Kinnaur Has Cleanest Air in Country- Study by:

Indian Institute of Technology -Delhi

Delhi has the most polluted air while Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh has the cleanest air in India, as per the study conducted by Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi.If you want to breathe clean air, travel to Himachal Pradesh's remote Kinnaur district that is endowed with the mighty Himalayas, gurgling rivers, virgin nature and a rich cultural heritage.

As per IIT-D Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, PM 2.5 (particulate matter) in Kinnaur was found to be 3.7+-1 microgram per cubic metre (g/m) annually, which is less than 10% of the national air quality target of 40g/m.Unlike Kinnaur, air particulate matter level of Delhi stood at 148+-51g/m annually, which is several times higher than the safe limit.The IIT study said 2.79 lakh Indians die prematurely because of COPD, 1.1 lakh die of IHD, and 88,700 and 14,800 deaths are caused by stroke and lung cancer, respectively. The old trade route of Hindustan-Tibet Road passes through the Kinnaur Valley - NH-22, along the bank of river Sutlej and finally enters Tibet at Shipki-La-Pass. The gushing rivers of Kinnaur abound in Trout - the angler's prize catch. Now this area has been opened for the daring and adventurous to discover what had been hidden from the world for centuries.

A recent study by the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D) says Kinnaur district has the cleanest air in the country, whereas the national capital is the most polluted.


PM 2.5 is harmful microscopic particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs and directly mixes with the blood stream and can lead to serious respiratory diseases and even heart failure. People who live in cities with high PM 2.5 have more heart attacks, depressed lung function, worse asthma, and overall die younger than people who breathe clean air says NRDC.

In Kinnaur, several toilets have been built and the villagers have been sensitized against going into the fields to attend to nature's call.Most of the villages of Kinnaur, which remain cut off from the rest of the country for more than six months a year owing to heavy snowfall, are known for their rich tribal culture and traditions.The district is home to a population of 31,528 as per the 2011 census.There is a tradition in this tribal-dominated district to welcome guests with a garland of dry fruits and a round Kinnauri cap with a green flap.The district administration, based in RekongPeo, some 250 km from the state capital Shimla and known for growing delicious apples, a few years ago, banned the use of plastic mineral water bottles in all official meetings and functions. Water is served in ‘Kullhars’or clay mugs.The district, despite facing environment degradation owing to three large hydro-electric projects that are operational in the Sutlej valley and many others coming up, has more than 60 registered home-stay units, besides numerous hotels and guest houses.Kinnaur is known for legally brewinghome-made liquor -'Angoori'made from distinctively flavoured black grapes grown in high altitudes and 'Ghanti' made from locally grown apples and apricots.

While the former is, the latter Chitkul, a village very close to the China border and the last point to visit without a permit in the backdrop of the majestic snow-clad ‘Kinner Kailash’ peaks, is a must place to visit in the district.It nestles amid virgin nature, with abundant wildlife and exquisite flora and fauna. It is also the last point in India one can travel to without a permit.This picturesque village of Kalpa, located at 9,711 feet above mean sea level, is known for its apple orchards and natural untouched beauty.

The idyllic, pastoral settings in Kalpa have been attracting many backpackers, mainly foreigners, for mountaineering expeditions, high-altitude treks and white-water rafting.Enhance your life span bystaying in Kalpa - 250 km from state capital - Shimla.

(Source: Reuters 18th April 2016; 13:23 IST: Times of India)