Himalayan Excursion Lahaul and Spiti

Lahaul and Spiti
Lahaul & Spiti is famous for its several monasteries, temples and gompas. Bhaga and Chandra are famous rivers in this region. Lahaul & Spiti will give you a wide array of Buddhist art and culture. The people of Lahaul & Spiti are very friendly and you can see their tradition, and love of culture.

Location of Lahaul and Spiti
Lahaul and Spiti is located in the northeastern corner of the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is surrounded by Jammu and Kashmir to the north and Tibet to the east. The district comprises of two large valleys, Lahaul and Spiti. Lahaul is watered by the Chandra and Bhaga rivers and is surrounded by Great Himalayas to the North, Pir Panjal to the South, and Spiti and Chandra watershed to the East. The headquarters of Spiti is Kaza and is known as “Little Tibet”. The valleys are not wide but there are lofty mountains surrounding the valley. Spiti River flows through the region.

What to see in Lahaul and Spiti?
Keylong: The district headquarters of Lahaul & Spiti, Keylong is located above Bhaga river on the main road to Leh over Rohtang. It is famous for its lovely lush green valleys, streams surrounded with snow-capped mountains and willow trees. It is famous for its three main gompas namely Khardong Gompa, Shaspur Gompa and Tayal Gompa. It also houses a temple of a local deity, Kelang Wazir.

Gondhla: Gondhla is situated about 18kms from Keylong at a height of 3160 m along the right bank of river Chandra. It is famous for the house of the Thakur of Gondhla known as Gondhla fort. This 8-storey building was built by Raja Kullu Man Singh in 1700 AD.

Tandi: The village of Tandi is located 8kms from Keylong at the confluence of Chandra & Bhaga rivers. A famous legend is associated with the place. Chandra and Baga, son and daughter of the Moon and Sun gods were in love with each other. To perform their celestial marriage, they decided to climb the Baralacha-la and from there run in opposite directions. Chandra was smart to find her way to ‘Tandi’. Bhaga however, reached Tandi through the narrow gorges. They both met at Tandi and eventually their celestial marriage took place. Khoksar: The first village and gateway to Lahaul, Khoksar is situated at an altitude of 3140m on the right bank of Chandra. Khoksar becomes the coldest month in Lahaul during winter. It gets so cold that the river freezes serving it as a passage for humans and mule as well.

Triloknath Temple: Triloknath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This unique temple has been given the shape of a Buddhist shrine by Guru Padmasambhava by setting up the 6 armed image of Avalokiteshvar. It is therefore a place visited by both Hindus and Buddhists. The Nandi Bull of Lord Shiva is placed at the centre of the temple. A huge festival called Pauri is held every year in the month if August where people of both faiths gather.

Jispa: 22kms from Keylong, is this tourist destination which has a large, dry river-bed. It is located on the banks of the Baga river and is a famous camping ground. Fishing enthusiasts can look for trout in this region.

Darcha: Located at an altitude of 3500 m above sea level, Darcha is situated at the meeting point of Yotche nullah and the Zangskar at the Baga river. It is a good starting point for treks to Padum over the Shinkun la or Baralacha la and Phirtse la and even for expeditions to Leh and peaks of Chandra Bhaga series.

Sissu: Sissu is located about 30 kms from Keylong on the Keylong-Koksar road. This place is famous for a big waterfall and the Gyephang peak. Lord Gyephang or Ghepan is the local deity of Lahaul.

Kardang Monastery: Built in the 12th century, Kardang monastery is 5kms from Keylong across Baga river. It also has a library which houses Kangyur and Tangyur volumes of Budhist scriptures in Bhoti.

Tayul Gompa: This is one of the oldest monasteries of the valley housing a big statue of Guru Padmasamhava.

Baralacha La Pass: Baralacha La Pass means ‘Pass with cross roads on summit’ and located 73 kms from Keylong. It is also an origin of the Chandra, Bhaga and Yamuna rivers.

Udaipur: 59kms from Keylong is Udaipur located in upper Lahaul. There are number of interesting treks to Chamba starting from Udaipur. Apples and walnuts are grown in plenty in Udaipur.

Places of interest in Spiti
Kunzum Pass: Kunzum Pass is gateway to Spiti fom Kullu and Manali. The panoramic view of Bara-Sigri glacier is enthralling from this pass. The crest is marked by rows of stones erected ages ago suggesting that you are stepping into a Buddhist country. A temple dedicated to Goddess Durga is located at the top of this pass.

Kye Monastery: Kye Monastery is the oldest and biggest monastery f the Spiti valley located 12kms north of Kaza. Pianting and scriptures of Lord Buddha rae housed inside the monastery.Many Lamas also get religious training in this monastery..

Thang Yug Gompa: Located in the narrow gauge of Kaza Nallah, Thang Yug Gompa is situated in central Spiti. Above this gompa is a long plateau leading to Shilla Peak.

Dhankar Monastery: Dhankar is the capital of Spiti, located 25kms east of Kaza. It houses 100 Lamas and Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti language. The main figure is a Statue of “Vairochana” (Dhayan Budha) of 4 complete figures seated back to back.
Tabo Monastery: This gompa belongs to the 10th century and is located 50 kms from Kaza. There are about 60 Lamas and a huge collection of Buddhist paintings and scriptures.

Kibber: Kibber is about 16kms from Kaza at a height of 14,200 ft in a narrow valley at the peak of a limestone rock. Plenty of cultivation and lush green fields will greet you. Gette village which is situated at a short distance from Kaza is the highest point in the world at a height of 4270 m.

Lossar: It is the first big village in Spiti located at the confluence of Losar and Peeno streams. You can enjoy horse and yak rides in this village. Accomodation options in Lahaul and Spiti Tourist Bungalow in Keylong and Tourist Lodge in Kaza run by HPTDC are good options in Lahaul & Spiti. Other hotels in Lahaul & Spiti are Gyespa, Snowland, and Snowview.

Best season to visit Lahaul and Spiti
June to October is the best time to visit Lahaul & Spiti.

How to reach Lahaul and Spiti
By Air: The nearest airport is Bunter near Kullu and Jabbar near Shimla.

By Rail: The nearest narrow gauge railway station is Shimla.

By Road: Lahaul & Spiti is linked from Manali by National Highway No. 22 via Shimla. You can avail buses and taxis from Manali and Shimla