Spiti Valley- Little Tibet

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Spiti Valley- Little Tibet

Spiti Valley, also known as Little Tibet, is a place you’ve probably heard about a lot. It’s a cold desert nestled in the Himalayan mountains of Himachal Pradesh, perfect for travelers who want to explore off the beaten path. The villages in Spiti are hidden away, offering a unique experience for those who visit. You can hike through Snow Leopard and Himalayan Wolf habitats, visit ancient monasteries, and immerse yourself in a culture and cuisine unlike anywhere else in India. The people of Spiti are known for their kindness, despite living in harsh conditions.

Located at an altitude of 12,500 feet, Spiti Valley only gets around 250 days of sunshine each year, making it one of the coldest places in India. The name “Spiti” means “The middle Land,” as it separates India from Tibet. As you travel through Spiti, you’ll be greeted by winding roads, valleys, and stunning views of the cold desert and snow-capped mountains. The valley is home to several monasteries, each with its own unique history and charm.

Some must-visit places in Spiti Valley include Komic Village, Langza Village, Lhalung Monastery, and the ancient Tabo Monastery, which is a favorite of the Dalai Lama. You’ll also encounter Gaddi sheep and goat herders, a nomadic tribe from Himachal Pradesh, who bring their animals to graze in the valley during the summer months.

In recent years, tourism has grown in Spiti Valley, attracting visitors with its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. The Tabo Monastery is a popular attraction, known for its stunning murals, ancient temples, and impressive stupas. Spiti Valley truly is a world of beauty and happiness waiting to be explored.

Highlight:

  • Spiti Valley is a snow laden barren desert with breathtaking beauty.
  • Several villages in Spiti Valley offer a captivating and exciting trek trails with mesmerizing views.
  • Yak and horse safaris are the most popular and fun ways to explore the valley. 
  • Bara Shigri is the largest glacier located in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
  • Tabo Monastery was built in 996 AD and is more than 1000 years old.
  • Tabo Monastery is referred to as the Ajanta of Himalayas and is also declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Key monastery is the highest altitude monastery in India at 4166 meters and is the second highest in the world.

Tourist from outside India need inner line permits to enter Spiti through Kinnaur.

Dalai Lama has expressed his desire to retire to Tabo, since he maintains that the Tabo monastery is one of the holiest.

Tourist Attractions:

image of key monastery

Key Monastery

Have you heard of Key Monastery? It's like a spiritual castle up in the mountains! This beautiful Tibetan monastery is way up high at 4112 meters in Kaza. It's the biggest and oldest monastery around. The Key Gompa is surrounded by mountains and valleys that will take your breath away. The monastery looks like a cool fort with a Chinese vibe. Inside, there's a big hall where the monks gather and a special room called Tengyur that's covered in amazing paintings. You can even see the monks dancing and playing music with pipes and horns. It's like a magical show!
Spiti Valley- Little Tibet - Manu Adventures India

Tabo Monastery- Ajanta of the Himalyas

Have you heard of Tabo Monastery? It's like the Ajanta of the Himalayas! This ancient place in Spiti Valley is famous for its amazing paintings. It's actually the oldest monastery in India and the Himalayas that has been around since the beginning. People even call it the 'Ajanta of the Himalayas' because of its beautiful artwork. The walls of the monastery are covered in cool murals and paintings, just like the Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra. The Tabo monastery was built by a Buddhist King named Yeshe-O and is now a super important place for the Buddhist community. They've done a great job of keeping the traditions and heritage of Buddhism alive through their awesome artwork. It's like a treasure trove of Buddhist history!
Spiti Valley- Little Tibet - Manu Adventures India
Kaza
Kaza is a cool town way up high at 11,980 ft above sea level. It's the biggest town in Spiti and where all the action happens. It's pretty crazy to think that people can live in such a cold, desert-like place, but they do and it's pretty awesome. When you visit Kaza, you'll see two parts of town - Old Kaza and New Kaza. Old Kaza is where all the shops, restaurants, and places to stay are. It's the heart of the town. New Kaza is where all the important buildings are, like the ones where the government works. So, if you're looking for a place to eat or sleep, head to Old Kaza. But if you need to find the town hall or police station, head to New Kaza.

Exploring Around Kaza

Kaza may not be the most exciting town, but it’s a great spot to set up camp while checking out Lahaul-Spiti. Once you’re in Kaza, you’re just a short drive away from cool villages like Komik, Langza, Hikkim, and Demul. It’s super easy to visit these awesome remote spots!

For a better understanding of these villages, Visit-devilonwheels.com please click here

Spiti Valley- Little Tibet - Manu Adventures India
Chicham Bridge
Hey there! Have you heard about the Chicham Bridge? It's super high up at 13596 ft and connects two villages called Chicham and Kibber. If you look down from the bridge, you'll see a huge gorge that's 1000 ft deep! The gorge is called Samba Lamba Nallah. This bridge makes the journey from Kibber to Losar 40 km shorter. After crossing the bridge, you can head to Chandratal Lake, which is another amazing spot in the Himalayas. There are also other cool places to explore nearby like Kaza, Komic, Langza, Dhankar, Tabo, and Nako. And if you're feeling adventurous, you can check out the Mud village too. So much to see and do in this awesome area!
Spiti Valley- Little Tibet - Manu Adventures India

Chandra Taal – lake of the Moon

Chandra Taal, also known as the Lake of the Moon, is a beautiful blue lake nestled high in the mountains. It's like a dream come true for hikers and nature lovers! The lake is shaped like a crescent moon, which is how it got its name. To get there, you have to brave some tough trails through Batal, and even climb some glaciers between Kunzum Pass and Rohtang Pass. But once you arrive, you'll be greeted with stunning views of the Spiti region. During the summer months from June to October, the lakeside is the perfect spot for camping. You can set up your tent right by the water and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Many trekkers and campers love visiting Chandra Taal for its beauty and charm. It's a must-see destination for anyone who loves the great outdoors!
Spiti Valley- Little Tibet - Manu Adventures India

Kunzum Pass- Kunzum la: (Trekker’s Paradise)

Kunzum Pass, also known as Kunzum la, is like a dream come true for trekkers. It's one of the highest mountain passes in India, sitting at a whopping 4551 meters above sea level. This pass is like a magical door that leads you to the stunning Spiti Valley through Kullu and Lahaul. When you reach the top of Kunzum Pass, you'll be treated to a 360-degree view of the Bara-Shigri Glacier and the breathtaking Spiti Valley. The Chandrabhaga range will leave you speechless with its beauty. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even trek from Chandrataal Lake to get to Kunzum Pass. As if the natural beauty wasn't enough, Kunzum Pass is also home to colorful Buddhist flags and an ancient Devi temple that add to the charm of this place. It's a must-visit spot for anyone who loves the great outdoors and wants to experience the beauty of the Himalayas.
Spiti Valley- Little Tibet - Manu Adventures India
Baralacha Pass –Breathtaking Views:
Baralacha Pass is like the ultimate meeting spot for roads. It's where three valleys come together at a super high point of over 16,040 feet! This pass connects Lahaul and Ladakh and is located on the Manali-Leh highway in Zanskar. It's a tough journey for thrill-seeking travelers, but the views are totally worth it. You can even see where the Pir Panjal mountains intersect here. It's like a real-life puzzle piece fitting together!
Spiti Valley- Little Tibet - Manu Adventures India
Great Himalayan and Zanskar ranges.
The Great Himalayan and Zanskar ranges are perfect for trekking adventures. One exciting trek is from Baralacha up to Chandrataal, which is next to the Chandra River in the Spiti Valley. When you visit Baralacha La, it feels like you're in a whole new world. Spiti is a dream destination for adventure lovers and hikers. You can explore unseen landscapes surrounded by breathtaking views. Popular treks include the Pin Parvati route and Kaza to Nako. The best time to visit is from June to September.
Kaza, Spiti Kyelang India
Spiti Valley- Little Tibet - Manu Adventures India
15°C Feels like 14°C
1012hPa 56% 17% 2m/s 218deg

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Must Know Before You Visit Spiti Valley

  • Driving from Manali to Kaza can be quite risky, so avoid the self-drive at all costs. It is recommended to ride in a bus to reach your destination.
  • There are only one or two ATMs in Kaza, which might run out of money. Therefore, make sure that you carry enough cash.
  • Chandratal Lake was earlier a popular camping site but camping is now forbidden within 3km of the lake.
  • The Kunzum Pass is ordinarily open from June to September. During the rest of the year, it is frozen.
  • The Kunzum Pass has no eateries, so it is recommended to stock up on food supplies before the journey.
  • It is essential to have many copies of the permit as they may have to be submitted at different checkpoints along the way to Sarchu.
  • It is to be noted that the camps at Sarchu will be shut down during winters owing to the heavy snowfall.
  • Photography inside the monasteries and temples is strictly prohibited.

FAQs on Spiti Valley

What is Spiti Valley?

Spiti Valley is a high altitude cold desert mountain region located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.

How can one reach Spiti Valley?

One can reach Spiti Valley by road through the Manali-Leh Highway or the Shimla-Kinnaur route. There is also an airport in Kullu, from where one can take a taxi to Spiti.

What are the major attractions in Spiti Valley?

Some of the major attractions in Spiti Valley include the Key Monastery, Tabo Monastery, Chandratal Lake, Pin Valley National Park, and the Spiti River.

What is the best time to visit Spiti Valley?

The best time to visit Spiti Valley is from May to September, when the weather is pleasant and the roads are open for travel.

What is the climate like in Spiti Valley?

Spiti Valley has a cold desert climate, with cold winters and cool summers. The temperature can drop to sub-zero levels during the peak winter season.

Is Spiti Valley suitable for adventure activities?

Yes, Spiti Valley is a popular destination for adventure activities like trekking, camping, and mountain biking due to its rugged terrain and beautiful landscapes.

Are there any homestays or hotels in Spiti Valley?

Yes, there are homestays and hotels available in Spiti Valley for tourists. However, due to the remote location, the accommodation options may be limited and basic.

What is the food like in Spiti Valley?

The local cuisine in Spiti Valley is influenced by Tibetan and Indian cuisines. Some popular dishes include thukpa (noodle soup), momos (dumplings), and butter tea.

Is it necessary to obtain permits to visit Spiti Valley?

Yes, non-Indian nationals require a permit to enter Spiti Valley, which can be obtained from the District Magistrate's office in Shimla or Rekong Peo.

What are some precautions to take while visiting Spiti Valley?

Some precautions to take while visiting Spiti Valley include drinking plenty of water to avoid altitude sickness, carrying warm clothes for the cold weather, and driving carefully on the narrow and steep mountain roads.
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