Spiti – An Unexplored Himalayan Jewel

Spiti is a desert mountain valley located in the Himalayas in northeast Himachal Pradesh. A road journey to this place is one of the most beautiful drives. One needs to be an adventure lover to enjoy the challenging journey. It includes driving on dangerous rocky terrains with no petrol pumps for hundreds of kilometers as well as coping with low oxygen levels due to high altitude. While driving to Spiti, we will be amazed to see how the green sceneries change to the Rocky Mountains and how the smooth drive becomes dangerous on rocky terrains. The journey is a package of rugged landscape, small villages, and old monastic complexes. Spiti is accessible only by road and there are two ways to get here, either via Shimla or via Manali. The route via Shimla is open throughout the year. And the route via Manali open with the opening of Rohtang and Kunzum passes around July. The best time to explore this jewel of the Himalayas is between July and September. Below is the list of some beautiful destinations to visit in this place.

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Ribba

It lies between Karchham and Puh. It is a small village that can be hardly found in any travel guide. The place has the Kasuraj Ji Temple where both Hindu gods and Buddhist deities are worshipped. The locals here make the local brew ‘Angoori’ made by locally grown grapes called rokh dakhang. They stock it for around 6 months when the whole village is covered in snow and remains isolated from the rest of the world.

Tabo

It is a small village situated at an altitude of 3280 m on the banks of the Spiti River. There is an old monastic complex that is believed to be the holiest of all monasteries. Many old paintings and frescos dating back to the 11th century have been preserved here. It has some old caves that are said to be the dwelling of monks. If we want a complete experience in Tabo we must stay in the guest house of the monastery. The village also has other guest houses for accommodation.

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Kaza

It is located at an altitude of 4000 m on the left of the Spiti River. It is the largest township and commercial center of the valley. Many companies can arrange for treks in this beautiful valley. Being the center of the valley; Kaza is a good place to explore Spiti. Other places can be visited during the day time. Things of daily use are easily available here unlike the rest of Spiti. Many new hotels have also come up in this place to make Kaza the base. The place is also popular for its colorful festivals and ancient Sakya Tangyud Monastery.

Dhankar

It is the old capital of Spiti and was originally known as Dhakkhar. If we are traveling through Taco, a road branches off from the main Kaza Road at a point 30 km away. Dhankar is about 8 km from this point. It has interesting lakes and monasteries. The monastery is located at an elevation of 3894 m on a cliff overlooking the confluence of the Spiti and Pin Rivers. A steep trail of around 3.5 km will take us to the lake that is hidden on the other side of the mountain. We must be there before the sunset so that we don’t miss the spectacular view of the sun setting behind the great Himalayas.
These were some of the places which we must explore in Spiti. It is a beautiful place to be in and experience new adventures.

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