Indiaart Gallery Milind Vishwas Sathe Photographers

Walks in Sangla valley

Flowers in the mountains in Sangla valley

Sangla valley, as picturesque as it can get

Baspa Valley is a river valley that is named after the Baspa River. It lies in the Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh. Sangla is a major town in the Baspa valley, and the valley is popularly known as the Sangla valley. Neighbouring villages include Chitkul, Raksham, Batseri and Kamru, old capital of Rampur Bashahr. Baspa river is a tributary to the Sutlej river.

Walk into the mountains from Chitkul in Sangla valley by the side of river Baspa
Walk into the mountains from Chitkul in Sangla valley by the side of river Baspa

Pristine walk along river Baspa

Pristine walk to Nagashti from Chitkul alongside Baspa river in Sangla valley, Dist. Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
Pristine walk to Nagashti from Chitkul alongside Baspa river in Sangla valley, Dist. Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh

The walk from Chitkul ( which is the last village on the Indian side of the border with Tibet ) to the ITBP (Indo Tibetan Border Police) post at Nagashti is one of the most pristine walks I have undertaken in the mountains. With river Baspa to the right for company, the only person you encounter is an occasional villager or porter carrying stuff to the ITBP post.

I am sure that had Robert Wise walked this trail in the Baspa valley near Raksham, he would have filmed “The Sound of Music” right here. The fall was setting in and it made the entire experience even more enchanting – Jannat almost.

After a hard day’s work in the mountains in Baspa valley

After a hard day's work in the mountains near Chitkul in Baspa valley, Dist. Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
After a hard day’s work in the mountains near Chitkul in Baspa valley, Dist. Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh

We met this fellow late afternoon near Chitkul in Kinnaur, Himachal. He was on his way back after a long hard day of work and was carrying a heavy sack. Not very articulate and not very keen to talk, his persona reflected the quintessential hill folk – rustic, hardy, simple, god fearing and content with life. Village Chitkul which is the last village on the Indian side (the mountain ranges would lead into Tibet) can be seen in the background, whereas river Baspa is to the left. I shot this picture in early October when the colours start changing from green to yellow to red and the skies are clear.

Chitkul seen on way back from Nagashti

On way to Chitkul from Nagashti alongside river Baspa in Sangla valley, Dist. Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
On way to Chitkul from Nagashti alongside river Baspa in Sangla valley, Dist. Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh

The walk from Nagashti to Chitkul with river Baspa on the left gave a very different perspective of the valley and a view of Chitkul which is the last Indian village on way to the border with Tibet. As most stone roofs have been replaced by tin sheets, they reflect the sunlight and that does not make a very pretty sight. It is nice to have few spots of glare but when it becomes commonplace, it is an eyesore.

Colourful Rakcham in Baspa valley
Wooden house at Raksham in Dist. Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
Wooden house at Raksham in Dist. Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
The entire area around village Rakcham is so colourful and with fall starting to set in, the colours started to get more pronounced. The walk through the village led us to some very colourful sights with each house starting to stock up grass for the winter.
As we were walking around in Rakcham village, noticed this fairly large traditional wooden house although the slate roof was gone and a tin one had taken its place. The incoming fall season meant that colours of the vegetation all around – on the mountain slopes as well as grass and plants around had started to change.
Women at Batseri
Women in a huddle at Batseri, Dist. Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
Women in a huddle at Batseri, Dist. Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
Women at the temple at Batseri, Dist. Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
Women at the temple at Batseri, Dist. Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh
Came across this remarkable lady at the temple at Batseri in Sangla valley, Himachal. She was among the group of village women watching the ceremony of the Devata being taken out from the temple which happens on very select occasions during the year. Her sharp features along with the lines on her fair Himachali face with those deep eyes made a compelling visual. 2014)
(pictures used above were shot in 2010, 2011 and 2014)

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