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6 Best Places To Visit In Lahaul-Spiti

It had been on my mind and honestly, it was becoming irritating now. I had to go to some unknown place, a small almost invisible dot, on the physical map of India but I couldn’t find anything that the ubiquitous globetrotter hadn’t left his footprints at. Believe me, it was depressing. Well, until one fine day when I heard someone talk about Himachal and how difficult it is to reach some of the places there. That got me fixed onto a location and I eventually made up my mind about Lahaul-Spiti. Bags packed and ready to go!

What I had in mind was that Spiti would be exactly like the regular hill station. Except that, it wasn’t a getaway and definitely not a hill station. This just made me fall in love with that place immediately. Arrangements were made to stay under the open sky in tents along the banks of river Chandra. The gurgling sound of the river made it hard to fall asleep for a short while but then the tired body fell into a deep slumber. In the next morning, we had plans to explore the handsomely rugged terrain by bikes. It sure was bumpy! At first, I was scared but then the thought of being able to see the magnanimous Chandrataal Lake made me more determined to pedal on and yes, the bike ride was amazing. Thankfully, I emerged scratch free. Some victory dance there.

CHANDRA TAAL

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Located at a height of about 14000 feet, this lake is located at a distance of 6kms from Kumzum Pass. It is also called as Moon Lake because of its crescent shape. There is no population around the lake except the camping enthusiasts. It freezes completely during winters. Local people around believe that this lake is visited by fairies in the night. The most beautiful panorama of this region is here.

The lake took my breath away. The blue water made me feel as if it was sky’s sibling; so alike they were. The ripples created by fish, I tried stepping into the water but just when the tip of my feet touched the water, I withdrew it for it was ice cold. The mountains just made the lake look more majestic. The view of the moon in the sparkling waters made my trip more than extraordinary.

CHINCHUM ROPEWAY, KAZA

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Kaza is situated along river Spiti and is the base camp for lots of treks. It is known for its festivals and ancient of all monasteries like Sakya Tangyud and Tabo monastery. Apart from this, there is an ancient palace of the king of Kaza.

The Chinchum Ropeway is another such example that made me marvel at the human spirit. I tried using the ropeway that the local kids use daily to reach school and was little scared about making it back safely but yeah, except for some pain in the shoulders, nothing much happened (thankfully!). It was a memorable experience, though.

Also, the Asia's highest located petrol pump is in Kaza. It makes you wonder the amount of resources nature has and on the same hand the man's madness to procure it.

DHANKAR MONASTERY

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The best part of the journey for me was the monasteries- with their distinct Buddhist culture. The monastery at Dhankar is amazingly serene, with an ancient fort making a wall of protection around it. I sat there for a while and didn’t want to leave, the chants of mantras filling the air and spreading through the whole atmosphere.

Dhankar monastery stands firm on a hill at a height of 13000 ft was once a fort and considered as one of the most remarkable monuments of Spiti valley when you drive between Tabo and Kaza. It has about 150 lamas residing within and holds rich Buddhist scriptures with beautiful descriptions and depictions of Buddhist culture on its walls. Not just these places but there are a lot more to see and capture. 

 

KEY MONASTERY

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Key Monastery, located at an altitude of 4100 metres is the biggest monastery of Spiti valley. It has around 250 monks who help to carry passenger goods, farming and other activities in summers while in winters mostly stay within the monastery engaged in their religious offerings.

Apart from architectural sites, there are people of this valley who tell you about the traditions, festivals and culture of this place and greet you warmly. Interacting with people was immensely beneficial as I got to know a lot more than what a regular tourist can see.

PIN VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

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Pin valley is situated along river Pin and offers a good trek to Kinnaur. The region is rich in flora with rarest of plant species along with fauna which includes snow leopards, red fox, snow cock, woolly hare and much more. Indian nationals are supposed to take a permit to explore the national park whereas the foreign nationals aren’t allowed in. This area is a great amalgamation of nature’s beauty with adventure. Must watch!

 

KIBBER

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Located at a height of 4270m, Kibber is a small village with a total of 80 houses made of stone, all painted in white with red rooftops. It has a population of around 366 people and is the highest motorable village. The trails of Mt. Kanamo trek starts from here. Mt. Kanamo is the easiest trek which does not require any formal training beforehand apart from getting over the altitude sickness.
Kibber Monastery, founded by Serkang Rimpochhe of Tabo give a perfect view of the of the surrounding landscapes covered in snow.
The whole Spiti trip had been an unbelievable experience for me. It made me grow as a person in every dimension. It’s definitely a topography that I’d like to explore not just once but again and again and so should you.

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