Lahaul & Spiti is one of the sparsely populated regions in India famous for the hilly terrain and rich flora and fauna. Main attractions here include the Tibetan monasteries and majority of the people are Buddhists. In fact, the region’s Tibetan culture gives you a feel that you are not in India but Tibet. Nevertheless it is a very scenic location with high mountain passes and rivers and is a must visit for your love of mountains, valleys and snow covered peaks.
Monasteries in the region
Ki Gompa is a famous monastery and one of the largest in the region. Situated atop a hill, the monastery provides breathtaking views from a massive height.
The Dhankar Gompa is located at an elevation of 3,894 meters above sea level and is placed on a hillock. The monastery is one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world due to its often inaccessible roads. However, the views are worth all the pain you go through to reach the top.
The monastery was founded in 996 AD and is one of the oldest operating Buddhist monasteries in India and Himachal Pradesh. The Tabo Monastery is also protected by the Archeological Survey of India and is a UNESCO world heritage site. It has beautiful rock paintings and stone carvings.
Kunzum pass connects the Lahaul valley and Spiti valley to the Kullu valley. It is famous for trekking including the trek to Chandrataal. Being away from the more crowded tourist destinations in the region, Kunzum Pass engulfs you in its stunning beauty and peaceful calm.
Pin Valley National Park
Pin Valley National Park is located in the cold desert area and serves as a habitat to the various endangered animals species like the famous elusive snow leopard and the Siberian Ibex. It is home to more than 20 species of animals and birds. The park boasts of over 400 plant species including medicinal herbs. It is famous for two rare species of plants called Juniper and Birch.
Access to Lahaul & Spiti district by road can be made via two different locations one is through Sumdo (Kinnaur District) for entry into Spiti valley and another is through Manali (Kullu District) for entry into Lahaul valley. Lahaul valley & Spiti valley are connected with road but road is opened only for few months (mid June to mid Oct). We suggest extending your trip to Manali by 3-4 days and experiencing the majestic beauty of Lahaul. You may continue towards Spiti if Kunzum Pass is open for travel.
Image Credits: www.trekearth.com, www.skyscrapercity.com, www.tabomonastery.com, www.gud2travel.com, www.tourmyindia.com, www.hillpost.in