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SPITI VALLEY TOUR: A DETAILED GUIDE

by Alex James
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About Spiti valley

 

HEIGHT: 11980 ft

HIGHEST POINT: KUNZUM LA(PASS) 4551 mts.

TOUR DAYS: 12

NEAREST AIRPORT: KULLU

BEST TIME TO VISIT: MAY TO OCTOBER

Introduction

A popular destination for trekking, mountaineering and adventure tourism Spiti valley is a high-altitude region of the Himalayas. It is located in the northeastern part of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Replete with pine forests, green meadows, beautiful monasteries and inhabited villages this majestic cold desert will leave you totally awestruck. Freckled with green patches over a dry weather-beaten face, fascinating valleys, windswept landscapes and quiet villages Spiti is renowned as “Little Tibet” among some, and popular as the ‘cold desert mountain’ amongst others. With a lush and emerald landscape surrounded by snow-capped mountains, it is every eco-traveller’s dream, unspoilt and pristine. An excellent destination for gigantic mountains and Buddhist culture enthusiasts it is an opportunity to witness the magic it’s breathtaking picturesque does to people’s minds. 

 

MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF SPITI VALLEY

 

RIVER RAFTING

 

If you are an adventure lover looking for immense adventure then you should try your hands on river rafting in the Valley. With the river being enveloped by Kullu Valley in the south, Ladakh in the north and Tibet in the east it offers a spectacular view of the surrounding. One of the most thrilling experiences in Spiti, the activity of rafting covers a distance of 180 km on average.

 

PIN VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

 

 Established in 1987 with an area of 675 square kilometres this park is                                                           located in the desert habitat of the Spiti Valley, within the Cold Desert  Biosphere.  It is a natural habitat for a number of endangered animals including the Snow Leopards and Siberian Ibex.

      

BUDDHIST MONASTERIES

There are a lot of beautiful as well as tranquil monasteries in Lahaul Spiti. The monastery present here is the national historic treasure of India. The key and Tabo monasteries are some of the most famous monasteries of this region. Portraying the life and teachings of Buddha these monasteries are the perfect place to attain spiritual bliss.

 

CAMPING

If you are an adventure lover you will definitely not want to miss camping in the pristine valley of Spiti.  Sitting in the middle of nowhere and just raw nature surrounding yourself on a camping trip while visiting Spiti is a must. Thousands of people camp every year in Spiti and Kinnaur Valley.

 

TREK TO DHANKAR LAKE

A high-altitude lake at an elevation of 4,140 meters it can be reached only after a quite strenuous trek. With beautiful views of the mountains, this lake is a blissful and breathtaking retreat. The cold wind will give you goosebumps and the sparkling blue water reflecting the bright sun will surely leave you enchanted as well as overwhelmed.

 

VILLAGE OF GIU

A high-altitude mountain village that needs no introduction became famous in 1975 when Indian soldiers stationed in the area discovered the famous Giu mummy.  No matter what the truth is, it is worth visiting once.

 

 

NAKO VILLAGE WALK

The largest village in the Hangrang Valley at an elevation of 3,625 meters, this village lies in the sensitive restricted zone along the border with Tibet and requires an Inner Line Permit to travel through. Just walk around the village and absorb the traditional atmosphere and architecture.

 

STAR GAZING 

Curl up in a battered bed, under a pile of thick blankets, open the small window of your cozy room and just look at the night sky illuminated with millions of twinkling stars. The crystal clear views of the starry night sky and endless, desolate moonscape will help you in rediscovering yourself. You will not even realize and will spend most of your night just gawking at the ineffable vastness of the cosmos that we share with the stars.

 

BARALACHA PASS

Also known as Bara-Lacha-La it is a high mountain pass in the Zanskar range. With an elevation of 4,850 m this pass also acts as a water divide between the Bhaga River and the Yunam river.  Trekking in this region involves camping and walking at reasonably high altitude, and crossing a few glacier rivers.

 

HOW TO REACH?

 

Trip only possible through road Spiti valley is accessible via either Shimla or Manali. The roads can be quite dangerous at some points due to bad conditions and you should be aware of the possibilities of landslides and even mountain streams while crossing the road.

There are mainly two routes through which one can enter Spiti Valley. First one passes through Shimla, Narkanda, Sarahan, Chitkul, Nako, Tabo and Kaza and the other one passes through the Atal tunnel or Rohtang Pass. Although the roads are in good condition and are open throughout the year, some temporary blockages are unavoidable during winter. No matter which route you choose, the experience you are gonna have will surely be a mix of thrill, bliss, and luxury of witnessing nature’s beauty like never before.

 

SHOPPING

With the number of diverse souvenirs you can find in the market, it becomes utterly confusing. What to bring back home? Usually people prefer buying woodwork, paintings, jewellery, spices however the option of Tibetan artefacts are also available such as beads, flags, bamboo baby cradles, buddha statues and a myriad of other items with religious influences.

 

WHAT TO EAT?

 

There is nothing better than trying your hands at the local delicacies of the land you are visiting. Then there is lunch in the monastery. Also, there are roadside cafes and dhabas. The mix of Indian and Tibetan food along with staple cuisines like dal, rice, vegetable, and special Spiti bread is enough to leave you surprised. Also, the traditional Pahari-Tibetan-Punjabi influences have resulted in extraordinary and mouthwatering food items like Thupka, Momos, Madra, Thentuk chupe, hot steamed dumplings, Tsampa, and beverages like Chaza, Sea Buckthorn juice, and tea,

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