Sunday, October 25, 2009

Kinnaur Kailash – Heaven on Earth!!

Of days gone by...this February during my solo all India motorcycle journey

After trekking in the Great Himalayan National Park, I made my way to the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. As I was unable to take the shorter route through the snow filled Jalori Pass, I had to take a huge roundabout route through Mandi and Karsog to reach NH 22, the Hindustan-Tibet highway. The entire route from Great Himalayan National Park till NH 22 is a treat for the eye with dense forest cover, sightings of rare orchids, green fields and views of snow clad peaks. On reaching NH 22, the highway keeps following the Sutlej river, which flows into India from Tibet.

After a night’s halt at Rampur, I proceeded on the NH22 and a slight detour to reach Recong Peo, the district headquarters of Kinnaur. The road till Rampur was good, but it deteriorated rapidly as I got deeper into Kinnaur. I guess the wrong (winter) season was reason for the bad state of roads. A lot of hydroelectric projects dotted the route. Now, hydroelectric projects are good for the people downstream, but I guess they cause a lot of damage to the ecology around it. A lot of disturbance can be noticed around these hydroelectric plants. The view of the Satluj watershed, the deep gorges and the snow capped mountains are pure ecstasy. The entire area is dotted with establishments of the Indian army border security force as the Tibet border is pretty close by.

As I left NH 22 to climb towards Recong Peo and Kalpa, the temperature started plummeting and the visibility started getting worse, but the already stunning views started getting better. I crossed the city of Recong Peo and made the climb to Kalpa. Kalpa is one of the biggest and most beautiful villages of Kinnaur and is situated at a height of 2758m above sea level. Since I was at Kalpa during non-tourist season, I found the village completely deserted. Hence I had to change my plan of staying at Kalpa and had to trace my way back to Recong Peo and checked into a hotel that had a great view of the the snow clad mountains.

I stayed at Recong Peo for 3 days and 2 nights. During my stay here, I went to Kalpa to soak in the sights of the heavenly Kinnaur Kailash that stands regal against all other Himalayan ranges. These majestic mountains of the Kinnaur Kailash range offer spectacular sights in the morning as the rising sun touches the snowy peaks with crimson and golden light. Next, I went to the temple town of Kothi, which has a temple dedicated to the goddess Chanadika devi. Set against a background of mountains and graves of the deodar, the temple has an unusual architectural style and fine sculpture.

I also visited the Sangla valley which offers a magical landscape. The Kamru fort, situated about 2 kms from Sangla has an architecture that resembles that of the Bhima Kali complex and this was the origin of rulers of Bushehar.

To see India through the eyes of a motorcyclist’s lens, visit the album below.

my solo all-india motorcycle journey


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