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Sangla, India
About Sangla, India

Sangla is a town in the Baspa Valley, also referred to as the Sangla valley, in the Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh, India, close to the Tibetan border. Tucked away in the south-eastern corner of Himachal Pradesh lies the Sangla Valley, part of the region of Kinnaur. The Valley is also known as the Baspa Valley, it has been called the `most beautiful valley in the Himalayas’.

Extending for 95 km, the Sangla Valley is watered by the Baspa river, which meets the Satluj at Karcham and by some smaller springs and streams. The first 18 km of the valley are quite narrow, with cedar, chilgoza pine and bhojpatra trees covering the slopes on either side. At Kupa, however, the valley opens up and extends into an unforgettably lovely vale, dotted with a pretty-as-a-picture villages, right up to Chitkul, beyond which habitation is almost nil.

The Sangla Valley extends across what was once a glacier moraine but is today a beautiful swathe of green, dwarfed by the surrounding mountains. The clear waters of the Baspa run between orchards of apricot and apple, through villages where the houses have elegantly carved wooden doors and steeply sloped slate roofs; an area so amazing and lovely that the natives actually say that this is where the gods live.

Geography of Sangla

Sangla Valley or the Baspa Valley starts at Sangla and ends at Chitkul. The valley is enclosed by forested slopes and offers views of the high mountains. Its location in the greater Himalayan range which gives it a milder climate than the plains. Until 1989 outsiders could not enter the valley without a special permit from the Government of India, due to its strategic position on the Indo-Tibet/China border. The Baspa River flows in the Sangla Valley which is rich in pine nut orchards, Royal red apples, cherry trees, and glacial streams with trout.The main villages in the valley villages include Rakcham, Chitkul, and Batseri. The nearby Baspa hydel-project has been completed in 2009.

Sangla Valley is a part of Kinnaur and inhibited by Kinnauris. The main livelihood is agriculture while apples are a major cash crop here. The most significant achievement of this region which is worth praiseworthy is that this area boasts of growing the world's best quality potatoes. The weather along with the soil are both favorable to its exclusive and superior quality and variety. A part of the population also depends on tourism. The valley remains closed for six months during winter (from December till May) when the snowfall is heavy. The old Indo-Tibet road connects Sangla to The National Highway 22 at Karcham.

Location of Sangla

Sangla is a small town which is located between Karcham and Chitkul from about 20 kms from Karcham. The town itself is a concrete town with small shops, some hotels and restaurants.The local people have a distinct culture and their own language the Kinnauri language. Best time to visit the Sangla Valley is between April to early November.

Sangla Valley Starting Point

This valley starts 57 km short of Kalpa which has been named after a beautiful & crowded village Sangla. Sangla is situated on the right bank of Baspa river 17 kms from Karcham. Journey from Karcham onwards is pleasurable and adventurous throughout the valley. The natural scenery all around and the undying snow view are striking and attractive. It is also known as Baspa Valley since Baspa river flows through this area. This is the most charming valley in the whole District of Kinnaur. A temple dedicated to Nages god is worth to visit & other places are Rackchham, Kilba, Kamru Fort, and Sapni which can also be visited. There are post offices, banks, rest houses for the convenience of the visitors.

Main Attractions of Sangla

The attraction of Sangla lies in the valley of Baspa River down below, not in the town itself. Sangla Valley is very beautiful, stretching many kms from east to west, and rimmed by snow-capped peaks out of your imagination and into the real world. The forested slopes below the snow are a mix between autumn-shaded leafy trees and big green pines.

Named after a scenic village, Sangla Valley is about 57 km short of Kalpa and is blessed with the best of natural attractions. Tourists can drive down to the valley and sight some of the most striking sights en-route. Claimed to be the most charming valley in Kinnaur district, there are a few temples and monuments of tourist interest.

This magnificent valley also has many camps where tourists can stay amidst the natural environs. Some of the most popular adventure options tourists can enjoy here includes trekking, river crossing, overnight camping.

Accomodation Facilities

There are several hotels around the town to stay at Sangla Valley. But, if you really wish to enjoy the beauty and charm of Sangla Valley, its better to stay into the wild, as there are several tenting accommodations in the heart of the valley. But, these tented accommodation generally cost much more than the hotel.

Reasons to visit Sangla

• Sangla is best visited for a nature centric experience, walks, trekking, trout fishing etc.
• Sangla is a riverside valley overlooking striking Himalayan views.
• Sangla area is full of apple orchards and April-Sept is best time to visit the area and explore.
• Chitkul village is few kms away from Sangla is where the views get even bigger and better and is the last point before Tibetan border.
• Sangla is recommended for Glacier trekking in March and April
• Overnight trekking options around the area are good and the hills around are much more unexplored and pristine as compared to other known and explored trekking routes.
• Sangla is also where you can pickup famous Kinnauri shawls, woolen socks, tweeds and silver jewelry studded with Tibetan pearls
• Guests to Sangla can stay riverside and explore the area on foot.

Best Season / Best time to visit Sangla, Kinnaur

The place experiences cool climate for most parts of the year and it is advisable to travel with winter clothing throughout the year. The summers are pleasant and cool and temperatures can drop during the night. Winters are much colder with the mercury dropping steeply during the peak winter season. Rainfall is widespread in the lower regions of Kinnaur.

The summer season is short in this place and the temperatures are much lower here than in the mainland due to the elevation. The summer season starts in June and ends in the month of September. The temperature can be expected to drop down to around 10°C even during the summer months. The average day temperature is around 20°C. Light winter clothing is required during the nights.

The winter season in Kinnaur is very long; it starts in the month of October and ends in the month of May. Temperatures can fall below the freezing point during the winter season. The highest temperature that one can expect during the winter is around 13°C.

The rainfall is generally restricted to the lower parts of the region and the elevated areas receive only a certain amount of rainfall and the place is characterized by dry conditions for many months of the year.

Precautions and Essentials

Even though the Sangla Valley lies fairly close to India’s national border, no permits are required to visit the area. Don’t venture beyond the valley without a permit, though, as treks to Spiti and northern Kinnaur require an Inner Line Permit.

As far as packing is concerned, you’ll need to carry all the necessary equipment- tent, sleeping bag, cooking stove, fuel and the like. It’s also prudent to take along supplies of food, just in case you set up camp at a place away from the larger villages of the valley. It’s also recommended so that you don’t put an unnecessary strain on the rural economy of the valley, a subsistence economy which depends almost completely on the local annual crop.

Adequate woolens must be packed, too: the Sangla valley is far enough north to be fairly cold even during the summers. Between June and September, make sure you’ve got a good raincoat, waterproof boots and extra clothing to cope with the frequent monsoon showers.

Good camp sites exist in the Sangla Valley, most of them are close to the junction of the Baspa and Satluj rivers. Further on, in the larger villages of the valley- such as Sangla, Kupa and Chitkul- local guesthouses and small hotels are available. Usually comfortable, they’re a good option if you get sick of sleeping under the stars. In smaller villages, you might be lucky enough to find hospitable villagers who will let you have a room for the night, but be prepared to pitch a tent by the river or up on a slope.

How to Reach Sangla

By Rail:
Daily morning and evening Shatabdi from Delhi- Chandigarh.
Daily overnight train (Kalka) from Delhi- Kalka- Delhi (Train starts from Kolkata)

By Road:
Delhi- Sangla: 600 kms: 16-17 hrs (best to break journey en route at Thanedar or Shimla)
Chandigarh- Sangla: 360 kms/ 11-12 hrs
Shimla- Sangla: 240 kms/ 8-9 hrs

By Air:
Daily flight from Delhi- Shimla- Delhi
Daily flight from Delhi/ Mumbai- Chandigarh- Delhi/ Mumbai



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