“It is always the same with mountains. Once you have lived with them for any length of time, you belong to them. There is no escape.” – Ruskin Bond
Kinnaur is lesser explored belt of Himachal and has numerous unfamiliar scenic destinations. My first encounter with picturesque landscapes of Kinnaur was during Rupin Pass Trek where I stayed at Sangla. The beautiful town of Sangla had left a desire to explore the valley more and when the impulsive plans were made I couldn’t have been more happier 🙂
After a taxing yet adventurous journey of almost 30 hours, we landed in the beautiful laid back town of Kalpa which sits right in the lap of captivating Kinnaur Kailash at 9711ft. Kalpa claims to produce the world’s best apples and most people earn their livelihood from apple farming.There is no particular sightseeing spots in Kalpa. Whole day was spent lazing and strolling around the village only to be welcomed by incredible views of Kailash at each and every turn.
We visited the village monastery and temple in the early morning.The Kalpa temple is probably the most beautiful and serene temple I have been to. The temple is surrounded by snow-capped mountains of Kailash which gives a feeling of divinity.
The Kinnaur temple architecture is different from the rest of the country. The stone wood combination used in the building is not only pleasing for the eyes but also protects against the harsh climate.
Roghi is another village at about 5 kms from Kalpa. We decided to walk and honestly the best way to enjoy these landscapes is to travel slow and immerse yourself in the beauty. The road along Roghi is beautiful and scary, both at the same time. The constant sharp rising rocky mountains and pine trees on one side and a crest of dramatic jagged snow-peaks, on the other side offer pleasant views.
Along the narrow roads to Roghi, there is a view down to the river below and up to the peaks above. The 4000m vertical view also known as suicide point gives you goosebumps (no joke!!!). Again, there is no particular sightseeing at Roghi. We strolled around the small village, visited the tempes and enjoyed the greenery of the apple orchards and rice/wheat terraced fields. At the far end of the village, you can click the pictures of the beautiful mountain peaks.
Rest of the evening was spent in deciding our next destination. We arrived at Nako the next afternoon after slow and tiresome bus ride from Reckong Peo.With dust on the face and dislocated bones we walked towards the village. Woahh!!! This village seemed to come alive straight out of a fairytale.
At 12000ft, Nako is a tiny scenic village along the Indo-China border. The lush greenery admist the dry terrain, colorful houses and the snow-capped mountains with the clear blue skies bring only one word to the mind – Magical.
Again there is nothing much to see in the village but if you are looking for a place with beautiful surroundings to relax then Nako is the place.One of the few attractions of the village is the lake which is considered not just beautiful but sacred as well. A walk through the narrow alleys of the village and a small hike bought us to the view point from where the one can see panoramic views.
Days had passed without mobile connectivity and internet. Days were spent gazing at blue skies and snow-capped mountains.All that we need is often right in front of us. In silence or song, together or alone,here’s is to places we all find peace in.
We sat in the buses to Spiti for yet another adventurous ride through the treacherous roads. Prayer flags bid us goodbye and welcomed us. Om Mani Padme Hum chanted out loud or silently to oneself is believed to invoke the attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion. Viewing the written form of the mantra is said to have the same effect and is often carved into stones and placed where people can see them.Beautiful thought!
Tips & Info:
- The nearest airport to Kinnaur is Chandigarh. There are buses in the evening from Sector 43 to Reckong Peo which is the district headquarters of Kinnaur. Budget travelers,this would be your pitstop for all your other destinations.
- The season time is usually from June to September. If you can bear the cold then these villages are a beauty in winter.
- There are no sightseeing in any of these villages. Most of these villages serve as stops for people on the way to Spiti. Do not expect any luxury accommodation.
- The food is mostly vegetarian and is limited to Dal chawal, omlettes, momos, thukpa. Few places do offer variety.
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