Skip to content

Spiti Valley: 10 Experiences That’ll Take Your Breath Away.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Climb with me to the mountains on the roof of the world. I’ll walk you by gushing rivers. I’ll show you curious summits staring starry skies. I’ll float you to the depths of ancient seas. I’ll take you to the world’s highest inhabited villages. I’ll enchant you with blue streams in deep gorges.

Won’t you come with me on a journey through Spiti, the most breathtaking valley in the north of India?

1. Mountain ropeway at Chichum.

This is literally breath-taking. As an alternative to the long uphill walk from the village of Kibber to Chichum, the locals built an ingenious ropeway between two mountain peaks, over a deep gorge. The small open box on the pulley is used to transport men, cattle and raw materials, has no weight limits, and can’t be kind to your shoulders, though if you’re lucky, you’ll find someone on the other end to pull your ropes. The ropeway was built 5 years ago, and it has never yet collapsed.

This local engineering feat is worth a ride for the stunning views of the gorge below and the intimidating aura of the surrounding peaks.

Chichum, chichum ropeway, Spiti, spiti valley, things to do, attractions, himachal pradesh, offbeat travel, india

the cable car to Chichum village.

2. Dhankar Lake.

The 1.5 hour uphill trek from Dhankar Monastery along the Spiti River to the Dhankar Lake, affords some gorgeous views of the village below and the monastery in the distance. Dhankar Lake is a picture of serenity, peace and calm, and could make anyone feel introspective. Expect a clear expanse of water dotted with fish-generated ripples, a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, and herds of yak or yaks-bred-with-cows.

Dhankar lake, dhankar, spiti, spiti valley, offbeat travel, india, himachal pradesh

dhankar, dhankar lake, spiti, spiti valley, india, offbeat travel, rainbow, sun, sky

a rainbow makes a halo around the sun in the clear Dhankar sky.

3. Hike to Key gompa. 

It’s easy to rent a car or hitch-hike up to Key Monastery, but the real beauty is in hiking up from Key village, through the narrow, pebbly mountain path carved out by locals, and watching the monastery appear bit-by-bit, perched precariously atop a small hill.

Key monastery, Ki gompa, key village, spiti, buddhism, offbeat travel, india, himachal pradesh

4. Birdwatching at Langhza

You don’t have to be a bird-watcher or a biology-enthusiast to fall in love with the little village of Langhza. It’s easy to forget about civilization on its isolated slopes, and all you need to do is look up at the clear blue skies for thrilling glimpses of hawks, eagles and vultures. You could spot these elusive birds in other parts of Spiti too, but the landscape of Langhza ups that thrill by a few notches.

Langhza, spiti valley, spiti, village, bird watching, hawk, himalayas, offbeat travel, india, himachal pradesh

a hawk flies high at Langhza.

5. Highest inhabited village in the Himalayas.

Imagine living at an altitude of 4,513 metres, in a neighborhood of 13 households, and a 6-hour hike away from the nearest signs of civilization. That’s life for you at Komic, the highest inhabited village of the Himalayas, and perhaps the world. Its landscape will leave you in awe.

Komic, Komik, village, Spiti, Spiti valley, highest village, Himalayas, offbeat travel, india, himachal pradesh

6. Full moon by the Spiti River. 

Ditch the bustling market of Kaza (Spiti’s capital), walk along the dry river bed that separates old Kaza from new Kaza, and make your way down to the Spiti River. You can feel its intensity only at its shore; mountain perspectives are such that from an altitude, water merely appears to trickle in the river. Sunset is not a specialty here, because the setting sun hides behind the mountains, leaving the sky a pink-red-orange color. A full moon at the shore, on the other hand, is bound to make your night and tease you with mountain shadows and water reflections. Concentrate on the sky, and you’ll see atleast a dozen shooting stars too.

Spiti river, spiti valley, spiti, moonlight, full moon, night, offbeat travel, india, himachal pradesh

 7. Pin valley

Pin Valley is an oasis of green in the cold mountain desert region. After being surrounded by the brown bareness of the Himalayas in Spiti, Pin Valley is a breath of fresh air that you didn’t know you missed; think trees and waterfalls. And if you think Spitians are friendly, get ready to be blown away by the hospitality of the mountain folks living in Pin Valley. You’ll leave convinced that this was how we were intended to lead life on earth.

Pin valley, Spiti, spiti valley, guling, offbeat travel, india, himachal pradesh

8. The mummy of Giu.

Spiti is full of legends, and the mummy of Giu is perhaps the only one that you can testify to. It is said that during a drought in Tibet, several lamas were mummified. During the Chinese occupation of Tibet, most of these mummies were destroyed. However, in the earthquake of 1975, one of these mummies washed up in the Spiti River and was rescued by the Indian government. It was housed in Giu, where during a digging accident, a spade hit the mummy’s head and it started to bleed! You can still see hair growing on the mummy’s head, and spooky as it might sound, it is one of those things you have to see to believe.

Giu, mummy, lama, Spiti, spiti valley, offbeat travel, india, himachal pradesh

the new temple built for the mummy of Giu. Photo credit: Richard Weil.

9. The world’s highest post office & petrol pump.

It’s not easy to build a life at 4,000 metres. In fact, Spiti is recognized for having the world’s highest post office at Hikkim, and the world’s highest petrol pump at Kaza. Surely, using them is a worthwhile travel achievement to boast about!

hikkim, highest post office, Spiti valley, Spiti, offbeat travel, india, himachal pradesh

highest post office in the world, at Hikkim.

10) Fukchung, a nuns-only village.

Spiti is known for some of the oldest monasteries and schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Fukchung village is a collection of stone caves, where nuns from the Nyingmapa school of Buddhism go for long-term retreats. They typically spend 3 years in a stone cave, meditating from morning to night, and not seeing or speaking to a human soul. It’s an intense experience, to walk along the caves, imagining the conviction of the nuns meditating inside them.

Fukchung village, Spiti, Spiti valley, nuns only village, nuns retreat, Buddhism, offbeat travel, India, himachal pradesh

a stone cave at Fukchung, where a nun has been in retreat since November 2010.

This article was published on Travel Another India.

About these ads
38 Comments Post a comment
  1. You are laying out a great itinerary for when I make it to India. Beautiful!

    July 18, 2011
    • Absolutely William, you better make that trip soon :)

      July 18, 2011
  2. They sure are all breathtaking. beautiful post.

    July 19, 2011
    • Thank you :) Hope you visit Spiti someday, because my pictures & words barely do justice.

      July 19, 2011
  3. Great article..Also nice projection of pictures as well

    July 21, 2011
  4. Enjoyed your posts on Spiti — thanks for sharing them. Looking forward to more stories.

    July 23, 2011
    • Thank you :) And thanks for visiting The Shooting Star. Your work in Spiti sounds very inspiring.

      July 23, 2011
  5. HI shivya,thanx for such a beautiful post. It has been my dream from a long time to visit Spiti valley,and fortunately i’m planning the same this may. would like to have some knowledge of the routes/hotspots in that region. i hope u wont mind it.By the way we guys are planning this trip on our bikes,we have max 4-5 days.
    thanks !!!

    Saurabh Negi

    March 5, 2012
    • Hey Saurabh, you’ll be in for a really fun trip, especially since you’re driving your bikes up! I wish you had more than 4-5 days though. Drop me an email at shivyanath@gmail.com with your questions and I’ll be happy to help with what I know :)

      March 5, 2012
  6. Spiti continues to charm me since the day I saw the first pic an year back! Now ur pics and write up has made the craving more! Thanks, Shivya :)

    April 3, 2012
    • Anytime, Spiti has that magical effect on people. I can’t wait to go back there; it’ll sort of be like coming home.

      April 5, 2012
  7. samareshbiswal #

    beautiful pic great itinerary plan for the hill

    May 23, 2012
    • Thanks Samaresh, have you been?

      May 30, 2012
      • samareshbiswal #

        not yet waiting for a call from the hills :)

        May 31, 2012
  8. Wow!! Am really looking forward to the trip now :)

    May 24, 2012
    • And the pictures / words barely do justice!

      May 24, 2012
  9. There used to be one very similar ropeway over river Ravi in Basohli, Jammu, native village of my maternal gandfather. Unfortunately, a dam was constructed over the river a few years back and the ropeway was gone.

    June 7, 2012
    • That’s so sad. I hope & pray that never happens to Spiti.

      June 7, 2012
  10. Interesting… intriguingly interesting post. Hope I am able to experience at least half the things mentioned in this post! :)

    August 11, 2012
  11. Ron #

    What about stay?

    March 27, 2013
  12. Have left the Pin Valley Ride for the next time :) Did the rest last october on my trusty ol’ royal enfield. Love your posts and updates :)

    April 5, 2013
    • Thanks Sumantra! Pin Valley was one of my favorite places in India. Glad you have something to go back for :)

      April 5, 2013
  13. Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a tough time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

    May 21, 2013
  14. I wanna start where you did- Spiti Valley!

    June 6, 2013
  15. This is very interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent
    post. Also, I’ve shared your website in my social networks!

    April 12, 2014
  16. Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is excellent,
    as well as the content!

    September 10, 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 5 unusual end-of-summer getaways from Delhi. | The Shooting Star
  2. Mcleodganj aka Little Tibet. | The Shooting Star
  3. 4 offbeat ecotourism experiences in India. | The Shooting Star
  4. Mission 2012: Rediscovery of India | The Shooting Star
  5. The Story of How I Quit my Job to Travel. | The Shooting Star
  6. So You Want To Start a Travel Blog? | The Shooting Star
  7. 7 Travel Destinations For Solo Women. | The Shooting Star
  8. 6 Alternatives to Travelling Alone. | The Shooting Star
  9. In Photos: Sangla Valley, Kinnaur. | The Shooting Star
  10. #WeGoSolo Contest: Your Dream Solo Travel Destination! | The Shooting Star
  11. Jullay from Leh! | The Shooting Star

I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 16,399 other followers

%d bloggers like this: