Kinnaur, part of the erstwhile Bushahr State, was a subtehsil of Mahasu district before becoming a separate district in May 1960. It derives its name from the Kannaura or Kinnora, the original inhabitants of the region.
This district was opened for visitors in 1989. Foreign nationals require a permit to visit even today whereas Indian nationals can enter the district without any restrictions.
It is believed that the Pandavas lived here while in exile. Ancient traditions, beliefs and Buddhist monasteries established thousands of years ago point to the richness of the culture here. The main Hindu Deities of Kinnaur are Durga or Chandi. Bhairon, Usha or Ukha, Narayan, Vishnu, Badrinath and Bhimakall. Nag is also worshipped.
Kinnaur has been a major Trans-Himalayan corridor for centuries. Traders Travelling between China and the Punjab plains passed through the Hindustan – Tibet route for their business. Well-watered, lower and middle Kinnaur's beauty ranges from the subtropical to alpine. The valleys have some of the most interesting meadows, view points, lakes and lush green pastures in the state. Rinchen Zangpo (AD 958-1055) is credited with the spread of Buddhism here. He passed through this region on his way home from the plains where he had been sent by King Yeshod to absorb Indian Buddhism.
Location: Between 31o5' to 32o5' North latitude and 77o45' and 79o East longitude.
Boundaries: Tibet in the east Uttranchal in the south, Spiti valley in the north and northwest, Kullu in the northwest Shimla to the southwest.
Elevation: The district is wholly mountainous with elevation ranging from 1200m to 6000m. Reckong Peo is at an elevation of 2290m.
Climate: Cool summers, cold winters, temperature varies between subzero in winter to 22oC in summer
District headquarters: Reckong Peo
Area 6401 sq. kilometers
Literacy: 75.2% (84.3% male, 64.4% female)
Nearest Airport: Jubberhatti (Shimla)
Nearest Railhead: Shimla
Road Network: Good
Medical facilities: District hospital/dispensaries/pharmacies, medicines available at government hospitals/health centres.
Telecommunication: Linked with telephone/mobiles(Aitrel/BSNL), fax, STD Codes: Kalpa/Reckong Peo/Sangla-01786; Pooh-01785. The Telephone/Mobile are not available at remote areas of Kinnaur i.e Kunu, Lamber, Charang etc.
Banks: Nationalised banks at Reckong Peo and other main destinations. ATM facility of SBI(State Bank of India) and PNB(Punjab National Bank) at Reckong Peo.
Best Time to Go: May-June; September – October
Language/Dialect : Hindi/Kinnauri/English
Administrative Set-up : 3 subdivisions, 5 tehsils, 1 sub-tehsil, 3 development blocks. There are 62 gram panchayats (GPs).
Information taken from Book: Destination Himachal and Author: Minakshi Chaudhary