Spiti – The cold desert mountain valley. The Middle Land. A place where the gods live!
The Spiti Valley, located in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh, is undoubtedly the most sought-after location for adventure and peace-seeking folks alike. That’s a rare combination to find in a single place.
A Spiti road trip is something that every travel enthusiast should experience at least once in a lifetime. And we are here to tell you why.
Why everyone should do a Spiti Road Trip:
1. To seek spirituality in the Buddhist Monasteries:
The Spiti Valley houses some of the most magnificent Buddhist monasteries in the country, blessed with rich history and ancient rituals. You just cannot be in a 1000-year-old Monastery and not appreciate the spiritual aura that fills it. Some of the prominent monasteries in Spiti are:
- Key Monastery (Kye Gompa): The face of Spiti for many, the Key monastery overlooks the beautiful Spiti river. You can time your visit with the Chaam festival in July, which is celebrated with masked dances, ancient rituals, and tributes to the gods for good fortune.
- Tabo Monastery: Known as the “Ajanta of Himalayas,” the Tabo Monastery is the oldest operational Buddhist monastery in India. As against the usual mountain-top locations, this monastery is set at the foot of the Tabo Valley. A must-visit for its age-old cultural heritage and fine artwork.
- Dhankar Monastery: The Dhankar Monastery offers a panoramic view of the confluence of the Spiti and Pin rivers. As many as eight mountains surround the monastery from all sides, giving it a unique lotus-like appearance. Along with the numerous prayer rooms and religious artifacts, it also has a meditation cave that was used by the 14th Dalai Lama in the 1970s.
2. To embark on off-beat treks.
If challenging treks with breath-taking views fascinate you, you must seek the mountain trails of Spiti. The wilderness of the Himalayan range offers the perfect setup for a fulfilling trek. Some of the notable treks that you can set out for are:
- The Spiti Valley Trek: This trek lets you explore Spiti on foot and unravel the mysteries of the Valley. You also get to visit some well-known local villages, lakes, and monasteries.
- Kanamo Trek: Taking you to an altitude of up to 20,000 feet, the Mt. Kanamo trek, although doable, is certainly demanding. The summit offers an incredible view of the Kinnaur mountains and the Parang-La pass.
- Chandratal trek: The Chandratal trek starts near Manali, through the admirable Hampta Pass, and leads into the Spiti Valley. It ends at the crescent-shaped Chandratal lake, and is a perfect respite after the exhausting trek.
It’s a good idea to check for Spiti Valley tour packages for doing these treks safely and under expert guidance.
3. To ride your way through the Kunzum La pass:
Spiti road trip is a rage amongst bike and car buffs. Especially for bikers, it’s a heaven full of rocky paths and tricky turns, offering both mountains and deserts. While most of Spiti can be your track, how about a ride to the highest motorable pass in India? The Kunzum La pass.
Located at a height of 4551 m, the Kunzum La pass is also known for its fifteen hairpin turns that are sure to shift your adrenaline to the next gear. And while you are at it, you can also stop by the temple of Kunzum Mata and seek her blessings for a safe road trip in Spiti.
4. To camp under the starry skies
Who would not want to unwind in cold winds and starry skies and get amazed by the marvels of nature! The land of Spiti offers many sites where you can set up camps and spend a night or two. Depending on the itinerary of your Spiti Valley tour, you can camp at places such as Chandratal (although not beside the lake; that’s no more allowed), Chitkul, Tabo, and Dhankar, among others.
You can either check if camping is included in your Spiti Valley tour package, or even talk to the village locals, who can suggest favorable spots and set up the tents for you.
5. To experience the culture through Cafes and Homestays
If you want to truly explore the culture of Spiti or meet like-minded adventurers from all around the world, head over to the homestays and cafes.
Most homestays are run by local villagers who offer modest stay options, reflecting the simple lifestyle here. Agriculture being one of the primary occupations in Spiti, you can be assured of fresh and clean food at almost any cafe or restaurant. Make sure to try some of the signature items here like momos, madra, chang (barley beer), and butter tea.
A few of the popular cafes and homestays that you can visit are:
- Spiti Organic Kitchen – World’s highest restaurant, Hikkim
- Himalayan Cafe, Kaza
- Sol Cafe, Kaza
- Tenzi Homestay, Langza
- Tanpa Homestay, Hikkim
The Spiti Valley has something to offer to every traveler, to every wanderer. The tall mountains, peaceful monasteries, and magical lakes are sure to make your Spiti road trip an extraordinary experience. After all, Spiti is not a place you should escape to, it’s the place where you will find yourself.
If you want to book a trip to Spiti, talk to our travel advisors, ask questions, or find out about the packing list or inclusions, there are a lot of ways to get in touch. Check out The Great Next website, chat with us on Facebook, or send us a private message on Instagram!
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