Chitkul is the last inhabited village near the India – Tibet Border.
Approximately 600kms from Delhi, Chitkul is situated on the banks of River Baspa. Chitkul is a valley in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh and the last inhabited village in the district. The valley is guarded by gleaming white mountains on all sides as River Baspa gurgles its way through the valley, crushing the silence that engulfs the valley. The buckwheat plantations, when in full bloom immerses the valley in a splatter of colour and offers a view that could be your Promised Land.
Chitkul village in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh is connected to the rest of the world via the Hindustan- Tibet Road. Buses and hired cabs are available from Reckong Peo for Chitkul. The Himachal roadways buses hold the record of providing its transport services to Asia’s highest village Kibber.
Driving through the herculean effort NH22 (Hindustan – Tibet Road), you will come across lines of brood boxes for Apiculture. The mountain ranges are full of nectar-producing flowers offering a picturesque spot for beekeeping.
The bees are apparently Italian
Staying in Chitkul
Chitkul offers both hotels, homestays, and camps. Alongside the River Baspa, there are plenty of homestays with the warmest and the kindest of hosts who will open their home and hearts to you.
Before entering Chitkul it is required to provide your name, phone number and an identity proof at the ITBP check post. On reaching this tiny hamlet you will be greeted by a signboard stating “Hindustan ka aakhri Dhaba”.
The entire valley is covered in Buckwheat plantations in various stages of bloom
A perfect place for camps
You can walk down to the banks of River Baspa and soak in the ice cold water raging down and shattering the silence of the valley.
By the banks of River Baspa
Pinus and Cedrus specie dominate the flora of entire Kinnaur district. Pinus gerardiana also known as Chilgoza pine has a very restricted distribution in India. It mainly occurs in the Kinnaur district.
Throughout the valley, you will come across the Bhoj Patra tree or the Betula utilis. The bark of the Himalayan birch was used for writing scriptures.
Food in Chitkul
There are a couple of Dhabas or small-scale restaurants that offer basic rice, dal, rajma (kidney bean) and aalo jeera. All the Dhabas also offer Ginger, Lemon and Honey tea which the mountain people consider a natural remedy for altitude sickness. The food looks basic but is perfect for quick and easy digestion.
Stocking up – Winter is coming
The beautiful Chitkul valley
Immerse in this Promised Land
Best time to travel
Winters in the valley starts creeping in from October and covers the valley in a blanket of snow till April end; plummeting the valley in temperatures as low as -10 degree celcius. May to June is the summer with a moderate temperature. Since it’s a valley, so the days can be quite warm. Monsoon sets in by July and stays until August end. Avoid travelling to the valley during monsoons, the recent increase in the number of landslides in the mountains has raised a lot of concern. A massive landslide can block the traffic for days. We had earlier planned to travel in the month of August but back to back landslides forced us to postpone our plan to September, which proved to be a blessing. The entire valley is in full bloom in the month of September.
Visit this beautiful valley tucked away in the snow-clad mountains.