Kalpa Village Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
Kinnaur is the south eastern district of Himachal Pradesh and lies at an altitude ranging between 2320 - 6816 m. It is situated on the National Highway No - 22 which is popularly known as the Hindustan Tibet Road. Shimla, the state capital is around 250 km away. The district is basically a mountanious region with a temperate climate. Vegetation in areas on higher elevation is sparse while at lower elevation temeperate trees like oak, chestnut, maple, birch, alder, magnolia, apple and apricot can be spotted.
About The History & Legend Of Kinnaur
The people of Kinnaur believe themselves to be the descendants of
the Pandavas of the great Hindu epic, Mahabharata. They also believe
that their ancestors were somewhere between men and god and had
About the history of Kinnaur, not much is known. What is however known is that the area was ruled by the Magadha kingdom, Mauryan Empire and Guge Kingdom of Tibet before 12th century. Frequent conflicts led to the disintegration of Kinnaur into seven parts or Sat Khund. It took efforts from Mughal Emperor Akbar to reconsolidate the entire area. At this point of time, Kinnaur became very prominent. So much so that even after the fall of the Mughal Empire, Kinnaur managed to retain its identity for sometime. Later on, it merged with the Mahasu district. The current district of Kinnaur came into existence in the year 1960.
Tourists coming to Kinnaur have a lot to see and do. There are
beautiful natural surroundings to relax and refresh. Nearly every
village of the district has a gompa or a temple. Moreover, since
Kinnaur is located on the Indo - Tibet border, their culture and
lifestyle is a considerable mix of both.
Kinnaur is not accessible throughout the year. In the winter season, heavy snowfall cover the area and block the passage to Kinnaur. The best time to visit Kinnaur is in summers, between the months of April to October.
Recong Peo, at a distance of 260 km from Shimla, is the district headquarters of Kinnaur. It is a pretty mountain town at an altitude of 2200 m. The town is surrounded by the Kinner Kailash ranges which are considered extremely sacred by the people. From Recong Peo, the view of the snow covered Kinner Kailash is simply breathtaking. A recently constructed gompa, where His Holiness the Dalai Lama carried out a 'Kalchakra' ceremony in 1992, is also an attraction here.
Beyond Recong Peo, around 14 km from Powari is the former district
headquarter of Kinnaur, Kalpa. Kalpa is located at an altitude of 2759
m and also offers some fantastic early morning views of the Kinner
Kailash. According to legends, Kalpa is the winter abode of Shiva and
all the god of Kinnaur assemble before him during this time for an
annual conference. And when the supreme god himself seems to be so
impressed by the beauty of Kalpa, how can human beings be far behind?
So Kalpa has also managed to enchant many its human visitors. Lord
Dalhousie, for one was extremely fond of the outstanding views offered
by Kalpa and took frequent ride to the region.
Even today, you can take a ride upto Kalpa and enjoy the scenic beauty enroute. However, be prepared for a tough drive. Once in Kalpa, you can also take up a hiking expedition to Recong Peo. This hike too, will be tough and it is better for you to ride back to Kalpa.
This is one of the prettiest valleys of Kinnaur district. It is also
known by the name of Baspa valley because the river Baspa flows
through it. Natural attraction here include the magnificent views of
the Kinner Kailash peak, wonderful saffron fields and relaxing alpine
meadows. Other attraction in the valley include the Kamru Fort and the
Kamakshi Temple. The former is the erstwhile bastion of the rajas of
the Rampur and Bushehr State while the latter is the place where the
coronation ceremony of these rajas were usually conducted. The idol in
this temple was brought all the way from the Kamakhya Temple of
Sangla valley is also quiet perfect for those interested in adventure sports. Options for angling, river crossing, paragliding, trekking, bird watching and forest trails are available to enthuse you. Shopping in Sangla Valley is yet another attraction for you. Items ranging from colourful Kinnauri shawls, local tweed, woolen socks, silver jewelleries to Kinnaur's speciality, Golden Delicious' apples and chilgozhas are available. You can also pick up walnut, saffron and almonds which are comparitively cheaper here.
At an altitude of 3450 m is the last and highest village of the
Sangla Valley, Chitkul. Beyond Chitkul is the difficult and
unwelcoming mountain terrain. Still further is Tibet. Actually,
Chitkul lies in an area that, earlier, was the trade route between
India and Tibet. One look at the people of Chitkul will conform this
connection with Tibet. The looks of these people as well as the
jewelleries they wear reminds of the Tibetan influence.
A drive from Sangal village to Chitkul is full of variety scenes. You will come across winding and cutting streams, pretty countryside, desnsely forested hillside, alpine meadows and lastly barren mountains. Within Chitkul itself, there are three temples of local goddess Mathi. The main temples here are believed to be built around 500 years ago.
Around 95 km from Sangla is the village of Sarahan. The village is dominated by the imposing Shrikhand peak in the background. Within the village itself, the highlight is the exotic Bhimakali Temple. The maginificence of the five storeyed temple is exemplary.
This is a small village with fascinating views of the surroundings. Ghoral, Antelopes, Black & Red Bears are occasionaly encountered in higher ranges.
Also known as Koshtampi, this village is dominated by the peaks of the Kinner Kailash. The main attraction of the village is the Shuwang Chandika' temple. The natural beauty of the village is worth seeing.
This place is also known by the name of Spuwa and is located around 58 km from Powari. The attraction here are the vineyards, apricot, almond and grapes orchard.
At an altitude of 2900 m, Rakchham is attractive because of its beautiful location at the banks of river Baspa. Rakchham itself means stone (Rak) bridge (Chham).
Lippa, at an altitude of 2745 m, is famous for three Buddhist monasteries. These are dediacted to Galdang, Chhoiker Dunguir and Kangyar. Moreover, the nearby forest is also said to house the Ibex. Lippa can be accessed from Kalpa by the old Hindustan-Tibet road.
Morang is a small village located on the left bank of river Satluj. The highlights of this village is predominantly its location. You reach it passing through apricot orchards. Also worthseeing are the three structures dedicated to the local goddess Urmig. The ark of the deity is usually placed in the fort, however once on an auspicious day, the ark is taken to these structures. The ark itself has got 18 'mukh' representing the 18 days of the great epic Mahabharat. The 'mukhs' are made of silver, gold and brass.
This comprises four hamlets on the left bank of Spiti. Surrounded by hills on all sides, the natural beauty in Chango is worthseeing. The mixed culture of Buddhists and Hindu is also an added attraction.
Nako is the highest village in the Hangrang Valley of Himachal Pradesh. The main attraction here is a lake formed out of the melting of ice and snow. Temples dediicated to local deities are also attractive.
The nearest airport is located at Jubbar hatti which is around 244 km away.
Closest railhead is at Shimla at a distance of 250 km.
Kinnaur is located on NH 22. You can travel by taxis and jeeps from Kalka to Kinnaur. HRTC buses are also available to take you to the desired location in Kinnaur.