The Last Village of India
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU VISIT!
A visit to Chitkul Village 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, famous for its splendid beauty and picturesque location it 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, 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 region of the Himachal Pradesh and when season ends return to their native place or to prepare themselves beforehand by equipping with all the domestic essentials important to survive in the upcoming harsh winter 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 of buses and cars.
Away from civilization this place is ideal for those who want to experience peace and tranquility and want some time off from their hectic lives. Usually, people traveling to Spiti valley are the ones who visit Chitkul village 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.
How to Reach Chitkul
Delhi – Chandigarh – Shimla – Narkanda – Rampur – Jeori – Karcham – Sangla – Rakcham – Chitkul
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 you around 4 hours to reach.
The nearest major railway station from Chitkul village 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.
The nearest airport is Shimla airport. Although, the connectivity of this airport is quite limited to rest of the nation. 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 to do in Chitkul
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 gaininsight into their culture and art. Also one can go and explore Rakchham-Chitkul wildlife Sanctuary which is famous for the Himalayan Ibex.
Weather in Chitkul
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.
Things you should know before going Chitkul Village
Only the networks of BSNL works here and no other network is 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 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 stay.
There is no proper hospital here. Although, you can get some medicines here from the local shops in the case of emergency. The nearest hospital is in Sangla.
Hotels & Homestays
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.