Spiti Valley Tourism | Best Time & Tourist Places - Travel Guide

Spiti Valley Tourism | Best Time & Tourist Places - Travel Guide
spiti-valley

This is the most complete article on Spiti Valley on the Internet.

Everything in this article covers a range of topics that will help you properly plan your next trip to the Spiti Valley.

So if you want a complete insight on the Spiti Valley, then you will obviously love today's article.

Let's dive right in.....

A Glimpse of Spiti Valley

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Spiti Valley is a cold mountainous desert located in the northeastern part of Himachal Pradesh. Spiti Valley is the perfect gateway for those seeking to experience the best of mother nature. The valley is a popular tourist destination and attracts thousands of tourists every year. Spiti Valley is formed by the mighty Spiti river and the mountainous landscape here has an exotic appearance.

Spiti is surrounded by beautiful captivating mountain ranges all around. The whole region is heavily influenced by Buddhism and the pleasant environment here proved it as a perfect place for Buddhism to flourish. Spiti Valley is known for its monasteries and it consists of some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in the world.

One can clearly listen to the echoes of the sacred mantra "OM Mani Padme Hum" throughout the whole valley. Famous novelist Rudyard Kipling in the book "Kim" described Spiti as 'a world within a world' and 'a place where the gods live'. There is no doubt that this title still holds true for the Spiti Valley.


Where is Spiti Valley?

Spiti is a combination of the two words "Si" which means Mani and "Piti" which means Place. The combined word Spiti means the "middle land", and the place literally is a middle land between India and Tibet. Spiti Valley is at an average elevation of 12,500 feet above mean sea level and is one of the coldest places in the country. Spiti Valley is located in the Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.

The district consists of two major valleys - Lahaul Valley and Spiti Valley. The Spiti Valley is at a higher elevation as compared to Lahaul and is less inhabited than Lahaul. The North of the Spiti Valley is protected by the 'Kilta Peak', the east by the 'main Himalayas', the South by the 'Manirang Peak', and the western Spiti is separated from Lahaul by the Kunzum Range.


Why to visit Spiti Valley?

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Spiti Valley is a place of wonders and there is not a single reason to resist visiting this place. The deep blue sky and the unadulterated environment are the main highlights of this valley. The valley is one of the best destinations in India to discover the beauty of the mighty Himalayas. Spiti further contains three distinct divisions - Lower, Medium, and the Upper Spiti.

This majestic cold desert valley consists of beautiful pine trees forests, rocky mountain slopes, green meadows, some party inhabited areas and villages. The rocky mountains here give the landscape here a moon-like appearance. The people here leave in harmony with the nearby mountain ranges and follow Buddhism.

The Spiti region is geographically a living museum. The locals are highly virtuous, innocent, and live simple lives. The social customs, rituals, taboos, beliefs, folk tales, fairs, and festivals of people here all are amazing. This partly inhabited land is a gateway for all those seeking to enjoy some time out in nature, far from the busy city life.



Places to Visit in Spiti Valley

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Spiti Valley is a great tourist destination and has several places to explore. Right below, a great checklist of the places to visit in the Spiti Valley is waiting for you:

  1. Tabo Monastery

    Also referred to as the "Ajanta of the Himalayas", Tabo Monastery is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayan region. Established over 1000 years ago in the 996 A.D., it is one of the oldest operating Buddhist enclaves in the Himalayas. Unlike other monasteries built on hills, this monastery lies in the middle of the Tabo village at an elevation of 3050 meters above sea level.

    Tabo Monastery houses large numbers of scriptures, art pieces, paintings, murals, stucco sculptures, and works of the Lord Buddha. The monastery has four stupas, cave shrines, nine temples dedicated to the Buddha Maitreya and the goddess Tara. This ancient monastery is a historic treasure of India that still conserves rich cultural heritage and several Buddhist traditions.

  2. Key Monastery

    One of the most prominent features in the Spiti Valley tourism circuit is the Key monastery. Located on the rocky ridge on the left bank of the Spiti river, the monastery is at the Key Village. This magnificent hill-top monastery is located at an altitude of 4166 meters above sea level. This eye-pleasing monastery is 12 km from the west of Kaza and is a storehouse of several old weapons, ancient thankas, artifacts, and old ritual scripts.

    Key Monastery is also known as the 'Key Gompa', is a three-story structure among which one structure is virtually underground. This monastery was believed to have been built by Dromton, a student of the famous Buddhist teacher Atisha. The key monastery is thousand years old and served as a religious training center for the Lamas who receive their education here.

  3. Spiti River

    The pristine Spiti River is one of the most beautiful things you can explore in the valley. Spiti valley is formed by the mighty Spiti river. Spiti river originates from the slopes of the Kunzum Pass(4520 meters) of the Himalayas. The river ends at the river convergence with the Parang river near Sumdo. The valley's length from the Kunzum pass to Sumdo is 150km. Spiti River nurtures the in Spiti valley throughout the district.

    Spiti receives water from other streams and is itself a tributary of the Satluj river. Spiti river meets river Satluj at 'Khab'. A major of the human settlements in the valley is located on the banks of the Spiti river. These settlements near river such as Tabo, Kaza, Dhankar, and Rangrik looks so beautiful.

  4. Kaza

    Kaza is a great serene destination to explore in Spiti Valley. This beautiful hamlet is surrounded by captivating mountains and a crystal clear river flows through this hamlet. Several water streams, beautiful landscapes, and thick patches of greenery make it a must-visit place in Spiti. Kaza is the main administrative headquarter of the Spiti Valley.

    Kaza is located at an elevation of 3800 meters above sea level and is the most developed place in the Spiti valley and has the highest population within the area. Kaza is divided into two parts- old Kaza and new Kaza. There are shops, hotels, restaurants, and homestays in Kaza. Even there is a Himachal Pradesh government hotel in the Kaza.

  5. Kunzum Pass

    Located at an altitude of 4590 meters above sea level, Kunzum Pass is one of India's highest motorable mountain passes. Also known as the 'Kunzum La', it provides chief access to Spiti Valley from Lahaul and Kullu. The Lahaul and Spiti Valleys are separated by the great Kunzum Range. The Spiti river originates from this Kunzum range.

    Kunzum Pass is popular among motorbiking enthusiasts as they visit this place to experience the thrilling rides passing through the beautiful mountain ranges. A temple is also there which is dedicated to the Goddess Kunzum(Durga Mata). After taking a round(Parikrama) of the temple, one can seek the blessings of the Goddess Kunzum.

  6. Chandra Tal

    Chandra Tal is in the Lahaul part of the district at an altitude of 4270 meters above sea level. Also known as the 'lake of the moon', it is near the source of the Chandra river. The lake got its name from its crescent shape and is nearly 1.5 km long. Chandra Tal is a favorite spot for many adventure enthusiasts and trekkers. It is the starting point of the popular Batal - Baralacha trek. Camping is the other cause of tourist attraction to this lake.

  7. Pin Valley National Park

    Pin Valley National Park is situated in the cold desert habitat of the Spiti Valley. The entire area of the park is a cold desert consisting of a few alpine meadows. This park is a part of the Pin Valley which is a side valley of the Spiti Valley. The 'Pin Region' is formed by the Pin river and the altitude of the region varies from 3600 meters to 6630 meters the sea level. Pin Valley National Park covers an area of 67.5 sq. km. and is famous for Ibex and Snow Leopard. The other birds and animals found here are Marmot, Mouse-hare, Porcupine, Himalayan Snowcock, Snow Partridge, Choughs, Fox, and Wolf.

  8. Dhankar Village

    Dhankar village is a must-visit tourist destination for the Spiti trip. It was earlier the traditional capital of the Spiti and is located on the left bank of the Spiti river. Dhankar village is a desert habitat and is located at an altitude of 3,894 meters above sea level. Dhankar village is home to the popular Dhankar monastery, Dhankar Fort, and the Dhankar Lake. Also known as the Dhankar Gompa, this old monastery consists of several old scriptures and a Dhyan Buddha(VARIOCHANA) statue. Dhankar Fort and Dhankar Lake are the other great spots for capturing awesome photographs and for sightseeing.

  9. Suraj Tal

    Suraj Tal is a beautiful lake located just below the Baralacha Pass. Located at an altitude of 4890 meters above sea level, this lake is the source of the Bhaga river. Derived from the combination of two words 'Suraj' which means Sun and 'Tal' which means Lake, the lake is referred to as the 'Lake of the God Sun'. This Sun God's lake is the 3rd highest lake in India and 21st highest in the world. This lake is a perfect spot for tourists looking for trekking activities and biking tours.

  10. Other Attractions

    Spiti Valley is a wonder itself and there is a number of other amazing spots here. Komik village in Spiti is a beautiful village nestled between mountains and is the highest village in the world connected by a motorable road. Kibber village also locally known as 'Khyipur', is also there which has a monastery and the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary. Langza village is the other spot here famous for the huge Buddha statue and the fossils found here. Another amazing place here is the Hikkim village. Hikkim situated at an altitude of 4400 meters above sea level has the highest post office in the world.

Further Read: Bir Billing Paragliding | Things You Need to Know in 2021 - himalayanfever



Best time to visit Spiti Valley

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Spiti Valley weather remains cold and pleasant throughout the year. The best time to visit Spiti is in May to June when the Manali route opens. However, some prefer to visit Spiti in the winter months.

Below we have discussed the experience this valley provides during various seasons:

  1. Spiti Valley in Summer

    The summer season in Spiti starts in the month of April and ends in June. This is the best time if you wish to explore as many tourist attractions here. May month marks the beginning of the tourist season in Spiti as the Manali-Spiti route gets opened from this month.

    The temperature during these peak tourist months ranges between 0°C to 15°C which makes the perfect time to explore this beautiful valley. You can enjoy several outdoor activities during this season such as trekking, camping, sightseeing, hiking, and mountain biking.

  2. Spiti Valley in Monsoon

    Monsoon season in Spiti begins in the month of July and ends in September. The temperature remains in the range of 4°C to 14°C. This is not the best season if you want to explore tourist attractions here and try some outdoor activities. Frequent rainfall results in landslides and water streams are on full flow. The road conditions become hilarious due to the natural calamities and you may get stuck for few days while traveling.

  3. Spiti Valley in Winter

    October to March is the winter season in the Spiti Valley. The temperature remains in the range of -5°C to 6°C. January, February, and March are the coldest months in Spiti, and the temperature may drop down to -20°C during these months. During these extreme months, Spiti Valley is surrounded by a dense blanket of white snow all around. The Manali-Spiti route gets closed due to a heavy amount of snowfall.

    During the winter season, the only way to reach Spiti is via the Shimla-Spiti route. Traveling to Spiti during extreme winters seems challenging. But with proper preparation, you can enjoy the thrill of traveling here. You can easily spot the snow leopard, Ibex, Bharal, musk deer, and the Himalayan wolf in Spiti during this season.



How to reach Spiti Valley

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Spiti Valley is accessible from major locations such as Delhi, Shimla, Chandigarh, Manali, Pathankot. You can reach Kaza(Headquarter of the Spiti) generally via two routes which are described below:

  1. Manali - Kunzum Pass - Spiti

    Spiti Valley is separated from Lahaul Valley by the Kunzum Pass. Both the Spiti and Lahaul are separated from Kullu by the mighty Rohtang Pass. This route is fine to reach Spiti Valley but is not operational throughout the whole year. For almost six-seven some months the Rohtang and Kunzum Pass get closed due to heavy rainfall and snowfall. Traveling to Spiti through the Manali-Kaza route depends upon the opening of the Rohtang and the Kumzum Pass.

  2. Shimla - Reckong Peo - Kaza

    The Shimla-Kaza route remains operational throughout the year except for some occasional disturbances caused by landslides or heavy snowfall. This route passes through Reckong Peo(District headquarter of Kinnaur) and is popular by the name of Hindustan-Tibet road. The Sumdo is the first point when you cross the Kinnaur border and enters Spiti. However, traveling to Spiti through this route is not that easy in winters or during heavy rainfalls or landslides.


How to reach Spiti Valley by Road

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The road journey to Spiti Valley is the best way to experience the most out of your trip. The perfect route to reach Spiti valley is the Shimla-Kaza route and it falls on the famous Hindustan-Tibet road. The roads in the Spiti Valley are maintained by the Border Roads Organization(BRO). A proper road trip to Spiti can be covered in 2-3 days via various options described below:

By Bus:

The Himachal Road Transportation Corporation (HRTC) buses operate at the Spiti Valley. Regular buses operate at Spiti Valley, whether day or night. Direct buses are available from Shimla, Chandigarh, Manali, Reckong Peo, and other parts of North India. You should first visit Shimla for a bus journey, and then take another bus from Shimla to Reckong Peo(Kinnaur).

By Private Vehicle:

The people traveling by their own private car or touring bike will enjoy the most of their Spiti journey. A personal vehicle is the most flexible option while traveling to Spiti Valley. Traveling in a personal vehicle could be a lot more fun as you can enjoy the magnificent views of the valley.


How to reach Spiti Valley by Flight

Spiti Valley has no direct flight connectivity. The nearest airport to Spiti Valley is the Bhuntar Airport near Kullu. Bhuntar Airport is 240 km away from Spiti Valley and is well connected to several major cities. Shimla Airport is another airport located 430 km from the Spiti. However, the nearest international airport to Spiti is the Chandigarh Airport located at a distance of 500 km.


How to reach Spiti Valley by Train

Shimla railway station is a narrow-gauge railway station located nearest to Spiti Valley. This railhead is 430 km away from Spiti and is connected to the major other locations in Himachal. It is not the best option if you are traveling from other states as it is a narrow-gauge station. Chandigarh railway station is the nearest broad gauge railway station to Spiti and is 475 km away.

Further Read: Delhi to Bir Billing | A Complete Trip Guide - himalayanfever



Petrol Pumps in Spiti Valley

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While traveling to Spiti, remember to take care of the petrol in your vehicle. Spiti Valley is not as much developed and there are only two petrol pumps in the whole Lahaul and Spiti district. Kaza petrol pump station is the only one in the Spiti Valley. While the other is in the Tandi of the Lahaul Valley. Kaza is 421km away from Shimla. So before heading to Spiti ensure to get your petrol tanks fully filled in the Reckong Peo at Kinnaur.


Mobile Network in Spiti Valley

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Since Spiti is not properly developed, so you may face network connectivity issues here. The BSNL/MTNL connections have the widest coverage here. They work fine in Spiti but the voice quality is not that good, and they only work properly in some parts of the valley. The other operators such as Jio, Airtel, and VI do not work that much great here. So if possible then carry a BSNL/MTNL connection with you and try to attend your important calls in Kinnaur before heading to Spiti.


ATMs in Spiti Valley

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Spiti is a remote tourist destination and the ATM facilities are not that much great here. Only Kaza and Tabo have a few ATMs in the Spiti Valley. The other ATMs are in Keylong and Udaipur of the Lahaul Valley. The ATMs in Spiti Valley not always remain functional and it may become your major concern during the trip. So while traveling to Spiti you should always carry a sufficient amount of cash with you.


Ladakh vs Spiti

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Many people visit Ladakh while underestimating this amazing tourist destination. The only difference between these two destinations is the Ladakh Valley being larger in size. Both these offer a unique experience and a stunning view of the landscapes. Ladakh gets more tourist rush which makes it overcrowded. While Spiti Valley with fewer tourists rush makes Spiti a perfect spot to explore nature more deeply.



Conclusion

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Spiti valley is a less explored destination in Himachal Pradesh that's gaining popularity these days. One should visit Spiti to experience the unadulterated environment and mother nature from the closest.

So, this is all about the Spiti Valley.

What are your opinions on this post?

If you have any queries regarding Spiti Valley.

Let us know by leaving a comment below.



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Frequently Asked Questions



Q: Where is the Spiti Valley?

=> Spiti Valley is among one of the two major valleys in the Lahaul and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh. This valley is a popular tourist destination located at an average elevation of 12,500 feet above mean sea level.

Q: What is Spiti valley famous for?

=> Spiti valley is famous for its unadulterated environment, deep blue sky, and rich cultural heritage. The Spiti valley is heavily influenced by Buddhism and there are a number of prominent monasteries here.

Q: Is Spiti valley open?

=> Spiti valley remains open and accessible to tourists throughout the year via the Shimla-Spiti route. However, the Manali to Spiti route via Kunzum Pass remains closed during the major winter months.

Q: What is the best time to visit Spiti valley?

=> The best time to visit Spiti Valley is May to June when the Manali route opens. A huge tourist rush visit here during this time period. However, some prefer to visit Spiti in the winter months to enjoy snowfall throughout Spiti.

Q: How many days is enough for Spiti valley?

=> A full week seven days trip is enough to explore most of the Spiti Valley. You can explore a number of destinations during this seven-day trip such as Tabo Monastery, Dhankar Village, Key Monastery, Kibber, Langza, Hikkim, Komik.

Q: Can we visit Spiti valley in December?

=> Yes, you can surely visit Spiti Valley in December and the weather is quite pleasant during this month. During December, you can access Spiti only via the Shimla to Spiti route.

Q: Can we go to Spiti valley by car?

=> Yes, you can drive to Spiti Valley either from Manali or Shimla by car. From Manali, the route until Kaza is quite rough and it takes around 5-6 hours to reach Kaza. However, from Shimla, the route is comparatively better and takes around 2-3 days to cover the distance.

Q: Which car is best for Spiti valley?

=> An SUV will be the perfect car option while traveling to the Spiti Valley. The ground clearance that an SUV offers will provide you the flexibility to travel through sharp cuts and steep descents with sufficient power.

Q: How far is Spiti valley from Manali?

=> The distance between Kaza(Spiti) and Manali by road is nearly about 200 km. It takes around 10 hours for the proper road journey to pass through the Kunzum Pass.

Q: How far is Spiti valley from Shimla?

=> The district headquarter of Spiti i.e. Kaza is located at a distance of 240 kilometers from Shimla. A proper journey takes around 2 days to reach Spiti from Shimla.

Q: How far is Spiti valley from Delhi?

=> Spiti Valley is at a distance of 740 km from the national capital Delhi. 3-4 days are enough for a proper journey, and if you are planning to drive non-stop then you can cover the entire distance in nearly 17 hours.

Q: How can I go to Spiti from Delhi?

=> If you are planning to travel from Delhi to Spiti Valley, then you don't get any direct connectivity between both these destinations. However, you can take a bus from Delhi to either Shimla or Manali, and then take another local bus up to Spiti.








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