Hidden away from the rest of the world, Spiti and Lahaul valley makes you feel like you are in heaven. With its peaceful Buddhist culture, snow topped mountains, sparsely populated villages, breathtakingly blue skies and even more bluer Spiti river, there is really no place you would rather want to be.
There is no denying that the road to Spiti and Lahaul will make you feel a bit scared, as the roads are all made out by cutting the mountains. But the beautiful destination makes up for everything. And if you are feeling a little adventurous, you should definitely drive on your own bike to get there. The roads are not as well maintained since they are managed by Himachal Pradesh government unlike Ladakh roads which are managed by the Border Road Organization (BRO) and will always be a pleasure to drive through Ladakh roads.. But nothing stops a true traveller in exploring Spiti and Lahaul via roads.
How to get to Spiti and Lahaul
There are two ways to reach Spiti and Lahaul Valley – One is through Shimla- Kinnaur route and another is though Manali.If you decide to take the Shimla- Kinnaur route, you should know it goes through the epic Hindustan Tibet highway, which is one of the toughest and rugged highways not only in India but in the whole world. You can definitely self-drive through the road, but opt for an SUV over hatch backs or sedans. If you want to bike your way through, Royal Enfields are always the more reliable ones. The road from Kinnaur to Tabo isn’t as well maintained and make sure you take extra care while going through that path. This whole road is about a 100km stretch from Shimla. The highway is not as secluded as the Manali-Leh highway and you can easily find restaurants and lodges on the way.
If you plan to go by road, this will be your road map when you take your journey.Shimla –> Kufri –> Narkanda –> Rampur –> Jeori –> Tapri –> Karcham –> Powari –> Akpa –> Moorang –> Spillow –> Puh –> Khab –> Nako –> Maling –> Chango –> Shialkhar –> Sumdo –> Tabo –> Kaza (Your entry to Spiti Valley)
If you decide to go to Spiti and Lahaul via Manali, then you would have to dare through the mighty Kunzum Pass. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t pick this route. Firstly the Kunzum Pass is less likely to be open as compared to the Hindustan- Tibet highway which is more or less open throughout the year. Secondly, with this path, you would have to take at least 3 days to reach Spiti to help your body get acclimatized properly. You could cover the journey in 2 days but this would only make AMS(acute mountain sickness) hit your body and you would have to take a day off when you reach Spiti. This route may be treacherous and difficult but the amazing views on its way will make you fall in love with the valley.
This will be your road map if you take this route.Manali –> Marhi –> Rohtang Pass –> Gramphu –> Chattru –> Chota Dhara –> Batal –> Kunzum Pass –> Losar –> Kaza
Where to Stay
Since Spiti and Lahaul valley is a rather remote place, the staying options are also limited. But there are still some very good options – it solely depends on your budget and needs. You could opt for hotels, rest houses or good old home stays. Hotels are probably the only place where you will get hot water (though there is no complete guarantee of it), rest houses are maintained by Himachal tourism and they have comfortable beds with proper sanitation but you won’t get any food there. Home stays are your go to option if you are looking for a cheap place to crash and sleep but many of these home stays do not have proper bathrooms.You could either stay at Kaza, Pin Valley, Tabo or Sangla.
Places to visit in Spiti and Lahaul
Of course, the amazing blue sky is not the only place to see in Spiti and Lahaul. Here are some places to must see that will definitely make you want to stay there for as long as you can-
- Chandratal Lake
This lake got it’s name from the crescent shape that it has and how magnificent it looks in its full form. We would recommend camping here for the night.
- Spiti-Pin river Confluence
After you are done staring at the amazing Chandratal Lake, we recommend going over to Dhakar and watching the Spiti – Pin valley river confluence. Why? Because you can never have enough of beauty.
- Kye Monastery
Located near the Spiti River, this monastery dates back to 1000 AD and is the most majestic monastery you will ever see.
This small town with a population of just about 300 might sound like nothing, but its splendour will blow your mind away. It is also a good point to start your trek to Zanskar valley.
- Dhankar Monastery
Situated on a cliff, this monastery overlooks the confluence of Spiti and Pin River and provides roof for several monks. Though the monastery is degrading every day because of erosion caused by wind and snowfall. It is among the 100 most endangered sites in the world.
- Tabo Monastery
This monastery, unlike the other monasteries in the mountains, is not situated on a mountain. Instead this one is on the ground. It almost got destroyed in the 1970s because of an earthquake and was rebuild again, and that shows through the amazing amalgamation of the new and old architecture.
So, when are you packing your bags and leaving for Spiti and Lahaul?. Use our mobile app TripsNirvana while you travel or after travel and share your travelogue with friends and family. If you find anything interesting during your visit which is not listed above then share your experiences via our mobile app.