- GENERAL INFO
- FLORA AND FAUNA
- AGRICULTURE & ECONOMY
- RELIGION & CULTURE
- SANGLA (9383FT)
Kinnaur surrounded by the Tibet to the east, in the northeast corner of Himachal Pradesh, about 235 km from Shimla is a beautiful district having the three high mountains ranges i.e. Zanskar, Himalayas and Dhauladhar, enclosing valleys of Sutlej, Spiti, Baspa and their tributaries. The slopes are covered with thick wood, orchards, fields and picturesque hamlets. The old Hindustan-Tibet road passes through the Kinnaur valley along the bank of river Sutlej and finally enters Tibet at Shipki La pass. The people have strong culture and beliefs generally follow the Buddhism and Hinduism, believing the Pandavas came and resided in the land while in the exile. In the ancient mythology, the people of Kinnaur are known as Kinners, the halfway between men and gods. Thousands year old monasteries still exist in the area. The apples, chilgoza and other dry fruits are grown here are world famous.
Lower Kinnaur comprise area between Chora at the boundary of the Kinnaur district with Rampur Bushahr and Kalpa including Nichar and Sangla valleys. The middle Kinnaur is the area between Kalpa and Kanam including Moorang tehsil. The upper Kinnaur comprises remaining north-eastern part of the district i.e. the area between Poo (town) and Hangrang valley extending up to international border with Tibet.
Kinnaur enjoys a temperate climate due to its high elevation, with long winters from October to May, and short summers from June to September. The lower parts of the Sutlej Valley and the Baspa Valley receive monsoon rains. The upper areas of the valleys fall mainly in the rain-shadow area. These areas are considered to be arid regions, similar to the climate of Tibet.
Most of Central Asian landscape are common.Portions of Kinnaur are situated high in the Himalaya, where vegetation is sparse and consists primarily of hardy grasses. Alpine species such as juniper, pine, fir, cypress, and rhododendron can be found at elevations between 3,500 and 5,000 metres, primarily in Middle Kinnaur. At lower altitudes, temperate-climate trees are found, including oak, chestnut, maple, birch, alder, magnolia, apple, and apricot.
Yaks and dzos are reared by local farmers in the higher areas. Scattered populations of the Himalayan black bear and small ponies may also be found.
The Kinnaur society is divided into two broad occupational groups- peasants and the artisans possibly of diverse ethnic origin. These groups are represented by Gujjars and Kanet Rajputs and Scheduled Castes. The Kanets comprise the main cultivating community of the area and use honorific surname Negi. Scheduled caste groups based on the occupation. One group traditionally make and wove clothes whereas the others are primarily blacksmiths. There is a third caste called who are carpenters.
Most of the population of the distirct is literate and agriculture,horticulture and their allied industries, still employ most people. Agriculture land is scare in Kinnaur, but whatever arable land is there, high value crops like apples, apricots, almonds, kidney beans are produced on it that has raised the living standards of the farming community in these highlands.
The people of lower Kinnaur are largely Hindu. The inhabitants of middle Kinnaur are Buddhist as well as Hindu. The religion of upper Kinnaur is mostly Tibetan Buddhist.
One can see Hindu gods being worshipped side by side with Buddhist deities in Buddhist and Hindu temples, especially in Middle Kinnaur. Dabla, one of the major Bön deities, is greatly revered by the Kinners in the area. Folk Hindu gods are also worshipped in Middle and Lower Kinnaur. These include the Durga (locally known as Chandi, Narayan, Vishnu) and many other folk Hindu–animist gods. Folk deities play a major role in the daily life of the Kinners. Superstitions concerning animist ghosts such as Banchir, Rakshas, and Khunkch also play an important role in the belief system of the Kinners. Pujas and horns of domestic animals are used to ward off the evil spirits, in order to bring good luck.
Generally, Kinner houses have storerooms for keeping grain and dried fruits, and separate wooden grain-storage structures, called kathar. Pakpa, a piece of sheepskin or yakskin, is often placed on the khayarcha mat.
Traditionally Kinners use utensils made of brass and bronze. Modern influences have included the introduction of Chinese crockery, and utensils made of stainless steel and aluminium.
Clothes are mainly of wool. The thepang, a grey woollen cap, is worn with a white velvet band. The Tibetan chhuba, a long woollen coat which resembles an achkan, is worn as well, with a sleeveless woollen jacket. While men wear woollen churidharpajamas, and tailored woollen shirts such as the chamn kurti, the women wrap themselves up in a dohru. The first wrap of the dohru is based on the back, with embroidered borders displayed throughout its length, which stretches to the heels. Darker shades of colours are preferred for the Dohru, although other beautifully coloured shawls may be worn, usually draped over the shoulders. A choli, another type of full sleeved blouse worn by women, may serve as a decorative lining as well.
Shimla is the capital city of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, located in northern India In 1864, Often referred to as the “Queen of Hills,” a term coined by the British. Shimla was the summer capital of British India, After independence, the city became the capital of Punjab and was later named the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Its name is derived from the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu goddess Kali.
Hatu Peak is 8 km from Narkanda, the road is surrounded by pine and spruce trees. On top of the hill, ancient Hatu Mata temple is located. The peak offers spectacular view of the entire Himalayan ranges, snow clad mountains and in depths are the dense forests, green fields and apple orchards. This is the place where Gurkhas made one of their last stands against British in 1815
Located halfway up a high mountain side, the road to Sarahan winds past flowering Pine trees that give way to stately Oaks. Dozens of small streams rush past. The fields and orchards that surround the small villages with their slate roofed houses, compose pictures of pastoral perfection. Above Saharan, a many deodar trees rides the slopes and higher still, encircling the Bashal peak, are trees of smooth birch and variety of wild flowers and rare medicinal herbs. Famous for Bhimakali temple, dedicated to the mother goddess Bhimakali, presiding deity of the rulers of the former Bushahr State. Sarahan was the old capital of Rampur Bushair. The town is known as the gateway of Kinnaur. Sarahan is identified with Sonitpur mentioned in Puranas. This place offers spectacular view of Shrikhand peak
It is one of 51 Shakti Peethas.The Bhimkali temple is the most majestic of the few early timber temples left in the Sutlej Valley.It is the last temple in the valley to be served by Brahmin priests. According to a legend, the manifestation of the goddess is reported to the Daksha-Yajna incident when the ear of the Sati fell at this place and became a place of worship as a Pitha – Sthan. Presently in the form of a virgin the icon of this eternal goddess is consecrated at the top storey of the new building. Below that storey the goddess as Parvati, the daughter of Himalaya is enshrined as a divine consort of Lord Siva. The temple complex has another three temples dedicated to Lord Raghunathji, Narsinghji and Patal Bhairva Ji (Lankra Veer) – the guardian deity.
Sangla Valley or the Baspa Valley starts at Karcham and ends at Chitkul. The Baspa River flows in the Sangla Valley which is rich in apple orchards, apricot, Wall-nut, Cedar trees, and glacial streams with trout Great Himalaya Kamru Fort, Mata Devi Temple & Bearing Nag Temples are the main attractions of the Valley.The main livelihood is agriculture while apples are a major cash crop here. The most significant achievement of this region which is worth laudable is that this area boasts of growing the world’s best quality Apples. The valley remains closed for six months during winter (from December till may) when the snowfall is heavy.
The Kamru Fort
One of the major attractions close to Sangla is the Kamru Fort, which has now been turned into a temple dedicated to Kamakshi Devi. An image of the goddess is installed on the third floor of this structure, while a large statue of Lord Buddha stands guard at the temple-fort\’s main gate. It is located in the picturesque location of the Sangla Valley and is entered through a series of gates. There is also a Badrinath Temple situated within the premises of this Kamru Fort that dates back to the 15th century.
Chitkul is the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibet border; the Indian road ends here. During winters the place remains covered with the snow mostly & these people move to the lower areas of Himachal.Potatoes grown at Chittkul are one of the best in the world and are very costly. Chittkul, on the banks of Baspa River, is the first village of the Baspa Valley and the last village on the old Hindustan-Tibet trade route. It is also the last point in India one can travel to without a permit. Chitkul is practically the last point of the famous Kinner Kailash Parikrama as one can hitch a hike from here onwards.Of particular interest at Chitkul are its houses with either slate or wooden plank roof
Kalpa is a small town in the Sutlej river valley, above Recong Peo in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, Northern India, in the Indian Himalaya. Inhabited by Kinnauri people and famous for its apple orchards. Apples are a major cash-crop for the region.The local inhabitants follow a syncretism of Hinduism and Buddhism, and many temples in Kalpa are dedicated to both Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses.Across the river faces the majestic mountains of the Kinner Kailash range. These are spectacular sights early in the morning as the rising sun touches the snowy peaks with crimson and golden ligh
In Hangrang Valley it is the largest village above sea level.
It is also famous for Nako Lake which has boating facilities in summer and during winter its frozen surface is used for ice skating. Buddhist monastery is located here. Nako Lake is a high altitude lake in the Pooh sub-division of district Kinnaur. It forms part of the boundary of Nako village and seems that the village is half buried in the lake’s border. It is about 3,662 metres above sea level. Near the lake there are four Buddhist temples. Near this place there is a foot like impression ascribed to the saint Padmasambhava .Some miles away there is a village called TASHIGANG around this village there are several cave where it is believe that Guru Padmasambhava meditated and gave discourse to followers.