Road Trip to Spiti Valley

Kaza, Himachal Pradesh
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A road trip to Spiti Valley is on every traveler's bucket list and the reason is that Spiti, with its desert mountains, snow-covered valleys, and lush green meadows remains one of the most beautiful destinations that our country has to offer. 

Nestled between India and Tibet, the word Spiti itself translates to “the middle land.” 

In recent times, the valley has gotten an abundance of tourists seeking the place for the serenity it provides as well as the adventure that the wicked terrains of Spiti provide you.

In this Spiti valley road trip, we make sure that you get to make the most out of the experience and witness the mesmerizing Spiti Valley in all its glory as well as indulge in the thrill that the impassable roads of Spiti have to offer. 

Spiti Valley acts as a bridge between two distinct cultures and is the horizon on which people from these diverse cultures come together to build the foundation that Spiti itself stands upon. The valley is known for its century-old monasteries and the rich Buddhist influence that is still prevalent in every village today. 

The people of Spiti believe in leading simple lives. It wasn’t until only five or six years ago that they even had electricity and since water is scarce in the cold desert that is Spiti, life can be tough. But the resilience with which people live their lives is not only commendable but also inspiring. Spending even a few days amidst the locals, interacting with them, and witnessing Spiti through their eyes is enough to make you fall in love with the land of Lamas. 

This road trip to Spiti valley allows you to witness the wonder of nature and marvel at the blending landscapes of lofty mountains, green meadows, and barren roads that are perfect for off-roading, all existing in one place.  

It is also the perfect kind of long drive where scenic views rush you by in the backdrop as you embark on a journey of a lifetime. The best part is that since this Spiti valley road trip starts from Delhi, with Manali at its first halt, there’s a chance for you to indulge in local sightseeing at Manali and spend the rest of the day at leisure.

After a brief tour session conducted by our trip leader, we will officially start our journey by heading towards Kaza which is known for its ancient monasteries and vibrant cultural festivals. 

The Spiti river flows relentlessly through the northwest regions of this beautiful town, providing a serene backdrop that never fails to mesmerize the onlookers. Apart from its natural beauty, Kaza also holds extreme significance as it is the connecting link between Spiti and Lahaul and remains one of the oldest towns in the entire country. 

Other than the majestic mountains and impassable roads that provide thrill-seekers the opportunity for offroading, Spiti Valley is famous for holding some of the most quaint villages in its embrace. 

Mudh, Komic, and Langza are one of the few villages where you will get to experience life at a small pace. Without a visit to these villages and interacting with the locals, you’ll never get to experience Spiti Valley to its fullest.

Buddhism has its roots running all across the valley and influences the lives of the people here so it's only natural that you get to see some of the best monasteries in the country. 

The first monastery that we will visit is Kungri monastery. Built in the 14th century, it is the only monastery that follows the Nyingmapa order of Buddhism, which is the oldest order of Tibetan Buddhism. It represents the prevalence of Tibetan culture and its richness that has been present in the Pin valley for centuries now.  

After paying our reverence at the monastery, we will visit Mudh, a village nestled at the banks of the Ping river with Parbati ranges overlooking the tiny hamlet. It is also the gateway to Pin valley national park. Pin valley itself is a cold desert region surrounded by alpine forests.

Founded in 996 C.E., Tabo monastery is the oldest operating domain with the walls still covered in murals and thangka paintings depicting tales from the Buddhist pantheon. Apart from that, there are manuscripts, statues, and other wooden structures of historical as well as the spiritual significance that has made the monastery a national historic treasure of India. 

Initially built as a fort monastery, Dhankar monastery now sits atop a spurring rock, overlooking the confluence of the Spiti river and Pin river just between the town of Kaza and Tabo. The jagged yet charming landscape, a statue of Buddha, and various thangka paintings are just a few things that add to the charm of the Dhankar monastery. 

Kaza is the gateway to Hikkim which houses the highest Post Office in the world, and if you are someone who loves all things old school, then you can send a letter to a dear one from here. Many tourists love taking a trip down nostalgia lane with Hikkim as it allows you to experience the simple intimacy of writing words instead of simply typing them. 

Another village that we will visit while on this road trip to Spiti valley is Komic which is the highest village in the world at an altitude of 15,500ft connected by a motorable road. Another village, Langza where you’ll find an abundance of fossils as well as the warm hospitality of the locals is where we make sure to pay a visit. Not just because of the quaint life of this tiny hamlet but to make you see the 1000-year-old Buddha statue that overlooks the village as a watchful protector and to ward off all kinds of evil.

Key monastery or as the locals call it Kye Gompa is the largest as well as the oldest monastery in Spiti valley. It is also the training center for Lamas who will grow up to serve and preserve the culture of Spiti. Ancient relics, murals, and even images of Buddha are still preserved in the monastery and remain the main attraction for tourists. 

On our way to our next destination, we will make brief stops at a few places. One of them is Kibber, one of the highest inhabited villages in Spiti Valley elevated at an altitude of 14,200 ft. above sea level, and an abode to snow leopards and if you are lucky, you might get a chance to see one. And even if you don’t, the serene beauty of the village itself is enough to captivate you. 

The next attraction before we resume our actual journey is Asia’s highest bridge, Chicham which is elevated at a staggering height of more than 13,500ft and connects the village of Chicham with Kibber.

Nestled in the Kunzum Range of the Himalayas, India’s highest motorable mountain road, Kunzum pass is our stop where you can see traces of Buddhist influence in the form of prayer flags all around the pass, fluttering along with the winds. 

The Chandratal lake, shaped like a crescent moon remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spiti valley. The crystal clear lake provides a peaceful backdrop for people to just sit and spend some moments completely at peace and is the perfect spot to conclude this Spiti valley road trip before we start our return journey.  

The best time to visit Spiti Valley, especially if you want to make sure to experience it in all its glory, is from February to April as the entire region is covered in a thick blanket of snow. 

If you love adventures, then this trip will allow you to take part in many. You can river raft in Spiti river or Pin valley, or take a safari on a Yak to explore the premise. 

In a nutshell, the Spiti valley road trip is a perfect combination of adventure and peace, an experience you simply cannot miss out on.

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