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Kibber, Spiti Valley Overview

Kibber, also known as Kyibar, is a small village located in the Spiti Valley at an altitude of 4270 metres in Himachal Pradesh. Surrounded by picturesque mountains and barren landscapes, Kibber boasts of being the highest village with a motorable road. The village is particularly famous for the local monastery and Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary. One can spend a day at the rest houses here, with the mountains watching over. A feature of this village is around 40 similar-looking houses built in Tibetan architecture.

The houses are all built with stone and similar patterns and barring the conventional building materials and bricks. Due to the lack of transportation material, the raw materials are taken from the neighbouring villages.  It is the highest inhabited village with 77 houses with 366 people only. There are 187 men and 179 women in the town.

Besides these, there are several nearby villages worth exploring for their ancient culture and beautiful views. Tibetan Buddhism is practised here and the village holds a special significance for Buddhists as the teacher of Dalai Lama, Serkong Rinpoche died here. He was also the founder of Kibber Monastery. It may be remotely placed, but it is well established with hospitals, high school, post office, telegraph office, and community television.

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Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary

Established in 1992, Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary is spread over an area of 1400 square kilometres and harbours rare species of flora and fauna. Around forty snow leopards have been discovered here. Tibetan Wolf, Ibex, Bharal, Tibetan Woolly Hare, Pale Weasel, Tibetan Wild Ass and Red Fox can also be found here. Himalayan Birds, such as Griffons, Bearded Eagle, and Snow Cock also inhabit the sanctuary. The area is rich in rare and endangered medicinal plant species used in the production of traditional medicines and cosmetics. Local operators and homestays organize excursions and treks to the sanctuary.

Places to Visit in Kibber

Key Monastery- Located just 8 km from Kibber village, it is the biggest monastery in the Spiti valley dedicated to Buddhist learning and a religious training centre for Lamas. A visit to the Spiti Valley is incomplete without visiting Key Monastery as you get to witness the culture of Buddhism and life of lamas. The place has a soothing ambience where you can just relax and feel the positive vibes.

Chicham is a small village in the Himalayas which is famous for its steel bridge above a 1000 feet deep gorge. It is said to be Asia’s highest bridge at around 4 metres above the sea level and connects Kibber to Chicham village. It took 14 years to complete this bridge before which the villagers used a dangerous ropeway.

Gette- Located at an altitude of around 4500 metres, Gette is merely a village 7 km away from Kibber. You can trek your way as the motorable road ends before and vehicles might struggle due to dirt and loose gravel. The calm landscapes and serenity are unmatched.

Tashigang- A visit to Gette can be clubbed with Tashigang which is believed to be the highest village in Spiti Valley. Located near the India-Tibet border, it has just four homes constructed in Tibetan style. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the people residing here.

Kibber Monastery- The local monastery of Kibber village has a huge significance for Buddhists as it was founded by Serkong Rinpoche, master of Dalai Lama. He died in 1983 and spent his last place here only.

Trekking in Kibber

Parang La Trek- For trekking enthusiasts, Kibber is a place to be as the splendid route of Parang La Trek will never disappoint you. At an altitude of 18,400 feet, it offers stunning views of Tso Moriri Lake. It starts from Kibber village and takes you through Pare Chu river before ending in Karzok village. You will have an experience of a lifetime as you are rewarded with fantastic views of mountains, deep gorges and vast landscapes.

Trek to Tso Moriri Lake- Tso Moriri or Mountain Lake is the largest of the high altitude lakes in Changthang plateau. You will also come across rare species of flora and fauna making the place a paradise for photographers and wildlife lovers.

Best Time to Visit

The most suitable time to explore Kibber is in the summer season from July to October when the cold temperature is bearable. Although you may need woollens at night. Winters are extreme with the mercury dipping down to -20 degrees Celcius. Snow enhances the beauty of the village but it remains inaccessible as the Rohtang Pass gets shut down and opens only during summers. It is not advisable to visit Kibber during monsoons as it is prone to landslides.

Food at Kibber

There are limited options available in Spiti Valley when it comes to food. Freshly grown crops like barley, peas and potatoes taste the best here. There are many guesthouses and homestays that serve traditional Spitian food like Barley kheer, Tibetan bread and Quo, made of barley flour and yak cheese. Deshek homestay, Norling guesthouse, Tashi Zom and Sarkhang homestay are some of the restaurants you can try.

Getting Around

Walking and taking local buses are the easiest options to explore Kibber village. Since road network is not good within the town, cabs or taxis are not frequently available.

How To Reach Kibber

Kibber is well-connected by road with the nearest town Kaza which is located at a distance of 20 km.There is a regular bus service that plies to Kibber only during the summer months from Kaza, the nearest town. Otherwise, one will have to bank on expensive modes like SUVs to the village.  Alternatively, you can hire a taxi from Shimla, Chandigarh or Manali. There are no direct buses to Kibber from any of these towns. You can also choose to self-drive from nearby towns. In this case, permits are required to cross Rohtang Pass.

Alternative Transport
The other mode of transport available is a shared taxi which is accessible all round the year. Locals walk down to Jibber because transportation is expensive when buses don't operate. Locals are also aware of the short cuts through the hills.

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