Kinnaur is located in the North-Eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. Kinnaur shares its Eastern boundary with Tibet. The Zanskar mountains form the international frontier betweenKinnaur and Tibet. Kinnaur is a tribal area of Himachal Pradesh in true style. The breathtaking Sangla valley offers the visitors the breathtaking view of captivating lush green orchards in the lap of majestic mountains covered with pure and dazzling white snow. The district has a number of valleys varying in altitude from 1000 metres to 4000 metres. The main of them are - The Satluj valley, The Hangrang or Spiti valley, The Ropa or Shiasu valley, The Baspa or Sangla valley and the Tidong valley. Among these, theSatluj valley is the largest river valley of the district and traverses for about 140 km. in the region.
Tourism in Kinnaur
The gushing rivers of Kinnaur abound in Trout, the angler’s prize catch, their waters have over the centuries chiseled beautiful gorges across this picturesque land and nurtured one of the most unique societies on there banks. In the lush land live the descendants of the Kinners, the demi gods of the Hindu pantheon, whose deeds have been immortalized in epics and the poems of ancient Sanskrit poets. It is no wonder that a local tradition maintains that Kinnaur with all its beauty fell from the clouds as a gift from the gods.
Tourism in Kinnaur offers a completely different kind of experience in true tribal sense.Kinnaur has some of the most beautiful valleys on earth full of deep gorges, rivers and breathtaking landscapes. It is like a fairy land. Tourism in Kinnaur offers numerousfamous places i.e. Sangla, Rakchham, Kalpa, Kothi, Nako, Recong Peo, Chitkul, Chango, Morang, Lippa, Nichar, Karchham etc. Many of these places are natural paradises. TheSangla Valley is a breathtakingly beautiful valley.
As in a typical religious place in Himachal, a number of fairs and festivals are celebrated in Kinnaur every year i.e. Lavi fair, Phul Yatra fair, Sazo festival, Phagul or Shuskal festival, Beash, Dakhraini festival, Phulech festival, Lossar festival and Tribal festival. There are a number of beautiful temples in Kinnaur i.e. Chandika temple, Chango temple, Durga temple, Charang temple and Mathi temple.
There is a beautiful Nako lake situated in the Nako village. The location of the village is striking. Tourism in Kinnaur offers a number of wildlife sanctuaries to explore i.e. Lippa Asrang sanctuary, Rakchham Chitkul sanctuary, Rupi Bhaba sanctuary. These wildlife sactuaries are heavens for any wild life lover. Kinnaur is easily accessible from Shimla via Rampur. The road from Rampur to Kinnaur is a thrilling experience.
The supreme natural beauty full of deep gorges, rivers and beautiful landscapes is the prime feature of tourism in Kinnaur which sets it apart from other tourist places of Himachal. It is the prime destination of Tribal Voyage in Himachal and one of the finest places in Himachal to explore.
Kinnaur Access Routes
Delhi to Kinnaur :
Delhi to Kinnaur
this access route leads via Sonipat – Karnal- Kurukshetra – Ambala – Chandigarh – Solan – Shimla – Rampur – Kinnaur
Delhi to Kinnaur
this access route leads via Sonipat – Karnal- Kurukshetra – Ambala – Ludhiana – Jallander – Pathankot – Jassur – Nurpur – Gaggal – Kangra – Hamirpur – Bilaspur – Shimla – Rampur – Kinnaur
Delhi to Kinnaur
this access route leads via Sonipat – Karnal – Kurukshetra – Ambala – Chandigarh – Ropar – Nangal – Una – Talwara – Jassur – Nurpur – Gaggal – Kangra – Hamirpur – Bilaspur – Shimla – Rampur – Kinnaur
Shimla to Kinnaur :
Shimla to Kinnaur
this access route leads via Shimla – Rampur – Kinnaur
Chandigarh to Kinnaur :
Chandigarh to Kinnaur
this access route leads via Solan – Shimla – Rampur – Kinnaur
Chandigarh to Kinnaur
this access route leads via Ropar – Nangal – Una – Talwara – Jassur – Nurpur – Gaggal – Kangra – Hamirpur – Bilaspur – Shimla – Rampur – Kinnaur
Air Route :
There is no direct flight to Kinnaur and the nearest Airport is Shimla which can be reached from Delhi. Shimla Airport is at Jubbarhatti, 23 kms from city and is connected to Chandigarh, Kullu, Delhi. It has daily flights from Delhi and Kullu. On Tuesday and Thursday Jagson Airlines flies Delhi-Shimla-Kullu-Gaggal and return. Archana and KCV fly between Delhi and Shimla on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Train Route :
There is no Rail service to Kinnaur and the nearest Railway Station at Shimla is connected by a narrow gauge line from Kalka (96Km.)
Important Info :
With drive to kinnaur very adventerous, care is to be taken while driving. Long suspension bridges connect two bank of the Satluj river at many places. The road condition after the flash floods in August,2000 is not the best. With blocks in some places in winters and rainy seasons it is always advisable to get information about the road condition and then start the journey in these months. The other route from Manali-Kaza-Recong peo remains closed in most part of the winters and springs.
Kinnaur Quick Facts
Kinnaur is situated 77°45′ and 79°00’35” East Longitudes and between 31°55’50” and 32°05’15” North Latitudes. Kinnaur shares its Eastern boundary with Tibet. On the South and South Eastern sides, it has Uttar Kashi district of Uttar Pradesh. On the Western side lies the Shimla district and on the North and North-West is situated Lahaul and Spiti.
Recong Peo ( altitude 2,760 meters ) – former HQ. was Kalpa ( altitude 2,770 meters )
varies from 2,550 metres to 6,791 meters.
One can travel in a taxi or jeep on National Highway 22 for the entire journey from Kalka to Kinnaur. Some of the parts of journey can be done by long route buses run by HRTC. Distance from Shimla to Kalpa is 244 km., Delhi 590 km., Kullu 267 km.
10,820 sq. km.
+91-1785 or 01785
Pooh 951785, Moorang 951785, Sangla 951786, Bhawanagar 951786
DFO Forest Department
The summer temperatures range between 6° C and 25° C, while the winter temperatures usually remain between -1° C and 0° C. Days from April-Oct are warm, early morning & evenings being colder, light woolens May-July and heavy woolens in rest of the season.
Total population of Chamba is 78,334 (according to Census 2001)
Best time to visit
You’d enjoy the Summer months in Kinnaur because of warm temperatures.
Kinnaur Famous Places
( 2,680 metres ) It is an important village of the Baspa valley situated on the right bank of Baspa river is built on a slope with houses rising one above other with gigantic ‘Kinner Kailash’ peak ( 6,500 meters ) towering from behind is also famous for ‘Kamru Fort’. This fort was the place where so many Rajas of Kinnaur were crowned. The entire place is adorned by soothing saffon fields and alpine meadows.
( 2,900 metres ) Its name has been derived from ‘Rak’ a stone and ‘Chham’ a bridge. The location of the village is striking. It is located on the right bank of the Baspa river. It is said that in the earlier time there was a natural stone bridge over the Baspa river hence the name of the village.
( 2,670 metres ) It is one of the main villages of the district connected by link road 14 km. from Powari beyond Rekong Peo. Looming in front of Kalpa is an imressive view of ‘Kinner Kailash’ directly across the Satluj river. This mountain changes colors several times a day with a change of weather conditions or may be as destined by Lord Shiva his eternal abode. ‘Parvati Kund’ is located on the top of Kinner Kailash. The ancient villages of Pangi, Moorang and Kanum are situated close to Kalpa.
It is also called Koshtampi. It is little below Kalpa proper and it is overshadowed by Kinner Kailash peak. Goddess ‘Shuwang Chandika’ temple is a famous one in the village. The village with its attractive temple, gracious willows, green fields, fruit trees makes an altogether a beautiful landscape.
( 3,662 meters ) It is the highest village in the valley and the existence of lake formed out of the masses of ice and snow above adds to beauty of the village. Situated about 2 kms. above the Hangrang valley road and is 103 kms. from Kalpa on the western direction of the huge mountain of Pargial. Local village deity is Deodum and another Lagang temple with several idols exist here. There is a staying hut for visitors.
Recong Peo :
Reckong Peo is situated at an altitude of 2670 m from the sea level, located 235 km from Shimla. It is the District Headquarter having a panoramic view of Kinner Kailash. Kinner Kailash mountain is regarded as one of the mythical homes of Lord Shiva, here is a 79 feet high rock formation that resembles Sivalinga. This Sivalinga changes the colour as the day passes. Also visible on the stretch is the peak of Raldang (5499 m). Reckong Peo has many hotels and rest houses. There is a Buddhist Monasteries in the Reckong Peo.
(3,450 meters) This is the last and highest village in the Baspa valley in district Kinnaur. It is situated on the right bank of Baspa river. This is the last and highest village in the Baspa valley. There is a road along the left bank from Karchham. There are three temples of local goddess Mathi, the main one said to have been constructed about 500 years ago by a resident of Garhwal. The square ark of the goddess, is made of walnut wood and is covered with clothes and surmounted by a tuft of yak tail. Two poles called bayanga are inserted into it by means of which it is carried. The goddess has a mouthpiece.
(3,058 meters) It is in Kinnaur district and is a collection of four hamlets in pargana ‘Shuwa’ sub-tehsil Hangrang, on the left bank of Spiti river. It is encircled on every side by high hills which is a witness to the presence of a former lake. This village is under the influence of Buddhism, but there are some local Hindu deities too namely ‘Gyalba’ – ‘Dabla’ and ‘Yalsa’.
( 2,591 metres ) This village is situated 39 kms. away from Kalpa on the left bank of river Satluj. The location is very beautiful and approach to this picturesque village is through apricot orchards. The local deity is Urmig and there are three structures dedicated to the deity each existing in Thwaring, Garmang and Shilling. Generally these are empty as the ark of the deity remains in the fort. On a sacred day the ark is taken to the above named places. The ark has got 18 ‘mukh’, made of silver, gold and brass. The 18 mukh represents the 18 days of the great epic Mahabharat.
(2,745 meters) It is in Kinnaur, situated near the left bank of Taiti stream. Three Buddhist monasteries are there, which are dedicated to Galdang, Chhoiker Dunguir and Kangyar. The place is also famous for Ibex found in the nearby forest.
( 2,150 metres ) This village is situated between Taranda & Wangtu on the left bank of Satluj about 5 kms. above Wangtu. The scenery is enchanting. Ghoral , antelopes, black & red bears are seen sometimes in higher ranges.
( 1,900 metres ) The confluence of Satluj and Baspa rivers marks the location of Karchham on Hindustan-Tibet road. It is a beautiful place.
Kinnaur Famous Temples
Chandika Temple at Kothi :
A handsome temple dedicated to goddess Chandika, more especially designated as Shuwang Chandika has spread the fame of village Kothi in greater part of the district.The local people hold the goddess in great reverence and consider her to be one of the most powerful goddess. For want of social contact by the local people with their more advanced and brahmin ridden brethren they have evolved their own peculiar procedure of ritual and worship to this presiding deity. There is an image of gold, seated in an ark. It is danced up and down by four persons at the time of worship.
Chango Temple :
Chango has three temples. In lower Chango, the red walls of Rinchen Zangpo temple stand out atop a little promontorybut contain little of note. Nearby, the village temple, in more regular use as a place of worship, has a large prayer wheel, clay idols and contemporary wall paintings. A large image of Avalokiteshwara, crudely carved in stone, lies on the path between these two shrines. It was found in some out of the way and the monks decided to place it in a temple but the combined strength of many men was insufficient to lift the stone. Then the present location was though. The temple in upper Chango is the best kept but of relatively recent vintage. Close by, a new prayer hall, library and guest rooms are nearing completion.
Durga / shakti Temple :
There is a Durga temple at Ropa also known as the Chandika temple. Chandika had apportioned to herself this semi-arid tract when she divided Kinnaur amongst her brothers and sisters. Her temple at Ropa, a new structure with a reinforced cement concrete frame, is an artitectural malapropism.
Charang Temple :
Just beyond Charang is a temple of the eleventh century known as Rangrik Tungma complex. The temple takes its name from the goddess Rangrik Tungma and her small metal image, astride a horse is the oldest at the temple. In all likelihood Rangrik Tungma must have been a pre-Buddhist deity, absorbed into the pantheon of the later religion. Two other bronze statues appear to be of considerable value; a Maitreya seated with legs pendant, in bhadrasana and a Buddha in bhumisparsha mudra. The walls of the main hall are linked with clay idols, in the same style as the mandala in the dukhang at Tabo.
Mathi Temple :
This temple is located at Chitkul. Mathi is the local goddess of the people of chhitkul having three temples the main one said to have been constructed about five hundred years ago by a resident of Garhwal. The square ark of the goddess is made of walnut wood and is covered with clothes and surmounted by a tuft of yak tail. Two poles called bayanga are inserted into it by means of which it is carried.
Kinnaur Famous Lakes
Nako Lake :
This beautiful is located in the Pooh sub-division of district Kinnaur. The lake is surrounded by willow and polar trees. There is a small village on the bank of this lake – and the village seems to be half buried by the lake’s borders. On the water’s northern side, are four Buddhist temples with stucco images and murals. Near Nako is a footprint-like impression ascribed to the saint Padmasambhava. It freezes in winter and people enjoy skating on this lake.
Nako : It is the highest village in the valley and the existence of lake formed out of the masses of ice and snow above adds to beauty of the village. Situated about 2 kms. above the Hangrang valley road and is 103 kms. from Kalpa on the western direction of the huge mountain of Pargial. Local village deity is Deodum and another Lagang temple with several idols exist here. There is a staying hut for visitors.
Kinnaur Wild Life Sanctuaries
Lippa Asrang Sanctuary :
Altitude : varies from 4000 meters to 5022 meters.
Annual Rainfall : mean annual rainfall is 226.3 mm.
Temperature : temprature varies from -10 to 15°C.
Area : 3,090 hectares ( 30.90 sq. km. ).
Location : nearest town is Morang.
Approaches : Kinnaur to Morang to inside sanctuary.
It was first notified as a sanctuary in 1962 and re-notified on 27th March 1974. This sanctuary is located on the high altitude area and one of the few in India from where the yak has been reported, though it may well be feral. Musk Deer and Ibex are also present. The area is largely flat, like a huge plateau, and a part of it is barren cold desert.
Forest types include lower western Himalayan temperate forest, upper western Himalayan temperate forest, Kharsu Oak forests, dry broad leaved and coniferous forest, dry coniferous forest, dry alpine scrub and dwarf juniper scrub.
Fauna ( Mammals )
Himalayan Black Bear, Brown Bear, Musk Deer, Goral, Ibex, Leopard, blue Sheep and Yak. Species believed to be locally threatened are Musk deer, Leopard, Goral, brown Bear, Ibex, Monal and Himalayan snowcock.
Rakchaam Chitkul Sanctuary :
Altitude : varies from 3200 meters to 5486 meters.
Annual Snowfall : mean annual rainfall is 1130 mm.
Annual Rainfall : mean annual rainfall is 463.9 mm.
Temperature : temprature varies from -10 to 15°C.
Area : 3,411 hectares ( 34.11 sq. km. ).
Location : nearest town is Kalpa.
Approaches : Kinnaur to Kalpa to inside sanctuary.
It was first notified as a sanctuary in 1962 and re-notified on 27th March 1974. This sanctuary is located at high altitude and is a good habitat for the endangered Musk deer. Govind Pashu Vihar sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh falls adjacent to its southern boundary, and little beyond the eastern boundary of the sanctuary lies the Tibetan Plateau of China.
Forest types include lower western Himalayan temperate forest, upper western Himalayan temperate forest, dry broad leaved coniferous, dry temperate coniferous and dry alpine scrub.
Fauna ( Mammals )
Himalayan Black Bear, Brown Bear, Musk deer, Goral, Leopard and blue Sheep
Fauna ( Fish )
Rupi Bhaba Sanctuary :
Altitude : varies from 909 meters to 5650 meters.
Annual Snowfall : mean annual rainfall is 300 mm.
Annual Rainfall : mean annual rainfall is 45 mm.
Temperature : temprature varies from -10 to 20°C.
Location : nearest town is Rampur Bushahr.
Approaches : Shimla to Rampur Bushahr to inside sanctuary or Kinnaur to Rampur Bushahr to inside sanctuary.
It was first notified as a sanctuary on 28th March 1982 and re-notified on 30th June 1982. A remarkably wide variation in altitudes supports a large diversity of habitats and wild life in this catchment area of the Satluj river. The Great Himalayan and pin Valley National Parks are located on its western and northern boundaries, respectively.
Forest types include lower western Himalayan temperate, Kharsu Oak, dry broad leaved coniferous, dry temperate coniferous and Alpine pastures.
Fauna ( Mammals )
Himalayan Black Bear, Brown Bear, barking and Musk Deer, red Fox, Goral, Ibex, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Serow, blue Sheep and Himalayan Tahr.
Kinnaur Fairs and Festivals
Fairs in Kinnaur
Lavi Fair :
This fair is held in the month of October or November every at Rampur Bushahr. In ancient, Tibet and Kinnaur had good trade relations and Lavi fair is the outcome of business interest of both sides. People from other areas in general and tribal belt in particular participate in this fair with horses, mules, pashminas, colts, yaks, chilgoza, namdas, pattis, woollens, raw semi-finished wool and other dry fruits produced in the state are brought for selling. It is three hundred years old fair and also a state fair.4 During day time, hectic trade activities are witnessed all over the town. At night, folks dances and music around small bonfires are organised. It continues for three days.
Phul Yatra Fair :
It denotes the start of a closing season in this snow bound valley. Offerings are made to local goddess, in whose honour it is celebrated. The tribal people enjoy, dance, sing and drink in gay mood forgetting everything else for the time being. In Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti some annuar fairs are held which have left deep impression on the community life of the tribals. One of the main features of these fairs is folk dance. Mask dance and lion dance are also very famous.
Festivals in Kinnaur
Sazo or Sajo Festival :
This festival is observed in the month of January. On this day the people take their bath in the natural springs and few even go to Satluj river for bathing if they happen to live near the river. Poltus, rice, pulses, vegetables, meat, halva, chilta and pug are the principal dishes prepared on this occasion. In the morning the family god is worshiped with the food except meat. The hearth is also worshiped near Noon time, the deity is brought out and worshiped with wine and halwa A fold dance is held. Thereafter the deity is believed to have gone to Kinner Kailash.
Phagul or Shuskal Festival :
It is celebrated in the month of February/March. In this festival the sprit of Kanda (Peaks) called Kali is mainly worshiped, the festivals lasts about a fornight and is celebrated all over Kinnaur. Each day of the festival is called by different names and several peculiar functions are held each day. On the last day a feast is prepared and people worship kali on the roof of the houses and then partake of the food. It is believed that after the function and festival are celebrated with full zeal Kali the spirit feels happy and blesses the villagers with prosperity and plenty in the coming years.
Baisakhi or Beash :
It is celebrated in the month of April. The villagers prepare food like Poltu, Halwa and Keyshid. The image of the goddess is brought out of the temple and a fair is held in the Santang. It is an occasion to get together and to dance and drink. This festival marks the end of winter season also. New woolen clothes are worn from the wool spun during the winter.
Dakhraini Festival :
This festival is celebrated in the month of the July. On this day a feast is served. The deity is brought out and the villagers dance before her. Zongor and loskar flowers are brought from the kand peak and their garlands are offered to the goddess. After this these flowers are distributed among the villagers. One or two members from the family where death might have occurred before this festival go to the peak of the hill and ofter some food and fruits to shepherd in memory of the departed soul. A white flag on which some Buddhist mantras are written is fixes there as a sort of prayer for the peace of departed soul.
Phulech Festival :
Celebrated only in Kinnaur region in the month of Bhadon or in the beginning of Asauj. People from each household proceed towards hilltops to collect flowers, which are offered to village deity and afterwards these flower garlands are distributed among the people. Priest makes forecasts about crops and changes in seasons etc. Priest’s words are taken for granted by local people.
Loser is celebrated in the month of December to welcome the new year. On this day in the morning a special preparation of parched barley mixed with butter milk is taken by all the family members and they put on garlands of chilgoza visits to the neighbours and friends are reciprocated and greetings of losuma tashi meaning happy new year are exchanged. While the elderly person betow their losuma shalkid or blessings. Two or three days before the losar festival khepa is observed. On this day it is customary to fetch small branches of a throny bush and place it on the doors. It is meant to ward off evil spirits. On the next day these throny twigs are removed and thrown far away from the village and a feast follows in the night.
Tribal Festival :
Tribal Festival is being celebrated since 1994 from 30 October to 2nd November every year at District Headquarter Reckong Peo and this festival has been declared as State Level festival and has been celebrated since 1987 under different names like Janjatiya Utsav, Phulaich Utsav and also as Tribal Festival. This festival not only depicts the panorama of rich culture heritage of district but also provides an opportunity to the local people to sell/exhibit their horticulture/agriculture produce, handicraft and artifacts. Besides the Kinnauri culture groups, participants from other districts/states also present and perform culture programmes symbolising national integration and brotherhood.