Kinnaur suurounded by Tibbet in the east is a beautiful district having the three high mountain ranges, Zanskar, Greater Himalayas and Dhauladhar, enclosing valleys of Sutlej, Spiti, Baspa and their tributaries. The slopes are covered with thick wood, orchards, fields and picturesque hamlets. People are honest and believers of both Buddhism and Hinduism. They believe that Pandavas came and resided in their land while in the exile. In the ancient mythology the people of Kinnaur were known as Kinnaras, the halfway between gods and humans.
In 647 AD, after the death of the Emperor Harshavardhan (Kinnaur was part of his kingdom) the entire northern India was divided into numerous principalities. According to historians, princes of some of these principalities explored the steep mountains in adventurous trails and occupied at Kinnaur. During their rule, the Kinnauries lived in perfect peace and in complete isolation from the events of the plains…or from upheavals of Tibet, Ladakh and Kashmir. Traditionally, Kinnaur’s history has been preserved by generation of Gorkchs – local oracles who recite historical narratives called chironigns during celebrations.
Sangla Valley: Sangla is a small town located between Karcham and Chitkul from about 20 kms from Karcham. The town itself is a concrete town with small shops, some hotels and restaurants.
But the attraction of Sangla lies in the valley of Baspa River down below, not in the town itself. Sangla Valley is very beautiful, stretching many kilometers from east to west, and rimmed by snow-capped peaks out of your imagination and into the real world. The forested slopes below the snow are a mix between autumn-shaded leafy trees and big green pines.
The other well-known monument of this area is the five storey fort at Kamru, which is impressive, located high on the hill just outside the village and constructed of stone and wood. Kamru was the capital of Bushahar, before it was shifted to Sarahan.
Chitkul is the last village on India China boarder in Kinnaur, located at a height of 3,500 metre in the Baspa valley and has three temples dedicated to Mathi Devi, the oldest which is said to be about 500 years old. According to a local legend, the Devi undertook a long and arduous journey before settled in this village. She visited several villages presided over by the members of her family. Lord Badirnath of Kamru is her husband. Nag of Sangla and Shamshares of Rakhcham are her nephews. When Mathi Devi finally settled in Chitkul, the village found a great prosperity and she continues to be worshipped with great fanfare. Chitkul remains closed in winters and is extremely famous for its potatoes in the whole world which are extremely costly as well.
Hardly few kms away was the Tibet border and there was a large stretch of no mans land which is manned by the Indian armed forces.