The Rupi- Bhaba Sanctuary on the right bank of the Sutlej occupies the greenest corner of Kinnaur.Backed by the Srikhand range ,its valleys allow free access to the monsoon traveling up the Sutlej.Rupi-Bhaba also has the greatest altitudinal range among Kinnaur’s three sanctuaries. This enables you to see vegetation ranging from the sub-tropical to the alpine and a wide range in fauna all in a day’s march.
Down by the Sutlej, large leafed trees of melotus and the smaller span of the ficus exist in close proximity with the chir pine.At one or two places there are even banana groves. Warm subtropical growth gives way to cooler mountain vegetation near the villages. The pasture beyond is rich and extensive attracting flocks from great distances, especially the wide spaces of the upper Bhaba Valley.
Near the Sutlej the goral an antelope is the herbivore most frequently sighted. Further up is the habitat of Serow,majestic tahr and musk deer and finally near the Spiti border is the blue sheep and ibex area.For bird life the sanctuary’s major boast is the Western Himalayan horned tragopan.The other birds likely to be seen are monal,kalij,the koklash and chir. In the upper areas there is snow cock.
With only a limited road network the Rubi-Bhaba Sanctuary has to be explored on foot. For the real wildlife enthusiast it is worth moving through villages trekking in the side valleys. This route stays close to the Sutlej River but covers the catchment of every tributary starting with the Rupi and moving eastwards through Shorang and the Salarign and ending in the Wangar.You can trek anywhere between five and ten days depending on the time available for making forays up the different valleys in the sanctuary. To get to the starting point of Chaura, drive from Shimla to Rampur or Jeori as they offer a greater choice in accommodation. Head to Chaura the following morning.Chaura also has a forest rest house and if you do camping on its grounds.
For those with time to explore the Shorang Valley it takes at least 2 days to walk to the base of the Kamba Khango Pass leading to the upper Bhaba Valley. Wild lifers can catch a glimpse of entire range of wildlife in the valley from goral to ibex. A day’s march until just beyond Dumti at the confluence of two major tributaries of the Shorang will provide opportunities of sighting the serow, tragopan, bear, marten and leopard en route. Basic provisions can be obtained in all the villages but there is no habitation up valley beyond the Shorang hamlet. Camping is possible at Dumti and at many places in the pastures beyond along the eastern tributary of the Shorang that leads to the Kamba Khango Pass.
Location: North of the Sutlej Valley,Kinnaur District
How to Reach
From Shimla to Rampur it is 116 km/5 hrs by car and 6 hrs by Bus.Plenty of buses leave from the Lakkad Bazaar Bus stop day and night daily. Rampur to Chaura is 34 km via jeori.You can get bus, jeep or taxi easily .Return take a taxi or bus from katgaon.Rupi is the wettest valley of Kinnaur.It is advisable to travel before or after the rain.