Height: 4,570 m
Spiti is the sub division of Lahaul & Spiti district with its headquarters at Kaza. Spiti also means “Middle Country”. It is called “Little Tibet” because it has almost the same terrain, vegetation and climate. Some inhabitants have adopted Buddhism as their faith and Bhoti is the spoken language. The people are simple and honest. It lies between Tibet, Ladakh, Kinnaur, Lahaul and Kullu. From Shimla via Kinnaur there is a motorable road which remains open up to Kaza for 8 to 9 months. About 10 Km. ahead of Pooh, Satluj enters India near Shipki la & Spiti River joins it at Khab. The road then goes to Sumdo via Hangrang valley. From Sumdo Spiti valley starts. The Spiti River flows fast through deep gorges at some places. It has an area of 4,800 sq. Km. The main Spiti valley is split into eastern and western valleys. They are connected with Ladakh and Tibet on eastern side & Kinnaur and Kullu on western side through high passes.
The valley lies at a height of 2745 metres above sea level. Summer in this valley is cool and pleasant with green grass and alpine flowers. There are little monsoon in both these valleys and this enables climbers & trekkers to enjoy a long and unbroken season in perpetual sunshine to explore the wilderness and grandeur of the inner Himalaya. This unique feature makes Lahaul-Spiti as an ideal destination for tourists and trekkers in the month of July, August and September.
Travelling to Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti?
Drink plenty of fluids and eat regularly to avoid dehydration and altitude sickness. Petrol pumps on the route are at Shimla, Theog, Narkanda, Rampur, Powari, Recong Peo, Kaza, Keylong, Sarchu and Manali. If driving, essential spares and extra fuel are recommended, a sturdy vehicle is suggested. Government hospitals are at Recong Peo, Kaza and Keylong. Dispensaries are available elsewhere. Prescription medicines and sun screen lotion should be carried along. If crossing the high passes, good health is essential. The best time to travel to these areas is between April and October. While planning your trip, it is suggested that you check on general road conditions and confirm if the high passes are open to traffic. Foreigners visiting the upper reaches of Kinnaur and Spiti require a permit. For details regarding this, please contact any office of Himachal Tourism.
Temperature: In summers, the maximum temperature goes till 26.8 C and minimum at 1.38 C
In winters, Lahaul and Spiti district receive a very cold temperature in winter. Snow fall is very common from December to February when the temperature may fall sub-zero.
Season: Light woollen in summer and heavy woollen in winter.
Pin Valley National Park-
This National Park is situated in the cold desert Ibex of Spiti Valley. In this area visitors come across large herds of Ibex and Bharal. This area can be visited only by those who have tough leg muscles and strong lungs. The area is closed to foreign visitors. Indian visitors are also required to obtain a permit for entry from Deputy Commissioner Shimla or Sub Divisional Magistrate Rampur.|
Ki (Kye, Kee) Monastery (4,116 m) :
12 km from Kaza, the Ki Monastery lies high above the left bank of the river Spiti. It is a collection of rooms and a labyrinth of corridors that do not follow any defined plan, but seem to have grown over the years. Portions of the structure are three stories high, while other are lower. No definite date can be ascribed to the construction of the Gompa -that acted both as monastery and as a fort. Some scholars believe this to have been built by Dromton (1008 – 64 AD).
Located near the Indo-Tibet border, the village has a naturally preserved unique Mummy, which is more than 500 years old and is an attraction for the visitors. The mummy in the village is placed in a room constructed on a hilltop. It is believed that this mummy is of a Lama, who died at the age of around 45 years and was found in a sitting posture. Giu is situated at a height of approx. 10,000 feet above the sea level. Giu village is approximately 10 Km from Giu nallah and village is connected with link road. Giu nallah is between Sumdo and Tabo.
Keylong- Keylong (3,340 m):
is the district Headquarters of Lahaul Spiti on the main road to Leh over Rohtang. It is an oasis of green fields and willow trees, water streams surrounded with brown hills and snow capped peaks.
Chander Tal :
At an altitude of 4,300 metres and 6 Km from the Kunzum Pass in Lahaul & Spiti district that connects Spiti Chander Tal Lake and Lahaul areas. Surrounded by snows and acres of scree, this deep blue-water lake has a circumference of 2.5 Km. This is the source of the river Chandra.
It is situated near the confluence of Losar and Peeno streams at height of 4080 m above sea level. This village is worth a visit being the first big village and because of its Location.
Tabo (50 km from Kaza, 3050 m) :
At first glance, Tabo seems nothing more than a cluster of large mud huts. But inside, a series of amazing galleries of wall paintings and stucco statues emerge. Founded in 996 AD, it is often called the ‘Ajanta of the Himalaya’, after the almost legendary art-treasure site in Maharashtra. In terms of area, this is the largest monastic complex in Spiti and the old section has nine temples, 23 chortens, a monks’ chamber and a nuns’ chamber. There are several caves and contemporary structures that form a part of the Tabo complex. In Trans Himalayan Buddhism, Tabo’s sanctity is next only to Tibet’s Tholing monastery.
Kunzum Pass :
Kunzum pass (4,590 m) is the gateway to Spiti from Kullu & Lahaul. After crossing Rohtang pass and driving 20Km, one has to turn right from Gramphoo. While going to this pass, the panoramic view of Bara-Sigri glacier (second longest glacier in the world) is enthralling and inspiring. On one side is the Spiti valley and to the other are numerous C.B. (Chandra-Bhaga) range peaks.
Kibber (4,205 m):
Located 8 Km away from Ki Village, till recently Kibber was the highest permanently inhabited village of the region connected by a motorable road. It also acts as the base for several high altitude treks. The Kibber Sanctuary that lies past the village has blue sheep and ibex and covers an area of 1,400 square kilometers.
Dhankar (3,370 m) :
Driving between Tabo and Kaza, on a side road lies the monastery of Dhankar. In local parlance, a ‘Dhankar’ is a fort – and that is what this monastery once was. Perched high over the valley, this is a superb example of Spiti’s traditional architectural skills. This was once the castle of the ruler of Spiti, the Nono – and today, Dhankar is a repository of Buddhist scriptures in the Bhoti script. Above the monastery lies the Dhankar lake.
Kaza (3,660 m) :
This is the administrative headquarters of Spiti. It has a marketplace, medical facilities, a filling station, ‘rest houses’ and hotels. Kaza serves as the base for excursions in the area and among others, the Ki (Key), Hikkim, Komik and Langja monasteries are at hand.
This is the highest village in Spiti and is situated at a height of 4,270 m.
Through a deep gorge, the Lingti stream, another one of the Spiti’s tributaries, flows down from the north. The valley offers some strenuous treks.
Other Buddhist Monasteries and Temples in Spiti: Losar, Hansa, Rangrik (site only), Kuang, Keuling, Langia, Lara, Lidang, Domal, Sanglung, Rama, Lha lun, Mane yogma, Mane gogma, Giu and Kaurik.
1.Watch Snow Leopard and test your stamina at Pin Valley National Park.
2.Watch the nature made mummy kept in an open glass box at Giu Village.
3.Be a part of the Lossar celebrations and discover the many colours of the festivities.
4.Feel the spiritual beauty of Chander Tal.
5.Watch the pure beauty of Glacier and enjoy the ride at Kunzum Pass.
6.Visit the Kye Monastery to find spiritual solace.
Where To Stay
Small hotels and camps at Tabo, Kaza and Kibber. At Kaza, Himachal Tourism runs the Tourist Lodge. Medical facilities are available at Kaza, Tabo, Sagnam and Kibber. All prescription medicines should be carried along. While travelling to the higher areas, adequate medical precautions should be taken.
How To Get Around
By Road – From Manali to Kaza there are regular buses from July to October. From Shimla via Kinnaur there are regular buses from May to October.
By Rail – Jogindernagar is the nearest railway station. The rail route from Jogindernagar to Chandigarh is a narrow guage one. Shimla and Chandigarh are the nearest broad guage railway stations. Buses and taxis are available from Shimla and Chandigarh to reach Spiti.
By Air – Spiti can be reached either from Manali or via Shimla. Buses and taxis can be hired from Manali to Kaza. Flights from New Delhi, Chandigarh and Kullu operate on a daily basis to Shimla airport.