Brief Geography of District Kinnaur

By | April 21, 2020

The District Kinnaur is situated 77°45’ and 79°00’35” East Longitude and between 31°55’50” and 32°05’15” North Latitude.

Kinnaur is located in the North-Eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. Kinnaur shares the Eastern border with Tibet and Zanskar mountains and forms the international boundary between Tibet and Kinnaur. The border starts at a point named “Parechhu” and reaches by Shipkila pass to Chor Gad valley in East.

In South and South-East it has Uttrakhand and on western side lays Shimla district. On its north and north-west side is Lahaul and Spiti and Kullu touches it from the west.

  • Headquarter: Recong Peo
  • Altitude: 2769 meters
  • Languages spoken: Kinnauri (Hamskad), Sangnaur, Jangiam, Shumecho, etc.

Mountain Ranges in District Kinnaur:

The district is surrounded by three mountain ranges i.e

  1. Zanskar Mountain in the East
  2. the Great Himalaya which started from North-west to south-East
  3. Dhauladhar range forms the southern boundary of the district

Mountain Peaks in District Kinnaur:

The highest peak of district Kinnaur is Leo Pargial with an altitude of 6816 meters. Other peaks in district Kinnaur are Raldang, Gushu, Pishu, Phawarang, Jorkaden, Kinner Kailash, Parasal and Shilpki.

Leo Phargil, Shilla and Parasal peaks lie in Zanskar range whereas Raldang and Kinner Kailash lies in the greater Himalayas.

Glaciers in District Kinnaur:

Western Kinnaur Greater Himalaya: It has several permanent glaciers Viz., Sankarishul, Mana Dani, Drimiling, Phuldhang, and Zangsu.

Dhaula Dhar: Hania and Bilare Glaciers.

Eastern Kinnaur Greater Himalaya: Saro glacier, Gara glacier, and Lambar glacier are also located in the southern part of this region.

Important Valleys of District Kinnaur

The Satluj Valley: It is the largest valley of district drained by river Satluj.

The Hangrang Valley or Spiti Valley:

  • This valley is drained by river Spiti or Lee.
  • This valley joins Satluj valley near Khab village.
  • So the lower part of Spiti valley lies in Kinnaur and upper part in Lahaul Spiti.

The Baspa or Sangla Valley:

  • This valley is drained by the Baspa River.
  • Its name Sangla valley; after the name of Sangla village.
  • The Historic village Kamru i.e. old capital of Bushahr state is situated in this valley.
  • This valley is connected with Garhwal region of Uttarkhand by following passes.
  • Barus pass or Buran Ghati, Kimlya or Khamilogo pass, Borsu pass and Lamkhanga pass.

Chittkul Village:

  • It is the last and highest village in the Baspa valley and last inhabited village near the Indo- Tibet border.
  • It is a point in India one can travel without a permit.
  • Potatoes grown at Chittkul are one of the best in the world.


  • It is also called Spuwa.
  • It is a small town in Kinnaur district.
  • When A.H Francke arrived in Poo in July 1910, he found the language was entirely Tibetan.
  • There is an ancient temple “the Shakyamuni (Buddha)” and there is local pre-Buddhist deity Dabla.

Other Prominent Valleys in District Kinnaur:

The Yula Valley, The Mulgaon Valley, The Ropa or Shyaso or Sunam Valley, The Tidong Valley, The Wangpoo or Bhaba Valley, The Gyathing or Nesang Valley, The Pejur or Lippa Valley, The Kashang Valley, Ribba Valley etc.

The river system of District Kinnaur

River Satluj: It divides Kinnaur into two equal parts.

Tributaries of Satluj:

The River Spiti: It originates in Spiti and then enters in Kinnaur. It is the second Major River in Kinnaur and joins river Satluj at Khab village.

Baspa, the Zupkia, the Thatang, the Bering, the Rutki, and Shuthi are also important tributaries.

River Ropa originated on a range between district Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti and merge with Satluj near “Shashow”. Pejur, Taiti and Yula are other tributaries of Satluj in Kinnaur.

Lakes in District Kinnaur:

There are three small lakes in district Kinnaur.

  1. Nako lake in Hangrang Tehsil
  2. Sorang lake above the village of Jani and Ramni in Nichar Tehsil
  3. Temcho/Them-Tso Lake: Probably Poo Tehsil.

Springs in District Kinnaur:

  1. Nathpa
  2. Tapri
  3. Joktiaring

Other information:

  • Bhabha is the largest village of the Kinnaur district.
  • Tidong Valley is called as ‘a scene of savage grandeur’.
  • Ribba Valley is famous for grapes.

Natural vegetation in District Kinnaur: 

Natural vegetation: There are three type of natural vegetation in Kinnaur

  1. The wet zone Forest: Found on the left side of the Satluj valley. Common verities of this type of vegetation are: Kail, Spruce and Fir. Broad-leaved trees are also found like Chestnut, Maple, Bird Cherry and Walnut.
  2. The Dry zone forest: They are found from Nichar to Chini. Common varieties of this vegetation are Deodar, Blue pine, Spruce and Silver fir. Neoza pines which produce edible nuts grow in this zone and are the only forest on Neoza in India.
  3. Arid Zone forest: it is found along with adjoining Tibetan border. Common varieties of this are Rose Dog and Dwarf bushes.

Minerals in District Kinnaur:

  • Copper found near Ranwar and Ropa.
  • Silver found near Chhagaon.
  • Gypsum in Shailkhar and Chhagaon.
  • Rough slate found in Sangla Valley.
  • China clay found in the area of Asrang and Lippa.
  • Mica found in Tangling Khad.

Read also: History of District Kinnaur

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