Lahaul and Spiti are at a remote corner of the world to be accessed by traversing the highest mountain passes in the whole world. From beautiful Manali, one has to cross the Rohtang Pass and the tricky Rani Nala before that from Shimla, the twin valleys are accessed via scenic Kunzum La Pass, Pin Parbati Pass is another adventurous route to this region. The fun and adventure of Exploring Lahaul and Spiti are that there are no proper roads also no vegetation or civilization for miles and desolation all around. It is a test in very hard endurance and resilience.
Place and Activities to Explore in Lahaul and Spiti
- Key Monastery
- Pin Valley
- Chandratal Lake and Surajtal
- Bike Rides to Lahaul and Spiti
Key Monastery is the biggest monastery and a prominent religious training center for the great lamas in Spiti Valley. Around 11 km drive from Kaza takes you to the gompa that is located on top of a hill at a height of 4166 m. After you are done with your peaceful prayers you will be escorted by a young lama. Climbing mud stairs through a bright dark alley you will always keep wondering where are you headed till you reach a wooden and mud kitchen lit by the sunlight coming through a hole on the old roof. You will be offered a hot and tasty cup of tea that seems like the elixir in the cold and chilling weather. I loved spending moments of quietude standing on the rooftop of the scenic monastery admiring the serene and peaceful nature all around. You too can experience the same, feel the cold breeze on your face. subsequently, watch the valley below and be a part of the mighty Himalayas.
Originating in a scenic valley in the Himalayas, the Pin River joins the Spiti River southeast of Kaza. Around 15 km away from beautiful Kaza, the Tabo road branches off towards stunning Pin Valley which was bestowed upon the status of a national park in early 1987. It expanded in an area of around 9700 sq km, with its peak ranging from 3500 m to over 6000 m. The park is inhabited by several animals, including endangered ones like snow leopard, woolly hare, Tibetan gazelle, and Siberian ibex. At Kungri, 3 km above Gulling, there is the 680-years-old Ugyen Sangnak Choling Gompa and three medieval beautiful shrines. The best place to stay in the region is the Mud also, It has a couple of homestays.
Chandratal Lake and Suraj Tal
One of the most beautiful seen on earth, the mesmerizing Chandratal or the moon lake lies on a beautiful glacial bowl. The shimmering blue water lake is surrounded by snowy hills on all sides and is a must-visit to anyone traveling to adventurous Lahaul and Spiti. The Chandratal lake is situated at a height of 4270 meters and is one of the most beautiful spectacles you’ll ever come across. It is 12 km off the very scenic main road after Kunzum La, and the last 1 kilometer will have to be traversed on foot. Camping at the Chandratal is very surreal on a beautiful starry night, and if you’re lucky, meteor showers will keep you company. It’s one of the ever best experiences to have without having to go all the way to Ladakh!
Bike Rides to Lahaul and Spiti
Lahaul and Spiti have taken over the Ladakh trail in recent years in terms of adventure enthusiasts biking to Fair warning are given, the route to Spiti is very challenging than the one to Ladakh, Rocky terrain and snaking through rivers, Spiti is a dream destination for a biking and adventure enthusiast ever. Kinnaur is open all days of the year, whereas the road from Manali to Kaza is open from mid-June to mid-October only.