SPECTACULAR KINNAUR

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Oct 2018 11:41:30


 

By DR HARSHA JHARIA,

Kinnaur has a spectacular terrain of lush green valley, orchards, vineyards, snow clad peaks and cold desert mountains. It is a border district of Himachal Pradesh. The culture and language is different from other parts of the state. Kinnaur, the tribal district of Himachal Pradesh, lies 250 kms away from Shimla.

The Sangla Valley of Kinner Kailash is known for its breathtakingly beautiful huge snow peaks ranges. OUR ROUTE MAP I visited my sister’s place at Shimla during end of May, her son who organises adventure tour through Mountain Goat Expedition decided to take all family members for 12 days adventure tour to Kinnaur covering Kalpa, via Sangla to Kaza, Chandratal, and via Rohtang pass to Manali and small village near Kullu, Tirthan valley and back to Delhi SANGLA We started our journey to Kalpa from Shimla with my sisters families. We were eight of us in two cars . Our first halt was Sangla. This valley starts 57 km short of Kalpa which has been named after a beautiful village Sangla.

It is situated on the right bank of Baspa river 17 kms. from Karcham. Journey from Karcham onwards is enjoyable and adventurous throughout the valley. The natural scenery all around and the snow peak views are beautiful This is the most magnificent valley in the entire District of Kinnaur.Atemple dedicated to Nages god is worth a visiting KALPA It took us 8 hrs to reach Kalpa. It is one of the biggest and the most beautiful villages of Kinnaur. around 240 kms from Shimla. Situated at an altitude of 9711 feet, Kalpa is surrounded by snow covered peaks.

The view from Kalpa is ravishing with the entire range of peaks being visible. Also you can see this place has the Shivling rock on the Kailash mountain that changes its colour at different points in the day. Kalpa is a town with a history of ancient temples.

Due to its high elevation, Kalpa climate, has long winters from October to May, and short summers from June to September. During winter time heavy woolens are required when temperature goes below freezing point around -15 degree to - 20 degree. Kinner houses have storerooms for keeping grain and dried fruits, and separate wooden grain-storage structures, called kathar. Traditionally Kinners use utensils made of brass and bronze. Clothes are mainly of wool. While men wear the thepang,agrey woollen cap, and Tibetan chhuba, a long woollen coat which resembles an achkan, worn with a sleeveless woollen jacket and woollen churidar pajamas.

The women wrap themselves up in a dohru. the first wrap of the dohru is based on the back, with embroidered borders displayed throughout its length. Hinduism is the main religion in the district followed by Tibetan Buddhism. After staying in Kalpa for two night we started our journey to Kaza KAZA Places of interest near Kaza are Sakya Tenggyu Monastery is ThangYud Gompa built in the 14th century, this huge monastery is the first thing that strikes you as soon as you enter Kaza. If you are able to, try and go there for the morning prayers. It’s an amazing feeling to sit with the monks while they chant away. We were staying pretty close to it, so walked thereafew times during our stay. Key Monastery is Buddhist monastery located on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,166 metres above sea level, in Lahaul Spiti.

Also known as Key Gompa, it is biggest centre of Buddhist learning in Spiti Valley and the oldest training centre for Lamas. It is home to around 300 Lamas who receive their religious education here. When we visited this place young Lamas were playing different games. Next in line is the 1200-year-old Dhankar monastery, on the way to Kaza. The monastery situated between many jagged peaks and has an amazing view of the Spiti River. Kaza, situated along the Spiti River at an elevation of 3,650 metres above sea level, is the largest township and commercial center of the valley.

The town of Kaza, is the subdivisional headquarters of the remote Spiti Valley in the Lahaul and Spiti, isahigh altitude or cold desert similar to the neighbouring Tibet and Ladakh regions in terms of terrain, climate and the Buddhist culture. After staying one night in Kaza, next day we headed for Chandratal. CHANDRATAL AND SURAJ TAL After enjoying the breathless beauty of Spiti valley of Kaza ,we started our journey towards Chandratal.

It is a tourist destination for trekkers and campers. By the time we reached few kilometers away from Chandratal, it was already dark and we found a camping site there were no hotel near by so we decided to stay overnight in Tents. The temperatures were in the sub zeros range and we couldn’t sleep even after covering ourselves with 3 quilts. The night sky was worth watching with clear view of the milky way and stars. Next day after having breakfast we started for Chandratal. It was 5 km from the camping site, motor road accessible as far as a parking lot 2 kilometres from the lake. Chandratal Lake is often referred to as one of the most beautiful lakes located at an altitude of about 4300 m in the mighty Himalayas.

The name ‘Chandratal’ (Lake of the Moon) comes from its crescent shape.The Suraj Tal or Suraj Tal Lake also called Surya taal, is a sacred body of water, next to Chandratal and is the third highest lake in India, The Chandratal Trek is a fun and adventure filled experience amidst one of the most picturesque views of the breathtaking mountains and majestic blue waters. The trek goes through vast landscapes, rocky mountain passes and lush green meadows while overlooking the turquoise blue waters of the lake. After enjoying the ravishing beauty of Chandratal we decided to go to Manali via Kunzum pass.

KUNZUM PASS This is a 4,590 m high mountain pass on the eastern Kunzum Range of the Himalayas 122 km from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley and Lahaul Valley with the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Goddess Kunzum dwells in a temple that is located on the Kunzum pass, and it is believed that she keeps a look over the pass and protects it from the evil powers. The temple is dedicated to goddess Durga. The visitors who pass Kunzum, they stop at the temple to pay respects to the goddess . MANALI From Kunzun pass we started our journey towards Rohtang pass for Manali. The road was blocked with snow so we had to wait for 4hrs at Batal. Of the many dhabas at Batal, the owners of Chandra dhaba came to the rescue of stranded tourists. After having lunch we came to know that the road was cleared by snow removing vehicle.

The road condition was very bad - it was full of stones and melted snow. It was a great relief when we reached Manali . We stayed two days in Manali. It was overcrowded with tourists in first week of June, so we decided to go to Tirthan valley near Kullu as the resort owner was friend of my nephew. We had a wonderful relaxing time. After our most adventurous journey of twelve days of Kalpa, Kaza to Manali, we came back to Delhi with wonderful memories. This is one of the most scenic trips of my life and I would want to do this again . June/July is the best season to undertake this trip .