Friday , January 28 2022
A trip to Spiti Valley
A trip to Spiti Valley

A trip to Spiti Valley: Heaven between Tibet and India

A Valley which is nothing less than a heaven on earth situated in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. The word “Spiti” means “The middle land”. Spiti Valley is the highest valley in the north-eastern part of the Himalayas. The valley is at 9,680-13,450 ft above sea level. It is as beautiful as capturing a landscape scene from your naked eyes.

Spiti Valley is famous for the ancient monasteries, mesmerising views and sceneries. You can have a total Tibetan culture experience in the valley. The heavenly place would also be a great experience for solo adventurous travellers. Here’s a little tour guide of what you can do at the Valley.

Day 1 and Day 2

You can start your trip for an amazing experience here. There are 2 ways to enter the valley.

  • Shimla
  • Manali

The first opening is from Shimla, whereas the other opening is from Manali. An important piece of information you should know about the entrances is that in the summers you can enter the valley from both sides. In the winter, you enter by Shimla only to avoid a bad travel experience. Many travellers have had terrible experiences while travelling from Manali in winters.

Shimla

Spiti Valley is basically a trip from Shimla to Manali. So starting from Shimla, you move towards Kalpa which would be your first stop. Reaching Kalpa, you would find it very relaxing and calm. You can spend a day at Kalpa and spend some time visiting Kinder Kailash and also have a little tour of the town. You can talk to the villagers and hear some beautiful stories about the place.

From Kalpa, you start to travel to Nako. Nako is very famous for its Monastery and lake. You can have look around at the monastery and take a walk around the famous lake. The lake in summers is as usual but you can have an ice lake view in the winters. It is suggested to walk at a proper distance from the lake because we don’t know about the depth of the lake. In such high areas, it is hard to predict the depth of the lake. It is highly suggested that you take precautions while you are walking around. Other than that, you can have a lovely walk and click some amazing pictures.

Day 3

From Nako, we would next reach Kaza. Tabo and Dhankar are the two famous points you would come across while travelling to Kaza. An ancient monastery is spotted which is known to be approximately 1000 years old. The monastery is called Ajanta – Ellora of Himalayas. You will also find a newly build monastery at the same. For art lovers, the monastery is like a go-to place. The place is famous for fine artwork and is also known for its history.

Dhankar

You would end up going to another Monastery at Dhankar. The speciality of this monastery is that it is situated on the top of a lotus petal-like structure. When you look at it from a distance you could make out the petal structure. The monastery is also rich in history. You can spend some time shopping at Kaza’s Main Market. The market will give you exposure to many Tibetan things.

Day 4

After reaching Kaza, there are 3 major sights you would like to step to:

  • Hikkim
  • Komic
  • Langza

The speciality of Hikkim is that this place has the highest post office. Imagine a post office at that height would be such a bliss to watch. I’d suggest you try sending anyone a postcard from the highest post office. It is altogether a different experience as we barely use posts.

The second sight that is Komic is the world’s highest village connected with motorable roads. This village is the only place in the world where you can ride your bike at that height. Komic also has some amazing cafes and monasteries to spend your day at. Try the sublime food of the valley and challenge your taste buds for more.

Buddha Statue

The last part of day 4 would be Langza, which is famous for the big statue of Mitra Buddha facing the valley. You can imagine the view and the vibe of the place already. At Langza, you can also have a great experience of fossils, that’s right, FOSSILS.! the village has many ancient fossils preserved. You can also bring the fossils at home but it is better that you let the uniqueness of the place to the place and avoid bringing it home.

Day 5

Moving on to the next place from Kaza would be Chandra Taal, here again, your eye would sooth with three stupendous and breathtaking views.

  • Key
  • Kibber
  • Chicham Bridge

First place, the spot is known as Key and has a monumental monastery which is shown in many movies too. The monastery would hug you with such warmth of the place, you can have a feeling of being alive at the place.

The Kibber is known for its resplendent architecture and divine view. You can see Snow leopards at places in winter. For people who are adventurous, this place is bliss. Also, you can have a great sight of beautifully designed structures all around the town.

The next stop is no ordinary, it is the Chicham Bridge, a bridge that is Asia’s highest suspension bridge. It has a staggering height of 13596 ft which is quite astounding. After passing the Kusum, we would finally reach Chandra taal. You click pictures and spend about 30-40 mins enjoying the view of the place.

Chandra Taal is home to the Chandra taal lake which is situated at 14,000 ft and has a moon-like structure. It is also named Tso Chikgma. Being at a rugged surrounding the beautiful lake is preserved with some flowers and wildlife in summer. While camping at Chandra Taal, you would experience the mesmerizing milky way at night. The sky is filled with stars leaving no way for the clouds. The travellers basically camp at the Chandra Taal to enjoy the night view of the milky way with naked eyes. You can also shoot the whole night view leaving the camera out all night.

Officially, the trip around Spiti valley ends here. Some travellers also visit Pin Valley. The valley is situated inside the valley. The valley has a total of 17 villages amongst which “Mud” village is most visited by the travellers. Even at Mud village, people spend nights taking homestays and enjoying the experience of the Tibetan culture.

Things to do in Spiti Valley

  • Buddhist Monasteries : Mesmerizing architecture and culture.
  • River Rafting : For Adventurous travellers
  • Fossil Hunting : Take home a memory
  • Homestays : Know the unknown stories
  • Pin Valley National Park : Experience the Flora and fauna
  • Kaza’s Main Market : Happy Shopping
  • Camping : A wonder experience
  • Trek to Dhan kar Lake : If you are more adventurous
  • Baralancha Pass : Add more thrill to the trip
  • Yak Safari : A never to miss experience

Popular Dishes of the Spiti Valley

  • Thukpa : A must have
  • Channe ka Katta : If you are a black gram lover
  • Mithha : Sweet rice
  • Trout Curry : Nutritional one
  • Babru : Similar to Kachori
  • Siddu : A perfect breakfast
  • Patande : English breakfast
  • Chicken Anardana : Persian Chicken
  • Chhang And Arak : Alcoholic beverage
  • Seabuckthron juice : Beverage

Clothes to carry

In Summer Season

  • You can wear cotton t-shirts and shirts. Make sure you wear more than one layer.
  • A windproof jacket, the wind at the valley is very high so it’s highly recommended to carry a jacket, maybe a leather jacket.
  • Shoes with heavy grip. The roads of the valley maybe uncertain so make sure you follow this.
  • Also, you would need some light woollen clothes like pullovers, etc.

In Winter Season

  • Thermals are a must in your outfit when you are travelling in winters.
  • Heavy woollen clothes, try to layer your your attire to also prevent from heavy wind.
  • Also, wear a heavy leather jacket again for the wind.
  • Waterproof shoes, so that its easy for you to walk on melted ice.
  • Woollen socks, mufflers, hand gloves should all be an important part of your attire.

Mode of Transportation

Solo travellers

If travelling by your own car, try to drive an SUV with proper ground clearance and also a driver with experienced driving skills on and off-road and in snow driving.

Public transport

Availability of Government buses, tours and travellers. Get a bus from Manali to Kaza or Shimla. Share taxis are also available.

Stay to prefer

  • Hotels are easily available in the Valley.
  • Affordable homestays can be a whole different experience to have. I would recommend to stay at the homestays at most possible.
  • Camping (Chandra Taal) is the only option at the Chandra Taal, so don’t miss a wonderful experience like that.

Best time to visit

  • June- July: Normal weather conditions. It is dry and all spots are open
  • September – October: Locations open all day, little snowfall
  • November – December: Only for adventurous travellers. Heavy snowfall.

Trip amid COVID-19

If you are planning to visit Spiti, then you will have to follow strict a standard operating procedure (SOP). Takpa Tenzin, president of the Committee for Preventive Measures and Sustainable Development, Spiti, told Tribune India, “All tour operators have to ensure that tourists, mainly those travelling in a group, have a Covid negative test report from an authorised hospital or lab 72 to 96 hours before arrival.

Additional Tips

  • Carry sunglasses: The sun may be harmful for the eyes so try to wear them at most all times.
  • Sunscreen Creme with SPF 40: It will protect your skin from burning.
  • Don’t forget to carry mask and sanitizer with you amid this pandemic scenario.
  • Make sure that you are fully vaccinated.
  • There are enough places to fuel your vehicles in the valley still try to full your tanks at main stops to avoid any mishaps
  • The most important tip, there are lesser banks or ATM in the valley. Try to keep enough cash for your expense before entering the valley.

I hope, you enjoyed reading this article. Do share your experience/doubts/queries in the comment section below.

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About Nidhi Rathod

Critical Thinker, Insatiably curious. Results driven. Resourceful and imaginative in achieving results.

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