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In Photos: Sangla Valley, Kinnaur.

Kinnaur, in the lower Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh, is home to the stunning Sangla Valley, along which gushes the mighty Baspa River. Rakcham and Chitkul, the last villages of India before Tibet, make Sangla one of the most beautiful valleys in the Himalayas – sparsely populated with graphic landscapes and a verdant countryside. I’ll let these photos, taken during my trip to Kinnaur last year, speak their thousand words.

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1. THE DRAMATIC LANDSCAPE OF RAKCHAM VILLAGE
through which gushes the Baspa River. On the left lies the Sangla Valley, and on the right, the Baspa Valley. A rickety river bridge connects the two.

Sangla photos, Rakcham, Himachal villages, Himalayas villages

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2. LIFE IN THE HIMALAYAN VILLAGE
of Rakcham is slow and beautiful. The village mostly consists of mountain shepherds and farmers, and Rakcham is known for the highest quality potatoes and vegetables in India.

Sangla valley, Rakcham, Himachal photos

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3. THE WOODEN HUTS OF RAKCHAM
complement the village’s idyllic landscape, surrounded by potato fields, pine forests and the dramatic rise and fall of the peaks of the Himalayas.

Rakcham, Kinnaur, Sangla, Baspa

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4. ON THE HIKE FROM RAKCHAM TO BATSERI
rolling meadows with colorful wild flowers, small streams and pine forests lie against the imposing backdrop of the mighty Himalayas, making it one of the most picturesque hikes in Himachal Pradesh.

Sangla valley pictures, Himachal pradesh towns, Rakcham

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5. THE SURREAL LANDSCAPES OF SANGLA VALLEY
keep you company through the villages of Rakcham, Batseri and Chitkul – convincing you that Himachal Pradesh is home to the country’s most gorgeous countryside.

Himalayas photos, Sangla valley, Rakcham

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6. THE BASPA RIVER, A TRIBUTARY OF THE SUTLEJ
gushes through the Sangla Valley, with such force as you might never have seen a river before, as though protecting with all its might, the most precious secrets of the Himalayas.

Sutlej, Baspa, Sangla valley

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7. CHITKUL, THE LAST VILLAGE OF INDIA BEFORE TIBET
is surrounded by almost bare mountain slopes in stark contrast to the lush vegetation within the village, including fields of wild yellow plants.

Chitkul, Sangla, Kinnaur, Indian villages

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8. SHEPHERDS TAKE THEIR CATTLE
deep into the mountain to graze, whose one face lies in India and the other in Tibet. They also carry produce and other necessities for the army settlements close to the border, which was peaceful (and open) before China’s atrocities on Tibet began.

Himalayas photos, Himalayas secrets, Chitkul, Kinnaur

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9. LIFE IN CHITKUL VILLAGE
is slow and scenic, the locals herd their cattle and tend to their farms all day, and there is a sense of acceptance that their daily life could be  disrupted at any point, given Chitkul’s proximity to the border.

Chitkul, Himalayas photos, sangla valley photos, Himalayas secrets

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10. THE ROAD TO TIBET
unfortunately ends at the army checkpost of Chitkul, which is how far civilians are allowed to go. Imagine if we could still trek all the way into the forbidden land from this border!

Chitkul photos, Sangla valley, Kinnaur pictures, Himachal photos

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What are your impressions of Rakcham and Chitkul in Sangla Valley?

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Also see:

Spiti Valley: 10 Experiences That’ll Take Your Breath Away

5 Unusual End-of-Summer Getaways From Delhi

In Photos: Majuli Island, Assam

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Join The Shooting Star travel blog on  Facebook and Twitter for more travel stories from India.

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39 Comments Post a comment
  1. vik #

    You can use Windows Live Writer for blogging. I think you don’t use it now. Very easy to post and upload images if you use a laptop/desktop. You will be addicted to once you are comfortable to it. It should be more useful to you as you often upload high res images (I’ve made many photo blogs in just a few hours because of WLW).

    May 11, 2013
    • Thanks Vik. To be honest, I love the WordPress interface to post new blog posts. Don’t think I’d want to switch!

      May 12, 2013
  2. What a stunning place!

    May 11, 2013
  3. ravindra #

    next time i pack my bags its kinnaur.

    May 11, 2013
    • Awesome! Let me know when that happens!

      May 12, 2013
  4. absolutely beautiful !

    May 11, 2013
    • Thanks Aziz, glad you thought so too!

      May 12, 2013
  5. Baspa river flowing through Baspa or Sangla valley is a tributary to the Satluj River. Beautiful photographs.

    May 11, 2013
    • My bad, I remembered wrong! Editing it in the post. Thanks for pointing it out! And glad you liked the photographs.

      May 12, 2013
  6. Rohit Negi #

    The photographs are wonderful. A couple of things on the write-up: 1) Baspa isn’t aka Sutlej, the former is a tributary, and Sutlej Valley is distinct; 2) trekking past Chitkul–there are hiking paths that connect to Yamnotri in U’Khand.

    May 11, 2013
    • Thanks for pointing those out, Rohit. I don’t know why I remembered Baspa otherwise. Shall edit it in the post!

      May 12, 2013
  7. Wow.. its magical, its seducing, its serene, its divine.
    The pictures did speak for themselves and spoke more than in thousand words.

    May 11, 2013
    • And yet the pictures don’t do it complete justice! You have to visit for yourself for evidence :)

      May 12, 2013
  8. manchitra #

    I keep getting updates of your travelogues from FB after a long time I could visit your page.Awesome..Love all the pics and description.

    May 11, 2013
    • Good to see you here again, Chitra! Glad you’re just in time to see a glimpse of one of my favorite regions in India :)

      May 12, 2013
  9. Ah… bliss is the word. Marvelous shots. The narration made me want to visit this beautiful place.

    May 11, 2013
    • Thanks Ruprekha! Hope you’re packing your bags then ;)

      May 12, 2013
  10. I love your photo essays. Thank you for these beautiful shots and descriptions!

    May 12, 2013
    • Thank you! I’m glad you do. Kinnaur is really such a beautiful region to spend some quiet time :)

      May 12, 2013
  11. KG #

    Tempting images :)

    May 12, 2013
    • Thanks KG! Hope that means you’re going there soon ;)

      May 13, 2013
  12. Thanks for sharing! Would make sure to visit this place as soon as possible. :-)

    There are so many places in our country which are still not revealed to most of the crowd. And I guess, that’s why they are still naturally beautiful and amazing locations.

    May 13, 2013
    • You’re absolutely right, Rekha! Sometimes I feel guilty blogging about such places :p

      May 13, 2013
  13. Patel Tejendra #

    i think you r gifted with devine energy which inspired you and help to take though decision i would like to visit there with my Baby-Wife i will try my best to make possible it

    May 13, 2013
    • Haha, thanks Patel! Let me know how your trip goes :)

      May 13, 2013
  14. sureshsparrow #

    Hello Shivya,
    i started to read your blogs recently.. you really awesome, your travelling inspired me and i too planned to explore the world as much as i can. thanks for the eye opening.. my hearty wishes for your TBEX visit.

    May 14, 2013
    • Hi Suresh, so good to hear that! What places are on your list? Let me know if you need any recommendations :)

      May 14, 2013
  15. Love Himachal, all these places are so so special

    By the way when you get your long shots sitting on hilltops shot, has it never happened that the guy ran away with the camera :)

    May 15, 2013
  16. Bhavesh jani #

    I’ve read about u in news paper(GUJRAT SAMACHAR). I’ve planned to visit spiti vally this august. how is climate there in aug?

    May 15, 2013
  17. Sangia Negi Thakur #

    hey Shivya ……… Lovely capture…… wow wow wow :)

    August 27, 2013
  18. You could definitely see your skills in the work you write.

    The world hopes for more passionate writers such as you
    who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all
    times go after your heart.

    October 19, 2013
  19. The pics are just surreal!! Can we get more details about the journey so that we can plan as well :D

    March 28, 2014
  20. Hey! Your pictures are beautifully captured. I’ll be going to Kinnaur in June. Thanks for sharing!

    May 19, 2014
  21. arsh kaur! #

    Hey!! i have been going through your blogs lately as i also like to travel solo.. can you just update me more about kinnaur . did u stay in kinnaur or in villages too? how did u managed the accommodations. your pictures have seduced me to explore this place!

    May 25, 2014

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