Frequently Asked Questions

What are the places of Interest?

The case with Spiti is as with most mountain places, the journey is better than the destination.  Yes, it does have lot of monasteries , pretty hamlets, crystal clear lakes, amazing culture and history.  But the journey itself a pleasure passing through some remote lands and scenes.

I shall try to put down the important places though in the order of their appearance.

Know about the places:

  • Rohtang pass : Located at a height of 3979 metres and at a distance of 51 kms from Manali, Rohtang Pass is on the highway to Keylong/Leh. In winters, the pass remains closed but is open from June to October for motor vehicles.The name Rohtang means ‘ground of corpses’ due to the number of people who lost their lives trying to cross it. The Rohtang Pass is on the Pir Panjal Mountain Range of the Himalayas. The Rohtang Pass is a natural divide between the humid Kullu Valley, which has predominantly Hindu culture and the arid, high altitude Lahaul and Spiti Valleys which mainly has Buddhists. Known for its scenic beauty, Rohtang Pass holds strategic importance for India. The Pass offers beautiful sights of glaciers, peaks, Lahaul Valley and the Chandra River. The twin peaks of Geypan are also visible from Rohtang. The pass is on the watershed between the water basins of the Chenab River and the Beas River.
  • Udaipur : One may misinterpret this beautiful hill station with that of a desert city in Rajasthan, but the ‘Udaipur’ in Himachal is a picturesque town, located on the banks of the Chandrabhaga River in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. It is renowned for the ancient Marikula Mata Temple, which is visited by both Hindus and Buddhist pilgrims. The place is located at an altitude of 2,742 meters above sea level and it is named after king Udai Singh of Chamba. Earlier the place was known as Markul because the temple is dedicated to Markula Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Durga.
  • Miyar Valley : Miyar, is a very remote and fairly inaccessible valley at the extreme western corner of the large district of Lahaul and Spiti, in the state of Himachal Pradesh in India. Miyar Nala, as it is often known, is an exceptionally long valley, with the Miyar River running down into the Chandra Bhaga River at Udaipur over 50 kms below the Miyar Glacier. This glacier stretches a further 24 km up to the high Kang La Jot (5468m) and beyond it to Zanskar valley in Ladakh. Above a narrow gorge at the bottom of the valley, the Miyar Nala widens to support twelve small farming villages at altitudes between 9,300 and 11,500 feet, with about 3,000 current inhabitants in total. Most of the people of the Nala are Buddhists and there is a small gompa (monastery) at the village of Urgos. Cultivation of grains and peas ceases in the valley at nearly 12,000 feet, where the beautiful Himalayan meadows begin. Here Gaddis (shepherd tribe) graze their flocks in the late summer. There is also a much-loved high-altitude cricket-ground with a sensational view of 15 or more snow-covered peaks. The meadows and the steep rocky side valleys feature the full variety of Himalayan high-altitude flora, which can take some serious clambering to find. At Phalpu, the bottom of the Miyar Glacier, the audacious can bathe in Kesariyong Chu, seven icy sacred pools. On all sides snow-covered peaks abound, many of them unclimbed. Some of the most beautiful and most jagged ones are in Chhudong valley.
  • Jispa is located 20 km north of Keylong and 7 km south of Darcha, along the Manali-Leh Highway and the Bhaga river.There are approximately 20 villages between Jispa and Keylong.
  • Keylong comes along the north side of the green Bhaga Valley just below the Manali–Leh road, and it’s an overnight stop for many travellers on that route. Many people only see Keylong for a short time and in the dark, but a longer stay discloses magnificent mountain views, a laid-back small-town lifestyle, some beautiful walks and historic Buddhist monasteries.
  • Kaza is the largest hamlet in the Spiti Valley. In the desolate barren landscape of Himachal Pradesh this is the largest functional city catering to the comfort of tourists. Kaza is not short of attractions and so are its surroundings. Around Kaza there are many attractive places to explore. The cold desert region of Spiti Valley is a breathtaking beauty that draws visitors from all over the world. Around Kaza there are numerous small, high-altitude villages. Settled at above 4000 m, the pristine, desolate villages are a beauty in their own might. Clusters of flat-roofed houses in the midst of fields of barley and other crops stand against a rugged mountain backdrop. Some of the communities have monasteries with centuries old history. At some villages, seasonal guesthouses or homestays with facilities for tourists are available.
  • Langza : Nestled between the mountains in a bowl shaped area in the spiti valley is a small remote village named Langza. This village is situated at an altitude of 1,500 feet above sea level in the Lahaul and Spiti.
  • Kibber: Kibber, in Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, has the distinction of being the highest motorable village in the world. The village is known for its scenic mountains, barren splendor and monasteries.
  • LOSAR : Losar is peaceful, soothing, and absolutely delightful. Your visit to Lahaul and Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh is incomplete if you have not visited this heaven like place, situated near the confluence of Losar and Peeno streams. Losar village in Spiti Valley is located adjacent to the Indo Chinese border at an altitude of 4,085 meters above sea level. It is located in the extreme end of the Spiti Valley, which is much similar to Ladakh in appearance. There are magnificent mountains, stunning rivers, and breathtaking vistas in Losar that can spellbind any tourist with its unparalleled beauty.
  • Key Monastery, the largest in Spiti Valley is situated close to Kibber. The landscape of Kibber and the entire Spiti Valley resembles that of Ladakh and Tibet. The culture also is similar to that of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism is the predominant religion. No wonder then that Spiti is also known as Little Tibet. Kibber Village comprising 80 houses, is located 16 km from Kaza at 14,200 ft above sea level. We went for a walk with phtographer in the kee monastery where we climbed a little highetere and discoered even more magnificient view of spitii Valley.

 

  • Komic : A 50 minutes rising drive form the town of kaza for about 14 km comes Komic village.  This place has the world’s highest post office and the highest polling booth in India. It is situated at an altitude of 14,000 t aprox above sea level.  One can even send a post card from the world highest post office to their friends and family all over the world which is pretty fascinating an appealing. In an age of emails and internet, post card gives a feeling of 70s era.  Famed as the highest motorable village in Asia, Komic in Spiti Valley is placed at an altitude of 5150 m above the sea level. The village has around a dozen houses, one monastery and a population of around 150, including the monks. The place has been blessed by unspoilt scenery, lush surroundings, snow-covered peaks, and barren landscapes.  Komic monastery is the main attractions here. It is built on the top of a small hill. As you climb up, you see the colorful flags fluttering rapidly. Do the views of the surroundings are wonderful Stay here till sunset to savor wonderful sights. Komic only as a homestay as accommodation with only 2-3 rooms.

 

  • Chandratal, or the moon lake is one of the most famous lakes of Spiti, particularly popular for its heavenly crescent shape. The lake is located at a height of 14,100 feet above sea level and is located around 6 kilometers from the Kunzum pass. ChandratalLake is spread in an area of 2.5 kilometers and is believed to be made up of sweet water. It was discovered by traders who used to use this route, coming from Ladakh or Tibet region. The region around Chandratal is bereft of any human settlement and the place is used mostly for camping. The magical sights of blue waters of the lake combined with the verdant green grass coverage and majestic mountains that surround provide a view that is difficult to take off from the memory.

 

  • Dhankar lake : One of Spiti Valley’s beautiful secret is the Dhankar Lake. Perched above the Dhankar village and Gompa, Dhankar Lake lies after a steep trek of 45 minutes. Though the trek seems an easy hike, it is quite difficult. The loose pebbles and the crisp mountain air make you breathless within a few seconds.Dhankar Lake can be reached after a quite strenuous trek. You would want to quit and not continue with your climb but the surprise you get once you reach the lake is beyond words. The breathtaking expanse of cerulean waters is set against the backdrop of snow covered peaks. From the Dhankar Lake, you can also get a magnificent view of Manirang Peak (6593 meters), the highest peak of Himachal Pradesh lying on the border of Kinnaur and Spiti district. It is forbidden to camp next to the Dhankar Lake, as it acts as a source of water for Dhankar village. This lake is also sited at the beginning of Spiti Left Bank trek. The beauty of the lake is spellbinding. If you spend enough time at the lake, you can see the sky change colors and reflect on the glassy lake. Within a span of just a few hours you would have seen a profusion of colors, each one fascinating in its own way.

 

  • Dhankar

Dhankar is a beautiful village in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh. Snuggled at altitude of 12,774 feet above sea-level (3,894 m), this village is inhabited by 44 people. Dhankar was the erstwhile capital of the Spiti Valley Kingdom during the 17th century. It was the place of the early ruler of Spiti, the Nonos. There are also some features dating back to the 12th century. In the local dialect, Dhang means cliff, and kar means fort, hence, Dhankar translates to ‘fort on a cliff’.The Dhankar Monastery is the prized sight of Dhankar. The monastery complex is built on a high mountain spur overlooking the confluence of the Spiti and Pin Rivers. It is one of the world’s most spectacular scenery. The monastery was built approximately a millennium ago and now belongs to the Gelugspa School of order since the 1450s. Depending on the religious adherence of the King’s family, Dhankar Monastery has also followed orders of Nyingma-pa, Sakya-pa and Kagyu-pa. The major charm of the monastery is the serene statue of Vairochana (Dhayan Buddha), consisting of 4 figures seated back to back. The monastery also houses a collection of various centuries old thangkas. The Dhankar Monastery is recognized by the World Monuments Fund as one of the Hundred Most Endangered Sites in the world. In recent years, due to the deterioration of the monastery, some sections have been abandoned and a new gompa has been built further down. The fort of Dhankar, ruined by an earthquake in 1975, is still a place worth visiting. From the remnants of the fort, the vast expanses of the Spiti valley open up as far as the eye can see. At heights above the Dhankar village lies is a fresh water lake. The Dhankar Lake is sited about 1.5 km from the village at a height of 13,500 ft. The fresh cerulean waters act as the source of water supply for the village. Camping is not allowed next to the lake, to keep the water supply pure. Dhankar is place worth your time. It is remarkable and one of Spiti Valley’s cherished locales.

Lhalung Monastery, Spiti

Built in- 10th century

Built by– Rinchen Zangpo, the ruler of western Himalayan territory of Guge

Highlight– One of the earliest monasteries in Spiti

One of the oldest monasteries in Spiti, Lhalung Monastery is also known as Sarkhang and Golden Temple. It was founded way back in 10th century CE by Rinchen Zangpo, the then ruker of western Himalayan region of Guge in the Spiti Valley.

In local language, the word ‘Lhalung’ means the ‘land of God’ and the locals have a belief that this Gompa was created in just 1 night by the Gods themselves. The presiding deity Lhalung is the chief deity of all the deities in the valley and rises from a mountain named Tangmar, which is away from the village. It is also said that the Tangmar Mountain changes its color. Sometimes it is yellow and sometimes it is red, pointing out the moods of the deities. Yellow denotes happiness and red means anger.

The monastery is also known as Golden temple due to the presence of several gold leafs that are kept here inside the temple. Also, there is another reason why it is Sarkhang. This sacred place has a wonderful inner chamber that has festooned walls where photographs pf around 50 deities are hung.

Architecture

The construction of the monastery is a like a fort, which looks similar to Tabo monastery. Earlier there were relic walls but with passage of time, the walls have crumbled down. The inner chamber was adorned with beautiful paintings but with time, the sheen has gone dull. In the starting, the monastery was also seen as the site of meditation and learning, but it is only for worship.

Inside Lhalung monastery, there is an old tree as well. Just outside the main temple is another white-colored shrine that has 4 images of Lord Buddga, facing to the 4 main directions. Several Buddhist relics can be found here.

Worship

The timing of worship in Lhalung monastery begins around 6 in the morning, which is done by the Buddhist priest and is also attended by the local villagers. This worship act also includes soothing chants. The monastery is open till 6’o clock in the evening.

  • Tabo is a small town located in the Lahaul and Spiti district on the banks of the Spiti River in Himachal Pradesh, India. The town lies on the road between Rekong Peo and Kaza. Tabo is located 3050 m (10,006 feet) above sea level, surrounded by snowcapped peaks of the Trans Himalayas. The town is known for the Buddhist monastery which, according to legend, is said to be over a thousand years old. The Tabo Gompa was founded back to 996 A.D. It the oldest continually operative Buddhist institution in India. His Highness the Dalai Lama believes the Tabo Monastery is one of the holiest, and had expressed his desire to retire here. In 1996, the Dalai Lama conducted the Kalachakra initiation ceremony in Tabo, which coincided with the millennium anniversary celebrations of the Tabo monastery. The ceremony was attended by thousands of Buddhists from across the world. Tabo offers a scenic and tranquil getaway. The quaint village is inhabited by a population of a few hundred and has basic tourist facilities. Visitors can rest in the well-maintained guest house or lodges. Eateries are also available. The friendly folks of the village assist you in every way.

 

 

  • Tabo Monastery

The Tabo Monastery is located in Tabo Village in the Spiti Valley. The Tabo Chos-Khor Monastery was established more than a millennium back, in 996 A.D., the Year of the Fire Ape by the Tibetan Calendar.

Tabo Monastery lies on the barren, snow covered, cold desert of the Tabo Valley at high altitude of 3050 m. Unscathed by any modern curses, it is a heaven in its own sense. It has preserved the magnificent heritage, traditions and culture of Buddhism through the passage of centuries, withholding its sanctity.

The Tabo Gompa, in the entire Himalayan region, is second in importance only to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet. The King of western Himalayan Kingdom of Guge, Lotsawa Rinchen Tsang Po developed the monastery as an advanced centre for learning. For a significant period, many great scholars and translators in the Buddhist history studies were hosted here. Till date, Tabo Monastery is known as the preserver of the Buddhist Legacy. It still remains one of the most important Gompa of the entire Tibetan Buddhist world.

The Tabo monastery temples preserve a priceless collection of manuscripts and thangkas (Buddhist scroll paintings), beautiful statues in stuccos, frescos and murals illustrating tales from the Mahayana Buddhist Pantheon. Every inch of wall is covered with fine paintings in well-preserved condition.

Tabo Monastery is also given the sobriquet of the “Ajanta of the Himalayas”. Traces of rock paintings and sculptures are unearthed. The temple complex is a historic treasure of India, protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. 36 almost life-size clay statues adorn the walls of the assembly hall. Above the monastic enclave are a series of caves which were used as dwelling units by the monks.

The monastery complex holds 9 temples, 23 chortens, a monk’s chamber and an extension that houses the nuns’ chamber.

The Nine Temples are:

The Temple of the Enlightened Gods (gTug-Lha-khang)

This temple has a central figure is the four-fold figure of Vairocana. In Vajrayana Buddhism, he is regarded as one of the five spiritual sons of Adibuddha- who was the self-created elemental Buddha. A larger than life idol about two meters above the floor is depicted in a posture turning the wheel of law. Beautiful Kashmiri paintings of Buddha’s life grace the interiors.

The Golden Temple (gSer-khang)

Once layered with gold, this temple was exhaustively renovated in the 16th century by Senge Namgyal, ruler of Ladakh. The walls and ceilings are covered with outstanding murals.

The Mystic Mandala Temple (dKyil-kHor- khang)

This temple also goes by the name of Initiation Temple as the initiation to monkhood takes place here. A huge painting of Vairocana surrounded by eight Bodhisattvasare worshipped.

 

The Bodhisattva Maitreya Temple (Byams-Pa Chen-po Lha-khang)

 

An image Bodhisattva Maitreya that is over six meters high dominates the temple. The beautiful display of murals adoring the inner walls depicts the monastery of Tashi-Chunpo and Lhasa’s Potala palace.

 

The Temple of Dromton (Brom-ston Lha khang)

Founded by Dromton (1008-1064 AD), an important disciple of Atisha, it is one of the earliest temples of Tabo. Intricate carvings and murals decorates every surface of the temple.

 

The Chamber of Picture Treasures (Z’al-ma)

A kind of an ante room attached to the Enlightened Gods temple, The Chamber of Picture Treasures is covered with beautiful paintings of the Tibetan style.

 

The Large Temple of Dromton (Brom-ston Lha khang)

The second largest temple in the complex, covering over 70 sq m, has the figure of Sakyamuni flanked by Sariputra and Maha Maugdalayana. The outer walls depict the revered eight Medicine Buddhas and Guardian Kings.

 

The Mahakala Vajra Bhairava Temple (Gon-khang)

Dedicated to the protective deity of the Galuk-pa sect, fierce deities fill the room. The temple also goes by the name of ‘temple of horror’ and can only be entered after protective meditation.

 

 

The White Temple (dKar-abyum Lha-Khang)

Beautiful murals and paintings decorate the walls of the temple. An ornate low dado is erected for the monks or nuns to lean against when mediating.

 

Since the founding of Tabo Monastery, not much has changed. The lamas still perform tantric rites in the temples. Chanting starts at 6 a.m. sharp. Many festivals are held in the environs of the monastery. The Tibetan monks perform traditional Buddhist songs and masked dances.

 

  • Sangla Valley: Sangla is a small town located between Karcham and Chitkul from about 20 kms from Karcham. The town itself is a concrete town with small shops, some hotels and restaurants. But the attraction of Sangla lies in the valley of Baspa River down below, not in the town itself. Sangla Valley is very beautiful, stretching many kilometers from east to west, and rimmed by snow-capped peaks out of your imagination and into the real world. The forested slopes below the snow are a mix between autumn-shaded leafy trees and big green pines.
  • Chitkul is at a height of 3450 Meter. This is the last village of India to the side of Tibet border and this beautiful village is also by the side of Baspa river. This village is located at a distance of 28 KM from Sangla. Tourist stay at Sangla and go for half day trip to Chitkul. It will take one hour to reach Chitkul from Sangla and you can plan for one or two hour stay there and return. So, if you are starting at 9 AM from Sangla, then you can return before 2 PM to Sangla. Now there are hotels and guest houses available at Chitkul also to stay.

While traveling to Chitkul valley, river Baspa will be at your right side. On the way you will pass through Rakcham village. There are several camp sites located within the apple gardens by the side of Baspa River.

Kamru Fort : The ever stunning Kamru Fort stands at an altitude of 2600 meters above sea level and is only 2 km from the beautiful Sangla Valley. The fort is set at a picturesque location and offers tourists beautiful views of the Sangla valley, streams, apple gardens and many more. The entry to the fort is through a series of gates and at the main gate, a stunning image of Lord Buddha is kept to greet the guests. The Kamru Fort is a popular tourist attraction in the region, which is visited by a large number of tourists every day.

  • The Kinnaur Kailash (locally known as Kinner Kailash) is a mountain in the Kinnaur district of the Indian state Himachal Pradesh. The Kinnaur Kailash has a height of 6050 meters and is considered as sacred by both Hindu and Buddhist Kinnauris. This mountain is sometimes confused with the Mount Kailash in Tibet. The Kinnaur Kailash Range borders the district of Kinnaur in the south and is dominated by the Kinnaur Kailash (elevation- 6050m) and Jorkanden (elevation- 6473m) peaks. Jorkanden is the highest peak in the Kinner-Kailash range; one can admire it comfortably from a bungalow at Kalpa. Often mistaken with Kinner Kailash (which is a smaller holy pillar to north of it). Jorkanden has been climbed by the I.T.B.P IN 1974 and by the IndianPara Regiment in 1978. The pass accessible on the trek is the Charang La at an altitude of 5300m. It is one of the toughest treks in Himachal Pradesh.
  • Roghi Sucide point : Suicide Point is located within 10 minutes from the Kalpa village and the journey takes place through apple gardens. Suicide Point is very famous for its dangerous trench and vertical slope.it is on the road connecting kalpa with roghi.
  • Nako Lake : magine a pastured meadow amidst the gigantic mountains; in between the meadows there are beautiful willows and poplar trees, Buddhist temples a small emerald basin called Nako lake. Nako Lake is a small secluded reservoir which can charm anyone with its pristine natural beauty and cultural innocence. The spiritual lake is the secret hideaway in the mystical land of the Himalaya. The lake is nestled at an elevation of 3662 m, surrounded by willow and poplar trees. Groves of willow trees surround the lake, making for a fascinating sight. Nako lake is bounded by 4 Tibetan temples. Close to the temple, there are four caves which are believed to be the meditation site of saint Padmasambhava. These were the caves from where Guru Padmasambhava gave disclosure to his followers. There is a waterfall nearby the lake which as per legends and locals is regarded as the heavenly abode of fairies. It is also said that, it’s not at all easy to find the waterfall as there is no marked trail leading to it. During the month of September, tourist can enjoy boating on the shimmering lake or relish the beauty of the enchanting mountains.
  • Mummy Of Sangha Tenzin, Himachal Pradesh, India

A MUMMY of a Tibetan Buddhist monk, believed to be about 500 years old, has been found in India’s northern Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh.The mummy, identified as that of monk Sangha Tenzin, was found inside a tomb at Ghuen village in the cold and remote Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, about 6000 metres above sea level.

In 1975 an earthquake in northern India opened an old tomb containing the mummified body of monk Sangha Tenzin. In 2004, the local police excavated the tomb and removed the mummy. The mummy is remarkably well preserved, with skin intact and hair on his head. He died in the seated position, with a rope around the neck and thighs (an esoteric practice recorded in few Buddhist documents). Victor Mair, a consulting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, was quoted as saying the mummy was at least 500 years old. According to the report, the mummy is remarkably well preserved for its age. Its skin is unbroken and there is hair on the head.

The mummy of Sangha Tenzin is now on display in a temple in Gue, two miles from where he was excavated, in the Himachal Pradesh region of India, bordering Tibet. Controlled by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and isolated in the Himalayas, the town is very difficult to reach. The temple where the mummy rests is open to the public.

 

  • PIN VALLEY :

Southeast of Kaza, the Spiti River is joined by the Pin River, flowing out of a wind-scoured but beautiful valley from the heights of the Great Himalayan Range.

Can I get some emergency contact numbers for the region?

You can get in touch with the hospital and police station in Kaza for any emergencies or any of the Incredible Spiti team.

  • Kaza Civil Hospital – 01900 222 218
  • Kaza Police Station – 01906 222 216

Are there ATM’s in Spiti valley? Can I swipe my card at hotels?

There is State Bank of India and Kangra co-operative bank ATM’s in Kaza. But do not rely on them. Hotels or shops accept no credit or debit cards and you will need to pay in cash.

What are Spiti Expedition’s credentials?

Spiti Expedition has been providing high quality services to a range of international  and national clients for the past 10 years and is fully accredited by the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Board.

Our team are experienced and professional and 100% drawn from the local community, they all have a detailed knowledge of the valley and local environs and our excellent community relations means in every village in Spiti there is a friendly face, a warm house and a helping hand should we need it. Often we stop for tea or lunch in the traditional village homes to get an inside look at the picturesque high altitude hamlets dotting the landscape.

What are the list of things you should not do in your trip to Spiti ?

Don’ts

Consumption of Alcohol or any drug: We highly recommend you not to consume Alcohol or any kind of illegal drug before travelling to spiti as it could lead to dehydration and high altitude sickness leading to health problems.

Don’t be your own doctor: If you are feeling sick, do not take medicine without any recommendation.

Exertion:  On the very first day of your arrival at Spiti don’t over exert yourself. You can roam in the market but mostly we would like you to take rest as much as you can so that your body can adapt with the climate.

What are the essential items I need to carry on my trip to Spiti valley?

These are the list of things I feel are quite essential and shouldn’t be missed out on:-

Clothes: There is an old Scandinavian saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing”.

 Wear at least 4 layers of clothes to protect yourself. A layer of thermal, a layer of woollen sweater, A layer of down feather jacket and a layer of windproof jacket is more than enough for the winters in Spiti.  So make sure apart from your regular clothes, you are also carrying a sweater, gloves, cap (protect head and ears from cold winds). This goes for winters as well as Summers. In summers you can deduct one layer.

Water: Water is the most essential thing while travelling in Spiti, since dehydration can further complicate health issues at such a high altitude. So make sure you are carrying at least couple of litter of water per person all the time and drinking at regular intervals.

Medicines:  Medicines for headache, allergy, fever, stomach ache, cold and cough syrup.

Diamox dosage: ( For Altitude Sickness – a must )

For the chances of a successful and a stress free trip, We suggest participants start on Diamox two days before leaving for Spiti. Which means 2 tablets for two days and then after reaching Manali continue it for another two days even in Spiti. ( Total 4 tablets )

Side effects of Diamox:

While Diamox is harmless for most people, please check with your doctor whether you are allergic to sulphides. Also check with your doctor if you have high/low blood pressure or diabetes.

Sunscreen lotion: UV rays at high altitude can be quite damaging to the skin, even during the harshest of winter, so don’t forget to carry a good quality sunscreen lotion eg. 50 SPF and above.

UV sunglasses: As mentioned earlier, UV rays at high altitude can be quite damaging and this holds true for eyes as well. So having decent quality UV sunglasses (Fastrack ones are available for as little as Rs. 800) is quite essential, especially if you are travelling early in the season or during winter, when mountain passes have a lot of snow cover and sunlight reflecting from the snow can be even harsher!

Lip balm: Dry and cold weather of Spiti will make your lips dry, which can get quite painful due to cracking and skin coming off, so make sure to carry a lip balm or Vaseline.

Mustard oil: Mustard oil can be used for moisturizing skin, putting it in your hair and for lubricating insides of nostrils, which can become quite dry and painful due to dry and cold winds of Spiti.

Glucose: Carrying water mixed with Glucon C/D is a good idea while travelling at high altitude, as it provides instant energy on the move, when your appetite is likely to be reduced due to AMS and at the same time.. Carry couple of small packs with you, which you can mix in water, at the beginning of the day.

Chocolates, biscuits and nuts: Carrying couple of chocolates, a pack of biscuits and few hundred grams of almonds, raisins and cashews is a good idea, as these provide instant energy and easy snack and don’t take up too much space. Those who love spicy food, make sure to carry pickle or sauce, since spiti food is a bit bland.

Other personal essentials: Paper soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb and toilet paper. You can also carry your shaving kit and face wash if you have the space and need for these and any other toiletries.

Documents and IDs: It is essential to carry at least one government issued identity card and couple of photocopies of it, since it is needed while applying for inner line permit and at certain places, to register at the check post. You should also carry your medical insurance card (if you have one), important contacts (useful in case your mobile phone stops working).

Chargers for all the gadgets, cameras and mobile

Spare camera batteries: Carry at least one spare set of batteries required by your camera, since in cold environment, batteries can die quickly.

Car charger or battery bank: If you are an avid smart phone user then carry a car cable and a power bank.

3 socket Belkin Surge Protector: While it is a little large in size, 3 socket Belkin Surge Protector will not only keep your gadgets protected from power surges, but will also allow you to charge multiple devices simultaneously and at the same time, provide the crucial cable length to safely place your gadgets in rooms with idiotic power socket locations (sadly enough, many hotels have this).

Enough memory cards to last you the entire trip: Doesn’t matter if you are carrying a laptop or planning to burn CDs/DVDs at Spiti, carry enough memory cards to cover your entire shooting duration in Spiti.

Torch: Not really needed if your mobile phone has one, but if in case it doesn’t, carry a small LED one.

Money: While my recommendation would be to carry enough cash you need, to avoid wasting time withdrawing cash, it may not be feasible for everyone. So please keep in mind that ATMs beyond Srinagar and Manali are only available in few place and they too are few with often long queues in front of them.

Mobile phone connectivity: Only post-paid mobile phone connections from other states work in Spiti and even from these, only BSNL has presence beyond Spiti.

 

How many days are required for a comfortable visit?

To do the whole trip from Manali to Shimla, 10 days would be comfortable else only Spiti can be done in 5-6 days Manali – Manali.

What are the available communication facilities in Spiti valley?

Phone facilities are available in Kaza. For people who want to use their mobile phone, only BSNL/MTNL works in some places in Spiti and some villages and places have no connectivity at all. It is advisable to purchase and activate your number before your trip.

But do take note. At times, the phone lines do not work due to lack of electricity.

Do we require a permit to enter Spiti?

For foreign (non-Indian) passport holders:

Coming from Manali over the Rohtang Pass requires no Inner Line Permit or paperwork, the border police will register your passport number at the entrance to the valley and it will rarely take longer than 5 minutes.

Coming from Shimla does require an Inner Line Permit which can be arranged in advance at the District Collectors office in Shimla or at the Reckong Peo border post.

Experienced India travelers always have photocopies of their passports and spare passport photos ready at all times!

For Indians – No permits required.

What’s the weather like in Spiti valley?

The temperature in summer (June to September) can reach the mid 20 degrees C with a minimum of 9-10 degrees C. Places like Tabo, Chandrataal, Bataal and Hansa get very windy and chilly and the temperature can drop to 2-3 degrees C. The temperature in winter (December and January) can go down to -30 degrees C.

The annual rainfall is 6″. Since Spiti is a cold desert, there is no such thing as a rainy season.

When is the best time to come to Spiti? When are the passes open?

This varies from year to year but in general, if you are coming from Manali, Kunzum La and Rohtang Passes are open around mid-May.

Coming from Shimla, the Reckong Peo road is all weather and the Border Roads Organization do their best to keep this route open all year round.

The best time to come to Spiti is the Summer months between May and October when temperatures are perfect, roads are (mostly) clear and the sun is shining!

How long does it take to reach Kaza?

Delhi – Shimla – Kaza (791 km) with overnight stay in Shimla and Reckong Peo you will reach Kaza in 3 days driving about 8-12 hrs a day

Delhi – Manali – Kaza (772km) with overnight stay in Manali you will reach Kaza in about 2 days driving about 16-18 hrs a day

Where is Spiti?

Spiti is part of the combined districts of Lahaul and Spiti located in northern most part of Himachal Pradesh sharing the Indo – Tibetan Border. To the north of Lahaul & Spiti lies Ladakh, to the west lies Chamba and Kulu districts and to the south lies Kinnaur.

Contact Us

+91 941 828 3847 / +91 9418401551

Nyingma House V.P.O Kaza, Tehsil Spiti, District Lahul & Spiti Himachal Pradesh, India Pin Code : 172114 (51.52 mi)

booking@spitiexpedition.com

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