Situated on the old Indo-Tibetan Road, and nestled in the Sangla Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Chitkul is believed to be the last inhabited village within the Indian borders. Located at an altitude of 3,450 meters, and 28 kilometers away from Sangla, Chitkul is like a doorway to the exquisite landscape of breathtaking beauty and a serene environment. Surrounded by mountains, orchids, huge rocks, meadows, jungles, rivers, and grasslands, Chitkul has a unique identity among other hill stations. A car or bus ride to the village of Chitkul is a pleasant experience. Tourists can go trekking in the nearby jungles and to a wildlife sanctuary.
The best time to visit Chitkul is between the months of May and October. If you are planning a vacation there, then stay for at least 2-3 days. Chitkul is blessed with several landscapes which keep the visitors intrigued in exploring the meadows, mountains, grasslands, rocks, apple orchids, forests, and rivers. Avoid visiting Chitkul during winters as it remains closed for six months from October to March due to heavy snowfall in the region.
The exact historical background of this region is vague as there are no documented records. But one can get a peek inside tales of the past through the locals and their descendants, as well as through their temples and relics.
As per the legends, the people of Chitkul were known as Kinnaras as it was believed that they were half-mortal and half deity. The Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh was abode to these supernatural beings as it was no less than a paradise that made them feel close to God while living in an earthly environment.
The best thing about this village is that the culture and religious values here are secular and diverse. This region is heavily influenced by Animalism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Dotted with ancient temples and monasteries, Chitkul never seizes a moment to amaze its visitors.
The locals speak Tibetan and Pahadi languages. Hindi is also spoken as a common language to converse with tourists.
Peppered with mud patches, the lush green meadows of Sangla provide a magnificent backdrop of snow-capped Himalayan peaks. These meadows are a perfect place to rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul.
Considered as one of the most important temples for Hindu devotees, Bering Nag Temple is an architectural wonder. This temple houses a sacred statue of Lord Jagas.
To have a glimpse into the artistic legacy of this region, Kamru Fort is a perfect place to explore in Himachal Pradesh. The fort has been converted into a temple and it is dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya Devi.
Popular for its Tibetan wood products, Tibetan Wood Carving Center is a paradise for shopaholics. This place has goods both for sale as well as display.
Located 8 kilometers away from Sangla, the village of Batseri is a place popular for its interesting local handicrafts. The most famous items produced here include Kinnauri caps and handmade shawls.
There are no railway stations or airports present in Sangla Valley. The nearest railhead is in Kalka. Several HRTC and private Volvo buses run from cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, and Shimla to Sangla. Personal vehicles and private taxis can also take you to Chitkul, Sangla.
The nearest airbase to Chitkul is in Shimla known as Jubbarhatti Airport. Cabs and taxis are available just outside the airport at a reasonable price. The second nearest airbase is in Bhuntar which is well-connected by other cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chandigarh, and Ahmedabad.
There is no dedicated train station in Chitkul. The closest railway station is in Kalka which is well connected with major railway stations in India. Deboard the train at Kalka and cover the remaining distance by bus or taxi.
If you are looking forward to traveling to Chitkul by road, the Himachal Road Transport Corporation or HRTC runs frequent buses from Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi. Many tourists prefer driving their own vehicle to reach Chitkul as it gives them an adrenaline rush while driving on dangerous and challenging roads of Himachal Pradesh.
Travel Tip - As beautiful and magical as it is, Chitkul is a cold and harsh place to be. If you are planning to go in the forest, then take a guide along with you and enough supplies to keep you energized.