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Lahaul & Spiti

Spiti, Himachal PradeshBarren Splendour
Lahaul and Spiti are two remote Himalayan valleys of Himachal Pradesh lying on the Indo-Tibet border. Strange, exciting, primitive, these valleys are incomparable in mountain scape, in the rugged beauty of their rocky escapements and the splendor of their snow covered peaks.

Lahaul is marked by a central mass of uniformly high mountains, massive glaciers, passes, lakes and gushing rivers. The two rivers, Chandra and Bhaga, which rise on either side of the Baralacha La, flow through the narrow Chandra and Bhaga valleys. Lahaul is a land of fascinating Buddhist art and culture. Often called as the 'middle country', Spiti is a cold desert regarded as a "World within a world" and "Palace where the gods live". The monasteries of Lahaul-Spiti are rich repositories of ancient murals, thankas, woodcarving and golden images of Padmasambhava.


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Prime Attractions of Lahaul Spiti

Tabo Monastery
The rugged hills around Tabo house a tiny hamlet that is home to some 350 people. The Tabo monastery is a complex that holds nine temples, 23 chortens, a monks' chamber and an extension that houses the nuns' chamber.
Baralacha Pass
On the long Manali -Leh road and providing a route across the Baralacha range is the famous Baralacha Pass. It is situated at a spectacular 16,400 ft above sea level. The pass itself is 8-km long, and is literally the pass "where many roads meet".
Chham Dance
The Chham dance is one of the most magnificent dances forms of the Buddhists, and is performed by the Lamas residing in the monasteries of Lahaul & Spiti, Ladakh, Kinnaur and other areas. This dance, also known as the 'devil dance', is performed in the courtyards of the monasteries before a large gathering of spectators on some festival or a cheerful occasion. The villagers are allowed to witness the dance and they take it as an entertainment with a religious fervour.
Dhankar Monastery
The Dhankar Gompa casts its subtle spell upon a person. Anyone, who visits it, finds himself unable to forget this place. The Monastery has about 100 Lamas and is in possession of Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti language.
Jeep Safari In Himachal Pradesh
By jeep, car or on motorcycle, one can explore the variety Himachal has to offer. By jeep, the Trans Himalayan tracts can steadily unfold their natural and man-made wonders.
Kunzum Pass
Kunzum pass is the gateway to Spiti from Kulu & Lahaul. After crossing Rohtang pass and driving 20-kms, one has to turn right from Gramphoo.
Lahaul Valley
Lahaul, at once is stark and forbidding and yet, its arid, almost lunar-like land has a strange haunting beauty. Everything about the place is high. Scattered over this ethereal landscape are Buddhist monasteries
Pin Parbati Pass
The Pin Parbati Pass, 4,810m, is marked by rock cairns and prayer flags. The alpine views to the snow-capped ranges towards the Kullu Valley contrast with the barren mountain ridges, which stretch east towards Spiti.
Pin Valley
It is a Himalayan wild world. This cold desert valley with its snowy crags, cliffs and crevices is where thrilling signs of life abound. Its long rain-free summer is a prime time
Spiti Valley
In practical isolation for centuries, Spiti has an intensely introvertive culture centred around its several monasteries, there are thirty monastries spread over Spiti's rugged terrain. Most are affiliated to the Geluk-pa sect.
Tashigang Gompa
This fine Buddhist monastery is accessible from Namgya - a little diversion from Khab, located on the Natiuonal Highway-22.
Chandra Tal Lake
This is a beautiful glacial lake located at the source of the Chandra River in the Lahaul Valley of Himachal Pradesh. The towering main Himalaya hems the northern periphery of the Chandratal Lake. This lake is fed by melt-waters from the Chandra glacier. The lake is situated at an altitude of 15,500 ft above sea level.
Dhankar
Dhankar means "a place in the mountains unreachable for strangers", situated about 25-kms. east of Kaza and serves eastern part of central Spiti. It is a big village and erstwhile capital of Spiti Kingdom. On top of a hill there is a fort, which use to be the prison in olden times.
Gemur
It is 18-km from Keylong in Bhaga valley where devil dance is held during July in the Local Gompa. The place is situated on Manali-Leh highway.
Halda Festival
Around the common calendar's New Year comes as Halda in Lahaul, which is a more private celebration of the event. The festivities are dedicated to "Shiskar Apa", the Goddess of wealth in the lamaistic pantheon.
Kaza: Spiti
224-km from Manali, 197-km from Keylong and 425-km from Shimla, Kaza is a Sub Divisional Headquarter of Spiti Valley. It is situated at the foot of the step ridges on the left bank of Spiti river. Once it was the headquarter of Nono, the chief of Spiti. It has all modern facilities and is connected by road with Manali & Shimla except in the winter months.
Keylong
A village amidst fields of barley and buckwheat, Keylong is headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti district, surrounded by brown hills and white heights. Khardung Monastery overlooks Keylong and is 3.5-km across the Bhaga River while Shashur Monastery is 1-km away.
Kye Monastery
The Ki Monastery serves the western part of Spiti and the most prominent feature of the valley. It lies about 14-kms north of Kaza and holds the honor of being the oldest and biggest monastery of Spiti.
Lahaulis
The people of Lahaul or the Lahaulas are both Hindus and Buddhists, and their dialect resembles Tibetan. They have a close affinity with Ladakhis and Tibetans.
Lossar Festival
This festival is celebrated for the welcome of the winter season. The local deity is worshipped with the hope that the winter would be happy and prosperous for the local people.
Pooh
In the Satluj valley, Pooh is situated beyond Kanum, which is a great Buddhist centre. On the Highway Pooh has a Durga-Pa Monastery.
Sarchu
It is the last border point between Himachal and Ladakh, where HPTDC put up a tented colony for the convenience of the tourists during summer season. It is situated at a distance of 116-km from Keylong.
Suraj Tal
Suraj Tal is situated below the summit of the Baralacha Pass in the Lahaul division of district Lahaul and Spiti. A beautiful lake virtually at the top of the main Himalayan massif in the catchment area of the Bhaga River. This lake is a major destination of trekkers in the region.
Tandi
Between Gondhla and Keylong is Tandi, where Chandrabagha or Chenab river meets the road. A legend says that there were two lovers, Chandra being the daughter of the Moon and Bhaga the son of the Sun god. To perform there eternal marriage, they decided to climb to the Baralacha La & from there they ran in opposite directions. Chandra being active and smart easily found her way & reached Tandi after covering the distance of 115-km. Soon Bhaga was found coming with great struggle through the narrow gorges to Tandi where consequently both met and the celestial marriage was performed. Bhaga covered about 60-km distance, which was very difficult.
Thang Yug Gompa
It is located 13-kms above Kaza serving western part of central Spiti.
Trans Himalayan Buddhism
In 1578 AD a descendent of Ghengis Khan and ruler of China gave Sonam Gyatso the title of "Ta-Le" now written as Dalai - which means the master of the Ocean of Wisdon'. When the kingdom of Guge rose in western Tibet after the assassination of Lnag Darma, it encompassed the present day tracts of Spiti, Lahaul, Zanskar and upper Kinnuaur.
Trekking
Himachal offers a virtual bonanza for trekkers. From moderate to strenuous treks ranging up to 11 days and the best season to trek over here is during the months of June to October. One of Himachal's classic routes is the Chandra Bhaga triangle and the Baralacha Pass at a height of 4,833m.
Trilokinath
Trilokinathmeans the Shiva. A Temple is situated in the village, which is about 4 kms short of Udaipur on the left bank of Chenab river. Devotees from far off places come to pay their respects at this unique temple. This Shiva temple was given a look of Buddhist shrine by Guru Padmasambhava by installing the 6 armed image of Avalokiteshvar. In August, a big festival named Pauri is held for three days when people including the sadhus and followers of various religious sects gather to receive the blessings of Lord Trilokinath.
Udaipur
In olden times this village was known as Markul, derived from the name of the local goddess Markula Devi. The temple here is unique and famous for its wooden carving on its roof and ceiling. Later on, Raja Udai Singh of Chamba changed the name to Udaipur.
Udaipur (Markul)
(2743m): In olden times this village was known as Markul, derived from the name of the local goddess Markula Devi. The temple here is unique and famous for its wooden carving on its roof and ceiling. Later on, Raja Udai Singh of Chamba changed the name to Udaipur. This place is situated near the confluence of Chenab and Mayar Nallah, therefore, became a starting point for Mayar valley and further on to Zanskar and other peaks. This is a green area rather the whole Chenab valley is greener than the Lahaul valley.

How To Get There - Lahaul & Spiti

By Road
Lahaul is connected with road from all parts of the country. Manali is the point where buses from various stations come. From here, one can take bus/taxi to any destination in Lahaul-Spiti, Pangi & Leh during the months between June to November depending upon opening and closing of Rohtang pass, the gateway to this valley. National highway 21 passes through this valley enroute to Leh. Other two directions are from Shimla via the Spiti Valley, along the road, which runs up to the Tibetan border through Kinnaur and from Zanskar and Ladakh over the Shingo La and Baralacha La passes. The Shingo Lo gives access to Lahul from Zanskar while the Baralacha La is on the Leh-Manali road and provides access to Lahul from Ladakh.

Places To Stay - Lahaul & Spiti

The town of Kaza is a maze of shops, hotels and houses. Some of the hotels in Kaza include Milarepa's Guest House, Hotel Sharma, Hotel City and Ladakhi Hotel. At Keylong a Tourist Bungalow is run by HTPDC.

Climate - Lahaul & Spiti

Lahaul's climate is very much similar to that of Ladakh and Zanskar, which border it to the north. Beyond the reach of the monsoon, the valley sees little rain in summer, when the sun is strong and the nights are cool. Between late October and late March, heavy snow closes the passes, and seals of the region. Less rainfall in both valleys enables climbers & trekkers to enjoy a long and unbroken season in perpetual sunshine and explore the wilderness and grandeur of the inner Himalaya. This unique feature makes Lahul-Spiti as an ideal destination for tourists and trekkers in the month of July, August and September.

General Information - Lahaul & Spiti

Best Time
Lahaul- Mid June To Late October.
Spiti- August To October.

Location
Himachal Pradesh

Altitude
6,500m


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