautiful V-shaped low land with green slopes on both ends and Baspa River snaking through it to finally lose its identity after uniting with the high tides of Sutlej River at Karcham.
At an altitude of 3,450 m (11,320 ft) above sea level, Chitkul is a little over 22 km from Sangla. As you drive along the snowy road connecting Sangla to Chitkul for about half an hour to cover 13 km, you reach another beautiful village called Rakcham, situated on the right bank of Baspa River. Rakcham is the starting point for the snow walk and place for an overnight stay a day before the walk. Following morning, we hit the snow-covered road a bit early to see how the god of light and energy turns the entire valley and river into gold with its Midas touch.
The purpose of the activity is to highlight the positive and soft side of the far-off small hamlet. This is just one side. Flipside of our approach to organize the event around this time of the year is to promote eco-tourism. Just imagine how beautiful and righteous it would feel exploring such a picturesque and serene destination without leaving any carbon footprint in form of CO2 emission from your vehicle (otherwise used to reach Chitkul).
And in exchange what you take home is firsthand experience of cultural affairs and lifestyle in this region of Kinnaur district. It’s a mutual effort of you and us to promote tourism in such far-off destinations placed on the edge of the world that are priceless treasures of the Mother Nature protected and hidden deep in the Himalayas.
If someone asks us the question, Have you seen heaven? Our answer would be a big yes, because this scarcely inhabited place is so serene and quaint that it makes us believe that this is probably what heaven would look like. So, let’s be an integral part of this expedition into the land of shepherds and dry fruits and show the world that Chitkul is beautiful, so is its culture and people.
Let’s try and be honest – a winter walking adventure on a long snowy trail to Chitkul is something not many people on earth have experienced. Thick forests, low temperatures, nothing visible except for an extended white sheet of snow all around – that’s something unreal and magical. The entire valley sparkles in blinding white light bouncing back from snow when the god of Himalayas descends from heaven on earth in form of magical substance called ‘snow.’ This is why we decide to follow the faded traces of route hidden under the snow and see the sandy terrain of Kinnaur from entirely a different perspective.
If you also want to be part of this unique and first-of-a-kind walking adventure on a flat trail, join hands with us to head over to Rakcham for magical moments of snowy days in Kinnaur and take home countless memories of once in a lifetime sightseeing experience along the right bank of Baspa River and small flights of snow-decorated bridges over chilling water streams, finally making your way to Chitkul, nestled in the heart of quaint Baspa Valley.
Sure, you could have stayed in your cozy bed and watched your favorite TV show in this wintery season. But you chose to be out into the wild, in freezing temperatures, in knee-high snow to take the wildest walk of your lifetime and prove the fact that you are not a league of ordinary ladies and gentlemen.
Duration: 5 Days/4 Nights
Location: Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
Route Length: ∼20 km
Difficulty Level: Medium (mostly flat but knee-high snow and extremely low temperature pose some serious challenges to put your endurance and patience to the test.)
Day 1: Chandigarh to Kotgarh (195 km, 6 hrs)
Day 2: Kotgarh to Rakcham (160 km, 6 hrs)
Day 3: Rakcham to Chitkul (10 km)
Day 4: Chitkul to Rakcham to Kotgarh (170 km)
Day 5: Kotgarh to Chandigarh (195 km, 6hrs)
Day 1: We drive on NH 22 for about six hours to reach Kotgarh – a small Himalayan village known for apple orchards – while touching beautiful places like Shimla, Kufri and Narkanda. Kotgarh is the place for an overnight stay at a beautiful cottage in the middle of apple orchard.
Day 2: Next morning after breakfast, we drive down the curvy road skirting through apple trees and deodar forests to meet NH 22 that takes us to Karcham. We leave NH 22 to take a right at Karcham to reach Rakcham for an overnight stay at a hotel.
Day 3: Third day is when we hit the snow after breakfast to cover 10 km distance on foot and reach Chitkul. The village draped in snow is place for a high tea at Hindustan Ka Akhri Dhaba and an overnight stay at a guest house/homestay.
Day 4: We start walking back to Rakcham (10 km) after breakfast and cup of steaming hot tea in the morning. We reach Rakcham by noon and depart for Kotgarh for an overnight stay at a cottage.
Day 5: Fifth day is the day of saying goodbye and driving back to Chandigarh after breakfast.
Event Date: Wednesday, March 16th, 2016
Last Date Of Registration: February 29th, 2016
Booking: First come first serve basis
Tour Cost: Rs. 12,990/-
- Photography at Rakcham, Chitkul & Baspa River
- Comfortable transport
- Accommodation (on triple sharing basis)
- Qualified tour guide
- Juice, chips, chocolate
- Basic first aid with portable oxygen cylinder
- Personal & accidental insurance
- Extra activities than program
- Anything not specifically mentioned under the head
WhatsApp: +91 98161 47949
Ph: +91 98175 70120
Email: [email protected]
What To Pack
Here is a brief rundown of facts worth knowing about packing so that you stay warm, dry and safe yet have a lot of fun while walking the snow in beautiful countryside.
Once you start packing for the walk, you will eventually realize that you need a bigger backpack than the one you used during your summer trekking expedition. However, we recommend not going for a very high-end rucksack, but a reasonable one of about 40 liters will do great to accommodate all your warm clothes to multiple pairs of socks in its belly.
What To Wear
Staying warm is the only mantra to enjoy snow. So it’s always recommended to put an extra layer of body warmer or fleece sweatshirt under your warm down jacket. A quality waterproof and windproof jacket is also a must have. A pair of waterproof walking trousers is also recommended.
Socks: Make sure you wear warm woolen socks. An extra pair is highly recommended.
Gloves: Don’t forget to pack a pair of warm gloves in order to keep your fingers from becoming icicles.
Hat: A woolen hat with ear covers is a great fashion accessory to keep you cozy when cold winds howl.
Shoes: Temperatures in this region drop many points below zero during winters. This implies that your lightweight, sports shoes in neon color are going to fail you in such weather conditions. So it’s time to wipe dust off your boots and put them on for a pleasurable experience.
Some Accessories To Consider
Polarized sunglasses: To ward off blinding winter sunlight reflected off snow.
Sunscreen: To protect your delicate skin from windburn or sunburn reflecting off of snow.
Words Of Wisdom
Don’t let discouraging people dominate your explorer side and stop you from going walking in the snowy hills in winter. Don’t forget winter is a great time to be outdoors. So be free, be wild.
Now you’re ready to walk the snow and enjoy the fabulous winters of 2016 in Chitkul.
Terms and Conditions
- Please treat other club member with respect, dignity and honor. Use of violent behavior including altercation, insinuations of indecent kind, verbal and physical abuse and assault, aggravated behavior, or any other act amounting to unbecoming of member are strictly prohibited.
- Try and practice special respect towards female members. Sportsmen spirit shall be displayed at all times.
- Try to ensure punctuality of the appointed date and time in attending of the club activities
- Practice due care for the local environmental care. Garbage shall be suitably disposed without polluting water sources.
- The host reserves the right to cancel trip without prior notice for any reasons deemed appropriate by them. In such a case the registered participants will receive full refund.
- During the trip, the itineraries may be affected by reasons beyond control of the hosts. Changes may occur because of ‘Force Majeure,’ poor road conditions, weather, vehicle breakdown, etc. In such an event, rescheduling of the itinerary may take place. The host shall not be held liable to refund money.
- Decisions taken by the group leader shall be in best interest of the guests and shall be final which every participant shall abide to.
- Capture photos and movies during the trip that are not objectionable to local people or any participant, particularly females. These photos and videos would be aimed for personal use only. Publishing those photos and movies on the internet or on any media is not permitted until and unless explicit permission in writing had been sorted out from the people appearing in those photos and videos.