Why Go To Chitkul:
Beautiful Mountain Scenery, Camping near Baspa River, Last Inhabited Village before Indo-China border, Last Point of Kinner-Kailash Parikrama
How to Reach:
204 km from Shimla on NH 22 (Hindustan-Tibet Road) to Karcham and then 40km diversion to the right into Sangla Valley
Elevation: 3450 m (11320 ft) Above Sea Level
Date of Drive: 1st April 2012
For a change that fools day, Lalpari was gliding smoothly along Sidhwan Canal from my home in Ludhiana. I did not have any particular destination in mind. For years, I have spent this day, bank holiday, preparing yearly closing returns for the bank. There was this break after 28 years. From Doraha, Lalpari automatically moved towards Neelon , Morinda and Kurali. From Kurali it turned left on newly laid road through Siswan dam.
From Barotiwala drove through Pinjore, Kalka, Parwanoo, Dharampur, Solan to Kandaghat and then turned right through reserve forest to Sadhupul.
The restaurant people had laid tables and chairs in the shallow waters of calmly flowing stream at Sadhupul. Eating aloo ka paratha and egg bhurjee, packed lovingly by my wife…with hot steaming tea, cool breeze kissing cheeks and cold water washing feet…was a wonderful feeling. I was barely 190 km away from home and had already started missing her.
Evening was setting in. Decided to hurry up. Drove from Sadhupul, Junga bypassing Chail to Kufri. I was on NH 22 now and time was 8pm. Stopped for a while at Ras Resorts Fagu, where we had very good time on a previous occasion enjoying free trip given to achievers by Tara Group, Ludhiana. Celebrated brief stay there with few doses of booze. With awakened spirit and spring in the body, drove off for a beautiful night drive to Jhakri crossing Narkanda and Rampur Bushahr on the way.
Beginning at around 1pm and covering a distance of around 375 km from Ludhiana reached Jhakri at 11pm and found a nice budget room at hotel Ramesh for stay.
2nd April 2012
Woke up…got ready and since I was very excited, began driving very early in the morning. The drive on Hindustan Tibet along the roaring Sutlej was just amazing.
Hindustan tibet road is one of the most adventurous, romantic, hair raising roads in the world. I had been dreaming about driving on this road for many many years. It was sheer joy driving on this road early in the morning.
The roadside temple which is a relief and gives sense of security to the travelers.
Left NH 22 here at Karcham, crossed the bridge and turned right towards Sangla valley. From here Sangla was just 16 km.
On being asked, I was told that these people were going to see off their guests to another village…chit chatting, playing music and offering them home made apricot, apple drinks.
Took a break in Sangla. Had momos and thukpa. Walked around a little and then moved on to Chitkul still 28 km from Sangla.
Road from Sangla passes through some of the most beautiful villages in India….Batseri and Raksham. On the left side were huge cliffs with lot of green cover while on the right was beautiful river Baspa, snow clad mountains, orchards and wooden houses. The surroundings were colorful and beautiful……pink, red, white, purple, dark green with white snowclad mountains in the background.
Chitkul is the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibet border. The Indian road ends here. During winters, the place mostly remains covered with the snow and the people move to lower regions of Himachal. Potatoes grown at Chitkul are one of the best in the world and are very costly.
Lucky to be here in Chitkul on this day 2nd April 2012 after taking early retirement from the bank at the age of 48 to pursue my dream.
Had absolutely amazing day. I was kind of lost that day. The previous day I was in Ludhiana…smoking chimneys, honking vehicles, worried, hurried, lost people. Here, it was like heaven. Beautiful snow clad mountains, meandering Baspa with crystal clear water, rainbow of colours on the cliffs, simple smiling helping people……….Amazing.
Got back to Sangla and stayed for the night at Hotel Devi Regency run by a man from Bengal.
By the way most of the hotels in the area are run by people from Bengal as most travellers to the area are from Bengal.