Chitkul, the last inhabitable village of indo-china border is better known for its picturesque and raw landscape. Chitkul is a small village in kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is located on the bank of baspa river and is the last village of the baspa valley. Chitkul is located at an altitude of around 3250m from sea level.
Chitkul is the last village which you can easily travel without the need to have any permit. There is a vast area of land ahead of Chitkul which requires special permit to visit as the area is under the control of paramilitary forces (ITBP). The international border is about 90 km from Chitkul.
Best time to visit Chitkul:
During winters the region receives heavy snowfall because of which the region remains covered under thick sheet of snow. Even the locals move to lower regions of Himalayas during winters.
You can consider April to June and September to November to be the best time to visit chitkul as landslides and roadblocks are quite common during the rainy season.
How to reach Chitkul:
HRTC busses are the best means of transportation for this region. It is well connected through major nearby cities such as Chandigarh, Reckong Peo, Mandi etc. Chitkul is around 570 km from Delhi, 350 km from Chandigarh, 250 km from Shimla and around 30 km from Sangla.
There are two possible ways of reaching Chitkul, either you can choose to go via Manali or Shimla. I’ll personally suggest going through Shimla only because it is much shorter and provides better connectivity to region as compared to the Manali route. If you are interested to visit spiti valley before Chitkul then Manali route can be a better option only if Kunzum and Rohtang are open.
Chitkul via Airways:
The nearest airport to Chitkul is Shimla only and Bhuntar airport will be the next closest. Since both of these are small domestic airports hence there are very less flights available to them.
Chandigarh and Delhi are the nearest international airports to Chitkul.
Chitkul via Rail:
Nearest major railway station to Chitkul is Chandigarh only. From where you will have to reach Chitkul via road only.
Chitkul via Road:
As mentioned earlier there are two routes available to reach Chitkul. You can either choose to visit through your own vehicle or can choose to go through public transport as well.
Chitkul is around 40km from Karcham and around 25km from Sangla.
The shortest route to Chitkul goes via Shimla. Assuming you are travelling from Delhi.
Delhi – Chandigarh (243km)
Chandigarh – Shimla (113km)
Shimla – Karcham (202km)
Karcham – Sangla (18km)
Sangla – Chitkul (24km)
Chitkul is well connected through HRTC busses from Chandigarh, Mandi and Reckong Peo as well.
You can even book a cab from Reckong Peo to Chitkul if you are not willing to stay at chitkul. The cab charges around INR 2500-INR 3000 for a return trip from Chitkul to Reckong Peo.
If you want to travel though Manali route then you will have to cross complete spiti valley in order to reach Chitkul.
Stay at Chitkul:
There are a number of options to stay at chitkul. There is even a Zostel and an OYO under construction as well, which you can pre-book online. If you don’t want to pre-book then Homestays are easily available as well.
The stay for a day ranges between INR 500-INR 1000 per day for 2 people, excluding meals.
Cellular Network at Chitkul:
No other network except BSNL 2G works here. These is a Jio tower under construction there but as of now it isn’t functional yet.
ATM and Petrol Pumps at Chitkul:
There are no ATMs or petrol pumps at Chitkul and the closest ATM or even petrol pump is at Sangla only. Which is about 20 off kms from Chitkul. So, it is advised to carry enough cash and fuel with you.
Things to do at Chitkul:
Unlike other tourist hill stations, Chitkul is an offbeat hidden hamlet away from the crowd. There is nothing much to explore here but it amongst one of the most peaceful places which you can visit in India. These are a few things:
Have meal at the last dhaba of India: Frankly speaking it’s not the last restaurant here at Chitkul because there are a couple of restaurants about 100m ahead of it. But still it’s the most popular one here.
Stay at Camps: there are a few camping options available here has well so you can also enjoy staying in the tent for a night.
Trek to the bank of baspa river: It’s a short trek ahead of Chitkul you can trek till the banks of the baspa river.
Visit the ITBP check post: it is around 3km from the Chitkul bus stand, it can be considered to be the closest you can go without a permit to the international border.
Visit the only temple at Chitkul: There is one temple dedicated to goddess shri Mathi. It is said to be about 500 years old.
It’s just a tiny little village in Sangla valley. Famous amongst tourists for its picturesque views and peaceful environment. It’s is mainly famous as the last village of india and frankly speaking there is nothing much to see here. You easily cross the complete village on foot in less than 5 minutes.
If you are looking to spend some peaceful time surrounded by the bounties of mother nature then this is the right place for you. This place can also be called nature lovers paradise because of beautiful and raw nature it possesses.
Road to Chitkul is considered amongst one of the most dangerous roads in the entire world. Driving on this road is totally a different experience of its kind. It’s totally worth sitting at the river side and enjoy the nature.
If you have already been to Chitkul, then don’t forget to share your experiences in the comments below.
If you have any queries or if I have missed to mention something in this blog then you can also drop you questions in the comments below.