Valley of alluring mountains
Standing as a testament to the absolute beauty that nature is capable of putting forth, Sangla valley is a destination that is well worth the picturesque hype it gets. Rightly associated with the term ‘Switzerland of India’, you are surrounded by the rugged snow-capped Himalayan Mountains, gentle lush green with rich pine and birch forest covered and a handful of humble villages. With the Baspa River ebbing its way across the valley, you are sure to be overcome with delight and wonders of the experience. During winters, this valley is prone to get cut off from the rest of Himachal due to the high amount of snow. However, summers in Sangla is said to be comparatively mild than the plains and apt for enjoying an adventurous outing. The road travel is a thrill in itself, with ways carved from a mountain and clinging for most of the journey.
The first village that comes to sight as one treads the path up is Karcham. Here, the meandering beauty of Baspa welcomes you in all its glory with low lying pine forests on one side and the enormous peaks on the other side of the bank. Just as Karcham is a gateway to the entire valley, Rakcham is a gateway to the upper Sangla. Rakcham to Chitkul comes as a favorite stretch to travel among many tourists as one can see the waterfall flow on the road itself. It is a hotspot for all photographers and an added boost to your Instagram feed. The trail beyond Rakcham is filled with splendid sights with undulating landscapes that please your eyes and soul. The valley terminates at Chitkul, a basecamp true to its Himalayan counterparts.
While exploring the course of the valley, you must definitely take time to cherish the modest architecture of the villages that is a sheer personification of the people residing there. Indulge in the culture and sensitize yourself with the local lifestyle of the people. It is a perfect way to get away from the pomp of the city chaos and experience something that is completely true to its nature.
Visit to Sangla valley is an awe-inspiring site to spend your weekend getaway. Apart from the scenic pleasures that it is sure to tempt you with, it offers an experience to delve into the layers of social strata with the local culture and people. Though not extraordinary in its character, the life here is slow moving and calm. People here are friendly and amicable. The menfolk can be seen toiling away outside and the women of the family taking care of the household. The streets light up with the joy and excitement of children who can be seen running around playing
The Sangla village can be easily identified by sitting on a slope with houses that rise one above the other. The massive Kinner-Kailash peak that sits at a height of 6,050m towers over and overlooks the village in all its graciousness. The Kamru fort is also a famous spot among visitors with the Kamakhya Devi shrine. It is also fondly known as the place where the rajas of Kinnaur were crowned.
Things to indulge in when visiting Sangla:
- Trout fishing in Baspa river. It comes as a recommended favorite among many visitors
- A one-day trek to Ranikanda, or to Baspa’s tributary valleys, such as Rupin. Or just a simple trek to Rakcham.
- Rock climbing at Sangla Valley
- Enjoy a local Kinnaur dance show on early request
- Pamper yourself with some locally harvested apples and tag in some apple plucking if you are interested
Top things do in Sangla
How to reach
Sangla, being nestled between mountain ranges of Himachal, the only way to reach here is by road either from Shimla or Manali.
The route from Shimla is the most preferred one by most of the tourists who visit. You will first climb uphill from Shimla to Narkanda and then later go downhill to the banks of Sutlej River. You will then reach Karcham from where it is a drive of 20km to reach Sangla town.
How to Reach by Flight
- The nearest airport to Sangla is the Dehradun airport that lies at a distance of 125 km away.
- The Jubbarhatti airport at Shimla is also close at 238 km away from Sangla. You can avail taxis at a reasonable cost from the airport premises. Moreover, this airport has a good connection of air route with major airports.
- You also have the option of traveling from Bhuntar airport between Chandigarh and Manali. However, the air base is smaller and there are only limited flights running to and fro.
How to Reach by Train
The nearest railway station is at Shimla, namely the Kalka Railway station. You can travel to Sangla from here by taxi or by bus.
How to Reach by Bus
HRTC(Himachal Road Transport Corporation) buses have daily transportation facility from almost every major city nearby. You can board a direct bus to Sangla or a bus to Reckong Peo which takes you there.
Another choice is of hiring a private cab from Shimla to Sangla but that will cost you at least Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 15,000. It can, however, be a good choice if you were traveling in a group of 5 – 6 people that can all share the cost.
How to Reach by Road
You can choose to drive yourself or otherwise choose to hire a private cab that can cost at least 12,000 to 15,000 INR.
If you take the Shimla route, the path follows as :
Chandigarh - Shimla - Narkanda - Rampur - Jeori - Karcham - Sangla
If you choose to travel via Manali, the route crosses the Spiti valley to reach Sangla
Chandigarh - Manali - Rohtang Pass - Gramphoo - Batal - Kunzum Pass - Kaza - Dhankar - Tabo - Nako - Pooh - Karcham - Sangla
How to travel within
Availing the local taxi or cab service is a common way employed by the tourists to travel within Sangla. However, you can explore by hiking, trekking and mountain climbing.
Sangla Valley has several hotels around the town to stay. However, if you wish to enjoy the real charm of this destination, it is better to stay in the wild. There are several agencies that offer tent accommodation even in the heart of the valley. They may end up being slightly costlier than staying at a conventional hotel or homestay, but the experience of camping in the wild is an experience of its own!
Owing to the majority of Buddhists residing here, you can pamper yourself with the local Tibetan cuisine. It is sure to fill your stomach and leave you happy without burning a hole in your pocket. The dhabas along the streets serve Tibetan delicacies such as momos, Thukpa, chow mein and much more.
Some of the fairly known eateries in Sangla are:
- Sonu's Cafe - Tibetan cuisine
- Taste of Tibet - Tibetan cuisine
- Cafe 42 - Indian and Continental cuisine
Day 1 :
- Reach Sangla
- Enjoy leisure walk around the woods
- You can visit Kamru fort
Day 2 :
- Trek to Chitkul
- Return back to Sangla