Of all the side valleys of the river Satluj, the Sangla valley is perhaps the most beautiful. It is certainly the most famous. (Older books and travelogues refer to this curving valley as the ‘
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The 95 km long valley gets off to a fairly unimpressive start and it is along this stretch that one sees the determination of the ‘chill’ pine that grows out of sheer rock faces –and whose cones yield the tasty kernel, the rare ‘dry fruit’, the neoza (or chilgoza) and after this corridor, like curtains tossed aside to reveal the setting of a grand stage, the valley bursts open at Kupa. From this point on, every turn and every angle reveals a valley that is strikingly beautiful. As if to savour all this, the waters of the Baspa also slow down and the little river that moments ago had shown the visage of a savage mountain stream, now turns calm and welcoming.
Like the rest of Kinnaur, there are no urban centers in the valley – and like most other parts of the administrative district, the people of the valley practice an unusual mix of Trans Himalayan (Vajrayana) Buddhism and Hinduism. Interestingly, for what was till very recently quite the 'back of the beyond' with limited educational and other facilities, the Sangla valley has an unusual distinction in the number of people it has sent into the Indian Civil service and police.
Between Kupa and Chitkul (3450 m) – roughly halfway up the valley – the area is fairly populous and cultivated. Human habitation ends at chitkul and from then on to the lofty