Lahaul & Spiti

Lahaul & Spiti

Lahaul & Spiti Overview

If you wish to one day travel to a land of paradoxes and contrasts, a place where nature challenges you with its extreme but land and people who are as welcoming as monks in their monasteries, Lahaul Spiti is truly a wonder on Earth. Spiti Valley is a wonder of nature, a cold barren desert that spreads miles and has nothing to offer but its majestic mountains, pristine and crystal clear lakes attracts thousands of wandering souls every year. 

 

From its brown rocky mountains to its contrasting Monasteries, Spiti is an amalgamation of nature and man-made. The two valleys of Lahaul and Spiti are connected through the famous Kunzum La (mountain pass) that sits at an altitude of 4551 m. While the two regions are equally stunning, they vary slightly in appearance. While the Spiti Valley is an endless cold and barren land of nothingness, the Lahaul Valley shows some signs of vegetation. However, the two regions find common grounds in terms of both being remote, utterly spectacular and peaceful.

 

Spiti in Winter is altogether a different beauty and beast. While the region receives a lot of snowfall and temperature takes a major dip during the winter season, the white sheet of snow makes Lahaul & Spiti a white wonderland during the winters. 

 

Key Monasteries, Tabo Monasteries, Pin Valley National Park are some places you must visit when in Lahaul Spiti but the major attractions for the region would always remain the famous Spiti Bike Trips and Spiti Road Trips that take you venture across some worst roads to ride on, taking you across some of the highest motorable roads in the world. While daredevils every year venture to conquer Lahaul Spiti, it’s the local culture that becomes the highlight of their Spiti Valley trip. It is so amazing to witness a handful of people who survive in the harshest climates smiling and receiving you with incredible warmth. The rich culture preserved by this small population living in remote villages and small towns is one thing you cannot miss witness.


 

Keylong is the district headquarters of the Lahaul and Spiti Valley and this is the perfect base to start your journey through the verdant lands of Lahaul. The various villages of Lahaul like Koksar, Sissu, Gondhla, Tandi, Jahalman and Thirot allure with their vibrant and luxuriant landscapes adorned with rich alpine flowers, thick willows and beautiful fields of potatoes, peas, barley and buckwheat.

 

With its unique temples of Markula Devi and Trilokinath Lahaul and Spiti is also a popular pilgrimage site for Hindus. Lahaul is also a haven for thrill-seekers with many trekking routes and mountaineering expeditions originating from Darcha to Baralacha la. Kaza, the sub-divisional headquarters of the Spiti Valley welcomes you with its rich Tibetan culture and traditions.

 

Boasting its rich Tibetan Buddhism culture and influence, the Lahaul & Spiti Valley hides numerous marvellous gompas and monasteries such as Dzong Gompa, Guru Ghantal Gompa, Tayul, Yardong, Kardang, Shashur Gompa, and Gemur Monasteries in the Lahaul region and the Tabo, Ki Monastery, Dhankar, Komic and the famous attractions in Spiti.

 

For nature lovers, Spiti Valley would not disappoint you. The region is home to a wide variety of exotic species of animals including the Snow Leopards, Tibetan Wild Fox and Ibex. The beauty of the rich flora and fauna of the region can be best explored at the Pin Parvati Valley, which holds the many secrets close to its heart. 

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Best Time To Visit Lahaul & Spiti

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Located at a high altitude and isolated from the mainlands, the best time to visit Lahaul & Spiti is during the Summer season, between May and October. This is the only window where you will find the roads open. Most of the connecting roads are covered in deep snow during the Winter season, making many parts of the valley inaccessible. 

 

Summer Season in Lahaul & Spiti: Summer season in Lahaul and Spiti starts around May and lasts till June. The temperature during this period ranges between 8-degree Celsius to 16-degree Celsius. Although the weather remains slightly cold, the clear skies and sunny days make this the best time for outdoor activities including trekking in Spiti.

 

Monsoon Season in Lahaul & Spiti: Called a “Cold Desert”, the region receives little to no rainfall through the monsoon season. July to September is the monsoon season in the region but with no rainfall, this is the best time to visit Spiti, however, the heavy rainfall en route Spiti, including Manali and Kinnaur, can make the roads leading to Spiti prone to landslides. 

 

Winter Season in Himachal Pradesh: Officially the winter season starts in November and it is some of the harshest winters in the country. The temperature can fall as low as -17-degree Celsius, with the region receiving a good amount of snowfall, making it a popular winter destination in India. 

 

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How to reach Lahaul & Spiti

Isolated in the Himalayan mountains at a high altitude, the only way to reach Spiti is via roads, making it a popular road trip destination in India.
 

By air: The nearest airport to Spiti is Bhuntar Airport, near Kullu (245 km away). From there, you can take a bus to Manali and then hire a cab or bus to reach Lahaul and Spiti Valley. The nearest international airport to Lahaul & Spiti Valley is in Chandigarh which is at a distance of 495 km away. You can easily find buses to Reckong Peo and Manali from Chandigarh, which will eventually lead you to Kaza in Lahaul and Spiti Valley. 

 

By train: The nearest train station to Spiti is Jogindernagar Railway Station (360 km away). The other railway station close to Spiti is in Shimla, which is a narrow-gauge line. You can take a bus or hire a taxi to reach Spiti valley from either of the stations. Kalka Railway station is a major railway station closest to Spiti. It enjoys good connectivity with many parts of India is located 485 km away.

 

By road: There are 2 roads that connect the district with the rest of Himachal Pradesh. One route is from Shimla to Kaza in Spiti Valley through Reckong Peo (412 km, 20 hours) and the other route follows the same road from Shimla to Keylong in Lahaul (375 km, 18 hours). One can also reach Lahaul and Spiti Valley from Manali through the Rohtang Pass and the Kunzum Pass. However, this road remains closed for most of the year (9 months) due to heavy snowfall.. 

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Places to visit in Lahaul & Spiti

Lahaul & Spiti Valley are home to some of the highest villages in India. Visitors can also visit some of the most famous monasteries in India including Key and Tabo Monasteries. The valley also attracts visitors who come to ride/drive on one of the highest motorable passes in the world, Kunzum Pass. The hidden pristine lakes are another popular tourist attraction in the valley.

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Things to do in Lahaul & Spiti

The twin valley is a haven for adrenaline seekers, backpackers, photographers, travellers looking for peace and serenity. While the twin valley offers something for everyone, trekking, visiting Monasteries, exploring nature in its rawest form are some things you can do when in Lahaul and Spiti. 

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Essential Information about Lahaul & Spiti

As you go high altitude places, the network might be unreliable. Plan your bookings in advance to make sure everything is in place. 

 

With high elevation, tourists might face the issue of altitude sickness. Carry the required medicine to avoid headaches. With cold temperatures, tourists might not notice the signs of dehydration, however, it is necessary to keep yourself hydrated, especially while trekking and long day travel. 

 

If you are travelling by public transport, make sure your travel plans fall are during the day as the frequency of buses drop after sunset. 

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