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Around the Sangla Valley/India

Introducing Around the Sangla Valley

Further up the valley from Sangla are the smaller villages of Rakcham (3050m), 14km from Sangla, and Chitkul (3450m) another 10km up the road. The last stop on the old trade route to Tibet and at the junction of several trekking routes, Chitkul is easily the most scenic settlement along the Sangla and an increasingly popular stop for backpackers. The charming hamlet consists entirely of traditional Kinnauri-style wooden houses topped with slate roofs, and there is a large temple dedicated to the local god Mathi. Pleasant walks lead up the hillside behind town for great views, or head upriver 3km to the Indo-Tibet Border Post (foreigners are not allowed further) for full-on views of Rani Khanda peak. Chitkul is where the three-day trekking trail circumambulating Kinner Kailash descends into the Sangla Valley.

The best of the increasing number of guesthouses is the Kinner Heights, whose owner Baabhe can give tips and supply guides for local hikes. Other decent options include the simple Thakur Guest House, and more upmarket Shahensha Resort, the latter aimed squarely at Bengali tourists and offering 50% discounts out of season. Buses leave Chitkul for Rekong Peo (₹80, 3½ hours) at 6am, 6.45am and 1.30pm, and for Rampur (₹150) at 10.15am and noon, all going through Sangla (₹35, one hour).