005 / View of the Sangla Valley from the village of Chitkul
All of two days of hair-raising driving from the plains, only the most intrepid tourists end up visiting Kinnaur, a high-altitude Himalayan region famed for its apples and unique Hindu-Buddhist culture. While much of Kinnaur is making way for grand hydel power projects, its smaller, branch valleys retain much of their pristine, virginal aura. The most famed among these is the legendary Sangla Valley, straddling the banks of the Baspa river and rising from a base height of 3000 metres above sea level. Pine forests and orchards abound here, as do centuries old temples and fortified villages, making for very rewarding walks and drives. The road through the valley ends at the village of Chitkul, jokingly billed as India’s last village, an especially pretty hamlet sitting in the shadow of the Kinner Kailash mountain range.