Batseri is a small village located in Sangla Valley of Kinnaur district in the north Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Owing to the delicious varieties of apple, Kinnaur is sometimes referred to as the ‘apple district of Himachal.’ It is among the lesser known tourist places but amongst the most beautiful ones. Sangla Valley is located at a distance of 214 km from Shimla, while Batseri is 7 kms from the main town of Sangla. It is approximately 8-12 hour drive from there. However due to the rough terrain, it is advised to make a stop at Sarahan. The road to Sangla are highly dangerous with narrow cuts and sheer drop to several kilometers.
At a height of 2700 mts. Sangla is all about snowcapped jaggy mountains, forested slopes and a beautiful valley. Not to forget the majestic emerald Baspa river that surges through the valley. It is best suited for nature centric experience, walking treks to explore the pristine and the unmatched creation of God.It is an ideal destination for those who would like to explore more and get away from the busy city life.
Batseri Village: An Overview
|Location||Himachal Pradesh, India|
|Topography||Green valley, orchards, snow covered and arid mountains|
|Best time to visit||March-October
|Accommodation||Kinner camps/ banjara camps|
|Cost of a 5 day trip||10-15k (appx.)|
The cost is flexible depending upon the means of travel, the duration of the stay and also the places one would like to cover. Most people do a day trip to Chitkul and Rakcham from Sangla.
How to Reach Batseri Village ?
For reaching Batseri, one needs to arrive at Sangla first. For those who would like to travel by bus should get off at Reckong Peo, connected by almost all the major cities of Himachal. From here take a bus to Sangla. However it is advised to take tourist cabs as it would be difficult to find conveyance on your way back and also it is not expensive (appx. 1000-2000 INR ), best suitable for backpackers and a budget friendly trip.
Stay at Sangla
Staying at the Banjara/Kinner camps is really fun. They have tried to provide us as many luxuries as possible. However, one may find it difficult to take a bath with the chilling water. The people who run the camp are very hospitable and try to make your stay as comfortable as possible. There are various activities at the camp, apart from that they can guide you and assist you for various treks in and around Sangla. Food should be the last concern, vegetarian or non- vegetarian, they ask you personally what you would prefer in the meals. Fresh apple wine, prepared from the famous Kinnaur apples, are also available at the camps, which is a must try. It is served in beer bottles, it is nice enjoy the wine with a bonfire in the night.
Apart from the buffet food available at the camp, one can even go to the main town to eat at dhabas. There are small Tibetan food joints where you can try thupka-a local soup, noodles, momos etc. Each and every item having their own different flavor and taste.
River Baspa and the Bridge
The walk to Batseri village starts from the camp. On the way, comes a picturesque wooden bridge, beneath which the white currents of river Baspa gushes out. It is an ideal spot to sit down, ponder and appreciate the beauty of nature, undisturbed. The sunset and sunrise view from this bridge is absolutely breath-taking, seeing the sun changing its colors from a calm and golden to a submerging violent pink sun and finally sinking into the Baspa river. The bridge then leads to an enchanting trail with pine, fir and cypress -the alpine species.
This village is unlike any other Indian village. It is beautifully romantic and scenic. Set amongst a backdrop of towering snowcapped mountains are small apple orchards with small sloping roofed wooden houses, adorning the village. These houses have an ancient carved wooden door, each of them so different and pretty that one feels like posing and clicking in front all of them. They are magnificent in their own and unique way. Adding more to the rustic beauty of this little known place, is the graveled path with pebbled walls on either sides, guarding those little houses, straight out of a story book.
The People of Batseri: Amiable, Friendly and Warm
Kinnaurs are amiable and greet everyone with a warm friendly smile. The kids, specially are really interesting to talk to.Their livelihood mainly comes from the apple cultivation. They are very hardworking and most of the population here is engaged in some or the other work, no matter how menial it is. The kids can be seen playing football in the evening and you are free to join and play with them.
What is most striking and something rare about this small settlement is the cleanliness and education. It is spick and span clean, the people here are very particular about it and in case you do drop something they might specially ask you to pick up the litter or do it themselves. Language isn’t an issue here; they not only understand Hindi but are fairly educated to converse in English too.
Badri Narayan Temple
This is a Hindu temple, devoted to Vishnu, is an architectural marvel. This temple which was constructed for time immemorial got burned down on 24/11/98. The local residents have donated and contributed to rebuilt this temple and restore their cultural heritage, collectively. The local wood carver and his family have carved the walls of the temple with beautiful images of various gods and Kama sutra. The temple complex is an important place for all the important meeting and festivals in Batseri . Only the priest is allowed inside the temple sanctuary. One can stay and attend the evening Arti.
There are a few handicraft and grocery shops in the Batseri. One can purchase souvenirs from here. I particularly purchased paharitopi– traditional and a beautiful handicraft, also I found it to be really cool. Bargaining a lot is of little use, most of the shops have fixed rates.
For the ones who are more adventurous and love to explore can follow the trail into the forest, enjoy tranquility amongst the fragrant deodar
and pine trees. There is an old ruined temple also, whose history is less known. Going deep into the forest is not advisable due to the fear of wild animals.
Travel tips for First Timers at Batseri
Advisable to go with an experienced driver, the roads to Sangla Valley are very narrow and dangerous
Make sure to carry portable chargers for the journey, there are frequent in and out of electricity. Also there is only one charging point in the rooms.
Batseri, Chitkul, Rakscham & Sangla Valley in Pictures
This small district , Batseri is a magical place to visit, while exploring this village one completely loses track of time. In the end I would sum up my experience with just one word- supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!!!
Happy wayfaring 🙂
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
THIS POST ENTITLED, “EXPLORING BATSERI: THE QUAINT VILLAGE IN HIMACHAL’S APPLE DISTRICT” IS AN EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY OF BUDGET WAYFARERS. ANY INDIVIDUAL OR ASSOCIATION INDULGING IN PLAGIARISM WILL BE DEALT WITH STRICTLY. IF YOU WANT TO USE INFORMATION FROM THE ARTICLE ABOVE, KINDLY QUOTE THE SOURCE.