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Spiti Valley

4.5 /5 73 votes

Weather:

Best Time: Mid May- Mid Oct Read More

Ideal duration: 4-6 days

Nearest Airport: Chandigarh Check Flights

"Trekking mecca and a virgin paradise"

Spiti Valley Tourism

Long winding roads and valleys that present unforgettable glimpses of cold desert and snow-crowned mountains welcome you when you set foot into Spiti Valley. Bordered on all sides by the Himalayas, Spiti Valley, located in Himachal Pradesh, has an altitude of 12,500 feet above sea level, and gets just around 250 days of sunshine in the year, making it one of the coldest places in the country. With the thick Himalayan snow cutting Spiti off from the rest of the country for around 6 months a year, the summer months are the only time Spiti is directly accessible via motorway.

The term Spiti means 'The Middle Land', as Spiti Valley separates India from Tibet. Scantily populated, Spiti is an adventure lover’s paradise, with a number of trekking trails that tourists can choose from. All of these treks start from Kaza (Spiti’s capital from where you make your base camp) to various peaks from where you can get panoramic views of the Himalayan mountains. An easy 1.5-kilometre trek along the Spiti River from Dhankar Monastery to Dhankar Lake promises gorgeous views of the villages below. The Dhankar Lake itself is a place where you can sit back and relax amidst the cool mountain air.

The mountain ropeway from Kibber to Chichum is also another popular tourist attraction that offers spectacular views of the gorge below, as well a bird’s eye view of the surrounding peaks.

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The Middle Land

Spiti literally means 'the Middle Land', situated between the region of India and the adjoining borders of the Tibet region of China, in the eastern part of the state of Himachal Pradesh. Strictly for trekkers and hikers, this is an adventurer's paradise. The terrain of this place is quite high and difficult. The Lahaul and Spiti district comprises of both the valleys which are separated by Kunzum pass.

What Makes Spiti An Amazing Tourist Destination

You don’t have to be a strict nature lover or a bird-watcher to find the little village of Langzha endearing. All you have to do is simply sit on the isolated slopes of this village and look up at the sky in order to get thrilling glimpses of eagles, hawks and even vultures. There are a few other places in Spiti that allow you to catch a glimpse of these elusive birds, but the scenic landscape of Langhza heightens that thrill by quite a few notches.

Spiti Valley is known for housing some of the oldest monasteries in the country, such as the Key Monastery, which has a fort-like structure resembling traditional Chinese architecture and has a stunning Buddha Shrine on display. Other monasteries you can visit include the Tabo Monastery, the Lhalung Monastery, and the Gandhola Monastery.

Spiti has its fair share of lakes too, the most famous ones being Chandratal Lake and Suraj Tal Lake. Chandratal Lake derives its name from its crescent moon-like shape and is a photographer’s paradise. Suraj Tal lake is another famous lake in Spiti, and it is the third highest lake in all of India, making it an idyllic spot for camping.

High up in Spiti, roads are almost non-existent, so the idea of street food does not exist in Spiti. Thukpa is the standard fare of this little town, and it is a delicious respite from the bone-numbing chill which is perpetually present in the air.

Culture and Traditions of Spiti

The name "Spiti" means the middle land. Therefore, Spiti Valley is the middle land between India and Tibet. It has mixed culture and traditions of both the nations. It is a research centre for Buddhist due to its innumerable monasteries and temples. Tabo Monastery is the favourite of Dalai Lama and one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in the world. It is home to the few surviving Buchen Lamas of the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism. The life at Spiti often leads to monastic forms of living for most of its inhabitants. People of Spiti are superstitious- they talk of healing trees, spirits and monks possessing magical powers. People celebrate the local festivals and fairs. Tribal fair Keylong coincides with the Indian Independence day, falling between 14th to 16th of August; in which cultural troupes are invited to perform the state arts from Chandigarh, Dharamshala etc. There is also Ladarcha fair held annually in July. Traders from Ladakh, Rampur Busher and Spiti, meet to barter their produce.

Restaurants and Local Food in Spiti Valley

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 village sways with barley fields which is the biggest source of food. The 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.
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Suggested Itinerary

For the much-awaited escapade to the mountains, Spiti is the go-to place for all you trekkers and backpackers out there. Here, we have a ready itinerary to make life easy for you.

Day 1
Reach Rohtang or Solang Valley a day before and start for Kaza- headquarters of Spiti, via Rohtang Pass early in the morning. Spend some leisure time at Kunzum Pass on the way and the beautiful drive through Battal, Chattru and Gramphu. Spend the night at Kaza.

Day 2
Drive to Tabo and visit the old monasteries and monk caves. On the way back to Kaza, visit the Dhankar villages and the famous Dhangkar Monastery. Drive through the less travelled roads of Langza. Visit the statue of Buddha and witness the great view of Chau Chau Kang Neldad peak. Enjoy the pleasing snowscape panorama and come back to Kaza for the night.

Day 3
Visit the Ki- Kibber villages and the renowned Ki monastery. Enjoy the enthralling drive between Losar and Kaza. You can either camp at Chandratal or spend the night at a PWD rest house in Battal, which is without electricity. It is advisable to not ride back to Losar to save time and energy.

Day 4
Drive through Battal - Chattru and Gramphu to Manali, back via Rohtang Pass. On your way back visit the beautiful Kunzun la Pass and end your trip on a high. Lastly, you can visit local sights in Manali and head back accordingly.

Additional Days
If you have additional days to spare, you can visit the Spiti river and indulge in river rafting or other adventure activities. Also, you can also visit Pin Valley National Park for a glimpse of Snow Leopards. It is a 1-hour drive to Pin Valley from Kaza and it will be worth your time.

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Holidify's Opinion

What's Great?

Paradise for adventurers. Mesmerising view of the mountains with fresh air.

What's Not So Great?

Risky highways. Hostile in late monsoons and winters. Become deserted during the winters.

For Whom?

Ideal for all sorts of adventurers, whether trekking, or camping, or even hiking. Also suitable for backpackers from nearby sites like New Delhi, Shimla, Manali, etc.

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How To Reach Spiti Valley

Lahaul and Spiti are separated from Kullu by the Rohtang pass and Kunzum pass and it lies on the Manali-Leh highway. This route is fine to reach Spiti valley during the summers but is inaccessible for most parts of the year due to heavy snowfall. However, Spiti valley is accessible throughout the year though from Shimla via Kinnaur (except for occasional disturbances due to landslides or heavy snowfall).

Route 1: Via Kinnaur through Hindustan - Tibet Highway

Reach Shimla via Delhi or Chandigarh in an overnight bus. There are many public and private buses running between Shimla and Kinnaur from 5 AM to 8 PM. Beyond the specified time, there are around 2-3 overnight buses to Reckong Peo (Headquarters of Kinnaur district). You can get these buses from the New Bus Stand as well as from the Old Bus Stand in Shimla.

In addition to this, you can also hire a shared taxi or even a private one (Xylo or Scorpio). The charges range from INR 2500 - 3500 per day from Shimla depending on the season and your bargaining skills.

Some people also prefer to drive down on their own. A drive in an SUV is safe enough but a sedan or hatchbacks are not preferred due to major landslides and rough terrains.

Although self-driving is more enjoyable and gives you the convenience of stopping and taking in the scenic beauty at your own pleasure, however, a journey in the state/private bus is less time-taking.

Route 2: Via Manali

The other option is to take a private/public bus from Manali and reach Kaza through Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass. There are buses leaving from Manali at around 5 am in the morning to Kaza.

You can hire a shared taxi or even a private one (Xylo or Scorpio). The charges range from INR 2800-3500 per day from Manali depending on the season and your bargaining skills.

You can also take a private vehicle and drive down on your own as the route is without any trouble (slushy roads etc.), unlike the Hindustan- Tibet highway.

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Spiti Valley Reviews

Your rating
david John 6 months ago
Nice Info. Thanks for sharing with all of us. Keep sharing more like this. I also want to share some information about an amazing tourist destination "Manali" in Himachal Pradesh which has various spectacular adventurous places and activities to enjoy and make your trip more pleasant and extraordinary. "Link Hidden"
Surbhi Parashar 1 year ago
Popularly known as the cold desert mountain, "Middle Land" or "Little Tibet", Spiti Valley can be more aptly called as 'Trekking mecca and a virgin paradise'. Nestled in the Himalayan range in Himachal Pradesh, this desert terrain is sure to spellbind you. Further inward, ancient monasteries, quaint little habitations, snow-capped mountains, verdure forests, crystal clear rivers and magnificent glaciers make this picture perfect valley all the more enthralling and surreal. The breath-taking views and the untouched natural beauty will make your visit a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Kumar Kislay 1 year ago
- The highways are a bit dangerous as most buses run at above normal speeds. Driving here should be done very carefully. Also during trekking one must ensure that the guide is well-informed of the terrain there and the food and water should be sufficient in quantity.
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