Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh

Kinnaur district is a scenic district situated in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, India. It is divided into three administrative areas, namely Kalpa, Nichar (Bhabanagar), and Pooh, and has six tehsils. The district’s administrative headquarters is located in Reckong Peo. Kinnaur is known for its beautiful landscape that comprises three high mountain ranges, including Zanskar and the Himalayas. The valleys of Baspa, Satluj, and Spiti, along with their tributaries, are enclosed by these mountain ranges. The area is covered with thick wood, orchards, fields, and hamlets. The district is also home to the Kinnaur Kailash mountain peak, which is known for its natural rock Shivling (Shiva lingam). The district was opened to outsiders in 1989, and the old Hindustan-Tibet Road passes through the Kinnaur valley. Kinnaur is the second richest district in terms of per capita income after Solan in Himachal Pradesh.

Kinnaur was earlier a north-eastern segment of the erstwhile Bushahr principality, which had its capital at Kamru. Later, the capital was shifted to Rampur Bushahr. After the fall of the Kannauj Empire, the rulers of Kamru annexed adjoining territories by force and laid the foundation of the state of Bushahr, to which the region of Kinnaur belonged till the dissolution of the state after the independence of India. Kinnaur also has historical cultural links with Ngari Prefecture of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The early history of the Kinnaur region is obscure and the reference of the Kinnaur or Kannaura and their land is mostly confined to legends and mythological accounts.

Kinnaur is a mountainous area ranging in altitude from 2,320 to 6,816 metres (7,612 to 22,362 ft). It is one of the smallest districts in India by population and is known for the Kinnaur Kailash, a mountain peak that holds significant religious importance for Hindus. The district is located about 235 km (146 mi) from the state capital, Shimla, in the northeast corner of Himachal Pradesh, bordering Tibet to the east.

Culture & Heritage

Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh is a land of rich culture and heritage, with a history dating back to ancient times. The region is known for its unique blend of Hinduism and Buddhism, and the indigenous Kinnauri culture that has flourished here for centuries.

The region is home to many temples and monasteries that showcase the intricate art and architecture of the Kinnauri people. The Kinnaur Kailash temple, located at an altitude of 4,500 meters, is one of the most revered shrines in the region, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Other notable temples include the Brelengi Gompa, the Nako Monastery, and the Chango Temple.

The Kinnauri people are known for their distinct traditional attire, including the Kinnauri topi (cap) and shawl. They also have a rich tradition of folk music and dance, with many local festivals celebrated throughout the year. The Fulaich festival, celebrated in August, is one of the most important festivals in the region, during which people come together to celebrate the harvest season.

The Kinnauri cuisine is also unique and reflects the local culture and tradition. The local delicacies include thukpa, momos, siddu, and chilta, among others. The region is also known for its exquisite apple orchards, which produce some of the best apples in the country.

Overall, Kinnaur district is a treasure trove of culture and heritage, offering a glimpse into the ancient traditions and customs of the Kinnauri people.

Activities in Kinnaur

Kinnaur, located in the northern part of Himachal Pradesh, offers a wide range of activities for tourists to indulge in. Here are some popular activities to do in Kinnaur:

  • Trekking: Kinnaur has some of the most picturesque and challenging trekking trails, including the Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama, Charang La Pass Trek, and the Borasu Pass Trek. The trails offer breathtaking views of the snow-capped Himalayas, lush green valleys, and pristine rivers.
  • Visit Temples and Monasteries: Kinnaur is home to many ancient and beautiful temples and monasteries, such as Kinnaur Kailash Temple, Brelengi Gompa, Nako Monastery, and Chango Temple. These sites offer a glimpse into the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of the region.
  • Camping: Kinnaur offers many scenic camping sites, where one can experience the tranquility of nature while enjoying the beauty of the Himalayan landscape.
  • Adventure Sports: Kinnaur offers a variety of adventure sports, such as river rafting, rock climbing, and paragliding. The Baspa River and Sutlej River are popular destinations for river rafting.
  • Apple Orchards: Kinnaur is known for its exquisite apple orchards, which produce some of the best apples in the country. Visitors can explore these orchards and even participate in apple-picking during the harvest season.
  • Attend Festivals: Kinnaur celebrates many festivals throughout the year, such as the Fulaich festival, Sazo festival, and Losar festival. These festivals offer a unique opportunity to experience the vibrant and colorful culture of the region.

Overall, Kinnaur is a perfect destination for adventure enthusiasts, nature lovers, and cultural enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities to indulge in.

Major Attractions in Kinnaur

Kinnaur, located in the northern part of Himachal Pradesh, has many attractions that offer a glimpse into the rich cultural and natural heritage of the region. Here are some major attractions in Kinnaur:

  • Kinnaur Kailash: Kinnaur Kailash is a sacred mountain peak that is considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The peak is surrounded by other stunning peaks and is a popular destination for trekking and pilgrimage.
  • Chitkul: Chitkul is a beautiful village located on the banks of the Baspa River. It is the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibetan border and is known for its natural beauty and picturesque landscape.
  • Sangla Valley: Sangla Valley is a scenic valley located on the banks of the Baspa River. It is known for its apple orchards, traditional houses, and stunning views of the Himalayan peaks.
  • Kamru Fort: Kamru Fort is an ancient fort located in the town of Sangla. It was the capital of the erstwhile princely state of Kinnaur and is known for its stunning architecture and intricate wood carvings.
  • Nako Lake: Nako Lake is a beautiful lake located in the village of Nako. It is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and is a popular destination for nature lovers and photographers.
  • Brelengi Gompa: Brelengi Gompa is a beautiful monastery located in the village of Kanam. It is known for its ancient Buddhist scriptures and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Overall, Kinnaur offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and spiritual significance, making it a must-visit destination for tourists.

Staying in Kinnaur

Kinnaur offers a variety of options for accommodation, ranging from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts. Here are some popular options for staying in Kinnaur:

  • Homestays: There are several homestays available in Kinnaur that offer a unique opportunity to experience the local culture and way of life. These are often run by local families who provide comfortable rooms and home-cooked meals.
  • Guesthouses: There are several guesthouses and budget hotels available in the major towns of Kinnaur, such as Reckong Peo, Sangla, and Kalpa. These offer basic facilities at affordable prices.
  • Resorts: There are several luxury resorts located in Kinnaur that offer world-class facilities and stunning views of the Himalayas. These are ideal for those looking for a comfortable and relaxing stay.
  • Camping: Kinnaur offers several options for camping, with several campsites located in scenic locations such as Chitkul and Sangla Valley. These are ideal for those looking for a unique and adventurous experience.

Overall, Kinnaur offers a variety of options for accommodation that cater to all budgets and preferences, making it a great destination for all kinds of travelers.

How To Get There

Kinnaur is located in the northeastern corner of Himachal Pradesh and can be accessed by road. Here are the different ways to get to Kinnaur:

By Road

Kinnaur is well connected by road, with regular bus services available from major cities such as Shimla, Delhi, Chandigarh, and Manali. You can also hire a taxi or drive your own vehicle to Kinnaur. The most popular route is via Shimla and Rampur.

By Rail

The nearest railway station to Kinnaur is Shimla Railway Station, which is approximately 240 km away. From the railway station, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to Kinnaur.

By Air

The nearest airport to Kinnaur is Bhuntar Airport near Kullu, which is approximately 235 km away. From the airport, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to Kinnaur.

It is important to note that the roads to Kinnaur can be challenging and require careful driving, especially during the winter months when there may be snow and ice on the roads. It is recommended to check the weather and road conditions before embarking on a trip to Kinnaur.

Frequently Asked Questions About Kinnaur

What is the best time to visit Kinnaur?

The best time to visit Kinnaur is between April and October, when the weather is pleasant and the roads are accessible. However, if you want to experience snowfall and enjoy winter sports, you can visit Kinnaur during the winter months from November to February.

What are the must-visit places in Kinnaur?

Some of the must-visit places in Kinnaur include the Kinnaur Kailash Range, Sangla Valley, Chitkul, Nako Lake, and Kalpa.

Is Kinnaur a safe place to visit?

Yes, Kinnaur is generally a safe place to visit. However, like any other tourist destination, it is recommended to take basic precautions to ensure your safety.

What is the local language spoken in Kinnaur?

The main language spoken in Kinnaur is Kinnauri, which is a dialect of the Tibetan language.

What are the popular local dishes in Kinnaur?

Some of the popular local dishes in Kinnaur include Sepu Vadi, Thupka, Momos, and Dham, which is a traditional meal served during festivals and special occasions.

What are the adventure activities one can do in Kinnaur?

Some of the adventure activities one can do in Kinnaur include trekking, camping, rock climbing, river rafting, and skiing during the winter months.

Is there any local festival celebrated in Kinnaur?

Yes, Kinnaur is known for its colorful and vibrant festivals, including the Kinnaur Kailash Fair, Baisakhi, and Phulaich Festival.

At a Glance

  • 31°35′N 78°25′E
  • India
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Reckong Peo
  • 88.37%(male), 71.34%(female)
  • UTC+05:30 (IST)