The State of Himachal Pradhesh of India has a total of 12 districts. Kinnaur District is one of the 12 districts in Himachal Pradesh. Pooh, Kalpa and Nichar are the three administrative divisions of the district. It also constitutes of 5 tehsils. Reckong Peo is the administrative headquarters of the district of Kinnaur. Believed to be the dwelling place of Lord Shiva, Kinnur Kailash, districts headquarters Recong Peo, Kalpa and also the Sangla Valley can be observed from here. The district of Kinnaur holds the second position in the list of the districts having the lowest number of inhabitants in Himachal Pradesh, after Lahaul and Spiti. Very little communication takes place between the people of the plains and that of this area, since this region is very unapproachable and difficult to get to. As a result, Kinnars were believed to be something magical and intermediate between humans and gods according to the archaic Hindu transcripts.
The country of Tibet is situated on the eastern boundary of the district Kinnaur. Located in the north-east portion of the Himachal Pradesh state, the district is situated at a distance of 235 kilometers from Shimla. The district is full of natural bounties and exquisite sceneries. Zanskar, Greater Himalayas and Dhauladhar are the three high and mighty mountain ranges of the district. The valleys of Sutlej, Spiti and Baspa, along with their tributaries, are encircled by the ranges. Dense forests, orchards, meadows and scenic villages decorate the slopes, making the valleys stunning and lovely. At the summit of the Kinnaur Kailash Mountain, the much famous and holy Shivlinga rests. In 1989 the district of Kinnar was made available for the tourists. Through the valley of Kinnaur and alongside the Sutlej River, the ancient Hindustan-Tibet road goes by. The road ultimately finds a way in to Tibet at the Shipki La Pass. Kinnaur peoples way of life, their culture, customs, traditions and their heritage fascinates and interests the young and the aged as much as the natural beauty of the sceneries of this place.
In the past, Kinnaur was known as Kanaurra or Kinnaura; however apart from this not much is known about the history of this place; nonetheless many fables and mythological tales are prevalent amongst the people of Kinnaur. The Magadha Kingdom and then the Mauryan Empire had the command over this region in the 6th century BC. Later on the chiefly the Kirata, Kamboja, Panasika and Valhika resided in this place. During the 9th to 12th centuries, the Guge Empire of Tibet made their influence over Kinnaur. Sat Khund was also another term by which Kinnaur was known, as it was afterwards separated into seven portions. Lesser chiefdoms developed in this region as a consequence of many clashes and fights. These chiefdoms clashed with each other for authority.
The next-door Bootees also got involved into these fights. Labrang, Moorang, and Kamru and other numerous forts built at this time, provide proof of the struggles and fights of this region. However when Mughal Emperor Akbar captured and took over this place, all the conflicts was put to an end. As a result of Akbars conquest, the Mughal Empire got one more addition to itself, which is the Kinnaur Valley. A significant part was played by Chini Tehsil, the then name of Kinnaur Valley, following the downfall of the Mughal Empire. The region was amalgamated into the Mahasu district of that time, after the importance of this place lessened. The region was restructured, keeping in mind the political, ethnic and cultural factors and thus the existing day Kinnaur district was created in 1960. An earthquake took place in Kinnaur in 1975. Tribal culture as well as fraternal polyandry prevails in Kinnaur. In Kinnaur there was a shortage of farming land and even planning of family was a distant concept in the ancient time. As a result polyandry was put into practice. However, only hints of this practice are found here since the change of time and also because of the influence of education.
Buddhism is followed by the people who are more sincere and truthful, possessing solid culture and traditions. On the other hand, it was considered by the Hindus, that this place was a home to the Pandavas during the time of their exile. Kinners, a name given to the people of Kinnaur, were believed to be something magical and intermediate between humans and gods, according to ancient mythology. This region still contains ancient monasteries. There is a perfect accord between the people who follow Buddhism and Hinduism, which gives an ideal example of the brotherhood and camaraderie between the followers of both faiths.
The region cultivates apples, chilgoza and other different dry fruits which are renowned all over the world. Adventure sports and activities are facilitated by the elevated landscape of Kinnaur. 'Parikarma of Kinner Kailash' is one of the wonderful trekking routes. The gorgeous Nako Lake and three renowned wild life shelters are situated in this place.
Due to the high altitude of the place, the district of Kinnaur experiences moderate climatic conditions. The winters are long which stretches from October to the month of May. The summers are much shorter, starting from June and lasting till September. Monsoon precipitation occurs in the places having lesser altitude of the Sutlej Valley and the Baspa Valley, while the rain-Shadow zone prevails over the higher regions of the valleys. The arid and dry climate of Tibet resembles that of Kinnaurs. The terrain of this region is somewhat similar and common to that of Central Asia.
A wide assortment of flora and fauna can be found in Kinnaur, owing to the vast difference in its altitude range, climatic conditions and landscape. Three wild life reserves are constructed in the district because of its environmental, wildlife and geomophilogical significance. In order to protect the rare species of the wild-life, these sanctuaries were created in the first place. A wide mixture of wildlife can be found here.
Tourist places in Kinnaur
Chandika Temple Kothi
Mathi Temple at Chhitkul
Maheshwar Temple at Sungra
Chango Temples at Chango
Rarang Monastery at Rarang
Durga Temple at Ropa
Brelengi Gompa at Brelengi near Peo
Chhitkul to Gangotri
Reckong Peo to Nako
Tapri to Kalpa
Tapri to Chhitkul
Sangla to Barang
Sangla to Dhamwari
Sangla to Dodra Kawar
Kinner kailash Parikarma
Bhaba Valley to Pin Valley