Must Visit Places in Lahaul and Spiti Valley
Thinking to go to Spiti Valley, these are the must visit place you should not miss
If you wish to awaken your dormant sixth sense; if you want to be in the laps of nature in its relatively untouched state; if you are willing to spend time in an uncomfortably high altitude, away from your comfort zone; if you want to make genuine friends; if you want to practise how to draw constellations or witness our galaxy - the Milky Way; and if you want to have a hearty laugh when Sharma uncle brags about his son's visit to Switzerland; then Lahaul and Spiti is the place for you.
Together, known as Little Tibet, Lahaul and Spiti is a mountain desert district, located in Himachal Pradesh. It is the second largest district in the country. With a population of about 650 people (as of 2017), it is one of the least populous districts in India. The locals here are nicer than you can imagine. If you have not yet been to this part of the country, you are missing out on a lot in your life.
With this article, I will share a list of seven of the must visit places in Lahaul and Spiti Valley:
Nestled in the laps of Spiti Valley, Key Gompa is the biggest and the most popular Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in the district. It has survived a lot of wars and a natural calamity - an earthquake, but it is still standing strong. It offers a calm and spiritual aura. It is what Thiksey Monastery was a couple of decades ago - raw and away from a flock of visitors.
If you want to experience the beauty similar to Pangong Tso, sans the maddening crowd, Chandra Taal is the place for you. It is pretty far from the center of Spiti Valley (more than 80 kilometers in distance), but just 9 kilometers away from Kunzum La. Located at an altitude of about 4,300 meters above sea level, it gets its name from the moon. The sky, the mountains, the lake, and the field, together, make this place look heavenly. On a clear night, one can see gazillions of sparkling stars. It is an ideal place for camping.
Dhankar is a small village, sandwiched between Kaza and Tabo. It was once the capital of the Spiti Valley kingdom, and is one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world. Dhankar Gompa offers a panoramic view of Spiti Valley and the rivers - Spiti and Pin. The confluence of the two rivers is breathtakingly beautiful.
Pin Valley National Park
Situated merely two kilometers away from Kaza, Pin Valley National Park is possibly the most gorgeous National Park in the country. It is a part of the Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area. The rich variety of flora and fauna - Snow leopards, Red foxes, Brown bears, Golden eagles, et cetera - make it a must visit place for people who enjoy wildlife. The lush green fields, snow-capped mountains, and the Spiti river have casted a beauty spell in this valley.
Situated just about six kilometers away from Key Gompa is the second highest motorable village in the continent. Kibber is a petite village, which offers magnificent view of the landscapes, the surrounding mountains, and Key Gompa. The houses provide a glimpse of ancient times mud architecture.
Approximately 35 kilometers away from Kibber is the highest motorable village in Asia. Situated at over 15,000 feet above sea level, it is said to be the highest inhabited village on the planet. Komic Village is even more calm than Kibber Village. The village is home to less than a hundred people.
You do not have to visit Egypt to see a mummy. Located a little over 80 kilometers from Kaza, is the Gue Mummy Lama Temple. The embalmed corpse is of a monk, Sangha Tenzin, who had died more than 500 years ago. It is said that the monk had gone into a state of meditation to protect the region from some kind of calamity. What is astonishing to see is that the mummy is in a relatively excellent state (considering how old it is), with well preserved hair, nails, and teeth.
In the heart of Tabo, less than 50 kilometers away from Kaza, is Tabo Monastery. Legend has it that it has been standing for over a 1000 years, thereby being the oldest Monastery in the country. His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama believes that it is the holiest Buddhist Monastery in the entire world, and thus, wants to retire at Tabo Monastery. The Monastery has a plethora of exquisite, ancient paintings.
Apart from the aforementioned places, there are quite a few more really nice places such as Hikkim, White Temple, Baralacha La, Kunzum La, Bara Shigri Glacier, et cetera, that one should consider visiting. With Summer arriving soon Lahaul and Spiti Valley is the place to visit. The best time to visit Little Tibet is from May to October.
Photo Credit: wikimedia.org, allindiablog.org, www.wenomads.com, phatgiao.org.vn, yellowpeaks.com, unexplored.lonelyplanet.in, www.incrediblespiti.com, www.tourism-of-india.com , avalok
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