Here begins the day of our most awaited journey to Chitkul. Our journey began right from passing through the luscious apple orchards to entering thin roads with huge mountains that allowed the great Sutlej river flow out of their bellies. As I write this, I get into a major nostalgia feel of the fresh air, breeze and soulful sound of the river that I experienced there.
We took a halt for lunch at Rampur, town in Shimla district along the way and left for the famous Sangla Valley lying in the district of Kinnaur. Honestly, the roads along the valley were too rocky and full of hurdles, but the driver of the car that we’d hired was experienced enough to make sure that our ride was more about the beautiful views with refreshing breeze and less about the obstacles along the way (will be mentioning the details of our travel agent at the end of the blog).
We entered Sangla to visit the Kamru fort, the sacred place of Sangla which required hiking for 20-25 mins through Kamru village.
Tip: Carry your water bottle (avoid plastic bottles though) we being in a hurry to get out of our car and go for hike forgot to carry our bottle but I must say, the Pahadis are heaven yeah, the sweetest people you’ll come across! Seeing us exhausted due to sudden rise in altitude, they offered us water with big welcoming smile.
Post hiking for 10-15 mins was a temple and the next 10 mins got us to the fort. A fort with a different tradition: no leather belts or wallets were allowed, we were given holy belts for our waists and Kinnauri hats for our heads. While talking to the guards of the fort we came to know that no one is allowed to enter the fort except the Pandits for Puja once a year.
Our next destination was finally, Chitkul. The route to Chitkul was the best in the entire trip! We passed through Rakcham village and as it was almost sunset, The sky view guys! It had that perfect blend of orange pink and faded yellow color reflecting on the mountains and mesmerizing us to the core of our hearts! (Oh, this reminds me of owning a dress of that color blend. Designer here, anyone? :p )
Also, Chitkul is at an altitude of a good 11320 feet! Thus, people with Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) must carry their medications along. Nearing Chitkul gave us that instant satisfying sensation. For our stay, we again had chosen Zostel and my pre-booking idea got us a room there which otherwise would’ve been impossible due to the peak travel season. Okay so for the first night, we stayed in dorms which was a bit of an unpleasant experience. Now dorms are decent for a stay, but my major cuss at this dorm were the bathrooms. Pretty unclean!
Nevertheless, the music of the river flowing by the side of Zostel and fresh air taught us to neglect the flaws and cherish the beauty of the moment instead (which also is a major life tip.)
The cafe at Zostel had these pretty fairy lighting and benches to just sit, relax or have a talk and chill for hours. The common room is the most interesting part here and my favorite too. :p It has all the colors of the world and everything else to keep you entertained throughout the stay.
Meeting strangers from different places, with different careers, chit chatting with them while drinking our favorite hot chocolate, playing games, listening to their stories and what not, one can hardly miss any of this! Also, this was a world cup season and voila! We witnessed a match where India was to play and people from different parts of the world were all cheering for our national team. Another sight and experience to behold! Humans are beautiful, too, after all! ????
Coming to my disappointment again were unclean kitchens and their timings. The food was good but the kitchen and pantry, so not good! Choosing a chain of luxury hostels, this stay was a bit of a spoil sport in terms of cleanliness for me. (FYI, I am also a cleanliness freak, but still.)
The staff was sweet and cooperative though, must say. The beauty of nature and people got us well distracted from this mess, so I was good.
Also don't forget to carry a sweater or a jacket and if you are a Mumbaikar like me then carry gloves, monkey cap, thermals because this place gets pretty cold in nights even in June.