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 inhabitants move to lower regions of Himachal.
On the 27th of March’13, four of us got on the tarmac to witness the unimaginable,secluded valley and the experience to be cherished forever- Chitkul. The Holi and the Good Friday gave a 5 day long weekend and the perfect reason to got on a Swift and a Gurkha and measure the roads, the heights and the immense fun. Chitkul Himachal Pradesh, India seemed perfect and the roads favoured for it was Holi and the world was celebrating- the roads were empty and we could feel the thrill in the drive, lesser brakes, lesser accelerator and more of average:)
Details of travel below:
Start point: Delhi, kicking time 5 ‘o clock in the morning
Mode of transport:
Swift : Kartik Virmani + Me
Gurkha: Rajeev Singh + Rajib Acharya (Perfect co-travelers)
|27/3/2013||Day1||Delhi||Rampur||470kms- 10 hrs driving time|
|28/3/2013||Day 2||Rampur||Chitkul via Sangla valley||120 kms- 5 hrs driving time|
|29/3/2013||Day 3||Chitkul||Sarahan||100 kms- 4 hrs driving time|
|30/3/2013||Day 4||Sarahan||Delhi||500 kms- 12 hrs driving time|
|31/3/2013||Day 5||Delhi||Full resting|
Rampur Hotel: The Bushehar Regency (HPTDC)
Chitkul Hotel: The Rupin River View ( Rackcham, Sangla Valley)
Sarhan Hotel: The Srikhand (HPTDC)
Petrol pumps at : Shimla/Narkanda/Rampur/
Chitkul HP is the last point on the Indo-Tibet border where you can travel without a permit. This is the last inhabited village which was totally snow submerged when we reached. The residents looked calm and so occupied by the beauty of their residence that every snow flake looked family member to them. These people move to lower regions during peak winters. Potatoes- the specialty of Chitkul are costly and one of the best around the world. Well from being a couch potato to seeing the place that grows original potatoes- marvelous 🙂
Chitkul height is about 11320 feet above sea level and is situated on the banks of Baspa river. The beautiful houses with slate or wooden roofs, a Buddhist temple and a pathshala(school) are of particular interest. Chitkul in March looks spectacular and is a good time to travel. The roads are opened and one can see the snow covered peaks so closely and walk on the white carpet with snowflakes on head like white beads. This was my first live snow experience 🙂 and totally worth the travel. The careful walk on the snow, the small pits made by the shoe, the villagers walking around and forever smiling inspite of their hardships makes ones realise that everyday city mundane problems are so small in-front of their lives. They walk around as living examples of courage, happiness and strong will. The source of entertainment for them is talking to each other, ensuring their kids are fine, playing in the snow and making ends meets. There is no psp or ipad or even a laptop for them- they don’t simply require. They can communicate well without these and have a time of their lives.
We made tea in the snow on a gas stove thanks to Rajeev Sir and indulged in every sip. With sun setting we made our way back to the hotel and called it a night after a merry making delicious dinner. The next morning, we made way to Sarahan– a small town in HP at 7589 feet. The place is known for Bhimakali temple and spectacular mountain view. On day 4 we started our journey back and got on the road at about 9 in the morning and drove for about 15 hours with quick breaks to reach Delhi back by about 1 night. The journey may have been non-stop but the enormous mountain energies helped us track back. I have stored it in my camel hump and it definitely moves me for a month or two till I need to replenish:) The experience, the aura, the flash of snow is still intact. Chitkul photos say it all.
At last I can say, I have become a traveler. Hello fellow people!
Also read: Best Off-roading trails in India