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Simla - Kufri - Fagu - Naldera - Sarahan - Padam Palace - Rekong Pio - Kalpa - Baspa Valley -

 

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Travelogue Kinnaur, India @ Content Writer : Tour Of Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, India

By Mr. Debashis Bose, Contributing Traveller

We decided to visit Kinnaur, (Himachal Pradesh), which is divided mainly in two parts, northern part is dry and arid with almost no rain and the southern part gets a little of monsoon rains. The southern part consists of Sutlej & Baspa valleys and this is where we went. We had long discussions and conducted some studies before going to these places as it is colder in these parts.

Our group consisted of 32 people with about 16 ladies and except a very few, all others were senior citizens. We had a young man as our guide who owns a tourist concern. He is a jolly good fellow and helped each and every one of us.
The people of Kinnaur are said to be the direct descendants of Gods. They love ornaments, music and dance and they are helpful to the visitors and are religious minded. Their culture is a combination of Hinduism & Buddhism.

A Local Couple


Now, our daily diary :- 18.9.07 We left Uttarpara by local train to Howrah to avail Kalka Mail at 07.40 pm.

19.9.07 Whole day and night was spent gossiping with excitement since we were going to a completely new place.

20.9.07 We reached Kalka at 03.45am, got in the Shivalik Express, started at 05.30am and reached Simla at 10.20am after passing through 103 tunnels and picturesque views on both the sides. Breakfast was served in the train as the cost was included in the fare. We took our shelter at the Kalibari, as arranged. Earlier, we had contacted a Simla-based tourist company, whom we met today, as they had made arrangements for our food, accommodation and conveyance (5 Tata Sumos), a package programme, as it is known nowadays, from Simla to Kinnaur and back to Kalka. We also went around the Simla Mall etc. Our lunch and dinner was at the Kalibari canteen.

Beautiful Mountains

Sun And Shade - Beauty of Mountains

21.9.07 After breakfast, we went for local sight seeing to Kufri, Fagu and Naldera.

Kufri 16 km from Simla, at a height of 2501m is famous for wide views and ski slopes. There is an enjoyable walk or horse ride to Mahasu peak. Since it was drizzling, we were not interested in going there.

Fagu 22 km from Simla, at a height of 2510m, has enchanting views.

Naldera also 22km from Simla, at a height of 2044m, has a golf course and picnic spots nearby. Natural scenery around are tranquil and exotic.

Naldera Golf Club

Naldera Golf Club

22.9.07 We started from Simla at 09.00am, had lunch at Narkanda (quite good vegetarian food) and reached Sarahan at 06.35pm.

Sarahan, by National Highway No.22, is 175 km from Simla and is at a height of 1850 m. The hilly road passes through Kufri, Narkanda, Fagu, Rampur and Geori, and on both the sides there are pine and fur trees etc. Rampur was once upon a time the kingdom of the Bushahar kings. The residence of the kings is known as Padam Palace, made by King Padam Singh. The palace is on the road itself, the ground floor is made of stone and the first floor is made of wood. It was learnt that the palace is now closed for the tourists.

Sarahan is surrounded by Himalayan snow-clad mountain ranges from east to west, of which the main peak is that of Shrikhand. Sarahan is popular for temples of Bhimakali, there are two triple storied temples side by side, one is older and the other is new.

Bhimakali Temple, Saharan

Bhimakali Temple, Saharan

Both the temples are made of horizontal stone slabs and wood of the same sizes. On the second floor, there is goddess Bhimakali, another form of Devi Durga.

The deity is made of gold, and depicts the Goddess killing the demon. The goddess was worshipped by the Bushahar kings. At the entrance of the main gate, door panels are made of gold and having carvings of religious stories. Inside the temple compound, there are temples of Nrisingho, Raghunath and Shrilankabir etc. These temples are decorated with very fine and beautiful wood carvings. There is a Yatriniwas inside the temple compound for pilgrims to stay.

23.9.07 We visited the rare bird Monal's breeding center which was located on the top of a small hill. From the top of the hill, we could see the whole of Sarahan - temple, palace etc and the snow-clad mountains seemed just like picture post cards. The bird's size was that of kites but these were very colourful like peacocks. It was quite difficult to photograph them as they were hiding behind bushes. We left Sarahan at 11am and passed through Rekong Pio, and reached Kalpa at 06.40 pm covering a distance of 115 km. It's height is 2759m, so  naturally it was quite cold.

On 1st May 1960, district town of Kinnaur was established here but due to too much cold and snowfall, the district town was shifted to Rekong Pio, 13 km down, and at the height of 2290m. At Kalpa, we saw a wide range of snow clad mountain peaks and amongst them, the center of attraction is the Kalpa peak. The prominent Kinnaur-Kailash (height of 6050m) looks like a Shivalinga. It is said that on a sunny day, the colour of the Kinnaur-Kailash changes along with the movement of the sun but we could not observe the same, as it was a cloudy day.

Kinnaur Kailash

Kinnaur Kailash

 

It was learnt from the local people that every year, mostly in October, on a particular date, one person from every house in the surrounding villages meet at a certain place. Starting at 05.00 am and reaching at Gumpha by 11.00 am, take rest for the day and night and again start on the second day at 05.00am, reach Kinnaur-Kailash. They offer their puja and return to the same Gumpha for rest. On the third day, they begin at 05.00am and return back to their respective villages. There is one Gumpha at Kalpa also and lots of apple trees everywhere, now full of apples - mostly red ones, only 20-25 % green ones, and hardly 10% are almost white and known as golden apples. The golden apples are mostly exported. These are specially tasty and juicy, though other ones are definitely better than what we purchase in the local markets.

24.9.07 By 09.45 am we went to a village Roghi where there is a temple of Lakshmi-Narayan. Though it was closed, we heard that the temple had beautiful wood carvings. By afternoon there was rain and we were confined to our hotels.

25.9.07 We started at 09.40 am from Kalpa and in one hour, we covered a distance of 57 km. We reached Sangla which is at a height of 2680m. At Sangla in the north, there are the Kinnaur-Kailash mountain ranges and in the south, there is the Garwal mountain range. River Sutlej is flowing aside. The lush green calm and quite Sangla valley is also known as Baspa Valley. This valley is also full of apples, peaches, apricot, nuts etc, and varied flowers. The houses are mostly of Tibetan style (Tibet is not far away from here). Surrounding the village there are lots pine and fur trees. Here, there is one temple of Berinag which is made of stone and wood, and the tomb is of gold. There is a bank, post-office and hospital in this village. Also there is a hydro electricity centre and a breeding centre for Trout-fish.

Green Valley

Woodcraft - Chhitkul Temple

Woodcraft - Chhitkul Temple

At 02.15 pm, we started for Chhitkul which is 26km away at a height of 3450m, the last village on the Indo-Tibetan Border. This village consists of 100 houses with 700 Indians. Here, river Baspa flows with a murmuring sound through the pine forest and starts from the Nee-La pass not far away. This side of Nee-La pass is India and on the other side is Tibet or China. Here you will find apples, peaches, nuts and lots of Primula, Poppy and Berch trees. For a nature lover, the exotic, serene and tranquil atmosphere will be really enjoyable & memorable. There are two attractions here - the wooden fort and the temple of Devimata. Both were closed, and we had to satisfy ourselves by only seeing the wooden carvings. It was drizzling and hence, quite cold. We had tea in the hotel and went close to the river bed for clicking some pictures. We returned back to Sangla at 05..00pm.

26.9.07 Now we were on our return journey and so we thought of home after many days of travelling from one place to another and the excitement of seeing the unknown. We started from Sangla at 08.15 am, had our lunch at a roadside hotel and reached Simla at 05.15 pm. Many of us had last minute shopping to do while others went for a stroll in the mall. We were accommodated in a hotel.

27.9.07 We had our breakfast and took some group pictures on the roof top of the hotel. We left Simla at 11.30 am and had our lunch at the same hotel in Narkanda. Reached Kalka at 05.05pm Kalka-Howrah mail left Kalka at 11.45pm.

28.9.07 We spent the entire day and night with sweet memories of Kinnaur.

29.9.07 The train was late by one and half hours, so instead of 07.00 am, we arrived Howrah at 08.30am, availing local trains, we reached Uttarpara, and dispersed for "Home, Sweet Home."

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Mobile No. of Mr. Bablu, Guide, Uttarpara 9903050995 & 9836439995. Nobin, Tour Operator, Simla 09816026770. 

About Contributing Traveller: Mr. Debashis Bose is a 72 year old retired Railway employee whose hobbies include travelling & tourism, photography and amateur radio. He is a nature lover and prefers to visit little known places as opposed to big cities with the aim of enjoying nature in abundance. Before going on his regular tours with family and friends, Debashis spends time in studying different places and collecting information about them. On returning from the visit, he prepares a travelogue, with sketch map & photos, so that he can inspire others to visit these places and enjoy nature. vu2dba@gmail.com

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