Spiti-Valley

Spiti Valley: Best Time, Places To Visit | Spiti Travel Guide

Introduction

The Spiti Valley also referred to as the “middle land”, is a cold desert mountain valley situated between Tibet and India. It is situated at a high altitude level within the Himalayas. The valley is a perfect hill station ranged by the Mighty Himalayas and enclosing within eccentric and high altitude roads, whimsical valleys, and picturesque villages. Spiti Valley is a perfect landscape of beautiful culture and greenery. Surrounded by mountain ranges and monasteries, it exhibits itself as a heavenly and peaceful realm all around the world.

Where is Spiti Valley located?

Well, the Spiti Valley is located at the coordinates of 32° 17`N 78° 00`E, at a level of 2950-4100 meters above sea level. It is a beautiful cold desert mountain valley situated as a “landscape of culture and heritage” between Tibet and India. Spiti Valley is located in the north Indian State of India: Himachal Pradesh. It comes under the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.

Facts about Spiti Valley

Geographically

  • The Spiti Valley is one of the least populated regions of India and is the terminus to the northernmost region of India. It recorded a recent census of 31564 population, conducted in the 2011 census.
  • The capital of Spiti Valley is Kaza(sub-divisional headquarters)
  • It consists of Population Centres as Losar, Kaza, Tabo, Sumdo, Chango
  • The Spiti Valley is situated along the Spiti River, which originates from the Kunzum Range. It also has 2 tributaries known as Tegpo and Kabzian.
  • High mountain ranges envelop the Lahaul and Spiti districts. The Rohtang Pass, at 13,054 feet (3,979 m), divides Lahul and Spiti from the Kullu Valley. The higher Kunzum Pass, at 15,059 feet (4,590 m) separates Lahul and Spiti from each other.
  • Steep and slopy mountains enveloping high altitudes on either side of the Spiti River and its numerous tributaries, engrave a beautiful landscape appearance.

FACT: It was the only city to record a decrease of 5% in population in the recent census conducted in 2011, in comparison to the 2001 census.

 

Culture And Heritage Of Spiti Valley

spiti valley

Spiti Valley has been an area of research and cultural interest for Buddhists as well as people from all over the world. It also has eccentric monasteries like Tabo and Key, which also are favorites of the world-known Spiritual Guru “Dalai Lama”. The local occupants follow Vajrayana Buddhism i.e. Buddhist rituals and traditions associated with “Tantras” or secret mantras, practiced in medieval and ancient times, which is native to the regions of Tibet and Ladakh.

  • The Pin Valley of Spiti harbors home to the few existing Buchen Lamas of the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism.
  • The small town of Manali had marked the beginning of an ancient trade route to Ladakh and in route over the Karakoram Pass on to Yarkand and Khotan in the Tarim Basin.
  • Spiti acts as a summer home to hundreds of semi-nomadic varieties of  Gaddi sheep and goat herders who come to this valley to graze their animals from the surrounding areas and sometimes even as far as 250 km.
  • Most of the people here are Tibetian Buddhists and sustain their life by producing barley, peas, and organic vegetables.
  • Vivid types of festivals like the Dechang and Losar festivals and others are also a wide attraction for tourists all over the world.

How to reach Spiti Valley?

  • We can access Spiti Valley throughout the year via Kinnaur from Shimla, coursing a difficult 412-kilometer-long (256 mi) road.
  • International Tourists require inner line permits to access Spiti through Kinnaur. The extension of Spiti’s border starts at Samdo (74 km from Kaza) which is quite near to the India–China border making it a strategic point.
  • In summer we can reach it by Manali through the Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass. Manali is at a distance of 201 km from Kaza, the headquarters of the Spiti subdivision. The road joining Manali to reach Spiti Valley is perilous and exhibits terrible conditions as compared to the Shimla- Spiti road route.
  • A strategic and important 9.02 km Atal Tunnel located under the Rohtang Pass gives an excellent facility of all-weather access to Lahaul. It also reduces the travel distance by 48 kilometers (30 mi) to reach Spiti Valley.
  • The Distance from Delhi to Spiti Valley is about  730 km and requires a time of 17 hours to reach the  Spiti valley.
  • The distance between Manali and Spiti Valley is about 196 km and requires about 5 hrs to reach Spiti Valley.
  • The shortest distance and time interval to reach the valley is from Kaza and the time required is only 6 mins and a distance of 5.5 km.
  • Well traveling from Delhi or Manali may cause the chance of affecting tourists with altitude sickness, as long-distance travel as well as altitude effect may cause several health problems.  Hence the most preferred route is from Shimla to Spiti.

Is Spiti Valley Dangerous To Visit?

Although Spiti Valley is quite a tranquil and heavenly abode to visit and cherish nature and its resources, yet the roads of Spiti Valley are quite dangerous. The roads of Spiti valley are narrow, pretty steep, and dangerous to travel upon. These roads contain sections of gravel and asphalt and are probably worse than Leh- Manali highway. The Spiti Valley road is one of the toughest and perilous mountain roads left on this planet. The condition of this road starts to deteriorate more upon entering Lahaul and soil starts to shift rapidly. Yet cases of accidents and major cases of injury are low in the areas, thanks to the little traffic and precautions taken by the drivers while driving on these narrow roads.

Luxurious Places To Stay At Spiti Valley In Affordable Prices

housing and stay facilities in spiti valley

A wide variety of staying options like exquisite resorts and hotels are available to stay in Spiti Valley. The Spiti Valley is famous for its spellbinding scenery and traditional interior-designed resorts that offer tourists comfortable and hospitable facilities. A few of them are:

Spiti Village Resort

  • Built-in the style of monastery rooms, this resort has monastery-styled rooms with comfy utilities and amenities. This resort also offers facilities like skiing, trekking, and bonfire along with all required top-class service and facilities. This Resort of Spiti Valley is located in Kee Village near  Kee Monastery.

Spiti Heritage

  • Looking to stay in Spiti Valley and enjoy the view of its mesmerizing landscape? This hotel is the perfect place you would want to comfy yourself with. It provides the visitors with a serene environment along with local delicious cuisines. It is also loacated in Kaza.

Deyzor

  • This traditionally built and ornate style offers the visitors peaceful and calm surroundings to stay in the Spiti Valley. It also has an intriguing design filled with Tibetian flags and offers the visitors to indulge in adventure activities. Situated in Kaza, it provides a warm and comfy experience to the tourists.

Best time to visit Spiti Valley

The ideal time to visit Spiti Valley is during the summer season i.e. from April to mid-May, where the scenery and landscape is the most beautiful time to cherish. It also is the perfect time for snow lovers to reach Spiti Valley and cherish playing with snow and witness the beauty of the snow-clad mountains.

During Winters, the valley mostly remains partially closed due to heavy snowfall and blockage of most of the highways en route to the valley. Although the common belief that moves around in people, stating its inaccessibility during winters is wrong! As Spiti Valley is open throughout the year, but during winters it may only be accessible through the Shimla to Kaza route. Well to say, Winters are perhaps the best times to witness the native life in Spiti existing in it for centuries.

Best Places To Visit In Spiti Valley

5 interesting places in spiti valley

Spiti Valley is famous for its fascinating spots and places that make the valley a worthwhile place to visit and explore its beauty.

1. Pin Valley National Park

This Spiti Valley explorer would be incomplete without describing the Pin Valley National Park. It consists of some beautifully described features. Being a high altitude park harboring extreme temperatures belongs home to the vivid and rich biodiversity of endangered plant and animal species. Having spread over a large area of 675 square meters, it encloses a natural habitat for snow leopards, snowcocks, Siberian ibex, among others. Therefore, its wilderness and greenery are a must-watch experience for everyone.

2. Chandratal Lake

Chandratal Lake is one of the most eccentric and must-watch places to visit in Spiti Valley. Spiti Valley is famous for its tranquil places and its serene environment like Chandratal Lake. The picturesque and beautiful surrounding of the lake makes it an ideal place for camping. It also harbors itself as a good trekking place due to the presence of glaciers between Rohtang pass and Kunzum pass along its way. Isn’t it worth visiting?

3. Tabo Monastery

Want to relieve an ancient glimpse of Buddhist culture and texts? mark this place as a top priority place on your list. Its exquisite wall sculptures of Bodhisattvas, fascinating stupas, and wall paintings make it a top priority place to visit when you go to the valley. The presence of this monastery gives the valley a  spiritual and divine ambiance. It also brings a feeling of calmness and peace to those who visit the monastery.

4. Kibber

Looking for an off-world and charming village amidst the business of the current world? The Spiti Valley is a  place to harbor those like the “Kibber” village. Surrounded by The Himalayas and their calmful presence, the village is most intriguing due to its altitude of 4270 meters, also making it one of the highest motorable and active places. It also profounds itself as a unique feature due to the hearing of more bird sounds than vehicles, thus making it an enthralling place for camping, trekking, and sightseeing of the valley.

5. Suraj Tal

Spiti Valley is famous for its enveloped mountain ranges and charming landscape. Suraj Tal is unarguably one of the most divine and one of the most popular places to visit on the list. It’s India’s 3rd highest lake and tourists all over the world visit it. Moreover, engraving in its heritage and culture, the lake is associated with the Sun God. Hence, it is believed to be a sacred lake manifesting its ability to cleanse souls and sins. It’s a perfect mixture of beauty and spirituality.

Few More Places To Visit Are:

5 Best Things To Do In Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

The Spiti Valley is famous for its picturesque and enchanting landscapes, along with its lush greenery. It has also been a myriad of attractions to adventure lovers and nature enthusiasts. It always has been a point of attraction to bikers, trekkers, mountain camps, and travel wonderers.

Therefore, let’s see a few activities which every one of us would never want to miss in this “abode of heaven”:

1. Spiti Valley Bike Trips

Situated in the trans-Himalayan region, the Spiti Valley is favored as a top priority for thrilling bikers and motorcycle enthusiasts. In addition, the ride with a motorbike on the highest roads and through the cold valley mountain’s dreamy landscapes makes it a memorable wish to get true!

2. Enjoying the Bird’s Eye View from the top of Dhankar Monastery

The Dhankar Monastery is one of the ancient Buddhist Monastery’s situated on a cliff between the Kaza and Tabo. The monastery houses 4 ancient Budhha statues seated in 4 directions. In addition, it is a perfect place to watch the valleys of Spiti and its landscape. We can also see an amazing view of the Spiti River from above.

3. Indulge in Stargazing

Stargazing is one of the most beautiful and tranquil experiences, which everyone wants to have. Especially on mountains and places like Spiti Valley is famous for its landscapes and night skies. Think about the moment when you are at the height of the mountain in the valley and are gazing at the night sky! It feels fantastic right? So yeah it feels like a night sky studded with diamonds in the night sky with immense tranquillity and peace.

4. Trek the Scenic Trails

One of the most memorable things to do in Spiti valley is to try trekking and cherish the majestic landscapes. Spiti is renowned for its beautiful landscapes and valleys. Moreover, it is also famous for its trekking and mountain camps that call trekkers to rail along with its majestic scenes. Trekking routes are also available and cherishable for Pin Valley Park Trek and Hamza routes.

5. Mesmerize yourself with their Local Cuisines

Being in Spiti and not enjoying the delicacies of the mixed ingredients of Tibetian and native food may leave you incomplete. The foods here provide a dashing taste of Tibetian style along with a touch of native ingredients. The platters mostly here are from Tibetian Style,  but North Indian, as well as a dash of Israeli food, can also be food. Certainly, one of their favorite delicacies is Thungpa (a Tibetian style of north Indian laddoos made from cereals). They also have delicacies like butter tea, momos, and chang(a locally made beer in the valley).

10 Interesting Unknown Facts About Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Here are some thrilling and bizarre facts to blow up your mind about the valley and make it more intriguing:

  1. In Spiti, the only available petrol pump is located at Kaza.
  2. Bara Shigri, found in the valley, is the largest glacier spotted in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. Furthermore, it is the second-longest glacier in Himalaya after the Gangotri, both are around 30 km long. It is present in the Lahaul Valley.
  3. Hikkim Village is located near the Kaza subdivision. It is one of the highest inhabiting locations in India. Further, it has residences ranging from 4330 to 4400 meters.
  4. Hikkim is the world’s highest polling station.
  5. The 500+ years old Giu Mummy kept in the village of Spiti valley, is supposed to belong to an ancient Buddhist lama. It was discovered officially by ITBP forces that were working on a road in the valley region. Moreover, the most bizarre fact about it has hair and nails that have still been growing!
  6. Spiti harbors one of the fossil-rich areas in the world as accredited by the Geological Survey of India and the Geological Society of America.
  7. The world’s Highest Altitude village is the Komic village situated in the Spiti Valley.
  8. The valley also has the world’s highest post office, situated in the Hikkim Village. Its pin code is 172114
  9. January is the coldest month of the Valley, recording a temperature of -45° Celsius during winters.
  10. Fossils, especially marine ones found around Langza Village are supposedly million years old.
  11. The Tabo Monastery is one of the holiest and divine monasteries of the region by the great “Dalai Lama”. Above all, the divine religious “Dalai Lama” stated that he plans to retire in the Tabo Monastery.

Conclusion

To sum up, the Spiti Valley is one of India’s ancient and rich hotspots of culture and heritage. It harbors ancient methods and practices rarely found in the world. Moreover, the valley is a source of divinity, spirituality, and a rare mixture of ancient footprints scattered everywhere throughout the valley. It is not only a picturesque landscape on the map of India but also an inspiration for peace and an essence of tranquillity. Consequently, it impacts and sends the world a message of fraternity, love, and togetherness.

When overseas you learn more about your own country than you do the place you’re visiting.” – Clint Borge

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