Adventures/Trekking in Himalaya: Trip to Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh

Kinnaur Kailash, Himachal Pradesh

There can be so many things or people you want to live for; certainly, there is one thing I would die for! You call it my passion or love or craziness for those wonderful-beautiful mountains that gives me love and joy all the time. Whenever I go to different places in Himalayan mountain range I feel like embracing the huge and firm mountains. Beauty of Himalayan Mountains may not be described in words, but I will try to convey the blissful heavenly feeling of those fascinating mountains. I trek into different regions of Himalaya once or twice a year. My last trip was in April 2011 in the Kinnau district of Himachal Pradesh.

“My Journey: A Spritual Odyssey”            

You believe me or not, but it’s an addiction. Once you go there, second time you will feel like that place is calling you to it. To me, it is the only place where I can directly communicate with the nature-the supreme power-the God. You might begin your journey as a fun trip, but by the end of the trip you will realize that the journey was no more a fun trip but a spiritual odyssey! While talking to nature I always feel like sinking into the roaring river, diving into the yawning valleys, filling the chilling wind in my veins, embracing the blue sky, kissing the snow-white peaks…! Once your connection with that supreme power-nature is established, you start your communication with it. Then you start realizing the greatness of nature, laws of nature, which ultimately lead you to the point of self-realization. You will identify real ‘You’ in yourself. You will start knowing your inner self which will introduce you to unbeatable powers of yours which was lying inside you since ages. After spending some time with these purest elements of nature, you will start feeling healthy and younger. You will feel like you were born just a day ago. You will sense a naïve child inside you far away from impurities of your daily life in urban highly-sophisticated society.

I am going to write about such a spiritual odyssey of my life. I wish you guys will go there and will feel the same. I started my journey from Ahmedabad, Gujarat State, India where I live. I always love to travel alone. I never sit and make plans for my journey. This time also I decided suddenly to go to Himachal Pradesh. I had not decided where to go in Himachal Pradesh. I had no reservation for train tickets.

Day 1: Old Route, New Experience

Ahmedabad to Delhi: Distance: 960 km &

                                     Duration: 16 hrs (by train)

I was again travelling alone this time. And as I said, I had no reservation. Somehow I got a seat in general class compartment in Ashram Express departed at 1600 hrs. Within no time the coach got totally chocked up by hundreds of people.  People were literally crushing and falling on each other. Some fellows were smoking bidi, others were shouting in crowd like bazaar in old Ahmedabad. Two kids were already sitting in my lap and a third one had his eye finding some place in my lap. It was uncomfortable but really new experience to me though it was not at all an enjoyable situation. It took 16 hours and I reached Delhi station next day at 10 in the morning.

Day 2: Traveling to Himalayas has never been so easy

Delhi to ChandigarhDistance: 274 km

Chandigarh to Recong Peo (Kinnaur District, Himachal Pradesh): Distance: 353 km

kinnaur-district-map

From Delhi Train Station I moved to Delhi State Transport Bus Depot, Kashmiri Gate, where I enquired about bus to Shimla. Let me tell you, I still had not decided where exactly to go. I had in my mind that I will catch the first bus to Himachal Pradesh from the depot no matter which heavenly place it takes me to. Bus for Shimla had already left before I reached there. I looked further and finally caught a bus to Chandigarh at around 12 PM. It was damn hot in Delhi which made my journey to C’garh very tiring. I reached Chandigarh at around 5 PM. Chandigarh is a very beautiful city, I love it. From Chandigarh, I first thought of going to Shimla, but then saw a bus to Recong Peo. I had read about Recong Peo and was already fascinated about the place. So, I immediately got ticket for Recong Peo and got a seat in that great-looking mini bus of Himachal Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (HRTC). It was just Kalka we had reached and our bus encountered some technical problem which took 3 hours to get back to the track. The route from Chandigarh to Recong Peo passes thru the following places.

                          Chandigarh – Kalka –- Solan – Shimla – Narkanda – Rampur – Nichar – Recong Peo

It was midnight when we reached Shimla and it was damn cold-freezing. You can’t even touch the glass window. Two-three times I opened my window to enjoy the scenery outside but within fraction of a second I got my everything frozen. ;-)

Day 3: Fell from hell in the lap of Heaven

Recong Peo to Kalpa: Distance: 5 km hardly

Recong Peo Elevation: 2300 meter

Kalpa Elevation: 3000 meter

Kalpa Village, Himachal Pradesh

After that freezing night, we finally reached Recong Peo in the Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh at around 8 in the morning. As I was alone, I always try to make new friends wherever I travel. Recong Peo is the Headquarter of Kinnaur District. You can buy stuffs like food-items, medicines, and other important things you like to if you are going to Kalpa from Peo. You can get many government as well as private vehicles to Kalpa village. From Peo you have to travel little higher to 3000 m elevation to reach Kalpa.

Buddhist Temple, Kalpa Village

Kalpa is a heavenly place. It is most famous for the view of Kinnaur Kailash from the village. You will never ever forget the view. After reaching Kalpa, I found the highest point in the village as I heard from the locals that best view of Kailash can be seen from there. I got one room in a hotel at the top most point of the village for 450 Rupees. There is a beautiful old Buddhist temple in the village. The best you can do in Kalpa is enjoy the view of the Kailash Peak and feel the calmness of the miraculous environment. I stayed there one night.  Believe me you won’t feel like going back from kalpa. The magic of this village holds you back or at least will definitely hold back your soul out of your body!

Day 4: Astonishing to Spiritual-Inspiring Journey

Kalpa to Recong Peo: Distance: 5 km Hardly

Recong Peo to Nako: Distance: 112 km

I traveled down from Kalpa next morning by a government bus at around 9 AM and reached Recong Peo Bus Stand. From there I had two choices: 1. Chitkul- 3435 m elevation (90 km far from Peo), and 2. Nako- 3800 m elevation (112 km far from Peo) I inquired about Chitkul from locals who adviced me not to travel to Chitkul in this season as it was very heavy snowfall there. Chitkul is the last village on Indo-Tibet border. Then I decided to catch a HRTC bus to Nako. I waited at the Bus Stop for nearly an hour and then I got a bus at around 11 o’clock. It was a fascinating and thrilling route along with the Satluj River. Beauty of this place is unexplainable. The landscape of this route resembles to that of the high altitudes of Ladakh. It was only 112 km from Peo but it took almost 7 hrs to reach Nako. The route from Peo to Nako passes by the following spots.

Recong Peo – Pangi – Pooh – Namgia – Leo – Nako

Nako: NH-22 follows Satluj River from Peo to Namgia, and from Namgia to Nako is a state highway following Spiti River. You definitely need a strong heart to reach Nako as the route may terrify you many times on the way to Nako. Nako lies in the sensitive restricted zone along the india-Tibet border which may require an innerline permit to travel thru. Nako is located at the east end of Kinnaur Valley and is the last point of interest before you reach the landslide at Malling Nullah between Kinnaur and Spiti Valley. If you move further around the village you will find snow-covered mountains everywhere surrounding the village. You can get accommodation in Nako Village for 500 to 1500 Rupees. I stayed with a local family for only 350! This gives me real feel of a Himachali!

Day 5: Trekking and sightseeing in Nako and surrounding

Beautiful Nako Lake view from higher point

Nako Lake- This is the most amazing attraction of Nako Village which is one of the lakes at elevation. If you climb higher, you can get a better view of the lake. I hired a local guide from the village and we trek to further height. We were reaching closer to the Indo-China border as we were trekking further and further. I was really stunned by the beauty of the place. It was heart-freezing cold, but really enjoyable. While trekking we came across many Buddhist Stupa about which he briefed me. After few hours we reached a point from where the view of the Nako Lake was unforgettable. The lake was surrounded by ice sheet. The ice-sheet on the lake just started to soften as the hot season just started.

Frozen Nako Lake shore

Then I wanted to move futher ahead to kaza  in the Lahual and Spiti District but I dropped the idea as I had to get back to work soon in 2 days. I caught a bus to recong peo from Nako. I reached Peo at around 5 PM and from there I got a bus for Shimla where I reached at 2 AM.

Ancient Footprint of a Buddhist Monk in Nako

Day 6:Back to home

From Shimla I got a bus to Delhi. I stayed in Delhi one day and from there I reached Jaipur. From Jaipur to Udaipur, and from Udaipur to Ahmedabad.

Day 7: Reached home at midnight

So, this was my blind odyssey. I call it a blind odyssey as it wasn’t a pre-planned tour. I traveled for 7 days and in those seven days I traveled 3345 km all alone. My journey included only 2 night stays- one at kalpa and other at Nako. Night stay in Nako was really tough. I love traveling alone because I travel thru all such harsh but pretty situations, I get a chance to discover myself!