Chitkul – The Last Village of India

Chitkul

Overview

A visit to this place during any time of the year and you might start questioning the existence of heaven. Chitkul is a small hamlet located in the laps of remote hills of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh. Located on the bank of Baspa river, Chitkul  famous for its splendid beauty and picturesque location is the last village on Indo-Tibet border where you can travel without permit. In old times it used to fall on the ancient Hindustan-Tibet Trade route. An absolute treat of nature this quaint, peaceful place has no specific attractions such as monuments, forts or markets for which it is known, rather it’s all mountains, rivers and good people to be surrounded with. This place can be best concluded as a landscape drawn by the nature itself. In winters this place is mostly covered under the snow and sometimes because of heavy snowfall the road connectivity to this hamlet shuts down.

The locals in the winter season have only two options with them, either move to the lower regions of the Himachal Pradesh and when it is over return to their native place or to prepare themselves beforehand by equipping with all the domestic essentials important to survive in the upcoming harsh season. This place is unlike the main stream destinations like Shimla, Manali or any other overrated hill station as there are no markets, shopping complexes, crowd or hill roads congested with heavy traffic jams. Away from civilization this place is ideal for those who want to experience peace and want some time off from their hectic lives. Usually, people traveling to Spiti valley are the ones who visit Chitkul because it is the best location to have a perfect stay  in between the route to Shimla- Spiti . But this doesn’t mean that it is not recommended to visit Chitkul specifically. In fact, it is the perfect place to visit in comparison to any other mainstream hill station if you have a few days in hand to spend. As I told you earlier that this place has nothing much to offer to provide in the context of attractions but still there are few things which you can do in Chitkul.

Also Read: CHAKRATA The Paradise of Uttarakhand

Main Attractions in Chitkul

Chitkul Main Attractions
  • There is nothing like Mall roads here but one can certainly do activities like trekking and river side camping here.
  • For those who want some adventure in this place can opt trekking as their priority because river-side camping is only available at some specific points and without proper guidance it can be little dangerous to camp as the flow of Baspa river is quite unpredictable. So, it is better to choose a proper camp site or to hire some services from the locals.
  • Talking about the treks, Chitkul is an initial point for Lamkhaga pass and Borasu trek. The trek to Lamkhaga pass ends at Gangotri which is one of the four Dhams in Uttarakhand.
  • Other than trekking one can walk along the trails to nearby villages like Rakchham and Mastrang and gain insight into their culture and art. Also one can go and explore Rakchham-Chitkul wildlife Sanctuary which is famous for the Himalayan Ibex .

Best Time To Visit

The weather here is quite unpredictable as temperature can drop close to 0 even in summers. In winters, the temperature here is around -10 degrees and it is covered under a thick layer of snow. Also, the peak of winters can be considered to be the bad time to visit this place as the connectivity is affected because the roads get blocked for weeks due to snow. Water becomes an issue too during that time because it gets frozen in the pipes and supply becomes limited. It is also not recommended to visit this place during the Rainy season which comes in the month of June, July and August as this area faces landslides and muddy roads make it extremely hard to travel. The best time to visit is considered to be the month of September and October. It is because at this time of year the valley is green and full of flowers and you can actually enjoy the alluring views of the valley without any major risks. No matter at what time you are visiting this place, there will always be a need to wear sweaters or maybe jackets in the evenings and the mornings as even in summers the maximum temperature this place has is around 12 degree Celsius.

How to Reach

By Bus

Chitkul is around 600 kilometers from the National Capital Delhi and there is no direct bus service from Delhi. It is not suggested to travel directly to Chitkul from Delhi in one go as it can be very hectic journey specially when conducted by Public Transport. The best suited route to reach here is Delhi-Chandigarh-Shimla-Rampur-Chitkul. You can either travel by bus from Delhi (Kashmere Gate ISBT) to Shimla and then Shimla to Chitkul or according to me travel to Narkanda (around 400 kilometers from Delhi) and from there next morning board a bus to Chitkul which will take around 7 hours to reach. If you want to reach here in one go by overnight journey from Delhi, then you can board a Volvo bus for Rampur and from there take a local or HRTC bus for Chitkul which will take around 4 hours to reach

By Train

The nearest major railway station from Chitkul is Chandigarh. From Chandigarh there is direct bus  which will take around 10 to 12 hours to reach. Although, in terms of exploration one can board the famous toy train which runs from Kalka to Shimla, but usually people don’t prefer this medium as the toy train runs at a very slow speed and it takes a lot of time to reach Shimla.

By Air

The nearest airport is Shimla airport. But the connectivity of this airport is quite limited. In comparison to this Chandigarh airport is preferred as it has a great connectivity with other states and flights for Chandigarh can be booked at any point of time.

Things You Should Know Before Going

Mobile Networks

Only the networks of BSNL work here and no other network are available. However, till Sangla (26 KMS away) the networks of Airtel and Jio are also available and once beyond it networks will be lost. Even for BSNL users, the internet speed is pathetic and while on call the voice is distorted. Other than that, in the whole Kinnaur Valley best recommended network is BSNL.

Petrol Pumps and ATMs

There is no petrol pump in Chitkul and the same goes for ATMs. The nearest petrol pump and ATM is in Sangla. So it is recommended to be stacked with enough cash for the duration of the stay.

Medical Facilities

Although, there is no proper hospital here yet you can get medicines here from the local shops in the case of an emergency. The nearest hospital is in Sangla.

Hotels and Home Stays

For accommodation in Chitkul there are budget hotels and home stays. There is no luxury hotel here. Recently, hostel stays like Zostel have opened here. On an average you can get a room here for 1000 Indian Rupees for one night. But the price varies during the peak season.

I would end this blog by suggesting that one should surely pay a visit to this nature’s gift to mother earth once in a life time. This place will definitely generate your interest in nature and you won’t regret your decision. Rest we have our whole lives to make it right.


About

Hi, I am Karan and I love writing about isolated destinations. My life revolves around the change in Longitude. I drink Room Temperature Water and Smoke only Oxygen. I believe that Vacation Calories don't count so think less and Travel More. I am on a mission to travel the world and this Bio pretty much Sums Up my Life!

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