Spiti Valley

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2003

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From Keylong we took an early morning bus to catch the Manali Kaza one. Waiting for the bus to arrive. I would rank the drive from Rohtang Pass to Kaza in Spiti Valley as one of the most exotic drives in this part of the world. Shorter but similar to the Manali Leh one. If you like to enjoy the journey enroute advisable to hire a Sumo/Qualis.

A local girl who worked in her father`s restaurant at Batal, 3431 metres.

Clicked at Batal, see the bridge in background. The drive is for most parts on kacha road. At some high points the road was one way and so narrow that we only prayed and hoped to reach safely. Could not help but admire the Himachal Pradesh Transport drivers who drove with super control.

Never seen a happier mother - daughter in law. Run a great restaurant at Batal.

Kulzum Pass, 4551 metres connects Lahaul with Spiti Valley. It was very windy; raining weather was just like it was at Rohtang Pass.

Mountain range, clicked from Lossar 4079 metres. If you have the time spend atleast half a day walking around Lossar, is in the midst of nowhere.

Welcome to Kaza the big town of Spiti Valley. Spiti means middle country, a name given as a result of its ties with Indian and Tibet. An overview of Kaza town from a Shiv temple, 3600 metres

Kaza town, look at the color of the mountain. What I liked about Kaza is that everyone I spoke to/saw seemed happy with Government effort at developing the district.

A dried up Spiti river.

Statue of Lord Buddha, Rangrik village near Kaza.

Ki Monastery, built before the 15th century, is the repository of rare thangka paintings and several ancient musical instruments. Its library holds the manuscripts of the sacred Tangyur texts.

Atop the Ki Monastery, note the Trishuls found here as well in a monastery at Mansrovar. Tibetans worship the abode of Lord Shiva, Mount Kailash, with greater fervor than we do.

Clicked from atop the monastery, see snow clad hills in the background and a dried up Spiti river below.

Entrance to the Main Monastry.

Inside the Monastery with picture of Dalai Lama in the center.

Welcome to Kibber Village, 4205 mtrs, is the second highest permanently inhabited village of the world connected by a motorable road. The village was so clean and well laid out. What you see in front is children playing volleyball before in their school compound.

A lovely kid, mark her cheeks, all the kids there are like that. Kibber has a couple of very clean looking simple functional hotels. We are the only Indian tourists. There were a couple of foreigners around.

VSAT based telephone exchange in Kibber.

Another view of Kibber Village taken from a higher point. We walked into a few villagers homes, they were watching satellite television. When we said we are from Mumbai they wanted to know why they could not see their favorite television channels like Zee & Star. How was I to explain that these channels were no longer free to air but had become pay channels now?

Chichum village clicked from Kibber.

Locals of Kibber village.

Mountain view from Kaza Monastery.

While roads in Kaza are well laid out the drive from there to Tabo has some roads like what you see.

Hills clicked from Dhankar Monastery, repository of Buddhist scriptures in the Bhoti script. It is some 18 kms from Tabo.

Another one, look at the hills.

Another one, look at the hills.

Welcome to Tabo, 3050 metres. Founded in 996 ad, Tabo has exquisite wall paintings and stucco statues and is often called the Ajanta of the Himalayas. The complex has 9 temples, 23 chortens, caves. In Trans Himalayan Buddhism, Tabo`s sanctity is next only to Tibet`s Tholing monastery. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. A must to see.

This mountain overlooks Tabo village.

Local children clicked outside Tabo monastry - photos inside are prohibited.