My sister and I, as kids, loved making cloth tents out of mom’s sarees during monsoons, when clothes were put to dry inside the rooms. The memories of feeling cozy inside our play tent houses and drinking hot Horlicks have remained treasured in me.
How about staying in a real tent house? I would have deemed it a distant fairy-tale fantasy if not for the day when it became a reality in my life. When H and I visited Himachal Pradesh, we chose uncommon lodgings like tree house and tent house instead of the usual hotel accommodations. And it proved worthy of every penny and every second we had spent. This post covers our stay at the Swiss Cottage Tent House by Kinner Camps at Sangla. Our tree house stay shall come soon in another post.
After our visits to Shimla, Khufri, Sarahan and Narkhanda, we headed to Sangla. Sangla, perhaps, is not a widely toured location in Himachal like Shimla or Manali. It’s known for its scenic views, temples and rivers. Narkhanda to Sangla was a thrilling road drive with the mountain rocks sculpted to pave way for roads making a magnificent sight.
Cuddled within the Sangla valley in Kinnaur district is Kinner Camps. From the place where this notice is placed (in the picture above) a steep, curvy, mud path takes us down to the tent houses. I am still amazed how a vehicle could be driven on this path; it was certainly scary. It was mid-October and we were the last guests to the cottages before they would close down for the year owing to the onset of winter. So, all the cottages were unoccupied. That meant we had too much freedom to choose one of our choice. It was perhaps the best of seasons to experience a stay at this place. Tulsi was the care taker and he did really take care of our needs extraordinarily well. He welcomed us by their Kinnaur custom of presenting a piece of cloth around our shoulders.
Here’s our much-awaited tent house cottage. Honestly, I would say it looked neat and simple but not of something that I would call it extraordinarily luxurious or beautiful though it had a warm feel. It has an attached bathroom which felt unsafe initially but when once we got used to the place, it felt much secure.
The open-air dining area was a delight. Food was prepared here by Tulsi. There was nothing we wanted more, it was as perfect as home food. Neatly-maintained ornamental plants throughout the camp premises were alluring. I requested for seeds of a few colourful flowers which adore our garden at home today, miles away from Sangla, as a rich memoir of our stay.
What actually swept the whole experience of the stay was the location. The cottages faced the snow-clad Himalayas rendering a breath-taking view. Adding to it was the proximity to River Baspa, one of the most serene rivers I’ve seen. It was just a few minutes of walk from the cottages. The flow of the river water makes for the constant background sound of the place, being noticeably prominent during the nights.
Quietly sitting near River Baspa for a few minutes was a divine experience. Constantly gazing at the clear, flowing waters shall render a loving bond with an unknown something. No matter how long one gets to be at this place, it shall never seem enough.
Walking along the river heads to a wooden bridge which, built across the river, leads to the other side of the mountainous paths. And I bet the bridge shall make a scenic location for photo addicts. Further down, there’s a forest area with narrow ups and downs which can create exciting trekking trails. The entire locale is a delight for nature-admirers.
The following day, a small picnic was arranged to Chitkul, the last village before the Indo-Tibetan border. Tulsi handed us our packed lunches and other handy things like a huge umbrella for the picnic. Dilip Negi, the proprietor, is friendly and a helpful guide. He gave us valuable suggestions about the local places and customs.
Fortunately, on the day we visited Chitkul, the local tribes were in for a celebration performing their local form of dance, in a temple premises. It was interesting to join them for a few minutes, imitating their movements for the background rhythmical beats 😆
This was where we had lunch – a once-in-a-lifetime lunch! Imagine having home-made, packed lunch on a flowing river side, with nothing between you and the magnificent Himalayas. It was an over-whelming experience. Adding to the ecstasy, it started to drizzle, making us grateful for Tulsi’s thoughtfulness.
Though we felt unsafe on the first night stay owing to being the sole guests of the property, we later realized that it is indeed a safe and trustful place to stay. If you are planning to travel to Sangla, you must try the tent house stay at Kinner Camps. You’ll appreciate my advice 🙂