A Center of Buddhist Culture: Spiti Valley
Spiti Valley is a Cold land dry land lying in northern India. A part of Lahaul and Spiti District of the State of Himachal Pradesh, the valley holds its own accord. A part of the ancient trade route from manali to Ladakh and the fabled silk route, Spiti Valley holds more treasures than one can possibly know.
How to Get to Spiti Valley
The Spiti region lying in the middle of Ladakh and Manali can be accessed by two routes. One is The Manali route which is highly dangerous and treacherous. The other is Shimla Kinnaur Route which is although dangerous, is much better built. Lahaul and Spiti Lay at a height of more than 3800 mt. from sea level. Rohtang Pass separates them from Kullu Valley and Kunzum pass barricades Lahaul from spiti.
One can follow Shimla Kinnaur route to Spiti which 256 Miles in distance. The road is difficult and since Spiti lies even in higher reaches, expect altitude sickness.
The other route is Manali Kaza Route which will take you close to Spiti border. The total distance is just over 270 km but the road is inaccessible in winters. It is often cutoff due to heavy snow and icing of roads. All weather tunnel from Rohtang gives access to spiti by reducing the distance by 45 km.
Why You Should Visit Spiti?
Adventure enthusiasts, tourists, Trekkers have exhausted most of the places that they can visit. While Spiti is a charted region of Himachal Pradesh, there are places within the valley which are uncharted. Let’s talk about the places that you should visit while adventuring Spiti:
1. Kunzum Pass and Chandratal lake
Kunzum Pass is located at a height of 4200 mt. above mean sea level. It is a mighty pass and altitude sickness is common for outsiders to the region. But if you are able to cross this pass, you will have a wonderful chance to visit The Chandratal Lake. Can be reached on foot in a shorter time although tiring, one can also use motorbikes to reach the base of the lake. Shaped like the moon, it is a fresh water lake and changes color through the day.
Best time to visit: March to June or September.
2. Langza, Hikkim, and Comic
Langza, Hikkim, and Comic are some of the highest villages in the world. With a small population in these villages, one can also find the highest post office in the world in Hikkim. Also famous for fossils, one of the fabled sight in Langza is the enourmous Buddha Statue.
Best time to Visit: March to June
3. Kye Monastery and Dhankar Monastery
Dhankar Monastery is as old as 17th Century BCE and is currently a tourist spot. Due to its age, not more than 20 people are allowed in it. One can access Dhankar Lake from the Monastery route which is located in higher reaches.
Kye or Ki Monastery is an ancient place and has Buddhist Historical value. Ki Gompa has been a hotspot for Buddhist Monks since 11th Century BCE. Almost 3000 years old, this place has its own library filled with ancient manuscriptures and texts of Buddhism.
Best time to visit: March To June.
4. Tabo Monastery
The Ajanta of Himalayas holds its title to be one of the ancient monasteries. Established in 10th Century BCE, the monastery is a spectacle for eyes. But it’s not just the monastery that will hold your breath, its Tabo caves that surround the monastery and Tabo art that can found inscribed on various rocks adorn this place to historical jewels.
No photography is allowed inside of the monastery which contains 9 temples and 33 sculptures of ancient value. The paintings are similar to paintings in the Ajanta cave but they differ on color scheme and compositions.
Best time to Visit: March to June or September
5. Giu Mummy
You must have heard about mummies which were mummified when they were alive and since then their remains are preserved. One such mummy is in Spiti Valley. When you go via Nako to Tabo, and cross a bridge over the Spiti river after Sumdo you can take a detour to reach a small village called Giu.
The Place is isolated habitat but the sight to see here is Giu Mummy. Giu Mummy is the remains of the 500-year-old monk which was found by ITBP under the glacier while doing some clearance project for building roads. Since then the Mummy has been brought to Giu Village, Enshrined inside a glass cubicle to keep it preserved. The mummy has hairs and nails lifelike.
Best time to Visit: March to June
Is that all in Spiti Valley?
The Spiti Valley has a lot of places that are unexplored and some places are even more fabled due to their historical value and Buddhism heritage. This legacy is continuing and more and more places are surfacing up to be a part of pearl in the beautiful necklace called Spiti Valley.