It was a lovely Sunday morning and it took me a change of 3 roadways (Haryana Roadways, Punjab Roadways and Himachal Roadways) and 12 hours to reach my first destination. From Yamunanagar to Chandigarh to Shimla to Rampur, the Sunday was turning out to be every bit of legendary.
I had planned a solo trip to Chitkul, the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibetan border. I was earlier planning to take a cab but decided against it. It is always better to experience things a little raw and a little real. And this decision definitely makes it into my got-them-right list.
So, here’s a quick account of what I did and where I stayed. Feel free to connect with me on Instagram if you want to plan a trip on this route or if you want to know more about safe solo travelling. My Instagram handle is @trippytravelette.
My first stop to Chitkul, Rampur, is situated on the left bank of river Sutlej and is known as the gateway of Kinnaur. It is also one of the oldest towns on Hindustan Tibet road.
I had left from Yamunanagar in the morning around 8am and reached Rampur at around 8pm. The bus journey was comfortable. Psst! A lil advice – take the seat right behind the driver seat; you will have leg space and a room to keep your luggage. The town was up and vibrant because of the Lavi International Fair. It is the biggest trade fair and is one of the unique examples of the glorious legacy of Himachal Pradesh. But this was also the reason why I had much difficulty in finding a room. Thankfully, I found one last room at Nau Nabh Heritage Hotel. Owned by the then CM of Himachal, the property is almost 300 years old and is every bit royal. The manager here, Mr. Negi has a golden heart and was the perfect breakfast companion. Next morning he gave me a tour of the property (the then CM and family visit the residential complex till date) and the complex is beautiful and well maintained. The room charges are a slight bit on a higher side but you won’t be disappointed with the services and the stay.
Bus ticket cost:
- Yamunanagar to Chandigarh: Rs. 105
- Chandigarh to Shimla: Rs. 160
- Shimla to Rampur: Rs. 156
- 1770 (I was lucky to get a super good discount) 🙂
Took a local bus from Rampur to Sangla. The bus to Sangla was a direct one from Delhi. I had no idea that there were direct buses from Delhi for this place. If you are ever feeling an extra bit of let’s-do-this-shit, then by all means do take this direct bus service! 🙂 Crossed Jeori and Karcham (the Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant is situated here). The roads were becoming narrow with every turn and the view just that much spectacular. My homestay was 4kms farther away from the Sangla (the place is known as Batseri) bus stop so I had to take another connecting bus. Ajay Bhaiya (the host) received me at the stop and his home was a good 15 min walk from there. Bhandari Homestay was just the perfect pahadi set-up. It offered a brilliant view of the river and the valley. Since it was a wooden house, it was cozy and warm. The temperature at night had dipped to 3 degrees and a cup of Tea and a delicious meal was all my soul was craving for. Ajay Bhaiya is a wonderful cook and potato based dishes were his specialty. I loved the just-like-home feeling!
Bus ticket cost:
- Rampur to Sangla: Rs. 160
- Sangla to Batseri: Rs. 10
This was the day I was waiting for! The day I finally visited Chitkul! We walked for almost 8kms, hopped on a local bus to Chitkul from Rakcham. This beautiful village at a height of 3450 Meter is located by the side of Baspariver. We spent couple of hours sitting by the river side, soaking the sun and admiring the jaw-drop-worthy beauty around. Chitkul is cold and windy and the road normally closes down around November after the first snowfall. The place has some good hotels and restaurants, but almost all of them were closed in November. It was a good decision to stay in Batseri this time of the year.
Bus ticket cost:
- Rakcham to Chitkul: Rs. 20 (cost of 2)
- Chitkul to Batseri: Rs. 50 (cost of 2)
It was time to leave the beautiful town of Batseri. I loved the stay at Bhandari Homestay. It was a home away from home. Aunty, Uncle, Bhaiya, Di and her daughter – a family and a stay, memories of which would stay with me forever!
Homestay cost including food:
- Rs. 2900
Solo travelling is super fun but it is not easy. My learnings from the trip:
- Safety first, always – that ought to be the mantra.
- Travelling in local buses is the best way to interact with people but be careful of the information that you share.
- If possible book the homestays/hotels beforehand.
- Carry extra cash since you might not find ATMs everywhere.
- Travel light (I will share the tricks and tips to pack light in the next blog).
Chitkul will win your heart with its scenic beauty! This village is a mystery waiting to be unfolded. Pack your bags already I say!