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A Complete Travel Guide to Chitkul, Himachal

Published on 1 Nov 2020
Settled in the scenic Kinnaur valley lies Chitkul. An enchanting hamlet located in Himachal Pradesh, Chitkul, is the last motorable settlement on the border of India and Tibet. The charming Chitkul Valley in Kinnaur District is on the banks of river Baspa. It is a doorway to do the winsome beauty of a landscape that is ornamented with exquisite meadows, a babbling river, and glorious mountains.
Chitkul height is about 11,319 Ft in altitude, which is staggering enough to make it a hard-to-reach paradise. As they say, all things worth having in life never come easy, so I say, add Chitkul to that list. If traveling to offbeat places is what gets your rhythm going, Chitkul is the bass! The lack of a mobile signal in this hamlet, makes you disconnected from the world and complements your connection with the surroundings.

About Chitkul - "The Last Village of India"

Chitkul is a village in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. Chitkul, on the banks of the Baspa River, also known as "The Last Village of India" because it is the last village on the old India-Tibet trade route.

It is the last inhabited village near the Indo-China border. The border is approx. 90 km from the Chitkul village. No civilian movement is allowed beyond Chitkul, which is why it is famously known as 'The Last Village of India' before the Indo-Tibet Border. The area beyond the village is in control of the Indo-Tibet Border Police. To go beyond this village one needs to take permission from Reckong-Peo district authority.

It is surrounded by the mighty Himalayas looking down on the village. This spot happens to be the highest village in Sangla valley which is 3,450 mt. above sea level. During winters, the place mostly remains covered with snow. Most of the hotels remain shut during heavy snowfall in winters.

This place has no ATM facility or fuel stations in the area. There is also no mobile network connectivity in Chitkul other than BSNL that is with only calling service no internet which makes it a perfect hide-out place from the hustle-bustle of city life. For an internet connection, one has to drive down back to Rakcham Village.

Location of Chitkul

Chitkul is situated in the Kinnaur Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Kinnaur is surrounded by Tibet on the east, Garhwal on the south, Spiti Valley on the north, and Kullu on the west. Interestingly, the Uttarakhand border is just 20 km from Chitkul.

The distance Chitkul is 569 km from Delhi and the nearest settlement of Sangla Valley is at approximately 28 km. Rakcham village is the midway point between Sangla and Chitkul and the drive from Rakcham to Chitkul is breathtaking, adventurous, and just beautiful!

Weather in Chitkul

The most suitable time to visit Chitkul is between April to June & from late August to November. However, August to September is harvest season for the apples and makes for a sight to never be forgotten, with the entire vistas turning into colors of the fertility of the land.

In summers temperature lies between 20 Degrees high to 5 Degree Celsius in the nighttime. Chitkul's temperature remains pleasant or cool through most of the year barring the months of winter.

Monsoon season looks amazing and attractive for Sangla Valley but given that roads lead to Chitkul region given the many frights of landslides that the fragile hilly terrain experiences. The whole region is of Kinnaur is pretty fragile for landslides and in August, it is pretty common to experience these landslides and road-blocks.

From December till February or March, winter temperature touches -20 degrees Celsius. Roads get closed because of heavy snowfall. In fact, most of the locals move down to Kinnaur valley. Since the winter months are uninhabitable, it isn't an option.

How To Reach Chitkul

The journey to the village is an experience in itself. There are two access routes for Chitkul, from Shimla and Manali. Chitkul is an isolated village located in the Kinnaur region of Himachal Pradesh. The nearest town is Reckong-Peo.

By Air

The nearest airport, Shimla Airport, is located about 300 km away. The airport is well connected to the major Northern cities of India. From the airport, you will find assistance and guidance on how to reach the Kinnaur District. The nearest major airport is in Chandigarh which is about 400 km away.

By Train

Shimla is the nearest train station. The closest major railway station to Chitkul is in Chandigarh. Chandigarh station sees many major passenger trains and connects all major cities in India.

By Road

The only way to arrive at Chitkul Village via Shimla or Manali is via road. You can find many bus services to Chitkul from both Shimla and Manali. These buses to Sangla are scheduled to run daily. From there you will find local transport options to arrive at the village. The entire journey is approximately 10 hours via road. You can also hire cabs from Shimla and Manali directly to Chitkul but that will work out to be very expensive.

Route from Delhi to Chitkul

Delhi > Chandigarh > Shimla (2200 mt) > Narkanda (2708 mt) > Rampur(1350mt) > Karcham (1813 mt) > Sangla(2696 mt) > Rakcham(3048 mt) > Chitkul (3450 mt)

Depending on the mode of transportation you may choose, you still have to travel a substantial part of your journey by road. Roads are decently maintained for the majority of the route. Here, the road takes you along the crest of the mountains, for the most part, gliding along many valleys and providing beautiful green vistas as your companion.

Things To Do in Chitkul

Baspa River

Baspa River

The best way to explore Chitkul is on foot on the paths covering the village and around. It is more convenient because of the rough motorable roads and also gives you an opportunity to get connected to the locals and experience the heavenly environment of the village.

  • Mathi Temple: Temple of goddess of Shri Mathi
  • Kamru Fort: Dive Into The History
  • Bering Nag Temple: Pay A Visit With Family
  • Tibetian Wood Carving Centre: Haven For Shoppers
  • Baspa River: Dip Your Feet In The Water
  • Sangla Meadows: Gape At Snow-Clad Mountains
  • Batseri: Admire Apple Orchards
  • Brelengi Gompa: Visit The Buddhist Monastery
  • Akhri Dhaba: Last Dhaba
  • Trek to Flag Post: Hike to the top of the hill
  • Borasu Pass Trek: Hike With Your Gang

Places to Stay in Chitkul

Chitkul village is a very friendly and welcoming tourist destination in Himachal. One finds a number of homestays, hostels, lodging, and boarding options in the valley. Most homestays are old traditional houses of the locals with beautiful architecture having a view of valley and mountains. Locals are very friendly and encourage you to experience the local tradition and culture while staying with them. One can also enjoy camping near the Baspa river. There are a number of camp organizers in the valley. You can choose to stay in the camp alongside the river in the valley. Hostels are also available in the valley with rooms and bunk beds on a decent budget. On my trip to Chitkul, I preferred to stay in a hostel named Zostel. They provide you clean rooms with good food and great hospitality.

Itinerary for Chitkul

Here I am giving you the itinerary based on my experience, you can always tweak it as your schedule and preference. But it will surely give you a fair idea.

Day 1: Delhi to Shimla

You can start your day early and drive down to Shimla. Take a night halt in Shimla and enjoy your evening there.

Day 2: Shimla to Chitkul

Start your drive early in the morning from Shimla to Karcham - Sangla Valley - Chitkul. The journey takes 8-10 hours by road, with stops for meals and snacks along the way. Thus it's advisable to start as early in the morning as possible.
Alternatively if you are willing to drive 16-17 hours then you can start your journey from Delhi the previous evening and reach directly to Chikul before evening and enjoy your evening in the beautiful Sangla valley.

Day 3: Chitkul Sightseeing

Spend a whole day hiking in and around Chitkul, listening to the sounds of the mighty Baspa river, and meeting fellow travelers. You can do small treks, hikes, and lots of photography in Chitkul.

Day 4/5: Returning back from Chitkul

Take breakfast in Chitkul and start your journey back to Delhi. Drive for 8-10 hours to Fagu or Shimla. You can stay here for a night and continue your journey the next day back to Delhi. Alternatively, you can drive back straight to Delhi in case you are short of days.


Chitkul Valley

Chitkul Valley

Chitkul is a paradise for all tourists and travelers. One can capture the beauty of Sangla - Chitkul valley's beautiful landscapes, village architecture, and a lot more. Chitkul is a perfect location for meditation, relaxation, and adventure. Chitkul offers you the best experience one can enjoy in the Himalayas. It offers a unique blend of tradition, culture, and adventure. It helps you to get disconnected from the outside world and gets you connected to yourself.

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