Kinnaur Kailash Shivling Yatra | A Photo Journey

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith”, is a famous by Steve Jobs quote.

That’s precisely what happened with us on our way to Kinnaur Kailash Shivling last week. Though bricks were replaced by boulders, some of them so big that an entire house could be constructed by carving them out. The trek is entirely an uphill task from the word go. Fully exposed to sunlight, the trail passes through blossoming apple gardens which are rarely noticed if you’re as tired as we were.

Before we begin, I take the liberty to quote my friend Anshul Soni, who knows Kinnaur Himalaya inside out. Once he has seen a mountain, he can name it, whichever part of the Earth he is shown that mountain from. Even if it is a NASA space station placed thousands miles away in the sky.


The Holy Kinner Kailash Shivling in District Kinnaur of Himachal Pradesh is a site of much veneration.

The holy Shivling is situated on the Kinner Kailash Range at an altitude of nearly 4700-4800m; which houses crowns of the like of Kinner Kailash (6050m), Jorkanden (6473m), Sarong (6020m), Raldang (5493m) as visible from Kalpa. The Kinner Kailash Range essentially recognized as the Eastern-most extension of the Great Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, further extends eastwards & southwards in Kinnaur.

Each year in the monsoon season pilgrims throng to take blessings from Shiva at this holy sight, where the mountain adjacent to the Holy Shivling (Mt. Kinner Kailash 6050m) is known all over as the Winter Abode of Lord Shiva.

The route to the top is pure ascent. In 7-8 hours from Tangling village one can reach the base camp for an early climb next morning. Moving above 4000m the next day through a stiff boulder filled terrain, it should normally take 4-5 hrs to reach the Holy Shivling from base camp. This makes the Kinner Kailash Shivling trek quite an arduous affair, but after all its only the power of faith that may move the mountain.


Jorkanden, 6473 m. As mighty as its name.
Kanicho / Haran Ghati Pass. A passage to Sangla from Barang Village
Daboling and Raldang in One Frame
Daboling and Raldang in One Frame

River Satluj is always furious in Kinnaur. So much so that after every decade or so it inundates the valley and tries to restore the balance which the mushrooming hydel projects have allegedly disturbed. Despite guided otherwise by Anshul, our young friend Kapil Mehta cajoled us to experience the thrill that comes along with a jhula crossing. To cross a furious Satluj in a jhula is anything but wise. Nonetheless, we did it and came out unscathed.

For the uninitiated, a jhula pul is a pulley trolley suspended between the far ends of a river which is moved from one end to another by pulling the attached ropes by hand. The river runs below at a depth of 40-50 feet. The span of the jhula in our case was at least 50m wide.   

The trek begins with a well marked paved path that lasts until you reach the basecamp (gufa/cave) on day one. After that, the trail disappears and all you’re left with is big boulders and bricks falling on your head, metaphorically speaking. If it rains then literally too.

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Usually people walk till the gufa and spend the night there on first day of the trek. A mile or so before the gufa, one can find dhabas far more comfortable than the uneven and claustrophobic gufa. While we started with the aim of making it till the gufa, our enthusiasm fizzled out soon and gladly we accepted the exorbitantly priced dhaba accommodation as our  savior. Almost a mile short of our target for day one and totally exhausted, our hopes weren’t really soaring high. But that turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Let me explain how:

A little ahead from the dhaba, at the Maling Khata meadow, one gets to see a 180° view of the Satluj Valley. While the eastern side is blocked by Himalayan giants, one can see as far as Pangi Village to the west. Mt. Raldang (5499) and Kanicho Pass (Haran Ghati Pass) were hidden beneath a thick layer of clouds which amalgamated subtly with the ice falls that guarded these Himalayan towers. Across the river on its right bank, above Pangi village a trinity rose above the sky. Interestingly, two of the peaks above Pangi Village resembled Raldang and Kinnaur Kailash Peak as if someone had placed a mirror and created two similar mountains on either side. The magical show of clouds wrestling with snow lasted for hours and all this while River Satluj flowed effortlessly oblivious of anything and everything that surrounded its banks.

Kapil Mehta enjoying his Jhula Ride across River Saluj
Kapil Mehta enjoying his Jhula Ride across River Saluj
Reckong Peo as seen from Maling Khata (Ganesh Park)
Reckong Peo as seen from Maling Khata (Ganesh Park)
Maling Khata Meadow. These days strangely known as Ashiqui Park.
Maling Khata Meadow. These days strangely known as Ashiqui Park. A weird distortion of name.
Mt. Raldang (5499m) and Maling Khata in One Frame
Mt. Raldang (5499m) and Maling Khata in One Frame
Tangling Village
Tangling Village

The next morning we started at 0330 Hours. While Sourabh and Kapil raced away, I took my time to catch my breath and tried to pace up gradually. In my head I could see the repeat telecast of all those scary videos that I had watched on YouTube. A flying witch. A woman possessed. A 20 feet tall man. Lights moving on the mountains. You name it!!!

We were soon joined by another group that was staying in the sarkari sarai. The ghosts of my mind automatically went away. There was another group camping near the gufa but they seemed in no hurry to leave their camps. I immediately wanted to switch sides but alas!

From gufa onwards, it is a different game altogether. A boulder zone leaving no chance to send you back. From Parbati Kund, it is a matter of just 920 meters to the holy Shivling but those 920 meters are to be done on your fours.

Parbati Kund, 4520m, Kinnaur Kailash Yatra
Parbati Kund, 4520m, Kinnaur Kailash Yatra
Parbati Kund, 4520m, Kinnaur Kailash Yatra
Boulder Zone that starts from Parbati Kund.
The Trident as seen from Parbati Kund, Kinnaur Kailash Yatra
The Trident as seen from Parbati Kund, Kinnaur Kailash Yatra
Kinnaur Kailash Shivlingam, 4810 m
Kinnaur Kailash Shivlingam, 4810 m
Kinnaur Kailash Shivlingam, 4810 m
Kinnaur Kailash Shivlingam as seen from Reckong Peo
Shilangeh at 5300m is a revered shrine among the Kinnauris and a Shivling on its ridge is worshiped even by the Lord Maheshwar of Sungra.

Kinnaur Kailash Shivling

Overlooking the majestic Kinnaur Kailash Peak (6050 m) the Shivling is a rock pillar balanced neatly on barely a meter wide slab. It resembles a trident when seen from the Parbati Kund or from Reckong Peo for that matter, if one is fortunate enough to catch a glimpse from that far. The rock pillar rises almost 40 feet from the ground overlooking the effortless course of River Satluj on either side of the valley. In the far off distance, Purgyil Towers can be seen peeking from the clouds.

Kinnaur Kailash 4810m


  • Contrary to popular belief, the Shivling isn’t 6050m high. That’s the height of Kinnaur Kailash Peak, which is wrongly mentioned as Jorkanden (6450m) in most of the literary works.
  • There’s no such thing as Ashiqui Park. The local name is Maling Khata and that’s the way it should be pronounced. Remember Everest replacing Sagarmatha? Always remember!
  • The maximum altitude is 4810 m/15870 ft. (Shivling). Parbati Kund is located at an approximate altitude of 4520 m/ 14900 ft.
  • Overall trek distance is approximately 14km. Another myth buster that the Yatra is 18km long.
  • Tangling to Maling Khata = 8km / 3630m altitude
  • Maling Khata to Parbati Kund = 4.9km / 4520 m altitude
  • Parbati Kund to Kinnaur Kailash = 920m/4810 m altitude.
  • Till Maling Khata, there are three stay options enroute. Beyond that none except for that godforsaken gufa, which is crowded most of the times.
  • This is a water scarce trail. Beyond gufa, there will be no water source. A minimum of two bottles per person is recommended. Of water and not alcohol.
  • Download GPS Log here. Download Strava Activity Here

Guided offline by Anshul Soni and online by Kapil Mehta, I am eternally thankful to both of them. I will suggest that you follow Anshul’s journey on Flickr and find Kapil on Instagram.

23 thoughts on “Kinnaur Kailash Shivling Yatra | A Photo Journey”

  1. Hi Guys,

    I have some queries, please let me knoe below:
    1. What is the best time ?
    2. What are the minimum days i can cover this trek (from delhi).
    3. What would be the cost ?
    4. Do i need to book through trek service providers?


  2. 1. The best time is, obviously August when official Yatra is organized.
    2. Delhi to Delhi, assuming you’ll keep an acclimatization day at Kalpa/Peo, it will take 5 days.
    3. No idea about cost and trek providers, if you go during Yatra, langar committes will take care of your food and stay. Though you’ll have to carry your own load.

  3. hi Tarun

    excellent write up..

    did you go during yatra season? during yatra season will there be more people? planning to solo so more the number of yatris its safer I feel..

    if I go solo will there be chances of getting lost

  4. We had gone before the yatra. But I’ve heard that a lot many people are going even before the yatra. So whenever you go, just be aware and don’t take unnecessary risks. Stay hydrated and take 3 days to reach the top from Jaon

  5. Hi

    Thank you very much for immediate Jaon I hope you are referring to Shrikand Mahadev..pls help for Kinnaur Kailash which is from Tangling village..yes I will acclimatize well during the yatra

    mainly want to know if there will be more people during yatra season since I don’t want to be lone solo person..and also if the trail is well marked atleast upto Parvati Kund

  6. I thought you wanted to know about Srikhand. Apologies.

    During the yatra, yes a lot of people visit KK. But the trouble with KK is that if you want to stay at the Gufa, that’ll be too crowded. You mah have to find seat in a smaller cave (which are there but I haven’t stayed in them)
    And if you stay at Maling Khata then you’ll have to walk at a brisk pace to be able to reach back in time. And then again when you return, you’ll have trouble finding space inside the gufa.

    I’ll suggest going a week (0r 3-4 days) after the yatra ends.

    And all this doesn’t matter if you walk as fast as my friend Kapil Mehta 🙂

  7. Hi Tarun,

    Would it be safe to visit Kinner Kailash in this season, starting fron 7th Aug.

    We were planning to go for Shrikhand Mahadev but rain has affected the trail to the worst, would this be the case for KK as well.

    Please let me, as I am not familiar with Kinaur’s climate.

  8. Keep an eye on rains. The streams have swollen beyond measure in Kinnaur this season. Just be cautious and try to tag along with someone who’s been there already. Best wishes

  9. Hi tarun I am following you thanks a ton that your helping people how are interested am also planning for kk next year this year I have been Leh ladka, last year kailash manasarovar so next year thanks for all you guid

  10. Hi Saurav, as of 21st February 2019, it is still snowing up there. And in all likelihood, it would still continue snowing until March 1st week. So that should answer your question. Also, the yatra which usually begins in Late July, how can that be done in March?

  11. Thanks Tarun! I didn’t had idea about the weather. And why I mentioned trek because I was doing it before Yatra. I thought to do KK and ManiMahesh trek in free 7 days I have next month. If possible, can you suggest me some high altitude treks in Himachal with duration of 5 6 Days. I have done couple of treks previously.

  12. Manimahesh not possible before June. KK absolutely not before July. Other than that you can trek in GHNP and around for the aforementioned period. Keep an eye on the erratic weather though

  13. Hi Tarun,
    We 3 friends planning to visit kinnaur kailas in mid June. Is it necessary to hire a guide?
    And need information about Mobile network, wood for fire near gufa, temperature in Night at gufa, drinking water sources, and accomodation at Tangling village.

  14. Hi Tarun da,
    We 16 friends have already booked tickets for Kinnaur Kailash on 6/7th august. We need your advice on
    1. Camping sites, if govt accomodation available that time
    2. Water sources
    3. Mobile network and if electricity available
    4. If raincoat necessary in august
    Regards to you. Thanks.

  15. You’ll find a camping site at Maling Khata and another at the ‘gufa’ which would be a crowded place to be, if you choose to stay there.
    There is a water source near gufa and one (probably) at the makeshift dhaba at Maling Khata Campsite. Beyond that, it is difficult to find water.
    Mobile network is available even at the top of KK Shivling but not between Maling Khata and Parbati Kund
    Wouldn’t hurt to carry an umbrella or a raincoat.

  16. Sir u mentioned u left in morning 330 am at what time u reached at top and did u stop while going down in between or u directly came down without rest

  17. No body talk about nature or local community it’s hurt . enjoy nature ,be survivel men ,it’s new mentality in India … body talk about holy track or Lord Shiva …..all just wanna show off and know lot’s of big blogger showing path indirectly ,where is local ?wow ,
    Follow everyone without ……no words actually we r not active like other but we always suggest take local to know place batter………best wishes my bro
    Really happy to see your post according Shivling
    Jai bhole

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