TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE

What All To Visit When in Spiti

Uma Krishanwal, Travel Writer, India

15 JANUARY 2018

‘Himachal Pradesh’, a place with bewitching mountains and all the river valleys is known to be India’s outdoor playground. An intricate topography of conjoined mountains makes Himachal a place to just simply explore. With a lot of famous places to visit in Himachal, Lahaul and Spiti is one such destination which has not been explored by many and gives true justice to the title. ‘Spiti’ meaning middle land is the land between India and Tibet.

The best season to visit Lahaul Spiti is May to mid-October. The best way to reach is by hitting the roads and exploring many beautiful destinations in the way. Crossing the Rohtang La from Manali, you arrive first in Lahaul’s relatively green Chanrdra Valley. Head west down the Chandra then up the Bhaga Valley through Keylong (Lahaul’s capital) and you are on the road to Ladakh. If you travel east up the Chandra Valley and over the Kunzum La into Spiti, you pass into the rain shadow in the great Himachal range.

What to do when in Spiti? For those who haven’t explored the sheer beauty of this place already, here are some strikingly beautiful destinations to visit when in Spiti:

TABO MONASTERY

Often referred to as ‘Ajanta of Himalayas’, the Tabo Chos Khor monastery was founded more than a thousand years ago in 996 A.D.

Untouched by the trials and tribulations of humanity, it has preserved its glorious heritage, tradition and culture of Buddhism through the centuries. Standing serenely in the cold and rocky Tabo Valley, this ancient monastery shows amazing architectural integrity and spiritual richness.

GUE MUMMY

Nestled deep within the trans Himalayan cold desert of the Spiti Valley in Himachal is the tiny village of Gue which houses India’s only mummy preserved naturally.

Gue, only a few kilometers away from Indo-China border is a small and indiscreet village situated at a height of 3000m. Due to the remoteness of Gue, the mummy existence has been remained under wraps but it is believed to be around 500-600 years old.

KEY MONASTERY

Key Gompa, a picturesque Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on a hilltop in Spiti, amidst brown gigantic mountain ranges.

7 kms away from the town of Kaza, it appears like a gigantic white balloon floating in the air from the distance. Sounds interesting, no?  It is pretty sure that the place, which is one among the seven wonders places of India, would seem way more spectacular once you reach there!

KAZA

Perched at an altitude of close to 12,000 feet, Kaza is one of those places where you would just want to sit and enjoy the tranquility of the place.

Capital of Spiti, Kaza sits on the eroded flood plain of the Spiti river, with jagged mountains on either side and is the biggest settlement you will encounter in the lonely parts of Himachal.

DHANKAR GOMPA

Dhankar village is situated at an elevation of over 38,000 meters in the Spiti Valley.  Just like another village in the cold desert of Spiti, untouched and away from tourist exploitation, the population of this village is not more than 100. Dhankar Tabo (monastery) was built as a fort monestary on the Central Tibetan pattern. The complex is built on a 1000foot high spur overlooking the confluence of the Spiti and Pin rivers- one of the most spectacular settings for a Gompa.

CHANDRATAL LAKE

Chandrataal, literally meaning “Moon lake”, is a high altitude lake located in the districts of Lahaul and Spiti. The name ‘Chandra’ is supposed to be derived from its moon like shape.  Though smaller than some of the famous high altitude lakes like Pangong and Moriri, Chandratal is no less beautiful and a night in the camps at its banks is one of the key highlights of a journey to Spiti valley.

KUMZUM LA

The motorbiking enthusiasts are very much familiar with this majestic gateway that leads to Lahaul and Spiti valleys.

Situated at a height of 4551 meters above sea level, the Kunzum Pass or Kunzum La is India’s second highest motorable mountain passes, and is located in Himachal Pradesh in North India. A large number of bikers visit this spot to experience the most thrilling ride through the spectacular gateway of Kunzum Pass. The place is also known for the Goddess Kunjum (Durga/Parvati) temple, which is located on the top of Kunzum and keeps guard over the pass and wards off the evil power.