Spiti Destination Guide
Updated: Aug 22, 2022
Read on to find out 6 best places to visit in Spiti valley.
Spiti Valley- Witness Nature at its Primal Best!
Take the big leap from being just a picture-hungry tourist to a hardened and authentic traveler by visiting the unique Spitian landscape!
Flanked by majestic snow-capped Himalayas on one side and deep gorges (carved by Spiti river) on the other, the Martian-looking cold desert of Spiti valley is a thrilling adventure that gets more real at every turn of the road. The view transforms at every turn of the road, and the barren mountains fascinate one’s senses into utter fascination and a deep sense of respect for nature’s pristine truths.
A tranquil land inhabited by Buddhists, the multi-colored fluttering prayer flags throughout the terrain bring a sense of calm to the traveler. With an average elevation of 4,270 m, the barren landscape, the tough terrain is home to multiple monasteries like Kee/ Ki, Tabo, and Dhankar.
6 Best Places to Visit in Spiti Valley:
The capital city of Kaza is where lots of activity and hubbub happens after a long stretch of silent and serene Spitian cold desert. Kaza is one of the best place to visit in Spiti valley.
Towering snow-covered Himalayas and the gushing Spiti river create a pixel-perfect landscape for travelers and adventurists who come to Kaza to recharge their energy and restock their supplies. The bustling town has numerous restaurants, eating joints, and hotels to accommodate tourists and adventurists alike.
Divided into an old and a new city, Kaza is home to numerous monasteries and gompas that bring a magical charm to the beautiful town.
2. Ki Gompa/ Monastery:
With the backdrop of snow-covered mountain ranges, Ki Gompa is a spellbinding sight. Reaching an elevation of 4,166 meters above sea level, the 1000 years old monastery is revered and receives pilgrims from across the country.
The 200 odd lamas belonging to the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism use this peaceful place for religious training of the younger monks. The age-old monastery is a treasure trove of colorful murals, manuscripts, Thangkas, and many traditional instruments.
Pilgrims and travelers love to be a part of the annual Cham festival which is celebrated in summer. Located just 14 km from the town of Kaza, Ki is an extraordinary experience that takes you back to a bygone era.
3. Tabo Monastery:
A grand example of the splendor of the past standing tall amidst ravages of time through the last 10 centuries, Tabo Monastery is an ancient marvel that is often compared to the exquisite “Ajanta caves”. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Spiti valley.
A repository of incomparable murals, stucco sculptures, frescoes, and manuscripts, the monastery was founded in 996 AD by Royal Lama Yeshe-O. The monastery has preserved the heritage of Tibetan Buddhism in Spiti valley and is the oldest Tibetan monastery in the Himalayas. An ASI-protected site, the simplicity of its mud-structure is incomparable in simplicity and beauty to anything you might have seen.
4. Dhankar Monastery:
Sitting atop rocky cliffs at an elevation of 3,800 m or 12,74 feet, Dhankar Gompa is a unique and captivating sight perched among tall barren cliffs. It is a 16th century built fort monastery that contains precious scriptures, beautiful murals, and Buddhist Thangkas. Erstwhile capital of Spiti valley kingdom, the village of Dhankar oversees Pin and Spiti river that flows in a rush below.
Tourists also visit the new monastery that’s built just below the older one in Schilling. A visit to nearby Dhankar lake is a must once you make it up to the spectacular village.
5. Pin River Valley National Park:
A stunning specimen of the creator’s masterstroke, the scenic beauty of the landscape in Pin Valley is beyond imagination. The road towards the last village called Mud village goes through cold desert and is lined by ferocious Pin river. It brings forth ever-changing scenery, one more beautiful than the one before.
The pristine and breathtakingly gorgeous mountain view has speckles of green meadows, multi-colored flowers in between.
The area was declared as Pin Valley National Park in 1987 due to the presence of exotic species like Siberian Fox, Red Fox, Weasel, Obex, Bharal, and Snow Leopard, and Golden Eagle, and medicinal herbs, birch trees, Juniper trees, and so on,
Pin valley is famous among hardcore trekkers for a high-altitude (15,500 ft. or 5300 m above sea level) trek called Pin Parvati trek that shows spectacular views. Pin valley is located at a distance of 30 km from the town of Kaza.
6. Kibber or Kyibar village:
The world’s highest motorable road exists in Kibber village at the height of 4205 meters above sea level. The picturesque village lies amidst the backdrop of snow-capped mountains, Spitian cold desert landscape, and pristine green meadows.
One can easily spot distinctive Tibetan-style houses here which are made of bricks and stones. Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary is a major tourist hotspot. Snow-dwelling animals like Snow Leopard, Pika, Lynx, and Himalayan Wolf can be seen here.
The scenic village of Kibber lies just a few kilometers away from Key Monastery. Tourists who visit this village also go to nearby villages of Konic, Hikkim, and Langshu.
How to reach Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh?
Standing at an average elevation of 4270 m or 14,010 ft. above sea level, Spiti valley is only accessible through road - NH5.
By road: The valley is at a distance of 410 km from Shimla. The stretch goes through tough terrain with rugged mountains that takes approximately 2-3 days. Tourists either hire taxis from Shimla or go through their private vehicles.
Travelers also reach Spiti via buses. HRTC has a good network of buses, and a backpacker can plan the journey easily by booking a few buses online.
By train: The nearest railway station is at Kalka.
By air: The nearest airports are in Kullu, Chandigarh, and Delhi.
Itinerary to follow when you plan a visit to Spiti Valley:
Shimla- Narkanda – Kalpa/Reckong Peo – Nako – Tabo – Dhankar- Kaza – Pin Valley National Park - Kaza- Kunzum Pass – Chandratal Lake– Rohtang Pass – Manali
Best time to plan a trip to Spiti Valley:
The best time to plan a holiday for Spiti is in the summers. Enjoy the thrilling landscape from mid-may to July end as all the roads are open and safe. Though the valley itself does not receive much rainfall, the roads on the route are prone to massive landslides and dangerous.
Winter is not an ideal time to visit due to incessant snowfall and road blockages. The temperature goes down to as low as -30 degrees! Adventure seekers occasionally head towards the pristine snow-white landscape, but the harsh conditions and week-long blockages can become quite challenging.
The extraordinary landscape is what makes Spiti valley a popular tourist hotspot in North India.
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