Kinnaur Valley Travel Guide | Kalpa, Sangla & Chitkul


Kinnaur Valley – Kalpa, Sangla Valley, Chitkul

Continuing on towards laying the foundation of comprehensive Travel Guide for Spiti Valley and as discussed in the last article Hindustan Tibet Highway, first let’s cover the lower Kinnaur Valley in depth before going further towards upper Kinnaur Valley and Spiti Valley. The lower part of Kinnaur Valley is also very much visited by many people during summer time due to ease of accessibility from Shimla/Delhi/Chandigarh and less crowd or offbeat location. By lower Kinnaur, I mean that I will be covering Kalpa, Sangla Valley and Chitkul in this travel guide and may be upper parts like Nako, Chango, Ropa, Hangrang can be covered in time to come, if required.

Kinnaur Valley is one of the 12 districts in Himachal Pradesh which is known for its apples & orchards, beautiful small hamlets, beautiful meadows surrounded with thick dense woods and not to forget the ever adventurous roads. One of the road to Sangla Valley was also got popularly featured by the name Ledge in Discovery Channel as Deadliest Roads in the World :) … This adds just the right charm of adventure in the trip. In winters, the presence of snow makes it just a jaw-dropping experience to be in Kinnaur Valley where the major attractions is the breathtaking view of Kinner Kailash, a mountain sacred to Hindus, close to the Tibetan border. The beautiful meadows in Sangla or Baspa Valley and Chitkul which is considered the last village in India where one can reach from Kinnaur side, are also covered commonly on a trip to this part of Himalayas.

Marvelous View of Kinner Kailash in Kinnaur Valley…
Marvellous View of Kinner Kailash in Kinnaur Valley

Kinnaur Valley is located in the Northeast corner of Himachal Pradesh about 235 KMs from state capital, Shimla.


Kinnaur Valley has a mountainous area, ranging in altitude from 2,320 Mtrs to 6,816 Mtrs (7,610 ft to 22,362 ft) where Kalpa is located at an altitude of 2,960 Mtrs (9,710 ft) and Sangla Valley is located at an altitude of 2,696 Mtrs (8,900 ft). Chitkul is the highest in the lot at an altitude of about 3,450 Mtrs (11,320 ft).

Season for Traveling to Kinnaur Valley

You can visit this beautiful valley throughout major part of the year but in winters things get very tough and heavy snowfall makes it inaccessible sometimes too. But, apart from peak winters Kinnaur Valley including Kalpa and Sangla Valley can be visited rest of the year without much fuss. It is important to note that monsoon is not the right time to be in Kinnaur Valley due to common landslides and worse roads, so in any case avoid monsoons My favorite time is Autumn or Fall when monsoon just resides away and you might still see some apple orchards loaded with apples with clear skies in the background. Also, Chitkul becomes inaccessible at the time of peak winters, so please avoid going there in late winters without knowing the weather conditions. One snowfall can trap you for months in Chitkul :)… In case you are going in Apple Season, that is around Late July or August in Kinnaur Valley then be ready for massive mess of trucks traffic too along with rains.

How to Reach Kinnaur Valley

Below is the most general route to Kinnaur Valley from Delhi that most people usually follow. You can reach Kinnaur on the second day with overnight halt at Narkanda or anywhere far from Shimla or Chail. The route to Kinnaur Valley from Delhi along with distance between the subsequent places is as follows:

Delhi – Shimla (360 KMs) – Narkanda (420 KMs) – Rampur (488 KMs) – Karcham (566 KMs) – Reckong Peo (587 KMs) – Kalpa (595 KMs)

Road from Karcham bifurcates towards Sangla Valley and Chitkul as: Karcham (566 KMs) – Sangla (582 KMs) – Rakcham (596 KMs) – Chitkul (610 KMs)

Making its way… through the mountains…
Road cut through mountains in Kinnaur Valley
Road cut through mountains in Kinnaur Valley
Preferred Vehicles

The higher ground clearance vehicles are preferable and 4×4 ones not required. However, quite a few people do it in hatchbacks and sedans as well which depends upon your skills to drive and road conditions at the time of travel.

Suggested Itinerary for Kinnaur Valley

Generally, I recommend 7 day itinerary for Kinnaur Valley so that one can enjoy the drive on the way as well as enjoy their stay in Kinnaur Valley comfortably, refer: 7 Day Kinnaur Valley Itinerary | Kalpa – Sangla – Sarahan

Feel free to discuss your custom itineraries in DoW Himalayan Travel Community at the link: Itinerary Advice | Lahaul, Spiti & Kinnaur Valley

Accommodation Options at Kinnaur Valley

There are many accommodation options available at Kalpa as well as Sangla Valley which are good enough to cater to the varied needs of budgets among people. There are economic guest houses which are cheap enough to keep your money saved and there are other luxury properties as well which provide the comfort and facilities if you are looking forward to them.

Apart from private accommodation options, you can go ahead and vouch for many PWD Rest Houses in Kinnaur Valley which are though comfortable and economic but may not suit needs of every family may be. Also, you require bookings for them and sometimes in case of some VIP visit they may try to push you though not in rights. So, in general and in case you are OK with average comfort conditions, Quite Recommended!! You can refer: How to Book HP PWD Rest Houses or FRHs

For more details on good hotels to stay in Kinnaur Valley OR good accommodation options to stay in Kinnaur Valley, you can refer the article: Good Hotels or Accommodation options in Spiti Valley & Kinnaur Valley

Places to visit in Kinnaur Valley

You can plan a trip to Kinnaur Valley where you can try and explore the following places in or around Kalpa and Sangla Valley.

Attraction In-Around Sangla Valley

Sangla Valley: About 120 odd KMs before the Indo-Tibet border, lies one of the most beautiful and romantic valleys in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, Sangla Valley or otherwise also known as Baspa Valley which houses a major village by the name Sangla. Sangla is about 16 KMs diversion towards right from Karcham which is at Hindustan Tibet Highway going towards Kaza from Shimla Sangla Valley is surrounded by thick forest slopes and offers lovely views of the high mountains surrounding it. Recently, various beautiful meadows in this valley (such as Rakcham meadow) have become very popular among shooting various film scenes and advertisements too.

  • Chitkul Village: About 28 KMs away from Sangla Valley at an altitude of 3450 Mtrs and on the banks of Baspa river there lies the last inhabited place in India before Indo-Tibet border named Chitkul. The magical beauty which this village offers is unmatched and incomparable. Chitkul remains closed in winters and is extremely famous for its potatoes in the whole world which are extremely costly as well :) … You can read more about Chitkul at the Wikipedia link here.
  • Kamru Fort: About 2-3 KMs away from Sangla Valley, there is a famous 1000 year old Kamru Fort considered to be one of the oldest forts in Himachal Pradesh. Do check out when you are in Sangla Valley.
  • Misc. Trails & Meadows around Sangla: There are loads of trails in these apple orchards which can be hiked around while your stay in Sangla Valley. There are some lovely meadows too (one near Rakcham village as I remember) as well which can be visited or spent time to bask in the lap of pristine mother nature.

    You can also for for an easy 3-4 Hrs hike to the Glacier point if you are interested for some snow play.

    Batseri village to Sangla Village walk of about 12 KMs through dense Cedar forests is also quite famous among people who love being midst nature and actually feel it. There is a Trout Fishery Farm on the other side of Baspa River near Sangla Village too which is nice to visit and can be covered in this walk itself. What better having a trout for yourself and later barbecue it over camp fire in the evening :) !!

Hindustan Tibet Road near Reckong Peo Cut-off…
Hindustan Tibet Road near Reckong Peo Cut-off
A Surprising Snowfall in Kinnaur Valley…
A Surprising Snowfall in Kinnaur Valley
Attraction In-Around Kalpa

Kalpa: Kalpa is one of the best place to see sunset and sunrise in Himalayas over Kinner Kailash range. Kalpa is about 8 KMs from Reckong Peo, district headquarters of Kinnaur Valley which in turn is about 7 KMs diversion from a place called Powari on Hindustan Tibet Highway. The place is just majestic and the views of Kinner Kailash range from almost any of the hotel at Kalpa would just make your jaws drop at any day. I never thought that it would be that beautiful what I witnessed after reaching this lovely place. We were extremely lucky to witness such fantastic weather at such awesomely beautiful location in Kinnaur Valley. Read more about Kalpa here.

  • Roghi Village: It is about 6-7 KMs from Kalpa and is known for its traditional lifestyle of Himachal surrounded by apple orchards. Very nice place to have a short hike or walk across village from Kalpa. You will almost feel you are in time machine and somewhere in past, if you really spend some time here in this village. They villagers have a great knowledge of the place, its flora and fauna and you can get quite a decent knowledge in the village from them in case you are interested to know about Kinnaur Valley and this region
  • Kothi Village: Just 3 km from Recong Peo, this village has a Chanadika Devi temple which has an unusual architectural style and fine sculpture set amidst a picturesque mountains backdrop.
Clouds floating in Kalpa – Kinnaur Valley…
Clouds floating in Kalpa - Kinnaur Valley
Clouds floating in Kalpa…
Clouds floating in Kalpa - Kinnaur Valley
Medical Facilities in Kinnaur Valley

In case you need any kind of medical assistance, there is a one district hospital at Reckong Peo, being the headquarters of Kinnaur Valley. There is a local hospital at Sangla village too being the biggest village in Baspa Valley.

Food Joints near Kinnaur Valley

Most of the time you will be eating out in Hotels or Camps or Guest Houses or Home stays you will be staying. However, there are dhabhas or eating joints on the way to Kalpa or Sangla from Shimla which you can use for in between meals.

Phone Signals at Kinnaur Valley

Most of the connections work in Kalpa as well as Sangla Valley with best being Airtel. However, as you go ahead towards remote parts of Kinnaur like Nako, Puh, Chitkul etc. then best option will be to carry an MTNL/BSNL prepaid/postpaid connections which always has maximum coverage in Himachal Pradesh. Vodafone did have issues with some connectivity at times.

Petrol Pumps near Kinnaur Valley

About 10 KMs from Kalpa, you can find the nearest petrol pump at Reckong Peo. There is one more fuel pump at Powari which is on Hindustan – Tibet Highway when you move from Reckong Peo back towards Shimla which is about 30 KMs from Sangla Valley. I am not sure if it is still functional though on my recent trip to Spiti Valley in first week of May 2013, Powari fuel pump was not functional. There has been one fuel pump which is fairly new that I saw at Tapri.

Best thing is to top up your fuel tank at Narkanda which is fair in terms of quality as well OR the last petrol pump in Rampur that comes on the right side while going from Shimla side.

ATMs near Kinnaur Valley

There is an ATM as far as I know in Sangla Valley. Otherwise, you may find one for sure at Reckong Peo about 8 KMs away from Kalpa and 38 KMs away from Sangla


Kinnaur Valley is one of such secluded and untouched places in Himachal Pradesh which people must go over and enjoy raw nature. It is a perfect place for family vacation with lovely views all around and yes, a part of adventure too with rough roads. It is one of those places where journey is itself a destination.

Please feel free to post any queries or doubts you might have in planning your trip to Kinnaur Valley either in the comments section or more preferable Itinerary Advice | Lahaul, Spiti & Kinnaur Valley section of DoW – Himalayan Travel Community. If you have been to Kinnaur Valley, kindly share your thoughts and other information you might feel will be worth sharing with other fellow travelers and prove helpful to them as comments or in DoW – HTC community.

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You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...


  1. debasish dutta on

    Is it May or Oct is the best for travelling sarahan,sangla,chitkul,kalpa,manali ?

    Pls, reply with temperature range .

  2. can we visit sarahan,sangla,chitkul, kalapa,back to manali in the month of May ?
    What will be temp range at kalpa & manali in taht period ?

    • Debashish, yes, you can visit Kinnaur Valley covering all above places and return to Manali from Jalori Pass route in the month of May. Climate will be pleasant in Kinnaur during that time.

  3. Hi Dheeraj,

    We are 6 people planning to visit the Kinnaur valley in the last week of April 2016. The itinerary looks something like this:
    Day 1: Reach from Delhi to Shimla. Night stay.
    Day 2: Shimla to Sarahan. Visit Kufri, Fagu, Rampur Padam palace etc. Reach Sarahan by evening. Night stay.
    Day 3: Sarahan to Sangla. After reaching Sangla, visit Kamru village & fort, Berinag temple etc. Night stay.
    Day 4: Visit Chitkul and return to Sangla. Night stay at Sangla.
    Day 5: Sangla to Kalpa. Kalpa sightseeing: Rekong Pio Mahabodhi temple, Pangi village, Roghi village. Night stay at Kalpa.
    Day 6: Stay at Kalpa. An additional day to roam around the place.
    Day 7: Kalpa to Shimla.
    Day 8: Shimla to Delhi.

    Q1. Seek your feedback on the itinerary. Can there be any impact on the plan because of weather?

    Q2. We are a 6 people group and planning to rent an MUV (Xylo/ Innova) for the entire week from Shimla to Shimla. Can there be any cheaper alternative (public transport etc.)?

    Q3. Any recommended hotel in Sangla?

    Thanks in advance. :)

    • Hi Avik,

      A1: Your plan looks quite relaxed. I will advice that you make Kalpa to Narkanda on Day 7 and Narkanda to Delhi final day. You going to enjoy it in relaxed manner.

      A2: Best is you hire an Innova by directly getting in touch with drivers. You can get connected directly to some drivers in Spiti Valley or Kinnaur Valley at the link: List of Taxi Drivers for Spiti Valley & Kinnaur Valley. These drivers can come and pick you up from Manali / Shimla / Delhi / Chandigarh too, of course with a price of pickup as well.

      The rates of the taxis are about Rs 3000-3500 per day depending upon the number of days you plan to travel, more the days, less the price.

      Otherwise, taxis in general are also available on the spot from Shimla or Manali from respective taxi stands

      A3: Please check the thread:

  4. Ashit Baran Deb on

    Want to visit Simla, Sangla, Chitkul and Kalpa in 14 to 21st December, 2015, please advise.

  5. Hi Dheeraj,

    I am planning the trip in Mid March – from 13th to 22nd
    Will you suggest to make the trip in March?
    DAY 01: DELHI –SHIMLA —– 13th
    DAY 02: SHIMLA Arrival and proceed to hotel —– 14th
    DAY 03:  SHIMLA –SARHAN  —- 15th
    DAY 04: SARHAN-SANGLA —- 16th
    DAY 05:    SANGLA –CHITKUL – SANGLA —- 17th
    DAY 06:    SANGLA-KALPA —- 18th
    DAY 07:    KALPA  —- 19th

    After that could not fill the itinerary –
    Is it possible to go to Manali on Day 08, or you suggest any thing else?

    • Shouvik, from Kalpa you need to track back toward Delhi and for Manali, better plan two days from there. Kalpa to Shoja over Jalori Pass, Jalori Pass to Manali.

  6. Dear.. Dheeraj.. I had planned to 11th of this January…. Day one arrival at Chandigarh by 1 pm halt at Rampur.. Day two. Rampur to Kalpa.. Day 3 Kalpa.. Day 4 Kalpa to sarahan.. Day 5 sarahan to shimla.. Day 6 back to chandigarh.. Is it possible to do. Can you suggest me good cab operator innova I need ur valuable suggestions

  7. HI, Is it possible to visit Nako from Kalpa and come back to Kalpa in Same day, I saw its around 3 hrs one way journey from Kalpa to Nako

      • Thanks Dheeraj, your advice is really helpful. Though It is technically possible, I wont like to make the travel hectic for my 3 yr old kid. its better to stay at Nako 1 day.

        • Amlan, it depends upon when are you making the trip. In case you are making the trip in season time, from May to mid October, it is perfectly fine to stay at Nako but other than that Nako is a harsh place to stay with quite cold conditions. When are you staying?

        • Hi Dheeraj, I am planning for Mid April, will it be too harsh at Nako…

  8. Any updates on current weather condition in Kalpa & Sangla ? Will be travelling between 1st – 6th Nov..

    • Vidisha, it has snowed up there in Kinnaur Valley in last couple of days. Chitkul may be out of bounds now. Long term weather forecasts of Kalpa and Sangla shows clear weather anyhow with partly cloudy during the time you are planning to visit. So, in case it snowed less then Chitkul might open. Be prepared with heavy woolens though.

  9. Rajesh Chakravarthy on

    I want to visit simla, sarahan ,Sangla,kalpa,chitkul during last week of March or first week of April 2016 along with two kids . Also desire to come back by visiting Manali and Amritsar. Please suggest me the route and budget Hotel and also advise me about the vehicle.

    • Rajesh, Chitkul may not be possible or would be just lucky as road might have opened just during that time. Apart from that you can visit all these places. You can make your way back over Jalori Pass to Manali and then further to Amritsar. Before suggesting any plan, let me know how many days do you have in hand?

    • I am also planning to make a trip during mid March. Is it possible to make Kaja? I have a total of 9 days, Starting from Shimla, how much can I cover?
      Also should I book hotels in advance or will get after reaching there?

      Thanks Dheeraj in advance.

      • Venkatesh, it is very much possible to go to Kaza in March. However, the risk of getting stuck for few days is high. Also, the facilities from Kinnaur to Spiti will be very basic including food and water. Washrooms will be dry only with no water in them. Regardless to stay, the cold will be very very much. I have been in March and you can check out my experience of staying in March in Spiti from the links in Main Menu of the site.

  10. manab sengupta on

    may i (4 including 2 kid i.e 13 & 05) want to visit shimla to manali via kinnaur,kaza , lahul spiti ( through kunzum pass & rothang pass) next year. cld u pse tell me the right time to visit those place and how many days it will take also suggest me how can i book pwd rest house and a cab with no during this tour. expect ur reply urgently fr further planing. thanks manab

    • Manab, July – September will be the only time you will be able to do a complete circuit from Shimla to Manali over Kinnaur Valley and Spiti Valley. You can check a very balanced and most common itinerary for Spiti Valley followed by many travellers including me at the link here for 10-11 days: Most Common Itinerary for Spiti Valley.

      You can get connected directly to some drivers in Spiti Valley or Kinnaur Valley at the link: List of Taxi Drivers for Spiti Valley & Kinnaur Valley. These drivers can come and pick you up from Manali / Shimla / Delhi / Chandigarh too, of course with a price of pickup as well.

      The rates of the taxis are about Rs 3000-3500 per day depending upon the number of days you plan to travel, more the days, less the price.

      Otherwise, taxis in general are also available on the spot from Shimla or Manali from respective taxi stands

      For stay options in Kinnaur and Spiti, check the link: Some Good Options of Stays in Spiti Valley / Kinnaur Valley

  11. VENKATESH on

    hi dheeraj this is venkatesh , we r planning to kinnar in january first week and me and my friend r planing to go to Chitkul by trecking from sangla is it possible,we r tacking tent and sleeping bags and food stove etc,is our plan wiil be workout,is it possible to terk and can we stay there with my campang tent,so plz guide me,and canu u tel me with u r experiance what is the precautions we want to take.

    • Venkatesh, Chitkul will not be accessible during that time of the year even by trekking AFAIK. It is quite risky to do so and even deadly. So, even Kinnaur Valley you will struggle a bit and have to have good gear to survive.

  12. Arka Dawn on

    I am planing to visit kinnar valley at the end of january nxt yr. Will i be able to reach kalpa and chitkul? Are the hotels open at that time?

    • Arka, Chitkul for sure you will not be able to reach as the road will be closed. Most hotels will be closed in Sangla Valley and few basic guest houses or home stays and a single hotel or two will be running. However, please note that water freezes in pipes and hence, you might not have running water anywhere and even have to have dry pits for toilets with no water.

      Regarding Kalpa, there are some good number of hotels and better infra. up there and in case snow do not pour during the the time you will visit Kalpa, the road gets cleared and open.

      • Arka Dawn on

        Thank u sir , are the hotels in kalpa in same condition at that time? Are the roads to kalpa cleared everyday for tourist to reach kalpa? Is it possible to reach manali from shimla via kiiner valley (as much snow permits) on same day so that we can see liitle of kinner valley?? What tour plan do u suggest from 23rd Jan to 1st Feb 2016?

        • Arka, since Kalpa has better infra. so a bit better than in Sangla. Roads do not clear everyday but will start to clear when snow has stopped for a day or two. In case less snow pour then they try to clear it every day.

          There is no route to Manali from Kinnaur Valley unless you are talking about Spiti Valley or Jalori Pass by back tracking towards Narkanda. However, in case you want to go to Manali from Kinnaur, then you can come back towards Rampur and take the route from Chindi – Karsog – Rohanda – Mandi/Ner Chowk route to reach Manali.

        • Arka Dawn on

          Thanks once again sir . As i cannot visit kinnar what tour plan do u suggest for 23rd jan to 1st feb??

        • Hello Arka,

          Are you open for tourists location or you only planning offbeat? Also, are you open for a plan to Kumaon region in Uttarakhand or only Himachal you are planning?

        • Arka Dawn on

          Only himachal sir. Already i have booked tickets to shimla. Reaching on the 23rd of jan

  13. I am planning go for kinner valley and Chitkul Village on jan is possible to go there on roads will be open that time , i am going solo to enjoy the nature , i will planing to stay there for 5 days is it possible,is there any buses from shimla in january to kinner valley , plz sugesst me with ur plan.and what will be the cost of the trip for 10 days from shimla , plz help me

    • Venkatesh, Kinnaur Valley will be in reach but Chitkul will be out reach due to snow, similarly in case it snows during that time Kalpa and Sangla might also be closed. So, there is a chance that you might want to take to witness the snowbound beauty of Kinnaur Valley

      • Thanku sir , can u tel me is buses will available in january from shimla to kinnar,if no buses then tel me howbi want go from shimla.with mediam cost.and what is the cab cost for droping sri.plz help me sir

  14. Hi Dheeraj,
    I am planning a trip to Kinnaur Valley from Chandigarh. Do you suggest I take a taxi from Chandigarh or Shimla?
    I had the below in mind
    1st Nov – Take Toy Train to Shimla -> move to Narkanda
    1st and 2nd -> explore Narkanda, Thanedar and Kotgarh
    3rd -> move to Kalpa
    4th -> Explore Kalpa and nearby villages
    5th -> Visit Sangla and back to Kalpa
    6th -> leave for Shimla and there on Chandigarh
    do you think the above sounds like a good plan? I am basically looking for an easy trip.

    • Hello Jaspreet,

      Your plan looks good to me. It will be better if you stay at Sarahan on 2nd Day. If hotels in Sangla are open there is no need to come back to Kalpa as again you have to travel the same route. Day 5, reach Sangla try to go ahead towards Chitkul till the point snow allows you and then return for a stay at Sangla. Finally from Sangla come back to Shimla.

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