Perched high in the Himalayas that are gorgeous, Spiti Valley is a gentleman destination. It is a district located in Himachal Pradesh that has its centre in Keylong. Endowed with mesmerising landscapes, the valley is famed for its monasteries, sculptures of which are noteworthy. It shares an international boundary with Tibet and is applauded for its astounding views of mountains, glaciers, monasteries, rivers & ancient structures. The word ‘Spiti’ means the middle land which ultimately comprehends to the land between India and Tibet. The Valley is split into western and eastern valleys, which are connected with Tibet and Ladakh respectively on either side. Lahaul & Spiti were formed in the year 1960 and were two separate districts formerly. Spiti valley has been a favourite amongst youngsters for a long time now and is travelled solo as well. (Read my post on how to prepare for solo travel here) With winters finally bidding us a bye for the year, its time you get Summer ready. Let’s add to your stock of knowledge about this place a little more and nano your search-bars, so you can plan your trip right. Read on!
Culture and Occupation in Spiti
Agriculture is the main job of the people of Spiti Valley. It is dotted with vast filed and farms that grow buckwheat, peas, barley, orange berries and seabuckthorn. It is the annual income routine for the locals and adds enormously to the emerald views of the region. The people here follow both Hinduism & Buddhism, though the district is deeply influenced by the Tibetan Buddhism. The valley is populated with a density of two individuals per sq kilometre and is the third least populated district in India.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Bhuntar Airport in Kullu. But it is suggested o travel Spiti by road. Delhi can be a pit stop and is nearest to Spiti for those travelling from outside the city. The journey can be done in parts and is best travelled by road. The BRO (border road organisation) has done a tremendous job in maintaining the cordial conditions of the roads. However, one needs to be cautious & experienced about driving and follow mountain driving rules to make the best of your trip. There are numerous busses leading to this destinations as well and are readily available from Delhi.
Best time to visit Spiti
This enchanting valley receives heavy snow throughout the winters. The best time to visit Spiti Valley is from June to October. It isn’t recommended to travel Spiti during the other months of the year since the climate may not be favourable. It is also during these months only that a plethora of adventure activities take place under the professional expertise in this region. One should also check on the weather condition before heading onto an expedition to this place. The entry visits the Spiti valley is from the Kunzum Pass. The translator Rinchen Zangpo, travelled across these lands from Tibet in the reign of kings of Tibet.
Where to stay
The place is not quipped many hotels and inns and is less commercial. The same factor adds to the innocence of the place as well. But the locals have set up homestays which serve you the best of everything. The villages of Dhemul, Langcha, Lalung and Komic offers homestay accommodation to travellers in Lahaul & Spiti. The people here are affable and have their pleasantries intact. The hospitality is a thing to marvel over and the owners are indeed proud to boast their thousand-year-old culture to the tourists. The home-style cooked food satisfies without much ado happening to your bellies. The ingredients & vegetables are organically grown by the farmers and upsurges the taste of the cuisines.
Things to do
As mentioned earlier as well, the beautifully sculpted monasteries are the main attractions to visitors here. Though the landscapes and the terrain drives amaze you equally. Mountain climbing, river rafting, trekking, angling, paragliding are some of the activities you can indulge in and quench the adventurer in you. The valley also has some camping websites like Gemur, Darcha, Jispa, Sarchu, Tandi, Koksar, Sissu and Chota Dara.
Situated on the top of Spiti’s mountains, the Kye Monastery is the prettiest of all in Spiti. It is the oldest and the biggest monastery in Himachal Pradesh as well. The religious formation envisaged in the monastery entails singing dancing and playing pipes and horns. The monastery is home to 300 lamas who’re getting their training here. Being among the largest and oldest monasteries in Spiti, Kye is revered among Buddhism out and in. It’s possible to see the Thangka paintings ancient instruments such as drums, trumpets and cymbals here.
Also famous as the Ajanta of the Himalayas, Tabo Monastery in Spiti is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It holds nine temples in its complex and is place of ethereal beauty. This monastery is known for its unique collection of scriptures, Tankhas & Stucco wall paintings and pieces of art.
Pin Valley National Park is the famous wildlife centre based in the Spiti valley. Declared a national park in the year 1987, pin valley houses a wide range of flora & fauna species. Chandra Taal is the source of Chandra River, which is among the summer camping destinations.
Lahaul and Spiti are Ladkah’s lesser-known cousins. Tripping to Ladakh can be a little time taking and require full proof planning and enough time. Spiti, however, is an easy travel escapade and can be travelled over a long weekend. And there are many such weekends in 2018. Just saying!! 🙂