About Spiti Valley

Long winding roads and picturesque valleys presenting glimpses of cold deserts and snow-crowned mountains, with intermittent greenery and picture-perfect villages welcome you when you set foot into Spiti Valley. Bordered on all sides by the Himalayas, Spiti Valley, located in Himachal Pradesh, has an altitude of 12,500 feet above sea level, and gets around 250 days of sunshine in the year, making it one of the coldest places in the country. With the thick Himalayan snow cutting Spiti off from the rest of the country for around 6 months a year, the summer months are the only time Spiti is directly accessible via motorway. The term Spiti means 'The Middle Land', and the place is very appropriately named, as Spiti Valley separates India from Tibet. Scantily populated, Spiti is an adventure lover’s paradise, with the famed Spiti trek attracting thousands of adventure enthusiasts every year. There are many trekking trails in Spiti that tourists can choose from. All of these treks start from Kaza (Spiti’s capital, where you make your base camp), to various peaks from where you can get panoramic views of the Himalayan mountains. An easy 1.5-kilometre trek along the Spiti River from Dhankar Monastery to Dhankar Lake promises gorgeous views of the villages below, and the Dhankar Lake itself is a place where you can sit back and relax amidst the cool mountain air. The mountain ropeway from Kibber to Chichum is a popular tourist attraction. Built entirely by the locals to avoid walking the long uphill path between the two villages, this ropeway is operated manually, and offers spectacular views of the gorge below, as well a bird’s eye view of the surrounding peaks.

Place to must visit in Spiti Valley


Places to Visit in Spiti Valley

Travellers are preffering these places in Spiti Valley

Experience Time: 2-3 hrs

Distance: 47 kms

Chandratal Lake

A camper and trekker's paradise, Chandratal Lake is often referred to as one of the most beautiful lakes located at an altitude of about 4300 m in the mighty Himalayas. The name "Chandra Taal" (Lake of the Moon) comes from its crescent shape. Once a tentative residence for Tibetan traders traveling to Spiti and the Kullu valley, it attracts thousands of adventure enthusiasts from all over the world. Vast stretches of green meadows house the best camping sites and an array of different wildflowers during springtime. Legend has that it lies in the vicinity of a place from where God Indra's chariot picked up Yudhishthira, the eldest of Pandava brothers in Mahabharata. This fact renders the lake sacred and thus, is flocked by a lot of Hindu devotees. The colour of water of this holy lake keeps changing from reddish to orange to blue to emerald green as the day ends. The lake is also a part of the Samudra Tapu plateau which overlooks the Chandra river. The trek from Batal to Chandratal can be quite a tedious trail for those who are going to trek, but the captivating views and charm of the place will be worth it. One can break free from daily monotonous routines here and experience real nomadic life. Nestled between the hills and mountains of the Peerpanjal range, sight of this lake's brimming beauty is truly a feast for the eyes. The sun's light reflecting on the surface of the lake makes it seem crystal clear.

Experience Time: 1-2 hrs

Distance: 6 kms

Key Monastery

The Key Monastery is a famous Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Lahaul and Spiti District of India. Located at an altitude of 4,166 metres above the sea level, the monastery is very close to the Spiti River in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh in India. Also known as the Kye Monastery, it is believed to have been founded by Dromton, who was a student of the famous teacher Atisha in the 11th century. The Key Monastery is over a thousand years old, and apart from being the oldest, it is also the largest monastery that can be found in the entire Spiti Valley. The magnificent monastery doubles up as a religious training centre for the Lamas, and about 300 lamas receive their education from here. It has a long and quite fascinating history that is attached to it: a long history that involves numerous attacks that the place had to face. Nevertheless, the monastery survived and celebrated the completion of its thousand years in the year 2000 in the presence of Dalai Lama. Today, the Key Monastery is visited not only by locals but also by tourists from all parts of the country who come looking for it in order to seek quietude, silence and inner tranquillity.

Experience Time: 2-3 hrs

Distance: 41 kms

Kunzum Pass

Kunzum Pass or Kunzum La as it is called by locals is one of the highest motorable mountain passes of India, located at an altitude of 4,551m above mean sea level. It serves as a gateway to the beautiful Spiti valley Via Kullu and Lahaul. It lies on the eastern Kunzum Range of the Himalayas and is at a distance of 122 km from Manali. Kunzum La offers an incredible 360-degree view of Bara- Shigri Glacier (the second longest glacier in the world), a jaw-dropping vista of Chandrabhaga Range and a spectacular view of the Spiti valley. This enthralling view makes the Pass a photographer's dream. The Pass is a beautiful mixture of two different landscapes; rugged mountains and massive glaciers of Lahaul and the dry, barren mountains and the turquoise river of Spiti. On reaching the Kunzum Pass, the visitors have to stop at the temple of Goddess Kunzum Devi to pay their respect and seek the blessing to travel through the rugged terrain safely. The tradition is to take a complete circle of the temple in your vehicle. It is believed that this worship at Devi's temple guards from all sorts of mishappening and accidents that might take place in the rugged terrain of the pass. It is surrounded by Buddhist style Gompas, Chortans and hundreds of colourful prayer flags as seen on monasteries.These colourful flags swaying in the snowy wind makes the entire surrounding a sight to behold. You can also meet the locals ladies who come to the temple singing their local songs and drinking their local alcohol. If you are lucky enough they might offer a little to taste. It is not very pleasing to the taste buds but makes you feel warm in the chilly weather. There is a small decision-maker inside the temple that tells you if you are a saint or a sinner. All you have to do is take a coin and try to stick it on the wall. If it holds, you are a saint otherwise you are a sinner.

Experience Time:

Distance: 83 kms

Suraj tal Lake

Just below the Baralacha pass, is a lake, one should not moss while here, especially if they are into photography. The Suraj Tal, is one of the most dream-like and photogenic lakes. The sheer beauty of this place is enough to make the drive seem worth the effort. The lake is fed from the glaciers of Baralacha La and the area around makes for a great trek and biking tour. The lake is at a distance of around 65 kms. from Keylong.

Experience Time: 1-2 hrs

Distance: 31 kms

Pin Valley National Park

Set amidst semi-frozen rivers in the Pin Valley, the Pin Valley National Park is situated in the Cold Desert Biosphere Reserve situated in the Lahaul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh. The elevation of the park ranges from about 3,500 metres near Ka Dogri to more than 6,000 metres at its pinnacle. One of the fascinating facilities of its kind, the Pin Valley National Park is home to the rare species of famous Himalayan snow leopards and their prey, the Ibex. Due to its high altitude, only a limited number of animals and plants thrive here. However, Pin Valley National Park is most famous for its incredible trek which is a delight for all its visitors. Owing to the many rare plant and animal species that it houses, the National Park was established in the year 1987 and has been a major attraction for trekking enthusiasts. Pin Valley National Park acts as a joint between the separate districts of Lahaul and Spiti, and the Dhankar Gompa on the Tibetan border can be deemed as its exact starting point. With the picture-perfect backdrop of snow-covered mountain ranges, a trek to this destination is easily a nature lover's dream. The imposing mountains that stand tall here have a sublime quality of their own, and their stone bodies seem to dissolve into the clouds that hang low here. If you are interested in learning more about the vegetation of Lahaul-Spiti, you can study the spread of alpine and dwarf juniper scrub that is most common here. Animals here include woolly hair, Tibetan gazzle, snow leopard, fox, wolf, ibex, bharal, Himalayan marmot, Indian porcupine, blue sheep, red-billed chough, Patridge, snow Patridge, blue rock pigeon and Tibetan wild ass among many others. Visit this national park to witness species and sceneries you don't get to witness every day.

Experience Time:

Distance: 24 kms

Dhankar Monastery

This Monastery is situated on a cliff between Kaza and Tabo. An amazing view of the Spiti river can be seen from here. This Monastery has a statue of 'Vairocharan' displaying four statues of Buddha seated in the 4 directions, along with ancient paintings, murals and texts. A true insight into Buddhist religion and culture can be procured by a visit to this Monastery. It can be accessed by a motorable road.

Experience Time:

Distance: 10 kms

Kibber

Locally known as Khyipur, Kibber at an altitude of 4205m above sea level is one of the highest villages in the world. One can spend a day at the rest houses here, with the mountains watching over. There isn't much to do, but the sceneries and landscapes around you, as well as the altitude will keep you fascinated. At a little distance from Kibber is Gette, the highest village in the world at a height of 4270 mt above sea level. Visit this village just to witness a settlement at this altitude and its overwhelming surroundings

Experience Time: 2-3 days

Distance: 31 kms

Pin Valley Park Trek

Nestled amid the cold desert region of Lahaul and Spiti district, Pin Valley National Park is a paradise for nature lovers. Perched at an altitude ranging from 11,500 feet to 20,000 feet, it was constituted as Wildlife Park in 1987. The park’s core zone is sprawled across a vast area of 675 sq km while its buffer zone is extended over almost 1150 sq km. Today it is home to almost more than 20 species of flora and fauna including the endangered snow leopard. It is the most significant inhabitant of the Pin Valley Park. There are also Siberian Ibex, Bharal, red fox, weasel and marten that call this place their home. Several species of birds also inhabits in the region such as pika, snow cock, bearded vulture, chukor, golden eagle, griffon, Himalayan chough and raven. The floral wealth of the park is also exceptional which includes more than 400 plant species. The park also boasts of its medicinal herbs and two rare species of plants: Juniper and Birch. If you are on a wildlife excursion, then winters is the perfect time when the animals migrate to the lower regions owing to the cold weather. Apart from that the trek becomes all the more fascinating with natural scenic beauty that adorns the place. With a magnificent backdrop of snow clad mountain ranges, it also includes as many as 17 villages at the periphery of the park. Situated in the Valley of Pin River, one can see the huge influence of Tibetan Buddhism in the region, which is practiced here profusely, which has helped on the protection of the wildlife. It snows for the most part of the year, this trek accounts for thrilling and adventurous expedition. However, make sure you obtain the required permits to savour the place bundled with bounty of nature’s beauty. Also foreign nations are not allowed inside the park.

Experience Time: 2-3 hrs

Distance: 37 kms

Tabo Monastery

Standing tall and strong at a dizzying height of 10,000 feet, the Tabo Monastery is a testimony to the innate beauty and elegance of the Buddhist culture. It was established over a millennia ago in 996 A.D. and is one of the oldest monasteries of the Trans-Himalayan region. In fact, it is the oldest monastery that in India that has been functioning continuously since its inception. Built by the revered Buddhist king, Yeshe-O, the Tabo Monastery is now a priceless treasure to the Buddhist community. This alluring monastery is renowned as the 'Ajanta of the Himalayas'. This is because the walls of the monastery are decorated with fascinating murals and ancient paintings, much like the Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra. Resting peacefully on the left bank of the sparkling Spiti River, the Tabo Monastery is proud of having preserved the glorious traditions and heritage of Buddhism in the form of artistic murals, intricate paintings, elegant stuccos and exquisite frescoes. Being one of the most historically significant sites in the Buddhist culture, the Archeological Survey of India has taken over the responsibility of its maintenance and preservation. Spanning over an area of 6300 sq. Km. in the cold desert of the Tabo Valley and enveloped by tall walls of mud bricks, this culturally rich heritage site is highly revered by Buddhist monks and comes second only to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet. In fact, the 14th Dalai Lama held the Kalachakra ceremonies of 1983 and 1996 at the Tabo Monastery! As the saying "don't judge a book by its cover" goes, it might first appear to you as a congregation of mud huts in the middle of nowhere. This perception is bound to change as one sets foot inside. For any individual seeking some peace of mind, this is the place to be. It gives a firsthand experience of monastic life and what it is like to be in a monastery. And what is best is that you can do it while enjoying a scenic view right in the lap of Mother Nature.

Experience Time:

Distance: 81 kms

Baralacha Pass

The Baralacha Pass, also known as the Baralacha la, is a high mountain pass that is located at the height of 16,040 feet above the sea level and is situated in the Zanskar range. This 8 kilometres long pass connects the Lahaul district in Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir and is located along the Leh-Manali highway. Just a few kilometres away from this pass, one can also find the Bhaga River, which is a tributary of the Chenab River that originates from the Surya Taal Lake. The Baralacha Pass is thus, surrounded by numerous beautiful sights, which leave the onlooker spellbound and yearning for more. The famous Baralacha Pass also finds mention in Rudyard Kipling's celebrated novel Kim, wherein the source of the Suraj Tal is used by the novel's character Lama to enter into India from Tibet. People who visit this pass also love to enjoy the trek from the Baralacha up to the Chandra tall, which is situated on the banks of the Chandra River in the Spiti Valley. A visit to this pass will teleport you to a different world altogether. The scenery and views here are breathtaking, and the barren land without any hotels and shops looks stunning. It is as if everyone turns into a nature photographer while at this place, and the time spent in the lap of nature makes one feel closer to himself.

Experience Time:

Distance: 4 kms

City Shopping

Being a lesser-known as a typical holiday destination, the tourism sector in Lahaul and Spiti is not well-developed and finding shops for souvenirs would be difficult here. However there is a special variety of tea here known as the Spiti tea which is claimed to slows down ageing as per the locals. Kaza - headquarters of Spiti and a small town, is famous or its pure wool shawls, carpets and woolen clothes. Ceramic items and local jewellery is also on the top list of buyers. Lets check out some major shopping outlets of the town.

Experience Time:

Distance: 4 kms

Yak Safaris

Yak and Horse Safaris are the best and some of the most popular and loved ways to explore this region.

Experience Time:

Distance: 135 kms

Trilokinath Temple

Trilokinath Temple holds religious significance amongst both Tibetan Buddhists and Hindus. The temple is situated on a cliff at the end of a street in the Tunde village. The three day Pauri festival during August makes it a good time to visit the temple.

Experience Time: 4-5days

Distance: 37 kms

Thangka painting

Thangka painting is a Buddhist painting made on cotton and silk.When they are not used for display, they are rolled and kept on a textile backing which look like Chinese scroll paintings, with a silk cover. They can last for a long time. But they are of delecate nature, that's why they are kept in dry places so that it doesn't get affected by moisture. The painting depicts a Buddhist deity or a scene. Thangka paintings, made on cotton, are paintings depicting the life of Buddhist deities. They serve as important teaching tools. Thangka painting are used for devotional and decorative purposes. There are workshops held by famous thangka painters who teach the visitors the importance and procedure that goes in the making of the painting.

Experience Time:

Distance: 25 kms

Dhankar Lake

At a distance of 5 km from the Dhankar monastery that sits dangerously on a cliff, lies the Dhankar lake on the other side of the mountain. It takes about an hour to reach the lake after following a well marked trail from the monastery. If you spend enough time at the lake, you can see the sky change colors and reflect on the crystal-like lake, making it more spell binding each time, within a span of just a few hours.

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Trekking

Spiti is the haven for adventure seekers and trekkers as it offers treks through some of the most unseen, dream-like landscapes, watched over by majestic sceneries. For the more experienced trekkers there is the Pin-Parvarti route. Other routes include Kaza-Langza-Hikim-Comic-Kaza, Kaza-Ki-Kibber-Gete-Kaza, Kaza-Losar-Kunzum La and Kaza-Tabo-Sumdo-Nako.

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Distance: 0 kms

Mountain Biking

Being in the trans-Himalayan Region, the terrain of Spiti is the most favorable for Mountain Biking and features toward the top on the list of any Mountain Biker. Ride on some of the highest roads and through dessert like and dreamy landscapes. The best time for such an experience is during the months of June to September.

Experience Time:

Distance: 4 kms

Tibetan Shops

There are a number of Tibetan shops here, where one can shop for gems and jewellery, local ornaments, semi-precious stones as well as ceramic utensils.

Experience Time:

Distance: 101 kms

Shashur Monastery

Shashur Monastery, derives its name from the blue pines that surround it. It is a three-storey structure located at a distance of 35-40 km from Manali. The panoramic view of the river, mountains and Keylong town from the monastery is amazing. The prayer rooms are bedecked with large paintings and wall paintings, making this place even more worth the visit.

Experience Time:

Distance: 6 kms

Gandhola Monastery

The monastery is famous for its wooden idols, which stand pout from the clay idols found in all other monasteries. The monastery is founded by Padma Sambhava and is over 800 years old. Guru Ghantal is a monastery located on a hilltop above Tupchiling village, where the rivers Chandra and Bhaga meet.

Experience Time:

Distance: 101 kms

Co-operative society run shops in Keylong

The Keylong Market offers plethora of choices including woolen shawls, mufflers, stoles, baby shawls, ponchos, and caps among other items either made from Angoora or Pashmina yarn. Don't forget to bargain for the best prices. Located at many places in Keylong, these co-operative run society shops offers almost everything you may need like clothes and utensils etc. However, the items that are unique to the town and are popular among tourists are ceramic items, stone gems and local jewellery.

Experience Time:

Distance: 98 kms

Tayul Monastery

Tayul Monastery houses the biggest statue of Padma Sambhava, about 12 ft. tall, in his two manifestations as Singhmukha and Vajravarahi. The Gompa also has a hundred million mani wheels, which are supposed to open the minds of visitors to the compassion of Lord. And the wheels are said to turn themselves on auspicious occasions.

Experience Time:

Distance: 4 kms

Tangyud Monastery

Tangyud resembles a fortified castle with enormous and overlooking mud walls and battlements. Built on the edge of a deep canyon, Tangyud is one of the only two monasteries belonging to the Sakya sect in Spiti. Tangyud Gompa is located at a distance of 4 kms from the town of Kaza, near the Komic Village

Experience Time:

Distance: 101 kms

Kardang Monastery

Kardang Monastery is located in the scenic landscape among the greenery, mountains and across the Bhaga river. It is close to Keylong, a small town in Himachal. You can see the magnificent white building adorned with prayer flags from a distance.

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Distance: 23 kms

Kungri Monastery

Located in the Pin Valley, overlooking the picturesque backdrop, Kungri Gompa is the second oldest monastery in Spiti valley and the only one following Nyingmapa Buddhism. The monastery has gorgeous silk paintings of Buddhist deities adorning the inner walls. During June-July, you can witness the performance of the Devil Dance or Chham in the monastery.

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