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in Himachal Pradesh
Kinnaur is a border district,
and remote mountainous district between Shimla and the Tibetan border. The
region was de-restricted in 1991 and travel to and around Kinnaur is now
possible with easy-to-obtain permits. It is about 250 km from the capital Shimla
and is situated on National Highway No. 22, which is also called the
Hindustan-Tibet Road. The landscape of the area varies from the lush green
orchards of the Sangla Valley to the stark magnificence of the Hangrang Valley.
The massive snow-clad ranges provide a regal dignity to the area. There are
about 77 villages in the district and Kalpa is one of the biggest of them. There
are almost no urban centers.
Kinnaur is bound to the north by the formidable Zanskar Range, which forms the
border with Tibet. Two turbulent rivers race through Kinnaur-the Sutlej and the
Spiti. The slopes are covered with thick forests, while the basins hold
orchards, fields and picturesque hamlets. Kinnaur holds three of world's
grandest mountain ranges-the Zanskar, the Greater Himalaya, and 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.
Tourist Attraction Kinnaur-
The beautiful valley along
Bhaba River is an important tourist spot. It is a link road to the valley, which
originates at Wangtu. It has a reservoir lake and alpine meadows and is famous
for the trek route to Pin Valley in Spiti. Karchham (1,899 m), located at the
confluence of the Sutlej and Baspar rivers, is the start of the picturesque
Baspar Valley of which Sangla is the largest settlement.
Sangla is 18 km from Karchham and is perched at a height of 2880 meters. A link
road that goes off the National Highway into the Baspar valley offers an
enchanting spot at every curve. There are saffron fields, orchards, and higher
up, as the road climbs the steep, there are lush green alpine meadows.
Rakchham is situated on the bank of Baspa River, at an altitude of 2900 meters,
and is famous for its scenic beauty. It is about 13 km from Sangla on the way to
Chitkul. The last and the highest village in this valley, Chitkul, 28 km from
Sangla, is noted for its alpine meadows and snowscapes. It has a rest house and
is placed at an altitude of 3450 meters above sea level. Powari, 70 km from
Rampur, is the last major stop, on the Hindustan-Tibet Road.
Located 240 km from Shimla and 7 km from Powari, Rechong Peo is the headquarters
of the Kinnaur district. It is placed at an altitude of 2670 meters, has a rest
house and hotels, and offers a fine view of the Kinner Kailash. At a distance of
3 km from Rechong Peo, Kothi has a temple dedicated to the Goddess Chandika
Devi. Set against a backdrop of mountains and groves of deodar, the temple has a
special architectural style and fine sculpture. At a distance of 14 km from
Powari is Kalpa, the main village of the district. It is at an altitude of 2768
meters. Across the river, facing Kalpa, is the majestic spectacle of the Kinner
Riba is at a distance of 18 km from Powari and is known for its vineyards and
local wine "Angoori' made from grapes. It is at an altitude of 2745 meters above
sea level. About 26 km from Powari is Jhangi, where the inner border is located.
From this point the famous Kinner Kailash Parikrama Trek starts via Morang,
Thangi and Kunocharang villages and entering Chitkul village in Sangla Valley.
Perched at a height of 2837 meters is Puh, which has a rest house and hotel
facilities. One can see lush green fields, orchards of apricot vineyards and
groves of almond trees, en route Puh.
Namgya is the closest village from the Indo-China border, and the Shipki La Pass
is just 13 km from this village.
The fine Buddhist Monastery of Tashigang Gompa is at the confluence of the
Sutlej and Spiti rivers. It is accessible from Nangya, after a little diversion
from Khob, on the National Highway 22. Another monastery, Tilasang, is close to
Koa, 12 km short of Yangthang and has facilities for visitors to stay. At a
height of 3662 meters is Nako, a little off the National Highway 22 along a link
road just short of Yangthang. It is a scenic village and the largest in the
desolate Hangrang valley.
A lovely, brightly coloured
gompa, the Kinnaur Kalchakra Celestial Palace, or Maha-bodhi Gompa, is a 20
minute steep walk above the village, just behind the radio station. There is a
huge outdoor Buddha Statue nearby, facing Kinnaur Kailash. The setting
alone is probably worth the trip to Kinnaur.
There are many local fairs and
festivals like the Ladarcha fair (July-August) in Kaza, Tribal Fair (August) in
Keylong, Tribal Festival (October-November) in Rekongpeo, Phulaich Festival
(August-October) in Kastiar.
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