Fateh Veer Singh Guram, Travel @ The Hush Post: Bordering Tibet to its East, the magnificent valley of Spiti to its North, Shimla and Kullu districts to its West and the ‘land of devtaas’, Uttarakhand to its South, Kinnaur in Himachal is a place which displays a perfect amalgamation of Hinduism and Buddhism. Numerous temples and monasteries dot its rugged terrain. The valley of Sangla is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. For those looking for a quiet holiday which is set amongst the dizzying heights of the Himalayas, away from cellular networks and in the lap of mother nature, Kinnaur is a perfect go to place. Listed amongst the least densely populated districts of the country, this place will give you all the peace and quiet that you are longing for. To find out the best places to visit in Kinnaur, read on!
- Chandika Temple:
Located at a distance of 3 kilometres from Reckong Peo, the temple is dedicated to the local deity who is believed to be very powerful. Also known as Shuwang Chandika, the idol of the goddess is made of gold.
As per legend, Chandika is one of the 18 children of the demon devta ‘Banaasur’. While ‘Banaasur’ presided over Kinnaur, his eldest daughter, Chandika presided over ‘Sairag’, also known as the heart of Kinnaur. Chandika, with the help of her brother, ‘Chagaon Maheshwar’ fought with a demon in order to maintain her control over the region.
It is located 3 kilometres away from Reckong Peo.
- Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar Monastery:
Founded by Rinchensang-po in 1055 AD, this monastery is almost 1,000 years old. The monastery contains very old scriptures that were converted into Tibetan, from Sanskrit nearly a millennium ago.
It is located in Kalpa.
- Nako lake:
The Nako lake is a high altitude lake that surrounds the village and from far off, it seems as if the village is submerged in the lake. There are four Buddhist temples near the lake, and a footprint, believed to be that of Saint Padmasambhava can also be seen near the lake. There is a waterfall near the lake, and the water of the waterfall is milky white due to the presence of snow in it. This led to the locals calling the waterfall the abode of fairies.
It is located in Nako.
- Nako Monastery:
Believed to have been constructed in 1025 AD, the monastery is almost 1000 years old. It contains four large halls, the largest of which is called ‘Dukhong’. The art work in the monastery is related to Vajrayana Buddhism. There is a shrine within the monastery, dedicated to Purgyal, a local deity which is believed to be the spirit of the mountain. The sculptures of five ‘Dhyani Buddhas’ are placed in the main hall.
It is located in Nako.
- Kamru Fort:
The Kamru Fort is a classic example of Kinnauri architecture. The entry to the fort is through a series of gates, and a magnificent statue of Lord Buddha stands at the main gate. There is an idol of Kamakhya Devi at the top of the building. A Badrinath Temple, built in the fifteenth century is also located within the fort. The presence of a Buddha statue and Hindu deities within the premises of the fort shows us how important these two religions are in the region, and also stands testimony to how they peacefully co-exist with each other.
It is located at a distance of 2 kilometres from Sangla.
Situated at a height of 11,320 feet, Chitkul is the last inhabited village near the Indo-China border. It is at a distance of 28 kilometres from the town of Sangla. The road on the Indian side of the border ends in this village, and the entire area from here up to the border is under the strict control and supervision of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. The Kagyupa temple in Chitkul houses an ancient and beautiful idol of the Shankyamuni Buddha. Kagyupa is one of the six main schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
This picturesque village falls on the way to Chitkul from Sangla and is 13 kilometres from Sangla. It is situated at a height of 10,000 metres. The inhabitants of this village are mostly nomadic, and the village has two temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Goddess Kali. Situated on the banks of the Baspa River, tourists like to stop in this village and marvel at the simple and frugal buildings and way of life of the inhabitants of the village.
Located in the taluk of Pooh, this tiny village is situated on the banks of the Taiti River. Due to its close proximity to the river, the locals believe that the grass that grows in the region is very healthy, and thus, this region is frequented by the elusive Himalayan Ibex. There are three very important Buddhist monasteries (Galdang chhoikar, Dunguir and Kangyur) and this region is also an important centre for Buddhism across the ages.
Located nearly 40 kilometres from Kalpa, Moorang has beautiful apricot orchards and also houses the Moorang Fort, which is believed to have been built by the Pandavas. The Lipa-Asrang sanctuary has animals like the brown bear, musk deer, the Himalayan black bear and if lucky, one can even spot the extremely rare snow leopard.
10. Brelengi Gompa:
This monastery was constructed specially for the Dalai Lama to perform the Kalachakra ceremony in 1992. Right next to the monastery stands a statue of Buddha, which is 10m high and can be seen from far away.
It is located in Reckong Peo.