Lahul & Spiti
These valleys are cut off from the rest of the rest of the world for half of the year. When they again emerge during the other half of the year through the melting snow, the sight is breathtaking and awe inspiring with barren Himalayan deserts and sparkling rivers in view.
Situated at an altitude of 3600 meter above sea level on left bank of river Spiti is presently the headquarters of Spiti sub division. Translated, 'Spiti' means the 'middle country' - a name obviously given as a result of its ties with both India and Tibet. With freckles of green over a dry, weather-beaten face, Spiti is a cold desert where the monsoon rain never comes. It is characterised by stark beauty, narrow valleys and high mountains. A century ago, Rudyard Kipling in Kim called Spiti "a world within a world" and a "place where the gods live" - a description that holds true to the present day.
ACCESS : Nearest airports are at Kullu (Bhuntar) 250 km. and Shimla 445 km. Kaza can be approached by road from Shimla (May to October) and from Manali 200 km. via Kuzam Pass (June to October).
CLIMATE : This region is known as Cold Desert and does not receive rainfall. In winter the temperature can drop below freezing point, when heavy woolens are required. In summers the weather remains pleasant when light woolens are advised.
PLACES OF INTEREST
TABO (3050 m): 163 km from Kalpa is the ancient village of Tabo, situated on the left bank of river Spiti. Flanked on either sides by hills, it’s has one of the most important Buddhist monasteries regarded by many as only next to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet. It is also known as the Ajanta of the Himalayas. Tabo is the largest monastic complex of Spiti which has since been declared a protected monument under the aegis of Archaeological Survey of India.
KAZA (3600m) : 210 Km from Kalpa, 47 km from Tabo. The headquarters of Spiti sub-district, Kaza lies on the bank of river Spiti. In earlier times, it was the capital of Nono, the Chief of Spiti. It has a Buddhist Monastery and Hindu Temple.
KEY GOMPA (4116m) : 7 km from Kaza. The largest monastery in Spiti Valley. Established in the 11th century has ancient Buddhist scrolls and paintings. It also houses large number of Buddhist monks and nuns.
KIBBER (4205m) : 18 km from Kaza. The highest village in the world which is connected by motorable road and is the highest habitated village in the world which has its own polling station during elections.
DHANKAR (3890m) : 24 km from Tabo, this place is famous for a Buddhist monastery.
Situated at an altitude of 3350 m, Keylong is the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. The region is strange, exciting, primitive mountainous and delightful. Rudyard Kipling said of the region "Surely the God live here this no place for men." The route to Lahaul takes a traveler over Rohtang Pass (3980 ml), Koksar (1st village of Lahaul) Sissu, Gondla and crossing the river Chandra Bhaga at Tandi
ACCESS : By road the distance is 115 km from Manali, 188 km from Kaza, 373 km from Leh, 435 km from Chandigarh and 690 km from Delhi. Heavy winter snows cut off road connectivity to the region at Rohtang Pass for six months from November to June. Buses, Taxis are available from Manali in season. HPTDC also plies regular coaches to Leh via Keylong during July - September. Nearest airport is Bhunter, 175 km from Keylong.
CLIMATE : Lahaul remains cut-off from outside the world till mid June due to heavy snowfall and closing of Rohtang Pass. There is little or no rain in monsoons. The climate remains dry and invigorating. The days are hot and nights are extremely cold. Heavy / Light woolens are recommended.
PLACES OF INTEREST
TANDI (2573m) : 8 km, short of Keylong, on the Manali - Leh Raod, situated on the confluence of Chandra & Bhaga rivers. Last point to tank up if traveling north of Keylong as it has the last fuel station on this stretch.
SISSU (3100m) : On the bank of Chandra, 15 km from Koksar, every spring and autumn wild geese and ducks halt here on their way to and from Siberia.
GONDLA (3110m) : 18 km from Keylong on the right bank of river Chandra. Famous for ancient Fort.
UDAIPUR (2523m) : 53 km from Keylong, home of the Mrikula Devi Temple, which is famous for wood carvings.
TRILOKNATH (2660m) : 4 km from Udaipur famous for Triloknath temple. Sacred both for HIndu and Buddhist.
MONASTERY'S : Lahaul is well known for its monasteries, locally called Gompas, which are great repositories of Buddhist faith and art treasures. These are Kardang - 5 km, Shasur - 3 km, Guru Ghantal - 8 km, Tayul - 6 km, Gemur - 18 km
SHOPPING : Shawls, Local Tweeds, Caps, Rugs, Footwear, Fresh fruit, Natural oil (olive and almond), Sliver jewellery, Pullovers, Metal craft, Woolen jackets and Bamboo products.