My head is sweaty, my lungs are heavy, my voice is raspy, and the sky is happy. Supported by a giant rock I looked at the bluest sky of my life. While the heavy breathing continues I wish to soak in the scenery around me. The head is still dizzy from the elevation. But as I relax the wind seems to firmly relax with me. Now it feels more like an energizer, hitting me on every sweat gland on my face. But the flag is roaring as if it wants me to leave. Every minute it is getting louder and louder. But suddenly, nature hushed and froze.
It has been 21 hours since I took my bus from Delhi towards Chitkul. The time is 6:15 P.M., with every turn towards Chitkul, my brain was jumping with excitement and my back was crying with torture. Finally, I arrived! It has been only 5 min. and I already forgot about the dreading bus ride, since the scenery took over my brain, heart, eyes, and everything.
But my joy was not for long since the homestay was about 1 km upward and it will be fair to say that it was worse than the treacherous 21 hours bus ride.
After taking the bath I came out of my room in the chilly evening, it was getting darker and darker. By mistake, I saw something, something on top of the mountain. I focused more and more. It looks as if something looking towards me.
“Bhaiyaji, you don’t know this, but you can hike till there”.
Flag Peak Trek in Chitkul
The landscape of Chitkul makes you feel really small in front of nature. You are surrounded by the Giant Mountains which helps to minimize the speed of wind in the village. Life really looks harsh here but the never-ending flow of Baspa makes life a little easier. The weather is unpredictable since it changes every hour and a clear sunny day is appreciated by locals as well.
One of the mountains in Chitkul has an Indian Flag on top of its peak. It is visible from anywhere in the village. Regarded as an “easy” hike by locals. But one thing you should learn in the mountains, it is always easy for the locals!
The hike takes about 1-2 hours starting from the temple in the village. The trail has been fairly laid out and after following pipelines of the village you will see a small wooden bridge. Take a right from that bridge and you are on the trail towards the peak. You can continue down that trail for 20 minutes, it will only uphill walk. Due to the elevation, you can feel a bit tired already so take frequent stops.
After about 20 minutes you reach a small patch of grass. It will look like a camping site. Here you can relax for a while since the hike from here is super-tiring. The whole Chitkul village can be seen from this point. While sitting there you can only imagine what will be the view from the top of the peak.
From here you have to ascend upwards only, it will be like terrace steps but steeper. There will be glimpses of the trail around you but you will have a fair idea about where to go. Your only aim should be to go towards the flag. After about an hour you will come in close proximity to the flag. Be careful during the final steps since there are only rocks at the end of it and a bad step can twist your ankle badly.
At the top
As you set the foot the shift will start happening. You will be left astound as nature takes over you today. You will look into the eyes of giants. For all of the struggle you did today, nature won, today even global warming looks defeated. The flag will be surprised to see you there, it starts its endless wave.
Your eyes won’t calm down as the new peaks have emerged behind the old hills it was getting used to. Some of them are whiter than the clouds; alluring you towards them. Shining brighter than the gold. Then some of them are as dull as a hostel warden, telling you to be where you are. Don’t even try to climb it.
Descending downwards and some important tips
Descending is tougher than hiking upwards. Your hiking experience will be tested here since the trail is slippery. Be careful with each step and show no hurry in your movements.
You should already be wearing good hiking shoes; otherwise, you are in for a tournament between falling and skitting.
Try to start descending an hour or two before the sunset. There is always a fear of wildlife and getting lost in the mountains.
Carry 2 liters of water with you before starting the hike. Also, pack some local food with you rather than getting chips and chocolates which contributes to pollution.
Eat a heavy meal after coming down from the hike to avoid any muscle injury, and recover energy in your body.
For more travel tips before visiting Chitkul, read my blog where I wrote 21 travel tips for you before visiting Chitkul village.
Where to stay in Chiktul
Due to recent limelight in tourism, Chitkul has many accommodation options. From backpacking hostels to comfortable hotels and ever-lively homestays. You can either choose to stay near the Baspa River or on top of the whole village in complete solitude. According to your preference Chitkul has several options. Because of its geographical location don’t expect too much facility and even appreciate whatever you are getting there. Here are some of the accommodation option:
- Mannat Home Stay: The homestay is on top of the whole village in complete solitude. There is no hint of tourism as soon as you reach here. Although it is 1 km upwards from the main road, the effort will be worth it. It is probably the best place to enjoy the landscape of Chitkul as the view is spectacular from there. The price of accommodation is Rs 800-Rs1200 per room including all the meals. It can change depending upon the season you are visiting. I stayed here with my friends and place is an absolute gem for people coming in groups. (Read about my perception on Traveling with friends)
- Zostel Chitkul – This is another great option especially for solo travelers going to Chiktul. It is not the cheapest accommodation but the environment of Zostel is amazing. You will meet a lot of solo travelers here. Depending upon your luck there will be a volunteer who will show you around the village.
Are you new to Slipperylegs? Then Subscribe to Slippery Legs for regular updates of destination, travel inspiration and guides.