Chitkul , Barshaini
Chitkul village is the last inhabited village before the Indo-Tibetian border gives way to China. It is a village in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. Located at a distance of 26 Kms north of Sangla and situated at height of 3450 feet, this place is like a pre-Raphaelite painting. The frosty Himalayan River Baspa flows through it having meandered through mysterious pine forests. It overlooks the snow-capped Nee-La range. It’s the Nee-la where from Baspa originates. The village abounds in typical Himachali architectural cottages of slate or wooden roofs. The Kagyupa temple has special significance because it houses a rare image of Shakyamuni Buddha with four directional kinds placed on every side. They say that the presiding deity of the village, Mathi is very alive and must be paid homage to. It falls directly on the Kinner Kailash parikrama route.
Raksham is located at a distance of 11 Kms from here. On way from Sangla to Chitkul tourists can stop by at Rakcham which is absolutely beautiful yet not very well know location. This place is gorgeous any time of the year. There’s abundant snowfall in winters here and somehow the village looks like it’s been painstakingly decorated in hues of white in winter. The rocks are very dark in colour due to a certain geological compositions and the snow lies in stark contrast to that. The sound of the Baspa River is pure music to the ears. There are several modest eateries here where you can grab a delicious but simple meal. It’s one of those places that somehow remain in your mind forever.
Children, they say, forget places, when they visit too many as a child but this little village is so picturesque that it remains intact in the memory album. Never ever judge Chilkul by the pictures you see (which, by the way, are nothing short of outstanding mostly) because photographs, no matter how good they are can never do justice to what it looks like to the eyes so my suggestion is this that do not deprive your eyes of such beauty. Visit Chitkul because it is these pictures that become a part of our memories is what keeps us going at times.
Chitkul can only be visited during months from May to October, during winters the roads get blocked dew to thick snow. In winters that the inhabitants of Chitkul have to move to lower regions of Himachal because of the extreme climatic conditions. Special Inner Line Permit needs to be taken if one wants to travel beyond Chitkul towards Indo-Tibet border. Not long ago, such permit was required to enter Sangla valley as well due to it being close to the Indo-Tibet border. One of the specialties of Chitkul is Potatoes. They are known as one of the best potatoes in the world and are very costly.
A small town called Kalpa is another nearby location that can be visited. Kalpa is next to Sutlej river valley in the Kinnaur district. Kalpa gives amazing views of Kinnar Kailash Mountain.
Chitkul is around 570 KMs from the New Delhi and about 25 Kms from Sangla. Chitkul is 13 Kms far from its regional headquarters Reckong Peo and 113 Kms far from Shimla.