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While Himachal Pradesh is home to a dozen different monasteries, this spectacular place is not just the biggest, but also the oldest one around. A must visit tourist place in Spiti Valley, the Key Gompa is encircled by picturesque mountains and soothing valleys.
A wonderful example of monastic architecture and decorated with beautiful paintings, murals, manuscripts, and wind instruments – the Kye attracts history and cultural buffs round the year. If you are seeking spiritual enlightenment, the monastery is home to a large number of nuns, monks, and lamas who receive their religious education here.
If you plan to visit during June-July, you’ll also get to witness the beautiful festival involving Chaam dancers, lamas and a devil made out of butter!
Location: Spiti Valley, Lahul.
Best time to visit: May to October.
Perched at a
staggering altitude of 4200 meters above sea level, you have to witness the
unparalleled beauty of Chandratal to believe it. A sanctuary from the lightning
fast city life, this lake is slowly becoming one of the most attractive tourist places in Spiti valley. With
the spellbinding backdrop of majestic mountains and meadows covered with
gorgeous wildflowers, the lake is the perfect place to click some Instagram
worthy pictures for photography enthusiasts.
Besides, if you have an adventurous spirit, take the scenic trekking route from Batal to the lake and camp under the stars on the banks of the lake. Experience nature in its most glorious splendor at Chandrataal.
Location: Spiti part of Lahul, Keylong.
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM round the week.
One of the most spellbinding places to visit in Spiti Valley, the Lahaul Valley is a staple for adrenaline junkies and solitude seekers alike. Bare mountains covered with null vegetation, clear blue skies, pollutions free environment, green meadows – Lahaul is a paradise for nature lovers. Pick up your camera and go crazy as Lahaul enchants you with its rare and diversified vistas.
Capture spectacular views of the Bhaga river and admire the snow-covered mountain passes. Filled with a number of hiking trails, every year tourists throng the place to satisfy their thirst for adventure.
Location: Keylong, Himachal Pradesh.
Best time to visit: May to mid-October.
Third highest lake in India and 21st highest in the world, the Suraj Tal is a divine water body surrounded by barbaric bare mountains and soothing valleys. It is a common belief that anyone who takes a dip in the pristine emerald waters of the lake is cleaned off their sins.
Whether you want to visit the Suraj Tal for spiritual reasons or to simply revel in the unsurpassed natural charm – you won’t regret it. An absolute haven for avid trekkers, the lake offers an asylum to refresh and recharge during the hectic Manali-Leh trek. Adrenaline junkie motorcyclists and mountain bikers will find this place a wonderful stopover on their journey.
Location: Lahul Valley, Keylong.
Timings: No timing restrictions.
Tucked atop a small hill at an impressive altitude of 4100 meters above sea level, the Dhankar, with its dazzling blue waters, is one of the most popular places to visit in Spiti Valley. The lake sits at the end of the famous Dhankar Lake trek known for its treacherous paths, rocky snow-capped mountains, and incomparable vistas. Adventure enthusiasts and photography lovers are enchanted alike by the magical realism of the trek.
The Dhankar Fort Monastery sandwiched between Spiti and Pin rivers offers a special spiritual touch as it plays hide and seek on the trail. And once you reach the lake, the rare and diversified views will make your jaw drop!
Location: Near Rohtang Pass connecting Kullu and Lahul.
Timings: No timing restrictions.
India's highest cold valley National Park, this place was constructed to preserve the unique natural flora and fauna of Himachal Pradesh and is named after the gorgeous Pin River and acts as an interface between the Lahul and Spiti Valley. Against a backdrop of barbarous, rugged snow-covered mountain peaks of the Spiti Valley, the national park is home to Himachal's ferocious predators, the snow leopards, and their prey, the ibex.
The terrain is rough and precarious, so train hard and get into those fitness programs before you undertake this captivating journey. The sanctuary also witnesses a strong spiritual influence due to the presence of Buddhist monasteries around the area.
Location: Near Kaza.
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM throughout the week.
Tucked next to the Leh Manali highway and connecting Lahul to Ladakh is the striking and stupendous Baralacha Pass. A mecca for adrenaline junkies, the pass is a starting point for many famous treks including Suraj Tal lake trek and Chandratal trek. Because it is perched at a 16000 feet high plateau, Baralacha offers an exquisite view of three different mountain ranges - Pir Panjal, Zanskar and the Great Himalayas.
So, pick up your camera and go crazy capturing the indescribable natural beauty around. Whether you cover the pass on foot or go mountain biking – the outstanding journey will stay with you your entire life!
Location: Leh Manali highway.
Best time to visit:April to October.
At a cursory glance, you might miss the Dhankar sitting between spurs of rocky cliffs and barren mountains, overlooking the confluence of Spiti and Pin valley. A truly curious landmark, the monastery is perched so precariously amongst rocks that it appears as if it is seconds away from falling all over.
The unique and inconvenient position inspires wonder and astonishment. The location is also a photograph’s dream – offering perfect shots of the cold valley, tiny mud houses and the rough terrain around. Just 2 kilometres from the famous Dhankar Lake, the monastery is one of the most impressive places to visit in Spiti Valley.
Location: Lahul and Spiti Valley
Timings: 6:30 AM to 5 PM throughout the week.
Tabo Monastery is one of the most wondrous places to visit in Spiti Valley. Founded a millennium ago, the temple is a unique amalgamation of history, culture and natural splendor. In the cold barren deserts of Tabo valley, the monastery appears as a sanctum from the brutality of barbarous rocky mountains around.
It houses centuries worth of Buddhist culture, tradition and heritage – a treat for history and cultural buffs. For those of you interested in art and handicraft – witness the amazingly preserved paintings, murals and sculptures. Or just kick back and take in the healing environment as calmness ascends over your being.
Best time to visit: May to October
The temple complex is located on the top of a small hill, at the divine junction of Chandra and Bhaga rivers to form Chenab. The area is famous for its spiritual connection, colourful flags waving in the wind, pristine environs and delightful locals.
Every year tourists flock to the monastery to view its 7-storey forts, wooden idols of Buddha and black stone images of various goddesses against the backdrop of icy mountains. Home to Buddhist paintings, murals, scrolls and relics dating back to 2nd century BC – the temple complex attracts cultural and historical enthusiasts alike.
Location: 18 km from Keylong, Himachal Pradesh
Timings: 6 AM to 6 PM everyday.
To call Kibber beautiful would be putting it lightly – arid landscape, rocky mountains, meadows covered in vibrant wildflowers, and all this paired with pristine pollution free environment. Stargazers and photography lovers flock alike to Kibber to gaze at the unsurpassed, exquisite view of the Milky Way. Go to the nearby Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary and witness the amazing fauna of Himachal – ibex, blue sheep, red fox, snow leopards, wolves etc.
You can visit various tiny monasteries around or go hiking on the small trails around the village. The locals are friendly and offer a warm and comfortable stay, if not the most luxurious, with both Indian and Tibetan home cooked food.
Location: Lahul and Spiti Valley
Best time to visit: October to February
At the extreme end of Spiti lies the little hamlet Losar at a breathtaking altitude of 4000 meters. Situated at the confluence of Losar and Peeno streams and adjacent to the Indo Chinese border, only ardent trekkers and hikers reach Losar, making it one of the last unexplored, virgin places in the Himalayas.
Get lost in the winding paths and find breathtaking views at every turn, each more beautiful than the last. You can actually hear the sound of silence in this tiny village, so forget all your worries and delight in solitude at Losar as you explore panoramic vistas, pristine rivers and magnificent mountains.
Location: 57 km from Kaza
Best time to visit: June to September
One of the most mysterious, offbeat places to visit in Spiti Valley, the Kunzum Pass is a gateway to the gorgeous Spiti via Kullu and Lahul. Treat your photography loving soul as you click away the jaw dropping vistas around. Take in the panoramic view featuring majestic Bara Shigri Glacier covered with pristine silvery snow, the barren mountains of Chandrabhange range, the azure waters of Spiti river, and the rugged hills of Spiti Valley.
Pay your respects at the temple of Goddess Kunzum Devi and behold the vibrant prayer flags fluttering against the wind. And if you are a mountain biking enthusiast, the Kunzum offers you a special sense of achievement – being the highest motorable pass in India sitting at a jaw dropping height of 4500 metres!
Timings: No timing restrictions.
Boasting of being the world’s highest village connected with motorable road, the Komik is a quaint, idyllic hamlet ideal for a rejuvenating vacation away from metropolitan city life. Just 18 kilometres from Kaza, calling this village road surreal would be an understatement. Winding pathways, treacherous cliffs, steep uphill climb and bumpy roads may be a rookie’s nightmare – but if you’ve got the guts and grit, there are plenty of scenic views to be enjoyed.
The villagers are friendly, so cheap accommodation can be found in the small houses if you are up for an offbeat experience. Enjoy the small treks and trails along the hills and go running with yaks! Find fossils and drink the local buttery tea. Find a refuge away from modern hectic lifestyle at Komik.
Best time to visit: May to September
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