“A hidden isolated world”, is the first thing most travellers have to say about Spiti. What else could one say about a world that was forbidden to visitors for about 30 years. A visit to Spiti Valley is like Time Travel. You get in a time machine and travel to a world and time unknown.
Spiti lies across the main range of Himalayas, called the Trans-Himalaya. But wait a second! Let’s just reflect on what comes to our mind when someone mentions ‘Himalaya’. Soaring high snow peaks, pine forests and green meadows. Pretty much that, right? What if I told you Spiti is the complete contrast of all that, but just as beautiful.
Spiti is a cold desert mountain valley with barren hills, grey scree slopes, pristine lakes, some of the world’s highest inhabited villages and beautiful monasteries perched dramatically over its landscape. The touch of barrenness and a sense of ancient civilisation are some add-ons.
A place that was cut off for 30 years from the outer world has to be really special. A perfect place where India and Tibet blend graciously, this protected civilisation has lately transformed into an exotic tourist destination. Let’s find out why!
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SPITI VALLEY
- The name ‘Spiti’ literally means ‘The Middle Land’. Spiti lies on the Indian border with Tibet.
- In 1993, the Government of India pulled off all restrictions for travel in Spiti, including those targeted at foreigners, thus making the place more accessible for outsiders. Foreigners, however, still need to register with the ITBP prior to their visit.
- In Spiti, you will find the World’s highest village named the Komic village. Spiti also boasts to have the World’s highest Post Office and the World’s highest Polling Station in the village of Hikkim.
- There is a 500 year old self-mummified body of a Buddhist monk named Sangha Tenzin sheltered even today in Spiti’s Gue village.
- Inspite of having the same District Administration, Spiti is strikingly different from Lahaul in terms of its terrain, history and culture.
- Winters in Spiti are very harsh and to survive them Spitian’s celebrate a lot of festivals, weddings and birthdays in the winter months by stocking up a lot of food and local alcohol.
- Even though the winters are harsh, it is the perfect time for spotting the reclusive Snow leopard and the wild Ibex of Spiti.
- There is no network connectivity in Spiti valley. Only BSNL postpaid cards work here, that too, in specific areas. At times Airtel also works at various places and also some remote areas. A helpful tip: Pre-download the map of Spiti valley in your Google Map App.
- Kaza is the headquarter of Spiti. It is the only place in the entire valley that has a Fuel Station, a Cyber Cafe and a proper mobile network. Kaza and Tabo are the only places where you will find an ATM. It is advisable that you carry enough cash from Manali or Simla and depend on the ATM as the last resort. Also, the Fuel station at Kaza is operational only till 5 pm, so be very cautious about your vehicle’s fuel while you drive around.
- There are two routes to reach Kaza: One is Via Manali (201 km) & the other Via Simla (450 km)