The Hindustan Tibet Highway -Part 2 Chitkul to Rekong Peo
The Kinnaur valley, stretching from Sangla to Chitkul, is a deeply carved cleft between high mountain slopes covered by evergreen forests.
Chitkul is the last stop on the old trade route to Tibet and remains the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibet border. The Indian road ends here. During winters it is covered with the snow and cut off from the outside world, with some inhabitants moving to lower regions of Himachal.
As an extension to my Regency hotel birthday treat we decide on a day trip to Chitkul. I could get used to these birthday concessions however we still need to make our way to Rekong Peo, our last chance for a permit to enter the Himalayas proper.
Our first landslide for the day with no room to pass
We get to take in the valley views below while waiting for the grader
Its quicker to be a mountain goat
On the move again. That’s Linda approaching another blind corner. I need to overcome this fixation for oncoming traffic..
Along the way we meet this local on an Enfield stuck in a hole & hell bent on burning his clutch out
The Clutch gets to breathe a sigh of relief
We start getting used to these suspension bridges
Some will not be remembered for the passage they offer
but rather for the opportunity for a selfie
and the view. I have a rod convinced there are trout below. Some flies are however harder to come by..
The following short video is of a perfect rock stable wooden bridge with all planks intact making crossing a breeze. Listen to the sound as one crosses . It reminds us of a train track.
So close but yet so far-just look at all this rack of lamb, smoked ribs, marinated ribs, splayed lamb, leg of lamb , chops, but none to be had so far in India. Oh for a potjie…
We follow the Baspa river
with its road signs. And to think BRO at home is a term of endearment. Here it stands for Border Road Organization, my china.
In a land of a zillion deities..
cars call it a day on these roads
as do water carriers. This ones chassis sheared
The road ends at Chitkul
With the Tibet-China border less than a half hour walk up this valley
The locals are circumspect at first
The lure of foreign bikes however breaks the ice
Linda shows them where we come from
Its never what it seems in India. This naughty looking fellow has his Masters in Quantum Physics & is here to visit his parents for winter. Next year he will do his Phd
One of the locals..
Stock piling for winter
En -route to Rekong Peo in hope of a permit. Can you spot Linda?
The scenery changes when we reach the Sutlej river again
I sneak this picture with the Sena cam of one of the many deep tunnels supporting the hydro electric power plants
At last they stop calling it a highway. I must have been a petrol pump in a previous reincarnation
This sign in front of the military base has a clear idea of the problem…
The climb to Rekong Peo can rival Stelvio on any day
Where one can still buy cassette tapes
We apply for our permits and while waiting take in a game of chess
And finger board
The distinctive green felt hats which define this area
In all the excitement I missed this warning
A big thank you Rekong Peo and Mr Mohan at the Monktravels