Spiti Valley is one of the most beautiful and remote valleys in the world. Not only for its breathtaking landscapes and natural beauty but also for its unique culture and traditions, Spiti Valley attracts travelers from all over the world. Spiti Valley is a high-altitude cold desert mountain valley located in the northeastern part of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The name ‘Spiti’ means ‘The Middle Land’, i.e. the land between India and Tibet. Spiti Valley is one of the least populated regions in India and is the perfect place to experience serenity and tranquility.
Spiti Valley is divided into two parts, Pin Valley and Kibber, which are separated by the Spiti River. The Spiti Valley region is extremely barren and has very little vegetation. The valley lies at an average elevation of 4,270 meters (14,020 ft) and is surrounded by high mountain peaks. Spiti Valley is one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. The valley is prone to extreme weather conditions, with temperatures dropping to as low as -40 °C in winter and rising to as high as 40 °C in summer.
The Spiti Valley is home to some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in the world. The valley also has a number of ancient temples and fortresses. Spiti Valley is a treasure trove of Buddhist art and architecture. The valley is also home to a number of endangered wildlife species, such as the snow leopard, Asiatic ibex, red fox, Tibetan wolf, Himalayan blue sheep, Himalayan musk deer, and many more.
Spiti Valley is located high up in the Himalayas in the northeastern part of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The name Spiti means ‘The Middle Land’, i.e. the land between India and Tibet. Spiti valley is the land of high passes. It is surrounded on three sides by high mountain passes. Kunzum pass to the west connects Spiti valley with the Lahaul and Ladakh valleys.
The Rohtang pass to the north connects Spiti valley with the Manali valley. To the south, Spiti valley is connected to the Kinnaur valley. The Rohtang Pass, the high mountain pass that connects Manali valley with Spiti valley, is one of the most dangerous passes in the world. It is the highest pass that connects Spiti valley with the rest of the world. Spiti valley is one of the most isolated valleys in the world. It is to the east of the main Himalayan range. Spiti valley is to the east of the Indian subcontinent and is located at a very high altitude. The administrative center of Spiti valley is the town of Kaza. Spiti valley is connected to the rest of the world by the Hindustan-Tibet highway. Spiti valley is connected to the rest of the world by the Manali-Leh road.
Languages in Spiti valley:
The languages of Spiti are very much similar to the Tibetan language.
It is home to some of the most isolated and pristine villages in the world.
The people of Spiti valley are mostly Buddhists and they follow Tibetan Buddhism.
The valley has a very rich culture and tradition.
The people of Spiti are very friendly and hospitable.
The main language spoken in Spiti is Tibetan.
Other languages spoken in Spiti valley include Lahauli, Kinnauri, and Purik.
The people of Spiti are also fluent in Hindi and English.
Best Time To Visit Spiti:
The summer months of March-June are considered to be the best time to visit Spiti not only because of the pleasant weather but also fewer crowds. And for a perfect winter vacation, the months of October-February are the best time to visit Spiti valley.
How To Reach Spiti Valley:
There are two ways to reach Spiti valley, one is via Shimla to Kinnaur to Spiti and the other one is via Manali to Spiti valley. The first route is via Shimla-Kinnaur-Spiti and it is the main route to reach Spiti valley. Shimla to Kinnaur is well connected by motorable roads and from Kinnaur, one has to take a bus or a shared taxi to reach Spiti valley. The journey from Shimla to Spiti valley via Kinnaur is a very scenic and beautiful journey. The second route to reach Spiti valley is via Manali. The road from Manali to Spiti valley is a very treacherous road and it is only open for a few months a year. The road from Manali to Spiti valley is only open from June to October and it is closed for the rest of the year due to heavy snowfall.
There are many trains that run from Delhi to Kalka, the nearest railway station to Spiti valley. Some of the trains that run from Delhi to Kalka are the Kalka Mail, the Himalayan Queen, and the Shatabdi Express.
The best way to reach Spiti valley by air is to take a flight from Delhi to Kullu, which is the nearest airport to the valley. From Kullu, you can either take a bus or a taxi to reach Spiti valley. The journey by bus takes about 8-9 hours, whereas the journey by taxi takes about 5-6 hours.
Main Attractions of Spiti Valley:
Tabo Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in the world and is considered to be the Ajanta and Ellora of the Himalayas. The monastery was founded in the year 996 AD by the great Tibetan saint and translator Ringchen Zangpo. The monastery is located in a small village named Tabo which is situated at an altitude of 3050 meters in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh. The monastery is home to about 60 monks and has a library that houses some of the rarest Buddhist texts.
Dhankar Monastery is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Spiti Valley. The monastery is situated at an altitude of 3900 meters and was founded in the 11th century by the great Tibetan saint Rinchen Zangpo. The monastery is home to about 100 monks and has a library that houses some of the rarest Buddhist texts. The monastery also has a school that provides education to the children of the Spiti Valley.
Komic Monastery is one of the highest monasteries in the world and is situated at an altitude of 4560 meters. The monastery was founded in the year 1632 by the great Tibetan saint and translator Ringchen Zangpo. The monastery is home to about 150 monks and has a library that houses some of the rarest Buddhist texts. The monastery also has a school that provides education to the children of the Spiti Valley.
Pin Valley National Park:
Pin Valley National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Spiti Valley. The park is situated at an altitude of 3250 meters and was established in the year 1987. The park is home to a variety of rare and endangered animals such as the snow leopard, the red fox, the ibex, the blue sheep, and the Tibetan argali.
Kunzum Pass is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Spiti Valley. The pass is situated at an altitude of 4560 meters and provides stunning views of the Himalayan mountains. The pass is also the gateway to the Spiti Valley and is the starting point of the popular Kunzum La Trek.
Chadar Trek is one of the most popular trekking routes in the Spiti Valley. The trek starts from the village of Leh and goes all the way to the village of Chilling. The trek takes place on the frozen Zanskar river and is a truly unique experience.
Kaza is the capital of the Spiti Valley and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the valley. The town is situated at an altitude of 3600 meters and is the gateway to the Spiti Valley. Kaza is home to a number of monasteries and is the starting point of the popular Chadar Trek.
Langza is a small village in the Spiti Valley and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the valley. The village is situated at an altitude of 4300 meters and is known for its stunning views of the Himalayan mountains. Langza is also home to a number of rare and endangered animals such as the snow leopard, the red fox, the ibex, the blue sheep, and the Tibetan argali.
Hikkim is a small village in the Spiti Valley and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the valley. The village is situated at an altitude of 4400 meters and is known for its stunning views of the Himalayan mountains. Hikkim is also home to the world’s highest post office.
Kibber is a small village in the Spiti Valley and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the valley. The village is situated at an altitude of 4270 meters and is known for its stunning views of the Himalayan mountains. Kibber is also home to a number of rare and endangered animals such as the snow leopard, the red fox, the ibex, the blue sheep, and the Tibetan argali.
Famous Food and Cafe in Spiti Valley:
Spiti Valley is a cold desert valley with beautiful and wonderful monasteries and breathtaking scenery. Apart from the enthralling views, tourists are lured in by the delicious and tasty traditional food. Here’s a list of food items that you can try in Spiti :
Madra is a part of Himachali cuisine made using kidney beans, chickpeas, and black-eyed beans. It is spiced up with turmeric and coriander powder and often garnished with dry fruits. It is a legume-based curry and it is also suitable for all occasions.
Dhaam is a complete and perfect meal in itself, in terms of amount and nutrition. In ancient times, it was only served to the Himachali Brahmins on leaves. Now, however, it is a quintessential and ideal part of all important occasions. A plate of Dhaam includes khatta, rajma, kadhi, madra, and rice.
Siddu is a traditional dish that is consumed almost regularly by the locals. It is steamed wheat with many types of fillings inside. The preparation procedure is time-consuming and requires experience and knowledge about how to make it. But when you try the dish out with daal or mutton, it makes the effort worthwhile.
The icy water of the Himachal rivers is a suitable breeding ground for the Rainbow trout. The trout is first marinated and then fried with particular spices. It is then combined with vegetables and drizzled with lemon juice at the end. This recipe is simple and much liked in terms of flavors and nutrients. If you are a sucker and wanna try seafood, this dish is just for you.
Thukpa is a popular Himachali dish that can be prepared in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian ways. It is a result of successive interactions with Tibetan culture. Noodles are added to chicken or beef soup along with spices, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and seasoning. This warm dish is an all-time favorite of the locals across all over Himachal Pradesh.
Momos are a flavorful and delicious dish familiar to everyone. The dough is stuffed with meat, but in India, there are many types of fillings that vary from paneer to mashed potatoes. Vegetables and Cheese are added too, depending on your preference and taste. Momos are served alongside chili chutneys or ketchup.
Butter tea, locally known as Pocha, is a treat for the taste buds. It has an exclusive aroma and a distinct pink color from the Himalayan salt used. The brewed tea leaves are combined with boiling milk and yak butter. It is a perfect and good tea for high altitudes, as it warms you up.
Popular Cafés in Spiti Valley:
For your trip to Spiti Valley, keep this list of cafés that you must visit for a lovely experience:
The Himalayan Café:
The Himalayan Cafe is a one-stop destination for locals as well as tourists in Kaza to treat their taste buds. The cafe serves Chinese, Pan Asian, and Indian cuisines and is also the town’s local favorite. The members of the cafe are friendly, and the food is so tasty and delicious. If you are in Kaza, this cafe is a must-visit place.
Café Kunzum Top:
Placed near Tabo Monastery, Kunzum Top cafe is one of the most active cafes in town. The members of this cafe are receptive and warm, and the food is delicious. Coffee is a must-try item in this cafe. This cafe also serves traditional food items and Tibetan food. Their homestay is widely advised by all tourists because the rooms are clean and the service is hospitable.
Yak Cafe in Kaza serves delicious and flavorful food that can satisfy all food cravings. The strategic area of the cafe allows tourists and locals to commute in comfort. The place serves Tibetan, Continental, and Chinese cuisines and has received the title of the most renowned and popular cafe in the area for its flavorful food.
Situated Right next to the Kaza Bus station is The Dragon Restaurant The restaurant serves Indian and Tibetan cuisines and it is one of the most recommended spots in town. The food is fantastic and so delicious and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming.
Taste of Spiti:
Taste of Spiti, One of the best Italian restaurants in Kaza, is a pizzeria highly in demand. It is a must-visit for vegetarians as there are a lot of alternatives to choose from. The burgers and sandwiches are made from local bread and have a unique flavor. The staff is cool and interactive. If you are in spiti you should visit this cafe, and try the local pasta that is worth a shot.
Cafe Zomsa is a widely explored cafe in Kaza that serves Italian and Indian cuisines. The quality and quantity of the food are great. The place carries an excitement that brings in tourists from far and beyond. The live music and the lively atmosphere would advise you to stay forever here. Tourists come here for the food and leave appreciating the surreal feeling too.
Things To Do in Spiti Valley:
- Visit the Tabo Monastery
- Go on a trek to the Chandratal Lake
- Visit the Key Monastery
- Go on a safari in the Pin Valley National Park
- Spend a day in the village of Komic
- Visit the Dhankar Monastery
- Go on a hike to the Kunzum Pass
- Spend a day in the village of Losar
- Visit the Rangdum Monastery
- Take a jeep tour of the Spiti Valley
- Take a walk or hike through the valley to take in the stunning scenery.
- Visit the various monasteries and temples located throughout the valley.
- Go on a wildlife safari to spot some of the rare and endangered animals that call the valley home.
- Take a jeep or motorbike tour of the valley to really explore its remote corners.
- Spend a night or two camping under the stars in the valley to get away from it all.
- Visit the town of Kaza and explore the local culture and history.
- Drive through the valley to see the amazing landscapes.
- Trek to the nearby villages to see the traditional architecture and way of life.
What to Pack for Spiti Valley:
Spiti Valley is a high-altitude desert and the weather conditions can change at a moment’s notice. The following should be kept in mind when packing for Spiti Valley –
Warm clothes are a must even in the peak summer months.
Comfortable walking and trekking shoes.
Sunscreen and lip balm protects you from the harsh sun and wind.
Medical kit – painkillers, band-aids, medicines for motion sickness.
First Aid kit – painkillers, band-aids, medicines for motion sickness.
Other Essentials – a torch, a map, and a camera.
Assuming you are visiting Spiti Valley in the summer, you should pack light cotton clothes, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and insect repellent. You will also need a good pair of walking shoes and a light jacket for the cool evenings.
Adventures in Spiti valley:
Spiti valley is a paradise for adventure lovers and mountaineers. Some of the top adventure activities that one can do in Spiti valley are:
Trekking in Spiti valley is a must-do activity. There are many treks in Spiti valley and one can choose a trek according to his/her fitness level. Some of the top treks in Spiti valley are Pin Parvati, Chandratal to Kunzum pass, and Kunzum pass to Baralacha pass.
Camping under the blanket of stars in Spiti valley is an experience of a lifetime. One can camp in Spiti valley at Suraj Tal, Chandratal, Pin Parvati pass, Kunzum pass, Kibber, and on the way to Pin Parvati pass.
River Spiti has one of the best rivers for river rafting in India. River rafting in Spiti valley can be done at Pin Parvati pass.
One can hire mountain bikes in Kaza and ride them to various places in Spiti valley. One can ride the bike to Tabo, Pin Parvati pass, Kunzum pass, Batal, Suraj Tal, Chandratal, and various other places.
Skiing can be done in Spiti valley in the months of January and February.
Spiti valley is a paradise for motorcyclists. One can ride through the roads of Spiti valley and enjoy the panoramic views of the valley. The best time to ride the motorcycle through Spiti valley is in the months of June and September.
Permits Required To Enter Spiti Valley:
There are no special permits required to travel to Spiti Valley. Foreign nationals need an Inner Line Permit, which can be easily obtained from the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Office in New Delhi or from any of the regional Himachal Pradesh Tourism Offices in Manali, Shimla, Kullu, or Dalhousie. Indian nationals do not require any permits.