After doing regular treks every month, I was planning to do a road trip since quite a long time. There were two reasons why I was planning a road trip, first- I wanted a relaxing trip and second- I wanted to try new techniques in photography. I made a list of few places including Great Himalayan National Park, Munsiyari, etc. and finally landed at the Official Last Indian Village in Himachal and planned a Chitkul Road Trip.
Chitkul is a small village situated in the Baspa valley in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. Officially renowned as the Last Indian Village on the Indo-Tibet border, the village has become a paradise for travelers because of its majestic views.
After finalizing my destination, I started making the list of things that I will be needing during the trip. Almost, all the things I had except the wide angle camera lens. Actually, my other motive behind choosing Chitkul was trying my hand at astrophotography as Kinnaur has the cleanest air in India, also Chitkul was situated at a decent altitude of 3450 m. So stargazing was one of the best there in all India.
Now the main task was to arrange the camera lens which was suitable for astrophotography and the more important task was to find a person/mentor who could teach me about the astrophotography.
Initially, I crawled social media sites to find some mentors but as we all know it takes too much time to find relevant people who can help you on these sites. It was then the BlueTie app was recommended by one of my friends. I found the user interface cool. Then I added find mentorship as my objective and searched for a photographer as the skillset. I ended up finding Mr. Sutanu. He is a great photographer and he taught me a lot about astrophotography and we ended up having a small workshop not only that he also gave his wide angle lens for the trip to shoot. Really liked the app due to its responsiveness. The best feature for me was I can find someone based on micro-location search and hence was lucky to meet Mr.Sutanu who luckily was also in Chitkul.
Now the next step was to look out for my travel arrangements. As I already mentioned that I wanted a relaxing trip so I was not in the mood of hitchhiking or backpacking. I searched for a travel group taking the same trip on my suitable dates and booked the tour.
Day 0: Chitkul Road Trip
As the meeting point was Shimla, I boarded the Volvo in the night and reached the same on next day in the morning.
Day 1: Chitkul Road Trip
The overall Volvo journey was comfortable except the last half an hour. The bus driver was driving too fast and rash on the hills as the bus was getting late. Luckily, we all reached safely. After meeting with my co-travelers, we began our road trip. Chitkul was around 250 km from Shimla and the journey was to be covered on the Hindustan Tibet highway. We took our first stop at Fagu to have the breakfast. Had some aloo paranthas and bun butter (official snacks on hills) and then resumed our road trip. We passed through Kufri, Theog, Narkanda, & Rampur. We did our lunch near Rampur at Sharma Ji Bhojnalya. The restaurant was small but the food was too good and cheap also.
The route up to Rampur was normal with not many scenic views. As we crossed Rampur, the views started getting better. The mountains turned lofty, valleys turned shallow and the roads turned narrow. We were completely enjoying the journey. There were few suicide points too where we did photo shoots. We reached Sangla in the evening and took a break there. Had delicious momos there at a restaurant called Cafe Tibet Kitchen. I don’t like momos much but those were really yummy. After refueling ourselves, we continued our journey to the last Indian village. It took more than 2 hours to reach Chitkul as the road after Sangla was quite bad in condition. The journey was decent long and it made us tired a bit. We did check-in into our hotel, got freshened up and had our dinner with the bonfire.
Day 2: Chitkul Road Trip
After getting a sound sleep, I woke up with the help of a bird which was continuously making a sound by hitting its beak on the glass of my room’s window. I checked the watch and it was 7 o’clock. Opened my left eye as I was half asleep, I got out of bed and went outside my room in the balcony. I was about to yawn and I was like ‘what the fuck’ after seeing the view. It was literally like a scenery or a painting. I got awestruck. If I try to explain in words then there was a valley with some huge mountain peaks which were laden with snow, in the center there was a river flowing called Baspa river and it was enclosed by dense deodar trees. Quickly rushed into the room to get my camera and started capturing the beauty of Chitkul.
This day was scheduled for the village sightseeing. We all got ready, had breakfast and started walking towards the ITBP check post, which was the last point where anyone can reach without any permit and it was 3 km from our hotel. Beyond that point, no human was allowed to go further except army personnel. So we stopped at that point and had a small conversation with the ITBP guards. They told us about the winter conditions there and the nearby locations. Then we clicked some photos and headed back towards our hotel. After having lunch, we went to the riverside and spent some time there. Later, we visited the Kagyupa temple and a Buddhist temple devoted to Shakyamuni followed by village sightseeing where I met Eliza, the cutest kid of Chitkul. We also played cricket with the local kids and spent our evenings at the last Indian dhaba. Had dinner and I was all set to capture the stars. Applied all the techniques that I learned from Mr. Sutanu and took shots for half an hour and then came back to my room. The next morning, we had to leave for Shimla so packed up my bags and slept.
Day 3: Chitkul Road Trip
We left from Chitkul after having breakfast and began our drive towards Shimla. We retraced the same route and reached Shimla in the evening. Then boarded the bus to Delhi.
*Reached Delhi on the next day by morning
What I love most about this crazy life is the adventure of it. -Juliette Binoche . So I recently traveled to Chitkul, last Indian village on the Indo-Tibet border. The village is settled in the baspa valley and is quite scenic. The Thula peak and baspa river are one of the main attractions of this tiny place. Had a great time at Chitkul. 😀😊 . 📷 @nishants3 . #travelblogger #wanderlust #postcardsfromtheworld #traveltheworld #igtravel #igwriters #worldcaptures #photooftheday #wravelerforlife #travelphotography #wanderer #tripotofeaturedtraveller #tripotocommunity #indiapictures #photographers_of_india #condenasttraveler #dslrofficial #indiantraveller #shotatsight #nomadsofindia #lonelyplanetindia #chitkul #instahimachal
Read Also: A Trip to Vagamon
So this was about my experience of Chitkul. Really loved the place. If you want a short road trip in Himachal then Chitkul is a big yes from my side. The place can easily detox you and refresh your mind, body and soul. Soon will be sharing a separate blog on “how one can do the Chitkul road trip on his own”.
* As of my experiences, never thought I will end up networking and meeting like minded people in a remote place like Chitkul. Thanks to BlueTie a great networking app where you can find people based on your skills and objectives. It’s really beneficial for people who are looking to grow professionally as you will end up meeting some really interesting people.