The first thing we did on reaching Shimla was head to our hotel and check- in. Since we had decided to explore this region by ourselves, we asked the reception desk for some help regarding how to go about it. Apart from the local sightseeing, we were recommended that we visit Kinnaur Kailash. I was initially under the impression that this might be some sort of regular viewing point that is a common feature of every hill station in India and didn’t show too much enthusiasm for it; little did I know how wrong I was to assume that! Kinnaur is famous for its fruit orchards, and this is where the famed, succulent Kinnaur apple comes from. As we were a group of four, we opted to hire a car which proved to be more economical for our group, rather than use the bus service.
Kinnaur is near the Indo- Tibet border, and we set out early morning for the drive. We had to cover close to 240 kms, and we had armed ourselves with enough food and drink to last the 4 hour drive. I was certainly very sceptical about this excursion, but on the insistence of my friends I gave in, and I certainly was glad that I did! The route to Kinnaur Kailash is an extremely scenic one, and as we climbed higher, we could see the snow- clad peaks of the Greater Himalayas winking in and out of sight. To my surprise, we also spotted a few frozen waterfalls. At one point, we were driving along the roaring Sutlej River, which has its origins near Mansarovar. We headed to Kalpa, from where we could get spectacular views of the Kinnaur Kailash peak, standing tall at a height of 21, 324 feet. And what a magnificent sight it was! The huge peak was covered in snow, dwarfing the peaks near it.
After paying our respects to the tallest peak in the region, we found a dhaba serving some lip- smacking local cuisine. After having our fill, we began our return to Shimla. While most people plan a two night to six night stay to explore the Kinnaur valley, we chose to make it a one day excursion due to lack of time. The unparalleled beauty of the mountains and the valleys here etched itself in my memory in spite of my short visit and I will remember this place for years to come!