“Is Kinnaur worth visiting” is a definite question that you might have if you’ve stumbled upon itineraries to Spiti or rather list of unconventional destinations in Himachal.
Therefore, based on my travels to Kinnaur, I hope to absolutely convince you why Kinnaur is absolutely worth the visit at least once.
Is Kinnaur Worth Visiting – Reasons To Visit Kinnaur
Kinnaur, the third largest district of Himachal and second least populated district of Himachal is a true wonderland.
Blessed with diverse terrain, lofty snowy peaks, rustic villages, eccentric tribal culture, hospitable people, Kinnaur is a true wonderland. And here are 13 reasons which will hopefully convince you why Kinnaur is worth visiting
Also Read – Backpacking Itineraries to Himachal
|Scenic Landscapes makes Kinnaur Absolutely worth Visiting|
|Diverse terrain of Kinnaur|
|Rustic & Scenic Locales – One Of The Best Reasons To Visit Kinnaur|
|Ancient and Modern Buddhist Monasteries of Kinnaur|
|Grandeur Of Kinnauri Temples|
|Experience Life As a local At Homestays Of Kinnaur|
|Eccentric Tribal and Buddhist Festivals of Kinnaur|
|Adventurous Trekking and Hiking trails Make Kinnaur Absolutely Worth Visiting|
|Amazing Road Trips Is One Of The Best Reasons To Visit Kinnaur|
|Apple Orchards of Kinnaur|
|Ancient Forts of Kinnaur Are A Sight To Behold|
|Kinnaur Kailash Pilgrimage – The Sacred Abode Of Shiva|
|Hospitality of the Locals Of Kinnaur|
|The Farmlands (Kanda’s) of Kinnaur Are Delightful|
Scenic Landscapes Makes Kinnaur Absolutely Worth Visiting
This is one of the very obvious reasons to visit Kinnaur. One of the reasons, why absolutely love Kinnaur is the scenic vistas it offers.
With huge mountains, beautiful villages, towering pine forests, lofty peaks, prisitine rivulets be prepared to get gobsmacked on your trip to Kinnaur.
Diverse Terrain Of Kinnaur
While lets say districts like Lahaul-Spiti have kind of similar terrain or Kullu which is mostly has mid-himalayan terrain, Kinnaur is amalgamation of different kinds of Himalayan terrain.
Lower Kinnaur has mid-himalayan terrain with plenty of pine forests. While middle Kinnaur has sparse vegetation with barren mountains and lofty peaks dominating the landscapes.
Whereas the upper Kinnaur area is resembles a cold desert with barren mountains all around like Spiti and Ladakh. This is one of the best reasons why kinnaur is absolutely worth the visit.
Rustic & Scenic Locales – One Of The Best Reasons To Visit Kinnaur
While Kalpa, Sangla, Chitkul maybe the famous locales of Kinnaur, there is much more to Kinnaur that those three villages to be very honest.
By visiting such rustic locales of Kinnaur you’ll get an idea about the tribal culture, their lifestyle, festivals, food, livelihood and much more.
I personally love to escape the conventional places and venture into more rustic villages to get better understanding of the lives of the locals and culture of the region.
Ancient & Modern Buddhist Monasteries of Kinnaur
One of the best reasons why Kinnaur is famous is due to its ancient monasteries. Lochawa Ringchen Zangpo also known as the great translator roamed the lands of Kinnaur, Spiti, Tibet.
He is credited to have built around 108 monasteries in total. Out of which a lot of them are located in Kinnaur.
Ancient monasteries like Rangrik Tungma in Charang, monastery in Ropa, Monastery in Asrang are said to have built by him,
Apart from ancient monasteries, people have embraced buddhism in most villages of Kinnaur including the villages of lower Kinnaur. This has resulted in beautiful modern monasteries in almost each village of Kinnaur.
Grandeur Of The Kinnauri Temples
Even though Kinnauri’s have embraced Buddhism, deity worship is more prevalent in the most of Kinnaur. And this is the reason why you’ll find grand temples of respective deities in almost every village of Kinnaur.
Marveling and witnessing such grand temples of Kinnaur is one of the reasons why I absolutely love Kinnaur.
The wood carving and craftsmanship of these modern Kinnauri is absolutely top-notch and which I why for some reason I always like the newly built temples then the old one.
The old ones don’t appear to be to grand, but again they have a different kind of charm to them.
Experience Life As A local At The Homestays Of Kinnaur
While of the best ways to explore and understand the a particular place or region is to stay with the locals. And Kinnaur is no different.
Blessed with scenic yet rustic villages, one of the best reasons to visit Kinnaur is to experience the life as a local by staying at the homestays.
The perks of staying at homestays includes learning about local culture and practices, getting to eat simple yet home-cooked local delicacies, learning about agricultural practices and much more.
Eccentric Tribal & Buddhist Festival Of Kinnaur
A major reason why Kinnaur is famous is due to its eccentric tribal festivals that are celebrated across the district. And unlike the common festivals in other parts of the country, the festivals are quite different.
Fulaich, Dakhraine, Losar, Sazo, Raula, Sherkane, Bishu Mela are some of the popular festivals celebrated across.
During one of my visits to Kinnaur, I happen to witness the festival of Dakhraine in the village of Pangi and was truly a unique experience.
Adventurous Trekking and Hiking trails Makes Kinnaur Absolutely Worth Visiting
While usually apart from a famous couple of treks, people usually don’t associate Kinnaur with trekking as it does not get enough limelight.
But the reality is far from different. In fact, Kinnaur is a perfect trekking and hiking destination for adventure junkies with off the beaten treks and hikes spread across Kinnaur.
While the most famous being the Pin-bhabha, Pin-parvati pass and Rupin pass, there are several grades of hikes and treks that can cater to anything from Novice to Professional and everything in between.
Apart from these, Kinnaur-Kailash is popular yet difficult pilgrimage that receives footfall during the season.
The lesser known hikes and treks include, Charang La, Pangi to Yula, Temso lake, Manirang Pass just to name a few.
Amazing Road Trips Is One Of The Best Reason To Visit Kinnaur
While Kinnaur-Spiti-Manali circuit maybe the most popular one, but if Kinnaur has a lot more to offer if you are into road-trips.
For avid bikers and road trippers, there are plenty of villages to be explored, valleys to be unravelled, roads to embark in Kinnaur. And did I mention they are just otherworldy.
I personally don’t see traveler and tourists usually go on such road trips, but again I could really see the potential of going to places like Charang, Asrang, Nesang etc, apart from the usual suspects.
Apple Orchards Of Kinnaur
While Shimla might be the largest apple producing district of Himachal, But Kinnaur is known for its high-quality apples with minimal use of chemicals.
Apple is the main cash crop of the region which makes it quite obvious that there will large Apple orchards in every village.
Even the high-altitude areas of Kinnaur now produce top quality owing to warmer temperatures. Depending on the time of your visit, you’ll find apple orchards in different states.
During the winters, the apple orchards wear a gloomy look with tree in hibernation. Spring is when the hibernation ends flowering commences as temperature increases.
Ancient Forts Of Kinnaur Are A Sight To Behold
Generally visiting the ancient forts of Kinnaur is not a common activity to do, but trust me it is uncommon as there is no awareness about it.
Even if you are not culture or history enthusiast, visiting these ancient forts is surely something you should indulge in, simply due to its excellent location.
Currently the popular fort visited by travelers, in Kinnaur is the Kamru fort which once used to be the seat of Bushahr kingdom. But Labrang fort and Moorang fort are two of the lesser-known forts beyond Reckong Peo.
During my visits, I was told by the locals that there were several such forts in Kinnaur back in the day. I had the fortune of visiting Labrang Khar (Fort), but unfortunately when I visited Moorang, the Khar was under restoration.
Kinnaur Kailash Pilgrimage – The Sacred Abode Of Shiva
Kaiilash-Mansarvor is the ultimate pilgrimage in Hinduism. But did you know that there are 4 other Kailash’s in our homeland. And Kinnaur Kailash as the name suggest is home one of the Kailash’s.
Kinnaur Kailash pilgrimage is a treacherous pilgrim trail to a Shivling (Monolithic Pillar) located at around 4800 m.
Although one can venture on this trail as soon as it is conducive, but undertaking this during the Yatra season which is generally during August is always advisable.
Kinnaur Kailash pilgrimage is one of the best reasons why should visit Kinnaur. But remember it is a treacherous and difficult trail, so come prepared.
Hospitality of The locals of Kinnaur
The locals of Kinnaur are quite amiable and hospitable. The locals are friendly and I would really suggest to indulge in conversations with them and understand more about their way of life.
Once during our trip to remote villages of Asrang, we met a shepherd on our hiking explorations near Asrang. He invited us to his home to Lippa.
Such instances of hospitality is common in the remote regions and villages of Himalayas, and Kinnaur is no different. This is one of the best reasons why Kinnaur is worth visiting.
The Farmlands (Kanda’s) of Kinnaur Are Delightful
Kande or Kanda’s play a huge role in the livelihood of Kinnauri’s. They are basically a large areas of flat land or gentle slopes above the villages which are used of for agricultural purposes or as orchards.
The best thing about these kind Kanda’s are as they are perched relatively higher than the village, the landscapes from these places are delightful.
Trust me while in Kinnaur, visiting these places while give you great insight into how Kinnauri’s earn their livelihood. Super beautiful landscapes is an added bonus.
To conclude, I hope I was able answer the question Is Kinnaur worth visiting. In my opinion, there should be no second thoughts If you are planning to visit Kinnaur, a true Himalayan wonderland.
In case of further queries on “Is Kinnaur worth visiting” do reach me out in the comments below. I’ll be happy to answer them to the best of my knowledge.