What would you sacrifice to witness this sunrise everyday?
- Welcome to Chitkul!
- Best Time to Visit Chitkul – Chitkul Weather
- How to Reach from Delhi to Chitkul
- Road Conditions in Chitkul
- 3 Days Itinerary of Chitkul
- Hotels in Chitkul – Where to Stay
- Network Connectivity in Chitkul
- ATMs and Petrol Pump in Chitkul
- Where to Eat
- Typical Cost
- What to Pack
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Welcome to Chitkul!
Chitkul located at an altitude of 3423m and also known as “the last village of India”, is a nice place to visit in Himachal Pradesh. It’s popular for its mountains, nature and trekking. Chitkul is visited by most people in the months of April, May, June and October. It’s medium popularity. Getting more and more popular with time.
Chitkul is said to be the last inhabited village within the Indian boundaries on the old Indo-Tibetan Road. Situated at the height of 3450 meters, the village is located at a distance of 28 km from Sangla, about 600 kilometres from Delhi in the Kinnaur Valley. It is like a doorway which opens into an exquisite landscape of breathtaking beauty and a serene environment. There are orchids, mountains, meadows, huge rocks, river, jungle, and grasslands in the village with the help of which it has made a unique identity for itself. A drive to the Chitkul village is pleasant. One can go for trekking in the forest as well and a wildlife sanctuary for all the wildlife as well as nature lovers out there.The journey to Chitkul is altogether different experience in itself. It is sparsely populated with as many as 600 locals who are warm, loving and extremely hospitable towards the tourists. While travelling to the valley, you will see River Baspa on your right and on the way you will also pass through the Rakcham village which is commonly known as the model village of the region. Numerous campsites are situated within the apple gardens by the side of the Baspa River.
This little village is a must-visit place, and one should stay for at least a day here as the landscape keeps you magnetised all the time. It is a perfect place to spend some time off from the busy lives and the monotonous routines in the realm of natural beauty.
Best Time to Visit Chitkul – Chitkul Weather
Now, it depends on what exactly you would like to experience in Chitkul. Depending on the choice between snow-capped mountains or free-flowing Baspar river you can make the decision. Below, I will give you how each of the season feels.
Summers in Chitkul
The summers in Chitkul is not like you will start feeling hot and sweaty. During this time, weather is still very cold and you must wear 2-3 layers during this time as well, however, during the months of May to September all the hotels are open and the river Baspa is not frozen. So you can see a beautiful blue coloured river flowing freely underneath the mountains. Although most of the snow in this season melts and you will only see snow on the top of the distant mountain peaks. But the entire valley is very beautiful. Sitting in the open and soaking in the sun is an experience in itself during this time.
Winters in Chitkul
During this season, the entire valley is decorated in white. It is so cold during this season that rarely any hotels or homestays are operating. Water is frozen so for showers and washing face, you will only get water in buckets. Further, river Baspa is also frozen, like Chadar in Ladakh
Although many travellers specially visit Chitkul to see the white fairyland despite its harsh weather and strict environment
How to Reach from Delhi to Chitkul
In this blog, I will talk IN DETAIL about how you can reach from Delhi to Chitkul and as well as from Reckong Peo. There is also a bus from Shimla that drops you directly to Chitkul. The bus leaves at 6 AM from Shimla and costs about INR 450/-.
Delhi to Chitkul By Air
If you are coming from far away states then the nearest airport for you will be Shimla, however, do check the flights till Delhi and Chandigarh before booking as the chances are the flight to Delhi might be cheaper than the flight to Shimla due to high frequency.
More on how you can reach from Delhi, Chandigarh, and Shimla to Chitkul below.
Delhi to Chitkul By Train
Shimla is the nearest Railway station to Chitkul. More on how you can reach from Shimla to Chitkul below.
Chitkul By Bus or Public Transport
You can easily take an HRTC bus from Delhi, Chandigarh or Shimla to Chitkul. You can either reach directly to Sangla which is a closer place to Chitkul. Or reach Reckong Peo first, explore Kalpa and then move to Chitkul. I am talking about all the possible bus routes in detail below.
Delhi to Chitkul + Chandigarh to Chitkul
Take an overnight HRTC bus from Delhi to Chandigarh that leaves at 8 PM from ISBT Kashmiri Gate. The next morning, get down at Chandigarh and take a deluxe bus that leaves in the evening at 5:50 PM, 6 PM and 7 PM for Reckong Peo
- While reaching Reckong Peo, a bus stand by the name Karcham comes half an hour before the Reckong Peo bus stand. Get down here and take another bus to Chitkul from Karcham
Delhi to Chitkul + Shimla to Chitkul
There are many overnight buses that leave for Shimla from ISBT Kashmiri Gate of Delhi. If you want to reach Chitkul directly, instead of getting down at Karcham as mentioned above, reaching Shimla would be the best option from where a bus leaves at 6 AM every day for Chitkul and costs about INR 450/-
Reckong Peo to Chitkul
In this section, I will talk about two route options. One will be on how you can reach from Reckong Peo directly and the other one is just a piece of additional information in case you miss your bus (like we did).
There are several ordinary buses that leave from Reckong Peo bus stand. I am listing down their timings below –
9.30 AM – to Chitkul
12 PM – to Chitkul
4 PM – to Rakcham
However, if you miss the bus, another option can be to take a bus to Karcham. There are continuous buses that leave for Karcham from Peo bus stand. From Karcham, you can take a bus/cab or hitchhike.
Sangla to Chitkul
If you chose to stay in Sangla then you can easily go for a day tour to Chitkul from Sangla. Sangla is far more convenient for reaching Chitkul. The bus runs daily and the last bus to return to Sangla from Chitkul is at 3:30 PM.
Chitkul to Reckong Peo
Now from Chitkul, there are two buses that leave for Peo. These buses cross Sangla as well, so you can shift the timings by an hour. The departure time from Chitkul is 12 PM and 2 PM. Hence from Sangla, these buses will leave at 1 PM and 3 PM respectively.
However, we wanted to spend a little more time and decided on an alternate option –
If you want to reach Chandigarh directly from Chitkul, there is a bus that leaves at 4 PM from Chitkul
An Alternate to Reckong Peo
If you miss the 12 PM or 2 PM bus there is another way to reach Reckong Peo. You can also take a bus that leaves at 4 PM from Chitkul to Chandigarh. This bus will drop you at the midpoint which is Karcham. From Karcham there are frequent buses to Peo (almost every half an hour). You can take the bus then from Karcham to Peo. Getting a bus from Karcham will not be an issue.
Road Conditions in Chitkul
The roads to Shimla are excellent. Of course, once you cross Chandigarh the zig-zag and twist and turns start, however, the roads are in a good condition during most of the journey. But, be prepared to witness some scary sight. The valleys are so deep that looking out the window once you enter Kinnaur is scary. The roads in Kinnaur is considered one of the most dangerous roads in India, and it is not for faint hearts. This road has been literally carved out of rocks and there are sharp blind turns, due to which accidents are often reported from this region.
However, our HRTC bus drivers are extremely trained and champions to drive on such roads. You can trust them
3 Days Itinerary of Chitkul
Below I am giving you the itinerary you can follow. Of course, you can tweak it as per your preference. But it will also give you a fair idea of what all you can see in these places.
Day 1 – Reach Batseri
On this day, reach Batseri and explore the places in Batseri. Batseri is a very small village of Sangla Valley. The village lies to the left of the river Baspa and to reach here you have to come down through the road in a valley and cross bridges. The place has such peaceful rural vibes and a very clean environment. Over here, you can visit Badrinarayan temple (carved out of woods) and stroll around the village to get Kinnauri vibes, soak in the beauty of river Baspa and have a chit chat with the locals who are very down to Earth.
Day 2 – Visit Chitkul
Today, leave for Chitkul. You can either catch the bus that reaches Batseri at 12 PM or take a direct cab for Chitkul. It will take an hour to reach Chitkul and as soon as you reach this place you will be surprised by the sheer magnitude of its beauty. Enjoy a cup of tea in the last dhaba of India, go near the Baspa rivers and get perfect mountain shots, visit the Mathi temple and also have lunch here. Lunch in the mountains with tea is fantastic and if you can enjoy your food with the view there is no better feeling than this.
After this, you can either come back to Batseri or stay in Chitkul.
Day 3 – Visit Sangla
Today, go to Sangla with your bags itself. Why I am saying with the bags is because you will save a lot of time and can leave for Peo/Chandigarh directly from Sangla instead of coming back to Batseri.
Kamru Fort – In Sangla walk towards Kamru fort while enjoying the Sangla meadows. Kamru fort is dedicated to Hindu Goddess Kamakhya Devi, and to enter here you have to tie clothing around your waist, along with wearing a Kinnauri cap which the temple people will give you
Bering Nag Temple – Also visit the Bering Nag temple post this, that is devoted to Lord Jagas
Brelengi Gompa – Also go to this Buddhist monastery which is near the Sangla market itself
Hotels in Chitkul – Where to Stay
If you want a hotel in Chitkul, you can stay in Zostel, however, I chose to stay in the nearby village called Batseri, as it offered secluded views away from the tourists. In Batseri I stayed in Hotel Batseri that offers luxury stay and epic views of the valley. You can also get a hot shower, free wifi, and restaurant right inside the hotel.
It was one of the best places to stay because I get to witness the flowing river of Baspa right from my room with beautiful mountain peaks. The place was not only cozy but scenic.
Network Connectivity in Chitkul
Sangla and Batseri have good network connectivity except for Vodafone. Jio works the best and Vodafone does not work at all. Airtel’s performance is not that bad as well.
Further, once you start moving towards Chitkul there is no network connection at all. Only BSNL works here while the Internet even of BSNL does not work. You can only make/take calls.
ATMs and Petrol Pump in Chitkul
You would easily be able to find ATMs in Reckong Peo and then there is another one in Sangla. Other places do not have any ATMs, so do not forget to carry cash when you leave for these places.
Same is the case with petrol pumps. So ensure your tanks are full.
Where to Eat
Hindustan ka akhri dhaba (Last Dhaba of India) is a must do things in Chitkul. Although you will find many dhabas serving momos, thukpa, maggie and tea but do not miss out on Hindustan ka akhri dhaba.
If possible take your own cutlery and ask the shopkeepers to give you food in that instead of buying plastic. It is destroying the beauty of Chitkul as waste is being spread out in the mountains.
- Hotels/Homestays – I would really suggest you stay in Hotel Batseri, at least for a day. It is really amazing. You can check out the prices here, however, if you are tight on a budget you will be able to find homestays for INR 500/-.
- Bus Cost – Bus from Reckong Peo to Chitkul will cost less than INR 150/-. Buses are your best friend and the most budget-friendly partner to have during the trip
- Food – There is a wide number of restaurants to choose from, especially in Reckong Peo and Kalpa. A meal cost somewhere around INR 150/-
What to Pack
Some of the essential things that you cannot forget on such trips are below. I am also giving links to some of them for your purchase
- Thermal Inners: This should be your base layer and have a good quality thermal to wear for this one. Thermals trap your body heat and keep you warm. Further, they do not take that much space as well in your backpack
- Winter Jackets
- Gloves/Muffler/Woollen Cap: All these are essential. During winters it is important to keep your head covered. Avoid wearing woollen gloves during the snowfall season as it traps water.
- Pairs of Woollen socks – I love the merino wools socks here. They are the best and keeps you warm
- Trekking Shoes – They are essential as in the mountains walking can become tedious and in some places, you might have to hike
- Hand Sanitizer
- Tooth Paste/Tooth Brush
- Towel/Toilet Paper
- Lip Balm
- Day Pack Bag: You will be needing a small backpack whenever you are going out of your room to pack your essentials –
- UV Sunglasses
- Water Bottle
- Small Towel
- Raincover: For your backpacks make sure you have a rain cover if you are going during the monsoon season. If you have gadgets and electronic things and your backpack is not waterproof it can damage all your necessities –
- Slippers: Do not forget to pack good slippers. For quick errands, you will not like to wear your shoes again and again
I hope the guide helps you in having a fantastic time in such a beautiful place. Do comment below in case of any questions.
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