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Chitkul, charming village on India-China border stars as new tourism haven

Chitkul is a border village on the old Hindustan-Tibet trade route.

Shimla: Ministry of Tourism has declared Chitkul as ‘Best Tourism Village-2023’—a recognition which the Himachal Pradesh government feels will bolster its efforts to revive tourism, after the state having suffered badly, during the unprecedented monsoon rains, landslides, and disruption of road communications in two months of July-August 2023.

Dr. Major Shashank Gupta, a Sub Divisional Officer at Kalpa, received the award from Minister of State for Tourism and Defence Ajay Bhatt in a programme organised at New Delhi.

The Sub Divisional Officer has urged the stakeholders in the village to embrace this programme, to promote a sustainable tourism with its perfect blend with the environment and diverse cultures of Kinnaur. This will enhance the reach of the village as part of the world’s most attractive place.

“The Travel for Life programme is a part of Mission Life which paves the way for making our earth sustainable” said Gupta after getting the honour.

The village had also received focus, during Independence Day parade at New Delhi when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had invited all panchayat pradhans of “Virbrant Villages” abutting northern border in Kinnaur and Lahaul & Spiti districts, beside those from Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Rudraprayag districts of Uttarakhand.

Chitkul village of district Kinnaur is the only village in Himachal Pradesh, which was given this honour.

“It is noteworthy that the recent initiative of the Ministry of Tourism, Travel for Life shows the commitment of the Government of India to promote sustainable tourism and comprehensive development of the people living in these villages,” says Anurag Thakur, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, who also hails from Himachal Pradesh.

The recent G-20 Leaders’ Summit held in New Delhi demonstrated India’s commitment to building global unity and cooperation and the deliberations at the summit reflected the collective aspirations of the nations for a sustainable future.

It is known as the last village of India beyond, there is no habitation beyond these villages and civilian movement ahead from here is prohibited. The area lying beyond Chitkul village is under the control of the Indo-Tibet border police.

Located at a height of 11,400 feet, the village has fascinating natural beauty with River Baspa flowing down the land that looks like paradise. While the north side is surrounded by Spiti Valley and west by Kullu, its next mountain range goes down to Garhwal hills and Tibet on the east.

Before arriving at Chitkul, the tourists pass through Sangla Valley and midway hamlet of Rakcham village—known for growing apples and apricots.

Mathi Devi, a famous deity temple is said to be 500 years old and worshiped by the local communities—who are a mix of Buddhists and non-Buddhists.

R S Bali, Chairman, Himachal Pradesh Tourism Board said after rain fury and landslides in the state, which had left the state badly battered, massive efforts are afoot to revive the tourism activities.

The coming festive season is expected to give a new boost to tourism as some of the hotels in the state including Manali, Shimla and Dharamshala have already started getting inquiries about bookings.

Also Read: Iconic President’s Retreat in Shimla hills being thrown open to public in booster shot for tourism