Himachal is an area of enormous beauty and charm, with clear and tranquil ponds, elevated hills, old temples, and gay individuals. Home to some of Kullu, Manali, Chamba and Shimla's finest tourist spots, Himachal is an earthly paradise that invites visitors all year round. Himachal's natural beauty, the mountains, and the valleys render your journey tranquil, while the pilgrimages render the count...
Nestled amidst the majestic peaks of the Indian Himalayas, Spiti Valley is a testament to the majesty of nature. This remote and fascinating destination attracts adventure lovers and nature lovers from all over the world. But reaching Spiti Valley is no ordinary journey. It is a journey through the most amazing landscapes and difficult terrain. This comprehensive guide on how to reach Spiti Valley reveals the secrets of exploring the different routes, modes of transportation, and top tips for a comfortable and unforgettable adventure.
Best Way To Reach Spiti Valley
How to reach Spiti Valley by Air: The nearest airport to Spiti Valley is Kullu-Manali Airport, also known as Bhuntar Airport. The airport is a gateway to the region, connecting it to major cities such as Delhi. Air travel provides a quick and convenient option for travelers who want to reduce their time in transit.
From Bhuntar Airport the journey to Spiti continues by road. Taxis are easily available at the airport, and you can also opt for local buses going in the direction of Spiti. The road journey from Bhuntar to Spiti is an experience in itself, offering a glimpse of the natural beauty present in the valley.
Going on a road trip to Spiti Valley is an adventure that will be etched in your memory. Travel is not just a means to an end, but a visual feast of diverse landscapes and dramatic terrain. There are two primary ways to reach Spiti by road:
From Manali: The Manali route is the more popular and shorter of the two, covering a distance of about 200 km. This road takes you through the famous Rohtang Pass, a high-altitude wonder surrounded by snow-capped peaks. The road from Manali to Spiti usually opens in late spring and is closed in winter due to heavy snowfall.
From Shimla: While the route to Shimla is longer, it compensates for it with its unique attractions. The route from Shimla to Spiti remains open for a longer time than the Manali route. The journey takes you through the Kinnaur Valley, offering a different perspective of the Himalayan landscape.
In both cases, the adventure of how to reach Spiti Valley becomes an integral part of the overall experience, making the journey as captivating as the destination.
How to reach Spiti Valley by train: You can take a train to Shimla or Joginder Nagar. From Shimla proceed towards Reckong Peo or Manali by bus or taxi. Finally, continue your journey to Spiti Valley by road, exploring the picturesque landscapes. Consider booking train tickets in advance and maintaining a flexible travel schedule. Alternatively, direct buses and taxis from major cities like Delhi to Manali or Reckong Peo provide a more direct road trip to Spiti.
Attractions en route:
Rohtang Pass: The journey from Manali to Spiti takes you through the mesmerizing Rohtang Pass. Situated at about 3,979 meters, the pass offers a panoramic view of the surrounding peaks and valleys. Be sure to stop and enjoy the breathtaking views.
Major monasteries: The Key Monastery is a must-see attraction as you enter Spiti. Situated on a hill, this Tibetan Buddhist monastery has a history dating back a millennium. Apart from its cultural importance, the monastery offers stunning views of the Spiti Valley.
Chandratal Lake: A detour from the main road takes you to the ancient Chandratal Lake. This high-altitude lake surrounded by snow-clad peaks is an ideal place for camping and soaking in the serene beauty of the Himalayas.
Local Transport in Spiti:
Once you reach Spiti, local transport options are available to explore the valley and its charming villages. There are two local transport in Spiti:
Local Buses: Although the frequency of buses is limited, some services connect major villages of Spiti. These buses provide an affordable mode of transportation for those who want to experience the local lifestyle.
Taxis: Private taxis can be hired in Spiti, allowing greater flexibility and convenience for exploring the region. This option is especially suitable for travelers who prefer a personalized and comfortable mode of transportation.
Motorbike: Renting a bike is a popular option for those who want to explore Spiti at their own pace. The winding roads and ever-changing landscape make for an exciting biking experience. There are many rental agencies in Spiti offering a variety of bikes for different preferences.
Best Time to Visit Spiti Valley:
Choosing the right time to visit Spiti is important to experience its true beauty and avoid travel disruptions.
Summer (June to September): This period is considered to be the best time to visit Spiti Valley. The weather is pleasant and most of the mountain passes including Rohtang Pass are open. The landscape is alive with flowers in bloom, a stark contrast to the arid mountains.
Winter (October to March): Visiting Spiti in winter is a magical experience for those looking for a snow-covered wonderland. However, due to heavy snowfall, some areas may become inaccessible and temperatures may drop significantly.
Places to Visit Near Spiti Valley
Ki Monastery: Located about 12 kilometers from Kaza, the administrative center of Spiti Valley, Ki Monastery is a major Buddhist monastery situated atop a hill. It is one of the largest and oldest monasteries in the region, housing a remarkable collection of ancient scriptures, murals, and artifacts. The monastery provides extensive views of the surrounding scenery.
Chandratal Lake: Situated at an altitude of approximately 4,300 meters, Chandratal Lake is a pristine high-altitude lake surrounded by majestic mountains. It is known for its serene beauty and the stunning reflections of the surrounding peaks in its crystal-clear waters. Camping along the lake is a popular activity, giving visitors a chance to view the mesmerizing starry sky at night.
Pin Valley National Park: Located close to Spiti Valley, Pin Valley National Park is a paradise for nature and wildlife lovers. The park is known for its diverse flora and fauna, including the elusive snow leopard. Trekking and wildlife viewing opportunities abound in this picturesque park, which features snow-capped peaks, winding rivers and alpine meadows.
Kunzum Pass: Situated at an altitude of 4,590 meters, Kunzum Pass is a high mountain pass that connects Spiti Valley to Lahaul Valley. It offers breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks and is adorned with colorful prayer flags fluttering in the wind. Local people also consider this pass as a sacred place, seeking blessings for a safe journey.
Tabo Monastery: Located in the neighboring Lahaul and Spiti district, Tabo Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest functioning Buddhist monasteries in the Himalayas. Known as the “Ajanta of the Himalayas”, the monastery houses ancient murals, scriptures and sculptures, preserving a rich cultural and religious heritage.
Dhankar Monastery: Situated on a hilltop overlooking the confluence of the Spiti and Pin rivers, Dhankar Monastery is an ancient monastery with a dramatic setting. It offers a panoramic view of the surrounding valleys and mountains. The monastery also serves as a base for trekking to Dhankar Lake, a stunning high-altitude lake situated amidst the Himalayas.
Nako Village: Nako is a picturesque village located in the Hangrang Valley near the India-China border. It is known for its tranquil atmosphere, traditional architecture and a beautiful lake. Nako village offers a glimpse of the local culture and lifestyle with traditional houses, a charming monastery and friendly locals.
Kibber Village: Situated at an altitude of approximately 4,270 meters, Kibber is a beautiful village known as one of the highest-altitude villages in the world. It offers amazing views of snow-clad peaks and is a great place to experience the traditional Spitalen lifestyle. Tourists can tour the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, interact with the friendly locals and see the unique architecture of the village.
Langza Village: Nestled amidst the mountains, Langza is a charming village known for its attractive landscape and rich fossil deposits. It is believed to be one of the highest villages in the world with a motorable road. Langza Chau Chau Kang offers panoramic views of Nilda Peak and features a large Buddha statue, providing a serene and spiritual atmosphere.
Hikkim Village: Hikkim is a small village which is famous for having the highest post office in the world. Visitors can send postcards to loved ones with a special “Posted at the World’s Highest Post Office” stamp. The village also offers beautiful views of the Himalayas and a glimpse of the local rural lifestyle.
Demul Village: Demul is a remote village situated at an altitude of approximately 4,400 meters. It is known for its picturesque surroundings and traditional mud-brick houses. Visitors can go on walks to the surrounding pastures, interact with friendly villagers and experience the tranquility of this unique destination.
Losar Village: Situated at the confluence of the Losar and Pino rivers, Losar is a beautiful village known for its lush green fields and apple orchards. It provides an excellent base for exploring the nearby Kunzum Pass and Chandratal Lake. Losar also hosts a lively annual festival called “Halda” celebrating the harvest season.
Dhankar Lake: Trekking enthusiasts can visit Dhankar Lake located near Dhankar Monastery. The route offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, rugged terrain and a high-altitude lake nestled amidst the majestic Himalayas.
Kungri Monastery: Located in the Pin Valley, Kungri Monastery is another important Buddhist monastery in the region. It is known for its rich collection of ancient scriptures, thangka paintings and Buddhist artifacts. The monastery also serves as a center of education and meditation.
Mudh Village: Mudh is a quiet village situated at the end of Pin Valley. It offers stunning views of snow-clad peaks, lush green meadows and the Pin River flowing through the valley. The village is an ideal starting point for trekking expeditions to the nearby peaks and glaciers.
Tips for a Safe and Enjoyable Journey:
- Customization: Acclimatise yourself to high-altitude places like Manali or Keylong before climbing high passes. This helps reduce the risk of altitude sickness.
- Pack Wisely: Pack warm clothes even during the summer months, as temperatures can drop rapidly at altitude. Carry essentials like water, snacks, a first aid kit, and extra fuel.
- Check Road Conditions: Before starting your journey, check the current road conditions and weather forecast. Roads can be risky, especially during unexpected snowfall or rain.
- Permit: Some areas on the way to Spiti Valley may require permits, especially if you plan to visit restricted areas near the international border. Obtain necessary permits in advance.
- Fuel station: Fuel stations are few in this area, so make sure you fill up your tank whenever you get the chance. If traveling by car or motorcycle, carry extra fuel with you.
- Respect local customs: Spiti Valley has a rich cultural heritage. Respect local customs and traditions, especially when visiting monasteries and interacting with residents.
- Emergency Contact: Save emergency contact numbers and know the locations of the nearest medical facilities. In an emergency, prompt medical attention may be vital.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q.1 Which is the nearest airport to Spiti Valley?
Ans. The nearest airport to Spiti Valley is Kullu-Manali Airport, also known as Bhuntar Airport. Flights operate from major cities like Delhi, providing a convenient air travel option to reach Spiti.
Q.2 What are the primary road routes to reach Spiti Valley?
Ans. There are two main road routes to reach Spiti Valley. One is from Manali, which covers a distance of about 200 kilometers and passes through the beautiful Rohtang Pass. The other route is from Shimla, which is about 412 kilometers but offers equally stunning landscapes.
Q.3 Do I need a permit to visit Spiti Valley?
Ans. Yes, non-Indians require an Inner Line Permit to visit Spiti Valley. This permit can be obtained in Shimla or Reckong Peo. It is necessary to obtain a permit before visiting Spiti to comply with regulatory requirements.
Q.4 What is the best time to visit Spiti Valley?
Ans. The best time to visit Spiti Valley is during the summer months, from June to September when the weather is pleasant and most of the mountain passes are open. Winter (October to March) is ideal for those looking for snow-covered landscapes, but some areas may be inaccessible.
Q.5 How to reach Spiti Valley by train?
Ans. Although there is no direct train to Spiti Valley, travelers can take trains to the nearest major railway stations Shimla or Joginder Nagar. From there, the journey continues by bus or taxi to Reckong Peo or Manali, and then further by road to Spiti Valley.
Spiti Valley stands as a testament to the grandeur of nature, offering a unique blend of stunning landscapes, rich culture, and spiritual peace. Whether you choose to reach Spiti by air or set out on a mesmerizing road trip, the destination promises an adventure unlike any other. Get ready to be mesmerized by the amazing beauty of Spiti as you trek through high mountain passes, explore ancient monasteries, and connect with cordial locals. This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with the essentials to equip you with the knowledge and insight on how to reach Spiti Valley to make your trip truly unforgettable.