A camper and trekker's paradise, Chandratal Lake is often referred to as one of the most beautiful lakes located at an altitude of about 4300 m in the mighty Himalayas. The name "Chandra Taal" (Lake of the Moon) comes from its crescent shape. Once a tentative residence for Tibetan traders traveling to Spiti and the Kullu valley, it attracts thousands of adventure enthusiasts from all over the world. Vast stretches of green meadows house the best camping sites and an array of different wildflowers during springtime. Visiting here is one of the topmost things to do in Spiti Valley.
The Key Monastery is a famous Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Lahaul and Spiti District of India. Located at an altitude of 4,166 metres above the sea level, the monastery is very close to the Spiti River in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh in India. Also known as the Kye Monastery, it is believed to have been founded by Dromton, who was a student of the famous teacher Atisha in the 11th century. Be sure to include this in your bucket list of things to do in Spiti Valley.
Kunzum Pass or Kunzum La as it is called by locals is one of the highest motorable mountain passes of India, located at an altitude of 4,551m above mean sea level. It serves as a gateway to the beautiful Spiti valley Via Kullu and Lahaul. Kunzum La offers an incredible 360-degree view of Bara- Shigri Glacier (the second longest glacier in the world), a jaw-dropping vista of Chandrabhaga Range and a spectacular view of the Spiti valley. This enthralling view makes the Pass a photographer's dream. The Pass is a beautiful mixture of two different landscapes; rugged mountains and massive glaciers of Lahaul and the dry, barren mountains and the turquoise river of Spiti.
Set amidst semi-frozen rivers in the Pin Valley, the Pin Valley National Park is situated in the Cold Desert Biosphere Reserve situated in the Lahaul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh. The elevation of the park ranges from about 3,500 metres near Ka Dogri to more than 6,000 metres at its pinnacle. One of the fascinating facilities of its kind, the Pin Valley National Park is home to the rare species of famous Himalayan snow leopards and their prey, the Ibex. However, Pin Valley National Park is most famous for its incredible trek which is a delight for all its visitors. If you are a nature enthusiast, you should definitely include visiting here in your list of top things to do in Spiti Valley.
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Being in the trans-Himalayan Region, the terrain of Spiti is the most favorable for Mountain Biking and features toward the top on the list of any Mountain Biker. Ride on some of the highest roads and through dessert like and dreamy landscapes. The best time for such an experience is during the months of June to September.
One of the prime things to do in Spiti Valley is enjoying a ride on a yak. Yak and Horse Safaris are the best and some of the most popular and loved ways to explore this region. The activity is a very popular one among the tourists and even among the locals.
Just below the Baralacha pass, is a lake, one should not moss while here, especially if they are into photography. The Suraj Tal, is one of the most dream-like and photogenic lakes. The sheer beauty of this place is enough to make the drive seem worth the effort. The lake is fed from the glaciers of Baralacha La and the area around makes for a great trek and biking tour. The lake is at a distance of around 65 kms. from Keylong.
Rafting is one of the most thrilling things to do in Spiti. Riding the tides in the backdrop of rocky hills and picture perfect setting is an experience of a lifetime. You can try the activity in the Pin and Spiti rivers. This rafting activity covers a distance of 180 kms on an average.
Being a lesser-known as a typical holiday destination, the tourism sector in Lahaul and Spiti is not well-developed and finding shops for souvenirs would be difficult here. However there is a special variety of tea here known as the Spiti tea which is claimed to slows down ageing as per the locals. Kaza - headquarters of Spiti and a small town, is famous or its pure wool shawls, carpets and woolen clothes. Ceramic items and local jewellery is also on the top list of buyers. Lets check out some major shopping outlets of the town.
This Monastery is situated on a cliff between Kaza and Tabo. An amazing view of the Spiti river can be seen from here. This Monastery has a statue of 'Vairocharan' displaying four statues of Buddha seated in the 4 directions, along with ancient paintings, murals and texts. A true insight into Buddhist religion and culture can be procured by a visit to this Monastery. It can be accessed by a motorable road.
Fossil Hunting is one activity unique to Spiti which is still not too popular. However, it is a a very exciting activity especially if you are a history or an archaeology enthusiast. There is a strong possibility that you will find one because the region in an around Langza and Hikkim is studded with fossils. If not, you will still find locals selling out these fossils which you can purchase to take back home as souvenirs.
Standing tall and strong at a dizzying height of 10,000 feet, the Tabo Monastery is a testimony to the innate beauty and elegance of the Buddhist culture. It was established over a millennia ago in 996 A.D. and is one of the oldest monasteries of the Trans-Himalayan region. In fact, it is the oldest monastery that in India that has been functioning continuously since its inception. Built by the revered Buddhist king, Yeshe-O, the Tabo Monastery is now a priceless treasure to the Buddhist community.
At a distance of 5 km from the Dhankar monastery that sits dangerously on a cliff, lies the Dhankar lake on the other side of the mountain. It takes about an hour to reach the lake after following a well marked trail from the monastery. If you spend enough time at the lake, you can see the sky change colors and reflect on the crystal-like lake, making it more spell binding each time, within a span of just a few hours. Visiting at the lake is one of the best things to do in Spiti Valley.
Stargazing is a unique experience that is especially enjoyable in the hills. And Spiti Valley is one such place where you can en-cash this surreal experience. On clear nights, you can see the night sky studded with millions of diamond like stars. While the activity is in itself, immensely peaceful, it is also a time to reminisce, and is surely going to be an experience of a lifetime for you.
Thangka painting is a Buddhist painting made on cotton and silk.When they are not used for display, they are rolled and kept on a textile backing which look like Chinese scroll paintings, with a silk cover. They can last for a long time. But they are of delecate nature, that's why they are kept in dry places so that it doesn't get affected by moisture. The painting depicts a Buddhist deity or a scene. They are the best souvenirs to take back home with you.
The Baralacha Pass, also known as the Baralacha la, is a high mountain pass that is located at the height of 16,040 feet above the sea level and is situated in the Zanskar range. This 8 kilometres long pass connects the Lahaul district in Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir and is located along the Leh-Manali highway. Just a few kilometres away from this pass, one can also find the Bhaga River, which is a tributary of the Chenab River that originates from the Surya Taal Lake. The Baralacha Pass is thus, surrounded by numerous beautiful sights, which leave the onlooker spellbound and yearning for more.
Trilokinath Temple holds religious significance amongst both Tibetan Buddhists and Hindus. The temple is situated on a cliff at the end of a street in the Tunde village. The three day Pauri festival during August makes it a good time to visit the temple.
Spiti's cuisine has an interesting mix of delicacies which one must indulge in. Though the Tibetan food dominates the platters here, one finds satisfying North-Indian food as well as a dash of Israeli food. The barley grain is used to produce arrack (barley whisky), chang (barley beer); and roasted flour is made into laddoos or breakfast cereal called thungpa. The local food items that one should not miss include Momos, Thukpa, Butter tea, Chang (a locally made beer), Arkah (a locally made whiskey) and more. Other than these, flavoured and aromatic teas such as those with garnishes of lemon, mint, ginger, honey are quite popular.
One of the most essential things to do in Spiti Valley is to try trekking. Spiti is the haven for adventure seekers and trekkers as it offers treks through some of the most unseen, dream-like landscapes, watched over by majestic sceneries. For the more experienced trekkers there is the Pin-Parvarti route. Other routes include Kaza-Langza-Hikim-Comic-Kaza, Kaza-Ki-Kibber-Gete-Kaza, Kaza-Losar-Kunzum La and Kaza-Tabo-Sumdo-Nako.
Nestled amid the cold desert region of Lahaul and Spiti district, Pin Valley National Park is a paradise for nature lovers. The floral wealth of the park is also exceptional which includes more than 400 plant species. Apart from that the trek becomes all the more fascinating with natural scenic beauty that adorns the place. With a magnificent backdrop of snow clad mountain ranges, it also includes as many as 17 villages at the periphery of the park. If you are a nature lover, you should definitely go on this trek as this is one of the most exciting things to do in Spiti Valley.
There are a number of Tibetan shops here, where one can shop for gems and jewellery, local ornaments, semi-precious stones as well as ceramic utensils. The shops are perfect to buy junk jewellery and to buy souvenirs to take back home for friends and family.
Shashur Monastery, derives its name from the blue pines that surround it. It is a three-storey structure located at a distance of 35-40 km from Manali. The panoramic view of the river, mountains and Keylong town from the monastery is amazing. The prayer rooms are bedecked with large paintings and wall paintings, making this place even more worth the visit.
The monastery is famous for its wooden idols, which stand pout from the clay idols found in all other monasteries. The monastery is founded by Padma Sambhava and is over 800 years old. Guru Ghantal is a monastery located on a hilltop above Tupchiling village, where the rivers Chandra and Bhaga meet.
The Keylong Market offers plethora of choices including woolen shawls, mufflers, stoles, baby shawls, ponchos, and caps among other items either made from Angoora or Pashmina yarn. Don't forget to bargain for the best prices. Located at many places in Keylong, these co-operative run society shops offers almost everything you may need like clothes and utensils etc. However, the items that are unique to the town and are popular among tourists are ceramic items, stone gems and local jewellery.
Locally known as Khyipur, Kibber at an altitude of 4205m above sea level is one of the highest villages in the world. One can spend a day at the rest houses here, with the mountains watching over. There isn't much to do, but the sceneries and landscapes around you, as well as the altitude will keep you fascinated. At a little distance from Kibber is Gette, the highest village in the world at a height of 4270 mt above sea level. Visit this village just to witness a settlement at this altitude and its overwhelming surroundings.
Gue is a small village in the Spiti Valley which is also known as the Mummy Village as it has a mummy of a monk which is placed inside a tomb. As per carbon dating, the mummy is 500 to 600 years old. It has been dressed in silk robes and is placed in a squatting position. It was discovered in the year 1975.