Kinnaur: Land of Fairy Tales | A Complete Travel Guide

Table of Contents

Introduction

Kinnaur is a tiny hilly hamlet in Himachal Pradesh, lying in the northeast corner of the state bordering Tibet to the east. It is located at about 235KM from the state capital of Shimla.

Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh is one of the 12 administrative districts of the state, with the district headquarters are in Reckong Peo. It is the second least populated district of Himachal, after Lahaul and Spiti, which makes it serene with many uncharted territories to explore. 

Also called the ‘Land of Gods’, Kinnaur is famous for its apple orchards and has the best varieties of the luscious fruit in the state. The lush surrounding against the background of snow-clad mountains, the rich valleys with fruit orchards, and colorful local culture, make Kinnaur a quaint and quiet place to spend a vacation. You can visit the famous Nako Gompa, Kamru Fort, or walk the heritage trail of Kinnaur. The local culture of Kinnaur is a mix of Tibetan, Himachalese, and Nepalese, making it a vibrant retreat. 

Geography

Kinnaur district sits on the edge of the Spiti Valley on the Nako Lake. The old Hindustan-Tibet Road passes through the valley along the Sutlej River and enters Tibet at Shipki La. The hill station of Kinnaur is surrounded by the Zanskar range of the Greater Himalayas and the valleys cut out by the Satluj, Baspa, and Spiti rivers. Fed by the Baspa River, Kinnaur evolved into a fertile and verdant valley region and a peaceful Himalayan settlement. At the same time, being a classic mountainous region, the altitude rises to 22362Ft. The highest point is at Kinnaur Kailash, close to the India-Tibet border.

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History

There is not much documented history of Kinnaur but legends date back to the time of the Kannauj Empire, which ruled this part of India circa 1200-200 BCE. When the empire fell, the local Kamru rulers consolidated all adjoining territories and set up the principality state of Bushahr. 

The present-day Kinnaur was a part of it. It used to be a part of the erstwhile Chini Tehsil of the Mahasu district until it was separated in 1960 into present-day Kinnaur. Though there are no concrete records of the region’s early history, references of Kinnaur or Kannaura can be founf in local legends and mythological accounts. Kinnaur’s cultural history has also been connected to the Ngari Prefecture of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.

Best time to Visit Kinnaur 

Sitting high on the Himalayan mountains, the village enjoys a typical mountainous weather. The spring-summer months, from March to June, are the best time to visit, when the temperature in Kinnaur is the most pleasant, with fresh vegetation, ample sunlight, and comfortable outdoor atmosphere. But, if you want to experience the cold weather, then you can travel in the winter months, from October to February. 

How to reach Kinnaur

By Train

Kinnaur does not have any rail connectivity. The nearest railway junction is in Kalka, 327KM away. Kalka is well-connected to all major cities and towns across India. You can take a train to Kalka and then take a bus or rent a car to reach Kinnaur. Or you can take the single-gauge train from Kalka to Shimla and from Shimla, book a cab or take a bus to Kinnaur. 

By Road

Kinnaur is well-connected to most cities and towns across Himachal Pradesh and other parts of northern India via NH44 and NH5. There are also regular state-run and private buses from Delhi, Shimla, Chandigarh, Kalka, Manali, Sangla, etc. The most convenient travel option is to book a car from Delhi, or Chandigarh and drive to Kinnaur. You can also take a bus or rent a car from Shimla to Kinnaur.

By Flight

There is no flight connectivity to Kinnaur. The nearest airport is in Jubbarhatti Airport in Shimla, about 267KM away. The next closest and major international airport is in Delhi. From either of these places, you can book an airport cab to drive to the village.

Places to visit in Kinnaur

With such rich natural landscape, there’s a host of Kinnaur places to visit and see. Include some of these best Kinnaur tourist places in your itinerary – 

Kamru fort

  • How to Reach – The ancient fort temple is located at 71KM from the village. You have to book a cab or rent a private car to travel and return.
  • Timings – Sunrise to Sunset
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 hours 
  • Tips – You can also visit the neighbouring villages of Rakchham, Batseri, and Kalpa on this trip.

Bering Nag Temple

  • How to Reach – The temple sits in Sangla, 72KM from Kinnaur village. You have to book a cab or hire a car to travel and return.
  • Timings – 24 hours
  • Entry Fee – Free
  • Time Required – 1-2 Hours 
  • Tips– Explore the neighboring village of Chiktul.  

Nako Village 

  • How to Reach – The tiny village lies at 61KM from Kinnaur. You can take a bus or book a car to travel and return.
  • Timings – 24 Hours
  • Entry Fee – INR 150 for a visitor permit to enter the village
  • Time Required – 1 day 
  • Tips – Don’t forget to visit the famous Nako Lake. 

Things to do in Kinnaur

Kinnaur tourism has a lot of interesting things to do and activities you can take part in – 

  • Take an orchard tour. The place is famous for apples but other locally-grown fruits like walnuts, plums, peaches, pear, and apricots are aplenty. The harvest season is between August and October and you can get take-home baskets of freshly harvested fruits and nuts. 
  • Trek through the Sangla Valley. The mountain pass at Sangla spans 40KM, with hiking and trekking trails through orchards, and dense forests of pine, cedar, and fir. You can also do a guided trek to Kailash.
  • Visit the Baspa glacier. You can go on a guided trek to the largest natural glacier in the region, an unforgettable experience in itself.
  • Camp on the banks of the Baspa River. The riverside offers vast camping grounds for trekkers and mountaineers, along with good accommodation and fun activities like rappelling, rock climbing, and river crossing, around the campsites.
  • Try your hands at trout fishing at the Baspa River. The glacial waters are known to be the breeding grounds of Himalayan Trouts. Enjoy your catch, or just watch them swarming in shoals through the winding streams.
  • Joint the Fulaich Fair – the local flower festival is held every year, between the months of August and September. Kinnauri women dress themselves in their ethnic wear and flowers and celebrate with traditional performances. This festival is believed to commemorate the dear departed ones.
  • Live in a home stay and learn about the rustic life and lifestyle. You can interact with the natives, eat traditional meals, and engage in local events.
  • Spend some time at a yoga retreat. Imagine meditating with a view of the Himalayas! If you are seeking respite from the stress and chaos of urban life, this village is where you will find all the peace and quiet. There are many resorts that offer yoga sessions and comfortable stays amid the natural surroundings.

Places to eat in Kinnaur

Try these top-rated eateries to sample the local flavors of Kinnaur – 

  • Hunger Bites 
  • Lama Dhaba
  • Dolma Dhaba
  • Norzin La’s Chinese Corner
  • The Cafeteria Roof
  • Little Chef 
  • Osiya Shoshla Café 

Popular Nearby Places Around Kinnaur

Include these nearby places in your Kinnaur sightseeing plan – 

Hu bu lan kar Monastery Kalpa

  • How to Reach – Kinnaur to Kalpa is 45KM and you have to rent a car from Kinnaur to travel and return.
  • Timings- NA
  • Entry Fee- Free
  • Time Required- 1-2 Hours 
  • Tips- You can also visit the Narayana Nagin Temple nearby.

Chiktul Village

  • How to Reach – The distance from Kinnaur to Chitkul is about 95KM and you need to book a car or a local cab to travel and return.
  • Timings- 24 hours
  • Entry Fee- NA. Permit may be required to enter.
  • Time Required- 1 day 
  • Tips- Take a walk through the village along the Baspa river, near the India-Tibet border and stop by the Aakhri Dhaba, the last local cafe of India.

Reckong Peo

  • How to Reach – The town lies at 48KM from Kinnaur village. You have to book a cab or rent a local car to travel and return.
  • Timings- NA
  • Entry Fee- NA
  • Time Required- half a day
  • Tips- You can also visit the village of Tapri in Kinnaur district, closer to Reckong Peo. 

Kinnaur Hotels & Resorts

Check out some of these best Kinnaur hotels for a great Himalayan experience – 

  • Sattva Pine Resort 
  • HPTDC Guest House 
  • Osiya Shambhu Lodge 
  • Echor The Alpine Crest 
  • Zostel Homes Rakchham
  • Hotel Rollingrang
  • The Grand Shamba-La

Download our Savaari car rental app for a smooth and pleasant journey. 

A quick summary
Article Name
Kinnaur: Land of Fairy Tales- A Complete Travel Guide
Description
Kinnaur is a tiny hilly hamlet in Himachal Pradesh, lying in the northeast corner of the state bordering Tibet to the east. It is located at about 235KM from the state capital of Shimla.
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Reading between lines - the ones that rhyme, on a journey with no stop sign.

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