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Chitkul
About Chitkul

Chitkul is a village in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, which the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibet border. The Indian road ends here. During winters the place mostly remains covered with the snow and the inhabitants move to lower regions of Himachal. Potatoes grown at Chittkul are one of the best in the world and are very costly.

Chitkul is a small village sustaining few households and wooden houses built around the temple. Chitkul is full of incredible treks for various needs (length and fitness level) otherwise the place offers do it yourself walking in every direction. Very few places in the country offer this gravity of freedom for outsiders. Following the Baspa River will take you to Nagasthi, last post of ITBP and civilians are not allowed beyond that point. One may get a glimpse of a lovely waterfalls emerging from the mountains on the right but its a steep hike uphill.

 
Location of Chitkul

Situated at an elevation of 3480 meters, Chitkul is surrounded by Himalayan oak and pine forest. Chitkul offers exciting views of Snow-clad Himalayas with Baspa River flowing beneath the village. Due to heavy snow-fall, Chitkul remains snow-covered during the winters. During summers, the transformation of Chitkul in a colorful valley with orchards of apple, apricots and wooden houses is really awesome. Chitkul falls on some of the popular and off-beat treks of Himalayas and terminal of holy Kinnaur Kailash Yatra. Chitkul is also the home of Kagyupa temple which is highly honored in Buddhism.

 
Geography

Chitkul, on the banks of Baspa River is the first village of the Baspa Valley and the last village on the old Hindustan-Tibet trade route. It is also the last point in India one can travel to without a permit.

Important Attractions in Chitkul

Prominent places of interest at Chitkul are its houses with either slate or wooden plank roofs, a Buddhist temple and a small tower. However, there has been an increased use of tin-roofs, especially the high school and the army/ITBP barracks.

The Kagyupa temple has a highly valued old image of the Shakyamuni Buddha, a Wheel of Life mandala and four Directional Kings on either side of the door. Chitkul is almost the last point of the famous Kinner Kailash Parikrama as one can hitch a hike from here onwards.

After one crosses over the 5,242 m high Charang Pass, it is a long and steep run down through slithery scree slopes to Chitkul (3,450m). The powerful goddess of Chitkul is the only non-Buddhist deity to which respect must be paid by the Parikrama pilgrims. It is believed that the local Deity is related to the Deity of Gangotri and till recently the locals would carry the Deity to Gangotri on foot over high mountain passes. Chitkul is situated about 40 km from Karcham, the place where road splits from Hindustan-Tibet Road (NH 22). The Sangla Valley is a delight for nature lovers; especially the stretch after Raksham and right up to Chitkul. The valley is very beautiful, on the left bank of the Baspa River there are snow-clad mountains and on the right bank the whole landscape is full of apple orchids and wooden houses.

Transport

Chitkul is about 569 km from the National capital Delhi and 28 km from Sangla. This is the last Indian village on border with China. The road doesn't take you till the actual border, it closes about 90 km before it and then rest of the area is under the control of Indian Paramilitary force ITBP. There are wooden houses turned into hotels that can be found in Chitkul, these hotels are a bit expensive and most of the tourist prefer to stay at Sangla and make a day trip to this place. Sangla is close to Chitkul and hotels and camps provide very good arrangement for living and are comparatively cheaper. While in Chhitkul make sure you carry adequate cash as there is no ATM facility or fuel stations in this hilly area. There is also neither a clinic nor any hospital in this area and one has to travel back to Sangla for emergencies. Chitkul is very cold and windy and the road normally closes down around November after the first snowfall.

 

 


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