Introducing Kinnaur Valley
The old Hindustan–Tibet Hwy (built by the British as a sneaky invasion route into Tibet) runs northeast from Shimla through Kinnaur, providing access to mountain villages with slate-roofed temples and vast orchards of apple trees that provide Himachal’s most famous export. The Kinnauris, or Kinners, are a proud, Aryan people who mainly survive from farming and apple growing. You can recognise Kinners all over India by their green felt thepang hats.
With an easy-to-obtain inner line permit you can travel north to the mountain deserts of Spiti. For most of the last decade, the road has been blocked between Rekong Peo and Spiti – forcing travellers to change buses and cross the river on precarious ropeways to complete their journey. At the time of writing, the road was open all the way to Tabo, but there’s no telling how long it will stay that way – check locally before travelling north of Rekong Peo.
For more information on the Kinnaur Valley, visit the local government website at http://hpkinnaur.nic.in.