How to reach Chitkul village (Kinner Kailash Trek) from Delhi.
Fascination about travelling:
The Chitkul village of Himachal Pradesh is one of the dream destination of many of us. Plan your road journey according to your choice and convenience but one thing you will never forget this journey throughout your entire life.
Get some idea from: 20 questions/ items to be think before preparing a well balanced itinerary.
Suggestion: Please don’t compromise with the time because Chitkul is something special destination for which you have to move from your comfort zone to feel the nature in true sense in serene environment of the mountains of Kinner (Kinnaur) Kailash.
There are two ways to cover Chitkul:
Option-1: Visit Chitkul and return back by covering places like Shimla, Narkanda, Hatu Peak (Hatu Mata Temple), Sarahan,Nathpa-Jhakri Dam, Sangla, Kalpa, Reckong Peo etc.
Time required: 06 days (at least).
Option-2: Visit Chitkul andreturn from Manali by covering entire Kinnaur Circuit i.e. additional places like Pooh, Nako, Tabo, Kaza through Kunzum Pass or Kunzum La (that connects Lahul valley to Spiti Valley)etc.
Time required: 10 days (at least).
Distance between the places of Option: (i)
Delhi-NCR (Vaishali, Ghaziabad) → Chandigarh (280Km)→Narkanda (173Km) →Hatu Peak (7Km) → Sarahan (108 Km)→ Sangla (83 Km) → Chitkul (22 Km)→ Kalpa&ReckongPeo (63 Km) → Shimla (225Km)- Delhi-NCR (375 Km). [Total distance: 1400 Km (appx)].
Distance between the places of Option (ii)
Delhi-NCR (Vaishali, Ghaziabad) → Chandigarh (280Km)→ Shimla (108Km)→ Narkanda (60Km) →Hatu Peak (7Km) → Sarahan (108 Km)→ Sangla(83 Km) → Chitkul (22 Km)→ Kalpa & Reckong Peo (63 Km) → Nako (102Km) → Tabo (64Km)→ Kaza (48 Km)→Manali (188 Km)→ Chandigarh (357Km) or Delhi-NCR (570 Km from Manali). [Total distance: 1800 Km (appx)].
Day 1: From Home to Shimla:
Since, I am living in Delhi-NCR (National Capital Region), so my start point is Vaishali, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh for Chitkul. You can also start from Chandigarh, if you are residing around it or coming from other place of India or abroad.
If you are travelling from Delhi by your car, start your journey around 05.00 AM to 06.00 AM because itsideal time to leave the city to avoid traffic chaos of Delhi and if you are living around Ghaziabad, Noida or Greater Noida take Eastern Peripheral Expressway to save your time and can cross Sonepat, Haryana within an hour.
Take 30 Minutes break for breakfast or for washrooms at Motel Golden Saras, Kurukshetra which is around 180 Km from Connaught Place, Delhi and 80 KM before Chandigarh. This place has a very good ambience, sitting area, nice Tea or Coffee and snacks, some photogenic spots and clean washrooms.
You may reach the Chandigarh by 11.00 AM or 12.00 Noon. Take a break of 02-03 hours at Dariya or Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh where you can enjoy boating, take some food of your choice, visit nearby famous Rock Garden there. If you want to enjoy the Chandigarh, please read my next article on it.
Move further for your next destination i.e. Shimla, about 110Km and will take about 3 hours to reach there. Though the distance is not much but you never know the road and traffic conditions. When I went there at the time of Diwali or Deepawali in the first week of November, it took around 04 hours as the roads were in pathetic condition due to landslides.
If you reach Shimla little bit early in evening. Check-in your hotel, drop your luggage, take some rest and have tea with snacks. Walk leisurely around Mall Road, Scandal Point, the Ridge, Lakkar Bazaar, watch famous Church on Mall Road, do some shopping and have dinner there or in hotel and relax.
Suggestion-1: If you had been in Chandigarh, earlier, then avoid visiting the Dariya/ Sukhna Lake and Rock Garden. Just take a break for lunch and move straight to Shimla for visiting Rashtrapati Niwas or Viceroy Lodge located on the Observatory Hills of Shimla.
The building will look great behind your photograph and don’t miss it. This building is closed by 05.00 PM (Monday Closed). Then move to your Hotel and other places of Shimla as detailed above.
Suggestion-2: If you had been in Chandigarh and Shimla earlier, then go straight to Narkanda, about 445 Km from Delhi, by taking 2-3 breaks for breakfast, Lunch and tea in between. Check in at the hotel and take rest. Enjoy your warm dinner and spend the night comfortably in your room. I will discuss the benefit of staying at Narkanda further in this article.
Hotel Hatu, Narkanda or similar hotel, may be a good option for stay.
Day 2: Shimla to Sarahan:
If you stayed at Shimla, wake up early and resume your journey by visiting Kufri, a famous tourist destinations near Shimla. But don’t spend too much time here (not more than 1-2 hours) including commutation time from your car parking to Kufri spot and comeback after spending some time there.
Already visited Kufri a couple of years back, then you will certainly disappoint from the condition of this tourist spot. It lost its beauty with time you may hardly found anything which you have heard about. There are two main problems in Kufri:
One: Mules are the only way by which you can reach the spot after paying a hefty amount (though the charges are fixed). Then you have to pay some little amounts, twice on the way towards the local village charges.
Two: An Association has divided the main area into two parts through a rope. One part is free where you can take some pictures but you will miss the good background or landscape for good photographs, if you find some space among the crowed.
Other part is paid where you have to pay few hundred rupees for taking some good snaps with very good landscape/ background. They have put some telescopes/ binoculars for which they charge enough money to show some 10-12 points in the Mountains and of Shimla.
Of course, the scenario is quite different in the months of winter when the whole area is covered with a thick white sheet of snow. Then people enjoy the snow and do skating on these hills.
Suggestion: When you are going to Chitkul, then spending even two hours at Kufri is not advisable. So move directly to Hatu Peak to see Hatu Devi Temple via Narkanda, which is about 70 Km away from Shimla.
The Hatu Devi Temple, Himachal Pradesh is situated on the highest peak of the Shimla and Narkanda region at Hatu Peak. It is about 12000 ft above sea level. This place is lesser known but more serene like a paradise on the earth.
Hatu Peak is a very good trekking trail of 7 Km on one-side (total 14 KM) amidst pine, fir and cedar trees with beautiful landscape. You will mesmerize by the surroundings and it may be your one of the best memorable moment of the trip.
Here, I want to clear you that the approaching road to the Temple is very narrow and require extra care, very good concentration and driving skills even though you know how to drive in the Mountains, very well?
Also, I will not suggest to trek all the way to the Temple and come back because 14 Km trek will consume your whole day. So, it’s very safe and convenient to park your vehicle at Narkanda and hire a small vehicle, as per your requirement, to visit the temple. Try to complete it before noon so you can move further to your new destination i.e. Sarahan. It is around 165 kilometres from Shimla and 100 Km from Narkanda. It will take around 5-7 hours to reach here depending upon where you stayed last night.
After reaching here, check-in your pre-booked hotel, relax and restore your energy for next day trip. If you want, you can attend evening Aarti, around 05.30 PM at 800 year old Bheemakali Temple, which one of the 51 Shaktipeeths. You can also attend the morning Aarti.
The benefit of reaching directly to Narkanda, on Day 1,is:
(i) You can wake up leisurely and will get enough time to enjoy the serene environment and surroundings of the Hatu Peak or you can enjoy the Trek to Hatu Peak.
(ii) The other benefit is, you can save one whole day which you can spend either in Chitkul or Reckong Peo or as per your wish.
(iii) Minus one day from your itinerary here, till you spend during the tour anywhere else.
DAY 3: Sarahan, Himachal Pradesh:
Sarahan is the “Gateway of Kinnaur”, located at about 2313 meter above sea level. It is identified with the Shonitpur mentioned in Puranas. Famous for breathtaking panoramic view of the Srikhand Mahadev Peak(about 5155 m) and 800 year old two-towered temple of Devi Kali i.e. Bhimakali Temple,which is also one of the 51 Shaktipeeths, the Bird Park and the Bhaba Valley. Traditional wooden temple architecture is built in Kath-Kuni style.
Best time to visit Sarahan: During summer season i.e. from April to July (temp 10˚C to 30˚C), moderate rainfall during rainy season i.e. from August to October and moderate to heavy snowfall from November to March (temp 7˚C to-7˚C).
DAY 4: Chitkul village, Himachal Pradesh:
Chitkul, a dream destination, is 130 Km from Sarahan and took approximately 08 hours to reach by visiting the places like, Jeori, Nathpa-Jhakri, Karcham and Sangla etc.
It is situated at a height of 3450 m above sea level, in the Baspa Valley, Himachal Pradesh which is the last inhabited village before the Indo-Tibetan border on the earlier silk route. The snow peaks, wide valley, glaciers, beautiful Baspa river gives an impression like a gateway of heaven. Here you feel that you can touch the snow clad mighty mountains with your bare hands and can smell the essence of snow, clean and fresh air in every breath you inhale. Where the mountains are waiting to grab you in their arms and you mesmerized with the serene environment of the nature. Here, you can consider spending one more day, leisurely. Enjoy the nature at its best.
Take a Trek from Chitkul to Nagasthy, approximate 3 KM. This is the last Indian post where a civilian can visit. The trek is easy and recommended for astonishing view, experiencing the beauty at the best and peaks looking nearer as you touch them. Take some memories at the ‘Hindustan ka Akhri Dhaba’.
Chitkul is religiously important as it is considered the last point in the Kinner Kailash Parikrama (circumambulation of the Kinner Kailash Mountain).
Hotel Rock View or similar Hotel may be a good option for you.
DAY 5: Reckong Peo, Himachal Pradesh:
Check-out from hotel and drive to Reckong Peo (2670 metres), the District Headquarter of Kinnaur. You may also stay at Kalpa which is 14 KM away from the Reckong Peo and was once the favorite getaway of Lord Dalhousie.
Early in the morning, witness the beautiful sunrise over the Kinnaur Kailash Peaks where a 79 feet high rock formation that resembles a Shivlinga that changes its colour as the day passes.
Take a hike to Chaka Meadows from a trail near Hotel Rakpa Regency. It’s about 3 Km modest hike, which would check the strengths of your lungs and legs, as well. But, you will definitely love the hike and capture the beautiful landscapes for your memories. You will experience a new world of nature. You can also visit to Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar, Buddhist Gompa. Return to the hotel for a comfortable overnight stay at Kalpa.
Hotels like The Grand Shamb-la, Kalpa or Hotel Apple Pie, Kalpa or Hotel Rakpa Regency or other similar Hotel may be a good option for you.
DAY 6: Here the journey ends for those whose itinerary is upto Chitkul and adjoining areas. So, wake up early and leave Reckong Peo or Kalpa for Shimla or Chandigarh or Delhi-NCR.
Otherwise journey continues…………………..Read my article on TREK to Kinner Kailash………
DAY 6: Tabo, Himachal Pradesh:
Drive from Kalpa to Tabo. On the way, visit Kinnaur’s most picturesque a heritage village Nako and the Nako Lake which is 102 Km from Reckong Peo. There is a rock, which is believed to have a footprint like impression of the saint Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche.
Rudyard Kipling describes Spiti in ‘Kim’ in these words: “At last they entered a world within a world – a valley of leagues where the high hills were fashioned of the mere rubble and refuse from off the knees of the mountains…surely the Gods live here.”
Reach Tabo is about 63 Km from Nako, check in your hotel and take some rest then explore the ancient village. It is situated on the left bank of the river Spiti. Tabo is considered as ‘Ajanta of Himalayas’.
Visit Tabo Monastery or Tabo Chos-Khor Monastery. The monastery is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as a national historic treasure of India and recommended for World Heritage Site.
Hotel Tashi khangsar or similar Hotel may be a good option for you.
DAY 7: Kaza, Himachal Pradesh: (Two Night Stay):
Your next stop is Kaza which is just 48 KM from Tabo. You can visit Dhankar Fort, a tourist spot at left side of Spiti River. It’s central location makes it an ideal base camp for trekking, mountaineering and tours to other parts of the Spiti valley like Kazaare Tangyud Monastery, Key Gompa, Kibber village (4205 m), Gette Village (4270 m).
Langza village which is famous for presence of marine fossils, the Pin Valley National Park, a protected area for Himalayan high altitude wildlife and the Losar village (4079 m).
You can visit any of the place(s) as per your choice or take a scenic drive to the Kibber village, which is 20 Km away from Kaza. There is Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary where the vegetation is very sparse and has high Medicinal properties. Eight rare and endangered species of plants have been found in the region. Upto 30 snow leopard has been found in the area. Overnight stay at Kaza.
Hotel Spiti Sarai or similar Hotel may be a good option for you.
DAY 8: Kaza, Himachal Pradesh:
In morning take a trip to Key or Ki or Kee Monastery which is located on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,166 metres above sea level, close to the Spiti River, It is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and is famous for its ancient murals and books.
Pay a visit to Comic Village and then the highest post office, at an elevation of 4,400 m (14,400 ft), in the world at Hikkim village (PIN 172114) situated is 46 km from Kaza. It sends postal letters to and receives postal articles from Kaza post office.
If you plan to visit Hikkim Post Office, kindly bring some inland letters, post cards, glue or fevicol, postal envelops and postal stamps and give it to Post master, posted there. Also, take a pleasure to write letters to your near and dear ones and post them from the highest post office of the world. Most of the people have lost the letter writing skills. So try to write some letters and post them.
Mr. Rinchen Chhering has been the postmaster since its inception in 1983. He carried the mail on foot to Kaza. The post office is forced to shut during winter months due to heavy snowfall.
Earlier, Hikkim village was the world’s highest polling station. It was recorded in the Limca Book of Records. Now, the record was held with Tashigang, a small Himachal Pradesh village in the same district i.e Lahaul-Spiti District.
Hotel Spiti Sarai, Spiti HPTDC, Ri-Dizong Residency or similar Hotel may be a good option for you.
DAY 9: Manali, Himachal Pradesh:
Wake up early and start your journey at 05.00 AM from Kaza to Manali and cross Kunzum La Pass which is 4590 metres above sea level and the highest pass in. View the second longest glacier of the Himalaya in Indian side after the Gangotri, is Bara-Shigri Glacier (means Big Glacier), take a glimpse of Chandrabhaga Range and a spectacular view of the Spiti valley. The landscape of Kunzum Pass makes a visitor’s dream.
After 8 Km from the Kunzum Pass and before Batal, there is a starting point for Chandra Tal or Moon Lake Trekking, if you want to do, you can trek which is about 10 KM one-way. But you have to complete your trek as soon as possible as the Manali is about 110 Km from Batal.
Manali is 3340 metres above sea level, check into the hotel and enjoy a comfortable overnight stay at MANALI. If you are the first time here visit some prominent tourist destinations visit Solang Pass or take Cable ride at Solang Nala early in the morning then visit Vashisht-Hot Spring and then Hidimba Devi Temple, Nature Park etc.. Roam, Shop and enjoy on the Mall Road.
Hotel Mohan Palace or Hotels of HPTDC or similar Hotels may be a good option for you.
DAY 10: Manali, Himachal Pradesh:
Wake up early and leave Manali for Chandigarh or Delhi-NCR or your Home.
Useful Tip for visitors:
- It’s my belief that secluded places are more comfortable and convenient for rejuvenation of your mind and body after full relax in the lap of nature but WITHOUT compromising with your SAFETY and SECURITY.
- Always pre-book hotels, if you are going to offbeat destinations to avoid any inconvenience there.
- Always carry cash for Fuel (Petrol/ Diesel) because the Pumps either don’t accept the Cards or cards are useless due to network issues.
- Always have dry food like Biscuits, Fruit Cakes, Chocolates, Namkeens, Dry Samosas, Mathi, Bread packet, Butter, some vegetables like Cucumber, Onion, Tomato, green Chilli, Tomato Ketup and one knife (for making vegetable sandwiches), some drinks like fruit juices, Shikanji or Roohafza, cold drinks etc. for alternative food/ energy source, if you don’t get food on the remote places.
- Don’t rash drive in the Hills. Always keep your vehicle in your control. Keep in your vehicle in your lane only. You never know from which bend another vehicle come before you. How much you know about the driving, it doesn’t matter in hills. It matters only how you drive in the hills. So be sensible, be careful and follow the traffic rules etc.