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Kinnaur Valley Tourism And Travel Guide
19.9° C / 67.8° F
April to June
3 to 4 Days
Jubbarhatti Airport (267 kms)
Kalka (356 kms)
Kinnaur Valley is located in the north east of the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is about 235 km from the capital city of Shimla. It is surrounded by mountain ranges of Zanskar and the Himalayas enclosing the tributaries of the rivers Sutlej, Baspa and Spiti. Also popularly known as the ‘Abode of God’, Kinnaur is a holy town with strong influences of both Hinduism and Buddhism. Tourism in Kinnaur is an interesting mix of piety and stunning natural beauty. Here is a snippet of travel guide to see in this valley town of Kinnaur.
How to Reach
The closest airport to Kinnaur is Jubbarhatti Airport in Shimla, located 267 km from the valley. Taxis and buses regularly ply between Kinnaur and Shimla, ferrying tourists to their destination.
There is no railhead close to Kinnaur. The nearest station is Kalka that is located 356 km from Kinnaur. From the railway station, taxis and buses are available for a drop to the valley destination.
For commuting within the valley, buses and taxis are available. However, the best way to explore and cherish Kinnaur Valley is by walking or hiking.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Summer (April to June):
Summer is considered the best season to visit Kinnaur. The weather is pleasant and mild, which facilitates sightseeing and cherishing the beauty of Kinnaur. Places which shut down during winter remain open during these months. However, there is considerable rush of tourists hence holidays must be planned and hotels booked in advance to prevent any disappointments.
Monsoon (July to September):
Like most mountainous regions, Kinnaur too receives considerable amount of rainfall during monsoon. Rains are often accompanied by sudden cloudbursts and landslides which can impede travelling and pose risk to tourists and travellers. Monsoon also coincides with the beginning of apple season in Kinnaur, which adds to traffic and commuting becomes difficult.
Winter (October to March):
Winters are extremely harsh in Kinnaur. Given its altitude, the temperatures dip below freezing point. The region receives heavy snowfall too. Commuting and sightseeing is impossible and one cannot enjoy the real beauty of Kinnaur. Much of the time has to be spent indoors. Unless one loves snow, it is better to avoid Kinnaur during the cold months.
Things to Do
Kinnaur offers some amazing options for tekking because of its landscape. There are nine recommended routes for trekking through Kinnaur lasting for 4-5 days. Tourists can choose the altitude they are comfortable with for trekking, ranging between 2500 m to 5500 m.
Trout fishing or angling in River Baspa is an extremely popular activity in Kinnaur. In order to do this, tourists need to avail of day permits. April and October and considered the best time for angling.
Walking or Hiking:
While this may not sound much of an activity, hiking or walking are the best ways to explore and enjoy the environs of Kinnaur. The long leisurely strolls along the banks of the rivers or through the villages, the rich flora and fauna, through the paths surrounded by towering deodar and pine trees is an experience to cherish for a lifetime.
Touring Monasteries and Temples:
Kinnaur has a mixed cultural heritage with strong influences of both Hinduism and Buddhism. Kinnaur is popularly referred to as the ‘Abode of Gods’ because of the large number of temples and monasteries that are found here. There is the Chandika Temple, Maheshwar Temple, Mathi Temple and Durga Temple along with monasteries like Brelengi Monastery, Rarang Monastery etc. There are large number of pilgrims who visit these temples and monasteries every year in search of peace and serenity.
Cuisine in Kinnaur
Kinnaur does not offer much choice in terms of food and cuisine. Being tucked away high up in the hills imposes certain limitations on the availability of food. Over the years this has changed as it has become more accessible to the outside world. Food here has strong Tibetan influence. Thukpa, Tsampi and Momos are some of the popular dishes that are available, and these make for heart-warming meals in the cold region. Kinnaur has its own apple orchards, grape vineyards and grows barley. These grains and fruits are used to make a number of local liquors that are quite popular like the Nesang brandy.
Shopping in Kinnaur
Kinnaur does not have too many options either when it comes to shopping like malls. Khadi gram udyog, small production cum training centres, local fairs and melas are the main places to go shopping for souvenirs and woollens like shawls, mufflers and caps that Kinnaur is famous for.