Having heard a lot about the stunning landscapes of Spiti valley, I finally decided to check it off my list. Spiti valley, the land between Tibet and India, is a cold desert mountain located in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
Being positioned in Delhi, access is much easier. There are two routes by road, one via Delhi – Chandigarh – Manali – Rohtang La – Kunzum La – Kaza and the other via Delhi – Chandigarh – Shimla – Kalpa – Nako – Kaza.
I decided to take the shorter route via Manali unaware of the treacherous roads post Rohtang La. The 150 km stretch from Rohtang La to Kaza, which took almost 9-10 hours was bearable only because of the beauty of raw landscapes yet untouched by human population. Midway lies Kunzum La at 15,060 ft. which connects Lahaul valley with Spiti valley. The numerous waterfalls, villages and snow-capped peaks marked the way till Kaza (11,980 ft.), the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti valley.
The first day at Kaza was lashed by rains but undeterred by it, I set out to explore some nearby villages. My first stop was at Hikkim, a village proud to have the world’s highest post office (14,567 ft.). This village is a pretty small one consisting of about 15 houses. Very excited to be there, I ended up sending out many post cards knowing too well that it would never reach anyone. But I am happy to be wrong as some of them have REACHED!!!
My next stop was Komic village (15,049 ft.) – the world’s highest village connected with a motorable road populated with about 100 people.
The Tangyud Gompa (also called monastery) is located at the entrance of the village and on the edge of a deep canyon overlooking Kaza. This Gompa also features a stuffed leopard. Because of incessant rains, not a single human could be seen and it felt like an abandoned place.
We moved on to Langza village which is situated at about the same height as Hikkim. The main attraction here is the statue of Lord Buddha overlooking the valley which is believed to be around 1000 years old. All the houses in the village are built below the statue.
These villages are blessed with ancient monasteries and buildings of the pre-historic era and are surrounded by green pastures, snow clad mountains and barren landscapes, all at the same time! Though rich in fossils, these villages are generally cut off from the rest of the regions for about six months in a year due to heavy snow fall.
Stay tuned for the next post.
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