Pangi Valley is nestled in the Chamba District of Himachal Pradesh and is perked at an elevation of 11,000 Ft. If you think that all of Himachal Pradesh’s secrets have been discovered and experienced – think again! Pangi is stunning, beautiful and the biggest secret around. Even though Chamba is usually not on the top of the list when people are choosing their Himachal Pradesh destinations – I am here to change your mind. This beautiful valley is hidden away, thanks to the difficulty of reaching the place! The valley in itself is massive with a whopping 1600 sq KM region!
You can enjoy extreme tranquility in this serene location! But, also, there are many attractions and places to explore nearby. Killar in general is a popular touristy hamlet on the gorge of Chenab river. There is a stunning shrine of Det Nag in Killar, which is worth a visit! The largest village in the valley is Dharwas and you can experience the exquisiteness of the local culture. Given the extreme isolation, the local inhabitants are extremely proud of their home and would want to make your experience all the more memorable as well!
Let's quickly dive into the details:
About Pangi Valley
Surrounded by white peaked mountain tops and rugged roads – this is a place that will have you on your tippy toes for all the right reasons. Pangi Valley is an adventure seekers biggest dream come true!
With recent development in roadways, especially with Sach Pass, the local folks have been able to till the land and cultivate cash crops such as peas and apples. The Valley is mostly inhabited by local tribes of Pangwala and Bhoti, as well as some settlements of Hindus and Buddhists. The valley has a thriving local theatre scene along with a penchant of literature!
Legends of Pangi Valley
Folklores state that Pangi valley is so remote that the Raja of Chamba used to pay ‘funeral expenses’ to the officials proceeding on their way for duties there. Thanks to the extreme isolation, there was no guarantee of their return. Also, it is believed that the Raja used to send criminals were sent off to Pangi as punishment.
However, when you get to experience the place – voluntarily no less – you’ll be shocked by the splendid show of nature’s beauty in this valley. The lush greenery coupled with snow on the mountaintops, and a pristine stream of water flowing through the valley.
History of Pangi
Pangi is remarkable in its rugged grandeur and austere beauty. The scenery is sublime and imposing and nature appears in her wildest and grandest moods. Everything is on a stupendous scale. The great river rolls along in a deep and narrow gorge, lashing itself into fury, sandwiched between adamantine cliffs that confine it.
Precipices spring from the brink in places almost perpendicular to a height of 1,000 to 2,000 feet. On the lower ranges are grassy slopes of rich pasture with dense forests of pine and cedar, while higher up the stern and majestic mountains attaining an altitude from 18,000 to 21,000 feet rising far above the line of eternal snow. But all this is not rugged and sublimity and naked beauty. Every few miles the traveler reaches tolerably open nooks of surpassing beauty, which may have been small lakes in some gone by age, while the river was cutting its course.-Dr J Hutchinson, Historian, 1910
Pangi Valley in the upper part of Chamba District is extreme isolation personified! Firmly tucked away between the Middle (Pir Panjal) and the Greater Himalayan (Zanskar) ranges, Pangi remained locked within itself. The Valley is separated from the rest of the world for about six – eight months due to heavy snow fall.
In the months that you will have access to Pangi – the weather will still be cold. You can expect some form of snowfall especially if you visit earlier in the season. Monsoon doesn’t reach this gem of a place, however. And, you must also plan your clothing accordingly and remember to dress in layers!
Best time to visit
The valley is shut off from winter through spring this valley is completely cut off. Beyond the reach of tropical monsoon rains, the valley is a challenging tourism destination. During late summer and fall, access is provided through several pass. Approach to the Pangi valley is across the high mountain passes like Sach, Chehni and Rohtang Pass. Serious trekkers and thrill seekers will be so happy in this atmosphere!
How to get to Pangi Valley
Given the extreme isolation – be prepared to rough it out to get to this hidden paradise! Even though Air and rail will cover a part of your journey, remember, a major part of your journey will be on road!
The nearest Airport is Gaggal in Kangra District. Although, if the weather permits, there are helicopter rides available as well – especially in spring and winter!
The Nearest Railway Station is in Pathankot.
Pangi Valley is reachable practically by road mostly. Even though the valley is mostly closed off from the rest of the world due to snowfalls and avalanches etc. However, even when the roads are accessible – they are not shy of danger!
here are three ways to reach the valley via road. The first being the route from Manali to Killar, second, being the route from Jammu to Kistwar to Killar, and the third being from Chamba to Killar via the Sach Pass.
The shortest route is from Chamba via the Sach Pass.
Things to see/do in Pangi Valley
Enjoy the tranquility when you reach Pangi! The trip is tough and will definitely rattle you at times. However, once you do reach the peace – you will definitely will the joy of having earned it!
Killar is famous for its charming dances and rich natural beauty. It is also a suitable base for trekkers venturing to Kishtwar, through Umasi la into the Zanskar Valley, and to Keylong and Manali.
This little village of Dharwas is famous for the natural spring of mineral water, Tilmili. Dharwas is an ideal base for trekking.
A picturesque village, Purthi is located 24 km from Killar in Chamba District of Himachal. Purthi is famous for its forest nurseries. A historical Forest Rest House is set in the beautiful surroundings of the village.
Cherry Bungalow is built on the right bank of the Chadrabhaga. There are a bunch of treks that begin from here, including into the Saichu Twan wildlife sanctuary, there is also a beautifully located small temple at Sidh Mandir.
Located southeast of Killar, Parmar Valley is a cluster of three villages – Parmar Bhatori, Parmar and Kumar. Parmar Bhatori houses a Buddhist Gompa and above the village there is a vast expanse of green pastures. This makes for a MUST CAMP place!
Where to stay
If you want to make the most of your experience and truly immerse yourself in the nature and surroundings – then do go camping! It is recommended that you do so at a hum of the PWD. Since it’s a little quiet valley, there are no hotels or guest houses erected. The accommodation is limited to rest houses built by the Forest Department, Public Works Department, Irrigation Department and the Public Health Department.
Keep in mind, though, that hotels, guest houses and other accommodation is available at all major places in route to Pangi –either via Chamba or via Lahaul.
What to eat
Food in Pangi is normally locally grown and home cooked. Few, if any, packed foods are available. It will be wise to pick up stuff to eat for the lack of amenities available in the region. Also, keep a decent medical kit prepared for your trip here.
Will I experience AMS?
You could experience AMS given that you’ll be travelling through extreme terrains at astonishing heights. Be prepared mentally and physically. Consult your physician prior to embarking on this journey and check with them if you can take any medicines such as Diamox to combat the symptoms.
Is there internet connectivity in Pangi Valley?
Nope. BSNL connections work, intermittently. Inform your loved ones on where you will be prior to your journey beginning so that they don’t worry too much about you!
Truly unique culture, exceptionally beautiful souls, stunning nature, pretty places – Pangi Valley has it all. Add to that the extreme isolation and the smallest window of getting to visit this magical wonderland – Pangi is a secret waiting to be explored!
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There is not a lot of information out there on Pangi and you need to visit to understand the region, really! While we have tried to cover as many bases as possible – comment below of any questions you may have!