Himalayas have a magic that attracts you every time you visit them. And when it comes to extraordinary landscapes, the middle land known as ‘Spiti’ outshines all other mountain retreats. An isolated region tucked between trans Himalayan ranges, Kaza is the heart of Spiti Valley and is completely different in terms picturesque vistas, food and lifestyle. Rough terrains, spellbinding road journey, monasteries and lakes; Spiti is blessed with all natural beauty.
Settled amidst towering mountains away from the civilization, Kaza offers that much needed escape from the hubbub of urban life. Travellers coming to Spiti region always takes a halt for a day or two in Kaza.
So, what all you can do in Kaza in a day to make most out of your Spiti Valley road trip?
Here’re 5 amazing things you should include in your itinerary while exploring Kaza.
- Instagram friendly shots at Chicham Bridge (19 km from Kaza) – Located at an altitude of 13,244 ft above sea level, Chicham Bridge is said to be Asia’s highest bridge. This suspension bridge connects Kibber village to Chicham village in Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Before this high altitude bridge, the villagers used a dangerous ropeway to cross 1000 ft deep gorge. Chicham Bridge is a great spot for photography lovers. Don’t forget to take some crazy jumping shots on the bridge and make your Instagram feed look good. After all a trip remains incomplete without some amazing pictures in your camera or smartphone.
- Prayers at Key Monastery (14 km from Kaza) – Built in 11th century and truly the crown jewel of Spiti, Key Monastery or Key Gompa is a sacred place for Tibetan Buddhists. Situated in the most picturesque location on a conical hill (at 13,668 ft), Key Gompa is a must visit place especially for peace seekers. It is the religious teaching ground for Buddhist Lamas in Spiti district. Prayers are conducted in the monastery during daytime and you must attend it once for a lifetime experience. The rhythmic holy chants will surely heal you. After the prayers, don’t forget to taste the hot and salted yak-butter tea given to devotees coming to Key Monastery.
- Explore Langza village (14 km from Kaza) – Langza is a quaint village located in the most majestic valley of Himachal – Spiti Valley. Decorated with barren landscapes, snow-clad mountain tops and green pastures, Langza village houses a population of approximately 137 people. The major attraction of this destination is the statue of Lord Buddha also called Medicine Buddha, overlooking the beautiful valley. Houses in this high altitude village are prepared using mud and rocks that you must see during your visit in the village. Take a walk around the village, spent some time with super cute kids and get some nice pictures clicked in front of Medicine Buddha.
- Post from world’s highest post office: Hikkim (16 km from Kaza) – Nestled amidst stunning vistas, Hikkim is another high altitude village in Spiti region. This place houses the highest post office in the world. Sending postcards to yourself and your dear ones from an altitude of 14,567 ft is definitely a wonderful idea, isn’t it? You will be amazed to see heaps of postcards lying on the table as you enter inside the home cum office of postmaster Rinchen Chhering.
- Live music at Himalayan Cafe – After an action-packed day, wandering from one place to another – it’s time to relax now. And what can be better than chilling at a local cafe decorated with lights and lanterns, digging into some local food. Located in the heart of Kaza main market, The Himalayan Cafe is a super awesome place to chill with fellow travellers, listen to youthful live music by local artists and enjoy a satisfying well-cooked meal. From sea buckthorn tea to thin crust pizzas, delicious thukpas to momos and lots more. Run by a lady from Mumbai, The Himalayan Cafe turns into a happening place during evening.
How To Reach Kaza
Nestled in the isolated region of Himachal Pradesh, the town of Kaza is the sub divisional headquarters of the remote Spiti Valley in the western Himalayas. This remote town is well connected to the rest of India by road.
By Air: There is no direct flight connectivity to Kaza. The nearest airports to Kaza are Bhuntar (situated at 250 km) or Shimla (situated at 448 km). From there you can either hire a cab or board a local bus to reach Kaza. Road from Shimla is open throughout the year but the road from Manali is closed during winters (November-April) because of heavy snowfall.
By Road: Regular bus services ply to and from the city of Kaza. These buses are operated both by private and government owners. The HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) runs buses from Kullu to Kaza via Manali.
By Rail: There is no direct train connectivity to Kaza. The nearest railway stations to Kaza is Joginder Nagar (situated at 365 km). From there you can either hire a cab or board a local bus to reach Kaza.
Local Exploration: To visit in and around the town, you can either hire a cab from Kaza or take the local HRTC government bus. If you are planning to take a local bus then it’s advisable to recheck the bus timings and schedule before making your plan for exploration.
Best Time To Visit Kaza
Situated in cold deserted area of Himachal Pradesh, Kaza is freezing during winters (November-March) with temperature dipping below freezing point due to heavy snowfall. The two major high altitude passes namely Rohtang La and Kunzum La are closed during this period.
Therefore, the best time to visit Kaza is during summers (May-October) when you can enjoy a pleasant weather and the roads are also open to remote villages like Hikkim & Komic.
Contributed By: Sahil Singh