Guest post by Peter Smith.
Spiti Valley is home to Himalaya’s most beautiful open-air museums. It is bordered by Lahaul and Kulu, and it is separated by the Kunzum Pass. This mountainous path is actually the main route to Kaza, Spiti’s sub-divisional headquarters. If you’re hiking, make sure to include a trip to Moon Lake, too, which is positioned 9 km away from Spiti. The superb valley is remote and secluded from the rest of Himalaya, but it’s still a place of interest you cannot miss out on your unforgettable journey to Himachal Pradesh, India. Heavily worn by wind and snow, the mountains that surround Spiti Valley are completely nude. The scenery is breathtaking, considering this isolated valley is untouched by urbanism.
Spiti Valley aka Himalaya’s ‘Little Tibet’
Spiti Valley looks just like Tibet from a topographical perspective, and that the people here are mostly Buddhists. The main capital of the valley, Kaza, is rather difficult to reach considering it is positioned at the altitude of 3,650 m. The hike is not that demanding, but it’s still challenging for beginners. From the top of Kaza, the landscape and panorama over Spiti Valley is breathtaking. Often called a mountain desert, while you explore Spiti Valley you may also come across Lahaul.
Lahaul is more developed and a lot greener that Spiti and Ladakh. The main capital of this place is Keylong, a popular tourist destination for those traveling from Manali to Leh. On your trip, you’ll see a wealth of medieval monasteries and mountain villages which somehow have remained untouched by mass tourism.
Spiti Valley – customs & traditions
Spiti Valley is home to Hikkim and Komic, two of Himalaya’s highest inhabited villages. As opposite to the rest of the mountain chain, Spiti can only be explored a few months per year. Throughout wintertime, it is almost impossible to get pass Kunzum – trekking and hiking activities are extremely challenging, even dangerous if you’re a beginner. At an altitude that exceeds 4,000 m, Kunzum divides Spiti Valley from Lahaul. From the top, tourists will admire Bara-Sigri, the Himalaya’s second longest glacier. Chandra-Bhaga Mountain can be seen from here, a superb peak with exquisite Himalayan vegetation.
The wonders of Spiti Valley
Even though Spiti Valley is one of the world’s most isolated places, it’s still worth exploring. The spectacular glacier peaks blend smoothly with the allure of the ancient Buddhist monasteries. As for the general landscape of this travel spot, tourists will be delighted to gaze at the wildlife and know more about the valley’s most secretive points of interest. Tabo Monastery is a beautiful shrine that dates back to 996 CE. It was once a favorite spot of the famous Dalai Lama, so tourists fascinated by the Buddhist traditions will surely appreciate the significance and cultural insight of this place.
Since you’re here, you might just as well visit Manali. This splendid town used to be a preliminary point to an old route that led to Ladakh. From here, tourists will reach Karakoram Pass, and afterwards Tarim Basin. Spiti Valley is a lot more populated than you’d think; only it’s populated by Gaddi sheep and goats. Travelers are in for a treat, as the valley amazes with the spectacular wildlife in the surrounding villages.
Spiti Valley and its people
The people of Spiti Valley are divided into 3 main cults – sakyapa, gelugpa and nyingmapa. In terms of language, the locals speak spiti bohia and lahuli, and tourists will immediately notice their simple lifestyle. People here rely on agriculture, and their main occupations are related to arts and crafts. If you’re ready to venture yourself into the wild, the ideal time of the year to see Spiti is between May and October. Because of the valley’s high altitude (3,300 m – 5,000 m), voyageurs are highly advised to dress properly before departure.
Spiti Valley is one of Himalaya’s most exquisite travel spots. Nestled into the challenging Himalayan chain, Spiti prides itself with an unspoiled beauty. The landscapes are vast and breathtaking, the people are warm and welcoming, and ultimately, the region’s fauna and flora will exceed all your expectations. Avid trekkers will adore Spiti Valley’s all-natural allure, amazing surroundings and challenging trekking areas.
By Peter Smith and Shaktihimalaya.com!