Chitkul was chosen by me for two reasons. One, the roads were good unlike two years back when I was on my bike trip to spiti. Two, the destination, at an altitude of 11k feets, will be pretty cold to let us experience cold weather in summers.
Drive from Chandigarh is usually 13 to 14 hours but it is advised not to overstretch the drive to reach Chitkul the same day. Our halt was at Rampur Bushahr for the June 20 night.
Rampur is pretty hot given its low altitude after descending from Narkanda. We needed air conditioned rooms to get a good sleep in the night.
Chitkul is 120 km ahead, a 5-hour, drive from Rampur Bushahr. The road from Karcham is a narrow one. One cannot average more than 15 km an hour while ascending towards Chitkul.
Sangla is a popular destination enroute to Chitkul. Given the easy availability of hotels and home stays, it seemed most tourists would be optimg to park themselves in Sangla and the plan a day trip ahead to Chitkul and the last border post.
We reached Chitkul by 12 noon and stayed at The Wanderer’s Nest. The place is costly but food is good and and can surprise many about the variety in their menu.
Chitkul is a village with less than 30 houses and is very clean. The village has a basket ball court and a villey ball court. We could see kids playing volley ball and badminton too. We did not see any kid with a mobile phone. Only BSNL services run and that too with 2G services only. So may be this is a blessing in disguise.
The locals would guide us to a short trek towards North of the village during evening hours to view the sunset and towards South for a 4-hour trek to view Black Galcier.
I tried the Black Glacier trek which is muddy, narrow, and a steep trek. I returned after climbing for 1 1/2 hours.
Three narrow streams flowing through the village add to the beauty of the village. And spending some time on the banks of the BASPA river is also refreshing.