Jun 21st 2011
Chitkul is the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibet border in Baspa valley. The village is inhabited by about 800 people who brave the severe winter to stay here, sometimes without power cutoff from the rest of the world. In winters the place remains covered with the snow. Pea is the main cash crop and some farmers grow potatoes which are one of the best in the world but sometimes very costly. Chitkul, on the banks of Baspa River, can be called the first village of the Baspa Valley and the last village on the old Hindustan-Tibet trade route. In ancient times Tibetans would come through this village to barter wools, leather, tools in exchange of salt, wheat, vegetables and other food items. It is also the last point in India one can travel to without a permit. Of particular interest at Chitkul are its houses with either slate or wooden plank roofs, a Buddhist temple and a small tower. The school is located at the end of village on the banks of the river.
The Kagyupa temple has a highly valued old image of the Shakyamuni Buddha, a Wheel of Life mandala and four Directional Kings on either side of the door. Chitkul is practically the last point of the famous Kinner Kailash Parikrama as one can hitch a hike from here onwards. After one crosses over the 5,242 m high Charang Pass, it is a long and steep run down through slithery scree slopes to Chitkul (3,450m). The powerful goddess of Chitkul is the only non-Buddhist deity to which respect must be paid by the Parikrama pilgrims. It is believed that the local Deity is related to the Deity of Gangotri and till recently the locals would carry the Deity to Gangotri on foot over high mountain passes. Chitkul is situated around 40 km from Karcham, the place where road bifurcates from Hindustan-Tibet road (NH 22). The Sangla Valley is a delight for nature lovers; especially the stretch after Raksham and right up to Chitkul. The valley is extremely beautiful, on the left bank of the Baspa River are snow-clad mountains and on the right bank the whole terrain is full of apple orchids and wooden houses. [Source - Wikipedia]
Chitkul is around 24 Km from Sangla the tourist hot spot. One can stay in of the Sangla Valley Hotel and then visit Chitkul as a day trip. The drive from Sangla is approx one hour and one can also make a halt the hidden paradise Rakcham enroute to Chtikul. On the way is the ITBP check post at Mastarang crossing which lies a beautiful stream flowing through a small Pine Forest. Chitkul is the last Indian village on border with China. The road ends much before the actual border, it closes around 90 km before it and then rest of the area is under the control of Indian Paramilitary force ITBP. Chitkul is quite windy with very little activity in the evening. There are few shops selling confectioneries mostly. The village sleeps early around eight pm. There is a PWD rest house in this area and a few hotels also. While in Chhitkul make sure you carry adequate cash and petrol or diesel for your car as there is no ATM facility or Fuel station in this hilly area. Its also difficult to find a doctor or a medical facility in this area. Roads to Chitkul closes around November after the first snow fall.
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