Incredible experiences of Spiti
Spiti Valley is a desert mountain valley located high in the Himalaya mountains in the north-eastern part of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, the land between Tibet and India which possess a distinctive Buddhist culture. I conducted a photography tour to Spiti last year with Spiti Holidays Adventure.Here are my five best picks from the trip-
Stay in key Monastery
Key Gompa or key monastery is no lesser than a miracle which is now more than 1000 years old. Being sacked, attacked by different warriors and nature repeatedly, the monastery is still standing strong in its full glory. The restoration by ASI (architectural survey of India) has given it a shape of fort with multiple boxes on three levels. The significance of the monastery also lies in it being a reputed religious training center for the Lamas. There are stay options inside the monastery if you don’t mind sharing a room. There could be no better morning to wakeup other than sound of Buddhist chants. It costs a meager amount of money 200/- including food.
Attend a local festival
There are many local festivals happen around the valley mostly in September and October, at the beginning of winter. These festivals are full of colors, dance and music. Here’s a picture from ‘Thisu’ festival which is about keeping the crops safe and save it from excessive pours or draughts. A priest impersonates God by wearing different dresses, each dress belong to a separate village/clan. They offer alcohol and grains to the Gods while worshipping which is followed by an exciting horse race among villagers.
Also read my stories about Humans of Spiti It is project I did during my stay in Spiti for an NGO with the intention to know more about people of Spiti specially the kids.
Homestays in Langza/Komik
Langza is a tiny hamlet situated at an altitude of 4400 meters, further up there is supposedly highest village in Asia called ‘Komik’. However there is a more probability for you to be smitten by the untouched beauty of Langza. As soon as you enter the village, a Buddha sitting on the top of the village would bless you with peace and happiness. Spend your time photographing chamurti horses grazing in the fields or chasing the birds, the bees and the butterflies who hums songs over the purple Himalayan flowers.
Also read about my photo story on ‘Mud brick houses’ of Spiti to have a better understanding of homestays there
Surreal landscpaes of Dhankar
Dhankar has some unique views of bowl shaped valley from the old monastery. The houses on the face of rock look so unreal. Spiti river flows close by secured under the wrap of chocolate brown mountains makes it even more beautiful. Dhankar was the traditional capital of the Spiti Valley Kingdom during the 17th century and has some features dating back to the 12th century. Dhang or dang means cliff, and kar or khar means fort. Hence Dhankar means fort on a cliff Visit old and new monastery and experience the warm hospitality of Spitians. Old and new monastery both are must visit specially in the golden hours.
Camping in Chandratal
Chandratal or ‘moon lake’ is the first gateway for the introductions of Spiti-Lahul’s beauty. A majestic serene lake surrounded by the mighty Himalayan peaks. A vast meadows, is the camping site on the banks of the enchanting lake. During springtime, it is carpeted with hundreds of kinds of wild flowers. An overnight stay in camp is all you need to leave the stress behind. The lake is accessible on foot from Batal as well as from Kunzum Pass from late May to early October. There is also a motorable road from Batal which is 14 km (8.7 mi) away from Chandra Taal.
I would like to know your perfect moments in Spiti?