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One of the unusual Himalayan locations where you would have the ideal backgrounds for all your photos is Kinnaur, a haven for nature lovers. Here, stunning mountain ranges and picturesque valleys create a breathtaking scene for visitors to enjoy. Like its neighbor Shimla, Kinnaur provides a blend of old and new, a religious fusion of Buddhism and Hinduism, as well as a contemporary vacation experience.
Location: Himachal Pradesh
Nearest Airport: Shimla (235 Kms)
How to reach: by air/train/road
Famous for: Apple Orchards, Buddhist Monasteries, Snow-capped mountains, Trekking
Best time to visit: April to June
WHAT TO SEE
Kalpa,Views of Kinner Kailash Range
Views of Baspa River,Sangla Valley
Village of Sarhan
Kinnaur soil has seen a rich history and carries the whispers of great kings like Chandragupta Maurya and Kanishka. It is also a great place to hear quite a few mythological tales as it is reported that a huge chunk of historical records is missing here- hence making the Kannaura characters in a bedtime story instead of proven inhabitants. Having been a part of the Mahasu district before, it became one on its own in 1960.
The Kinnaur region is home to a sizable population of artisans, making it a fantastic area to buy jewelry, clothing, and handcrafted things to bring back as gifts. This is due to the cultural diversity of the Kinnaur people, who come from several regional groups with distinctive values and traditions that can be seen in their attire, cuisine, and social practices.
Places of Interest:
Kalpa: A small hamlet famous for apple orchards filled with the Kinnaur cash crop, Kalpa is located at the base of the snow-capped Kailash mountain near the Sutlej River. Kalpa overlooks the entire Kinnaur district and is a must-visit on the list of locations to get one of the best scenic views in the area. It is also popular amongst the religious crowd of tourists, who visit it to see the color-changing Shivling rock at Kailash Peak. Because of the extremely cold climate witnessed here during the winter, the best time to visit Kalpa would be between April and July, during summer.
Kamru Fort: A very popular tourist in Kinnaur, Kamru Fort is yet another place where the view is fantastic and must not be missed. Majestic in its height, the fort is over 2600 meters above sea level and has five floors filled with several rooms. One has to pass through several gates to get here, passing by a large figurine of Lord Buddha which is a sight for sore eyes, and the beautiful Kamkhya Devi fort at the top of the fort which makes the climb worth it. It is also strategically located only 2 kilometers away from the scenic Sangla Valley.
Views of Kinner Kailash Range: A largely religious location, the Kinner Kailash Range is known for its circuit trek or the ‘Holy Parikrama’ undertaken by devotees which start at Morang and ends at Kalpa. At the end of the tour lies the Shivling which is situated at a height of approximately 4800 m. The tour is not just a religious journey but one where along with the solace of prayer, there is also solace of the soul which is brought out by the lush green scenery, gardens, and the backdrop of mountains.
Baspa River and Batseri Village: Located close to the Chung Sakhago Pass, the Baspa River gushes into the Sutlej and originates from the scenic Baspa hills. Known for the diverse species of aquatic creatures it carries, it is unsurprisingly, a popular camping destination. On its left is the quaint Batseri village, which is where a lot of photographers find themselves exploring its rustic beauty. It is also famous for its handicrafts and Tibetan local delicacies.
Sangla Valley: Another location famous for apples, Sangla Valley also houses several saffron trees. The beautiful river valley attracts a sizable crowd for its popular flower festival or Phulaich Fair which occurs during August and September. The Bering Nag Temple dedicated to the shrine of Lord Shiva is also a well-known tourist spot here.
Lipa-Asrang Sanctuary: A nature buff’s mini-heaven, the Lipa-Asrang Sanctuary is located close to the town of Moorang. From various flora and fauna to the amazing wildlife present, it is a great place to explore and a unique learning experience. It does require prior permission, so it is best to plan and ensure this beforehand.
Roghi village: Located close to Kalpa, this small village is on the list of every adventure seeker that visits Kinnaur. The distance from Kalpa, though short, is a rocky one that usually challenges hikers and adventurers. It is also a great place to get some amazing angles of the Kailash mountain.
Rupin Pass: A must-visit location for every trekker, Rupin Pass is often described as a once-in-a-lifetime experience for people and is located close to the Kinnaur temple. Along with the scenic views of the Himalayas, Rupin Pass also connects hikers to several tourist destinations in Kinnaur including the Jhaka Village, Pokhu Devta Temple, and Kinnaur Temple.
Borasu Pass: Connecting Baspa and Tons River valleys, the Borasu Pass is a stretch of land that is said to take travelers through an ancient trade route between Har Ki Dun and Kinnaur Valley. It also covers several other tourist destinations on the way including Osla, Sankri, and Gangar Har Ki Dun.
Village of Sarhan: The Sarhan Village, often known as “The Gateway of Kinnaur,” serves as the beginning point for numerous treks and tours. At 2165 meters above sea level, it is situated. The Devi Kala Temple, which is in the village’s heart and is the most well-liked tourist attraction here, allows visitors to see the nearby Jujurana bird species.