Spiti Valley in Summer
Best time to Visit Spiti Valley in Summer
Summer months (March to June) are when this enchanting valley starts to shed its white snowy shroud after the cold and dark winter months. Travellers who want to skip the crowds and explore the place in seclusion start approaching Spiti from Shimla.
The days are bright, clear and pleasant enough to spend time soaking in the beauty of the place. The nights are cold yet great for camping under the brilliantly star-lit skies.
Duration of summer: Summers in Spiti start in March and last till June.
Average Temperature: The average temperatures range between 15°C in the day to around 6°C in the night.
Pros & Cons of Visiting in Summer
- Starting June, Spiti valley is accessible from the picturesque Manali route, which is also shorter. However, keep a check on the weather conditions and take this route only after you have confirmed reports about the opening of the passes.
- If you shy away from crowds and are seeking solitude, early March is the best time to visit Spiti. Since the Manali route opens only in June, you will see fewer tourists and can enjoy the solitude.
- The weather is at its pleasant best during the summer months. The days are sunny and clear and perfect for exploring this beautiful place.
- The great weather conditions allow you to enjoy adventure activities like trekking, biking, night camping, etc.
- Since all the hotels and guesthouses are open in summers, you have a lot of options depending on your choice and budget.
- If you plan to travel during early March, be prepared for bad stretches of road. Since the snow starts to melt around this time, some patches might be slippery and broken.
- The nights can get a bit colder, uncomfortable for those who are not used to low temperatures.
Routes to reach Spiti in Summer
If you plan to visit Spiti between March-May, you will have to take the Shimla-Spiti route, which makes the valley accessible throughout the year. This route passes from Shimla – Narkanda – Rampur – Kalpa - Nako-Giu Village - Tabo Village – Dhankar - Pin Valley (Mud Village) – Kaza
If you are travelling in June, you can access Spiti from the Manali side. The route, in this case, will be Manali – Solang Valley – Rohtang Pass – Gramphu – Batal – Chandratal – Kunzum Pass – Losar – Kaza
Places to See During the Summer
Places to see during the summer:
- Chandratal: Also known as the moon lake, this is one of the most beautiful places in Spiti Valley. It’s a surreal experience seeing the calm crystal clear waters in shades of grey-blue-green reflect the massive brown mountains.
- Dhankar: Dhankar is famous for its 1200-year-old monastery, the pristine lake, and the ancient fort.
- Tabo: One of the most intriguing places in the region, Tabo is famous for its hidden cave systems, an ancient monastery, and stark barren landscape.
- Hikkim: Famous for housing the world’s highest post office, Hikkim is a must-visit in Spiti valley.
- Komic: Considered to be the highest village in the world with a running motorable road, Komic is an absolute must-visit.
- Langza: People interested in fossil hunting love to visit Langza. Another great attraction is the huge golden statue of Lord Buddha overlooking the valleys as if guarding them.
Fairs & Festivals in Summer
Fairs & Festivals in Summer:
Tsheshu festival (June): Also known as the Kye Chham festival, this colourful festival is when the lamas perform the devil dance attired in masks of animals and birds to invoke the spirits and get blessed for prosperity. You can see this festival at monasteries like Shashur, Tabo, Mane, and Gemur.
Spiti Valley in Winter
Best Time to Visit Spiti Valley in Winter
Spiti transforms into a brilliant wonderland covered in powdery-white snow during winters each year. Sights like frozen lakes, waterfalls, and snow-covered mountains dotted with pugmarks of snow leopards are common. Visiting Spiti in winters is a once in a lifetime opportunity especially for travellers who love extreme winter adventures and enjoy activities like snow trekking, frozen waterfall climbing, and viewing the elusive snow leopard.
The valley, due to the absence of crowds, is quiet and calm. During the winter months, Spiti can be approached only from the Shimla side. Since the place is almost landlocked due to heavy snow cover, be prepared for a tough trip physically as well as mentally.
Duration of winter: Winters in Spiti extend for 5 months i.e. from October to February.
Average Temperature: The average temperatures range between 0°C in the day to around -40°C in the night.
Pros & Cons of Visiting in Winter
- Spiti is not visited by many travellers during the winter months, making it the perfect time for those who are seeking mountainside solitude.
- For those interested in experiencing extreme winter adventures, this is the best time to visit Spiti valley to explore winter treks here and even catch live snowfall.
- Those interested in wildlife can hope to spot snow leopards during this time.
- The weather is extremely harsh and brutal during winters. Those who cannot handle the blood-curdling cold should avoid venturing to Spiti in winters.
- Almost all the hotels, cafes, and markets are closed during winters. Your best bet will be homestays. You shouldn’t expect great facilities at this time.
- Whichever hotels and homestays are functional will charge exorbitant prices. Don’t expect a budget stay during winters.
- Due to heavy snow, most of the roads will be blocked or in bad condition. They are slippery due to frost, slushy mud, and water crossings. Keep a few buffer days in hand if travelling during these months to avoid delays caused due to these conditions.
- Due to sub-zero temperatures, don’t expect running water. You will have to make do with dry toilets and must be prepared to go for many days without taking a bath.
- There are electricity fluctuations during this time. Bonfires or warm kitchen areas will be your place to be!
- The ATMs might be out of order due to the valley being cut-off and unavailability of electricity.
- The phones will have intermittent coverage due to heavy snow cover. So prepare to remain cut-off for a while.
Routes to Reach Spiti in Winter
In winters, Spiti is accessible only from the Shimla side. The available route passes through Shimla – Narkanda – Rampur – Kalpa - Nako-Giu Village - Tabo Village – Dhankar - Pin Valley (Mud Village) – Kaza
Places to See During Winter
- Chandratal Lake: This lake transforms into a frozen wonder in winters. Visit it to see the expanse of stark whiteness backdropped by dark mountains and blue skies.
- Gue Village: The village is famous for the intriguing mummy of a Buddhist monk who started mummifying his body while he was still alive. This was discovered during an earthquake in 1975 and is visited by people from all over the country.
- Kibber: This village, surrounded by mountains, is famous for its snow-covered vistas in winter. Don’t miss to see the Tibetan-style houses, ancient monasteries, and wildlife like Blue Sheep, Tibetan Woolly Hare, Snow Leopards, and Ibex.
- Chicham Bridge: Credited as the highest bridge in Asia and the second highest suspension bridge in the world, this bridge stands at a height of around 13,500 ft., this architectural marvel is a must-visit.
Fairs & Festivals in Winter
- Dechhang Festival: Celebrated in December, this is one of the most popular community festivals in Spiti. You will be treated to local food, bonfire, folk song and dance in this beautiful celebration.
- Losar Festival: One of the most famous of the festivals, this marks the Tibetan New Year in the region. It is celebrated everywhere- right from the villages to the monasteries. This 3-day celebration sees processions, dances, music, massive bonfires, and praying sessions.
- Gochi Festival: This interesting festival is celebrated in the month of February. Only families where a son was born in the preceding year can be a part of this. Dough and chhang (rice-based alcohol) is offered to the local deities on the day.
- Fagli Festival: Celebrated after a fortnight of Amavasya, in the first half of February, this festival is dedicated to angels known as ‘Shikhara-Appa’, who are considered to be the ancestors of the mountains. People decorate their houses with oil lamps, flowers, bamboo, and offer barley flour and buttermilk to the local deities.
Spiti Valley in Monsoon
Spiti Valley in Monsoon
Spiti, like Ladakh, is a dry cold desert that sees close to no rains, even during the monsoon season. However, the approach roads from the Shimla side see quite a bit of rain leading to patchy road conditions. You will also need to cross some water crossings especially at the stretch between Batal and Gramphoo.
The valley shrouds itself in beautiful autumn colours of brown and burnt orange, that make the place even more stunning. The days are pleasant and the nights cool, perfect to enjoy the charm of the valley.
Duration of monsoon: Months of July till September are considered to be the monsoon months in Spiti.
Average temperature: The average temperatures range between 10°C (daytime) to 4°C (night).
Pros & Cons of Visiting in Monsoon
- Since Spiti hardly experiences rains, the entire valley is open for exploring and soaking in the beauty of the place.
- The weather is pleasantly moderate and comfortable that lets one be outdoors.
- Expect to be delayed by roadblocks, landslides, water crossings, and slushy roads on the approach roads to Spiti. Due to soil loosened by rains, you might also encounter shooting stones at certain places.
- Your electronics and clothes are at risk of getting spoiled due to rains. Make sure to keep them covered and carry spares.
- There is always a possibility of your vehicle breaking down. Keep spare parts handy.
- Since this is the season when apples are transported to the rest of the country, you might encounter jams due to the high number of trucks on the roads.
Routes to Reach Spiti in Monsoon
During the months of July to September, Spiti is accessible both from Manali and Shimla routes.
The Shimla route passes through Narkanda – Rampur – Kalpa - Nako-Giu Village - Tabo Village – Dhankar - Pin Valley (Mud Village) – Kaza
From Manali side, the route that you will need to take will pass through Solang Valley – Rohtang Pass – Gramphu – Batal – Chandratal – Kunzum Pass – Losar – Kaza
Places to See During Monsoon
Besides the usual attractions like Chandratal Lake, Komic, Hikkim, Dhankar, etc., you can visit these places during monsoons:
- Nako Village: The village is famous for its beautiful 11th-century monastery and the pristine lake.
- Tabo Village: This charming village is famous for its rustic houses and for housing the ancient monastery, that’s revered by Buddhists around the world.
- Mudh Village: Located in the beautiful Pin Valley and surrounded by high mountain peaks, Mudh Village is famous for its remote and secluded charm.
Fairs & Festivals in Monsoon
- Ladarcha Festival: More a fair, this ancient festival was started as a platform for traders from remote places in the state to sell their wares. Celebrated during the third week of August, you can see amazing artworks, jewellery, organic foods, handicrafts, and even yaks here along with performances by local dancers.
- Tribal fair: This fair coincides with the Indian independence day and is celebrated from 14-16 August with a lot of enthusiasm by the locals. You will see bonfires, local food offerings, dance, and folk songs here.
- Gataur festival: This festival is celebrated to worship God Chaugayal as they perform the Chham dance and offer saur to fire. It is celebrated in the last week of September.