Spiti Expedition – Sangla Valley
Sangla is a city in the Baspa Valley, also referred to as the Sangla valley, in the Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh, close to the Indo – Tibetan Border. Sangla Valley or the Baspa Valley starts at Karcham and ends at Chitkul. Sangla is the major town in the valley with a petrol pump, Bank ATMs, Post Office, Restaurants, Bar, mid range hotels and shops. The valley is surrounded by forested slopes and offers views of the high mountains. The Baspa River flows in the Sangla Valley which is rich in apple orchards, apricot, Wall-nut, Cedar trees, and glacial streams. The main livelihood is agriculture while apples are a major cash crop here. The valley remains closed for almost six months during winter (from December till May) when the snowfall is heavy. The old Indo-Tibet road connects Sangla to The National Highway 22 at Karcham.
Himachal Pradesh is home to beautiful places and to know its depth one need to go beyond Shimla and Manali. Sangla Valley is one of the stunning hidden gems of Himachal Pradesh nestled in the lap of Himalaya on the Kinner Kailash Range. The valley is sparsely populated with amazing landscapes and lush countryside. We travelled the adventurous 32 KMs from Karcham to Rakchham previous night via old Indo – Tibet highway, a detour from NH 22. Even though we travelled this stretch in the evening but we realised the beauty of the place and were confident of witnessing something special while returning through same route. Sangla can be experienced best through camping and we did exactly the same by booking our stay in Kailash View Camp at Rakcham village. Although it was dark but we could easily sense the calmness, freshness, and beauty of the place. The musical sound created by flowing Baspa River beside our camp was awesome. The camp was booked for our team only and it became a private affair with nature. Camp fire and music under zillions of star set the tone for evening. After spending beautiful time we signed off for the day into our tents with an imagination of what we will be witnessing next day morning. Two members from our team signed off in personal tent that we pitched.
A photo essay can only portray what we witnessed on next day.
We woke up to a beautiful morning and awesome landscape. Our camp was beside Baspa River and surrounded by beautiful Himalaya with a view of snow capped “Kinner Kailash Range”. It took us a while to realise that yes we are actually at this scenic place. Life at Rakcham is different and beautiful that mostly consists of shepherds and farmers. The wooden huts of village gave a rustic feel to the landscape. A beautiful sunrise and freshness boosted our energy.
Our beautiful campsite
Beautiful snow capped mountain
A temple near the farm land
The Kinner Kailash Range
Look at these beautiful rays
Baspa River flowing through the valley with an amazing landscape
Our convoy at ease
Rustic and beautiful Rakcham Village
A short but adventurous nature trail through the meadows with colourful wild flowers, small streams, snow, and pine forests against the magnificent backdrop of great Himalayas made our morning awesome. A drive through water streams, unpaved roads, and gravel in the middle of the valley is what we dream. Post adventurous drive a small trek through pine forest to a small glacier was an added delight. We felt like spending the whole day amidst this natural backdrop with a calm mind. Peace that can heal you from within was omnipresent there.
A road less travelled will lead us to eternity
A small trek through pine forest
A small but beautiful water stream and glacier
Time to take rest and admire nature in awe
Small water stream flowing through beautiful meadow
The team on a mission
Beautiful Rakcham Village as seen from trek
We did not want to leave this beautiful place but we have to move on with footprints of Sangla embedded in our heart till eternity. By coming so close to nature you come to know about your existence.