Lahaul-Spiti Tourism, Lahaul-Spiti Hotels, Tourism in Lahaul-Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India
Lahaul Spiti became the district of Himachal Pradesh in 1960 and is one of the frontier districts of India. It is 120 km. away from Manali and has snow fed glaciers and barren mountains. Keylong is the headquarter of Lahaul-Spiti and oasis of green fields. The two valleys at Lahaul and Spiti have a tenous link over the Kunzam Pass ( 4,520 metres ). The two twin valleys, Lahaul and Spiti in the North-Eastern corner of Himachal, protected by distance is a region of nature at its wildest which has lent it much enchantment. The threshold of one of the Lahaul plateau is nourished by the Chandra and Bhaga rivers and is surrounded by high mountains on all sides, the Great Himalayas to the North, the Pir Panjal to the South and the Spiti and Chandra watershed to the East. Lahaul has curious mixture of Buddhist and Hinduism. There are a number of Monasteries and Temples.
Tourism in Lahaul-Spiti
Lahaul Spiti is an emerging tourist place in Himachal having beautiful landscapes and interesting blend of Buddhism and Hinduism. Tourism in Lahaul Spiti offers a place which seems to be frozen in time. Although spoken as Lahaul Spiti, Lahaul and Spity are actually two valleys which are completely different from each other in almost everything. Where Lahaul is blessed by nature and nurtured by chandra and bhaga rivers, Spiti on the other hand is like a cold desert. Geologically and archaeologically, Spiti is a living museum. There are breathtaking valleys, trekking areas and some very famous monasteries here.
A number of fairs and festivals are celebrated in Lahaul Spiti i.e. Ladarcha fair, Pauri fair, Tribal fair, Tsheshu fair, Festival of light, Fagli festival and Gochi festival. Tourism in Lahaul Spiti offers a number of beautiful temples to visit around i.e. Trilokinath temple and Mrikula Devi temple. There are a number of Monasteries in Lahal Spiti i.e. Kie Monastery, Tabo Monastery, Yang Yud Gompa, Kungri Gompa, Guru Ghantal Gompa, Gemur Monastery, Sashur Gompa, Kardang Gompa, Dhankar Monastery etc. which provide tourists with a completely different tourism experience in Trans Himalaya.
Tourism in Lahaul Spiti offers a number of famous places to explore around i.e. Keylong, Tandi, Khoksar, Gondhla, Jispa, Udaipur, Darcha in Lahaul Valley and Kaza, Dhankar, Spiti, Kunzum, Lossar and Kibber village in Spiti valley. As the two places Lahaul and Spiti are far different from each other, they provide completely different tourism experience. The curious mixture of Buddhism and Hinduism is the main feature of tourism in Lahaul and Spiti.
Tourism in Lahaul Spiti offers a number of beautiful lakes to visit around i.e. Chandra Tal lake, Suraj Tal lake and Dashir lake. All these lakes are among the most beautiful lakes in Himachal. Especially the Chandra Tal lake is worth a visit. There is an important wildlife park in Lahal Spiti named Pin Valley National Park.Pin Valley National Park contains a variety of rare animals such as woolly hare, Tibetan gazelle and snow Leopard. The entire area is a cold desert, interspersed with a few alpine meadows.
Lahaul Spiti offers something completely different to all the tourists who visit here. It is another important tourist destination in Tribal Voyage of Himachal. The lush green valley on one side and the cold desert on the other side, curious mixture of Buddhism and Hinduism make Lahaul Spiti a
place worth a visit.
Lahaul-Spiti Access Routes
Delhi to Lahaul and Spiti :
Delhi to Lahaul Valley
this access route leads via Karnal - Shahabad - Pinjore - Swarghat - Bilaspur - Mandi - Kullu ( 560 km. ) then from Manali - Keylong (via) Rohtang Pass - Gramphoo - Tandi (115 km)
Delhi to Lahaul Valley
this access route leads via Karnal - Shahabad - Pinjore - Swarghat - Bilaspur - Mandi - Kullu ( 560 km. ) then Manali - Kaza (via) Rohtang Pass - Batal - Kunzam Pass (200 km)
Delhi to Lahaul Valley
this access route leads via Karnal - Shahabad - Pinjore - Swarghat - Bilaspur - Mandi - Kullu ( 560 km. ) then Manali - Leh (Ladakh) (via) Rohtang Pass - Keylong - Baralacha Pass (473 km)
Delhi to Spiti Valley
this access route leads via Sonipat - Karnal - Kurukshetra - Ambala - Chandigarh - Solan - Shimla - Rampur - Puh - Sumdo - Tabo ( 801 km. )
Shimla to Lahaul and Spiti :
Shimla to Lahaul Valley
this access route leads via Darlaghat - Bhararighat - Brahmpukhar - Ghaghas - Sundernagar - Mandi - Kullu ( around 260 km. ) then from Manali - Keylong (via) Rohtang Pass - Gramphoo - Tandi (115 km)
Shimla to Lahaul Valley
this access route leads via Tattapani - Aisindhi - Charkufri - Chindi - Chail Chowk - Baggi - Nerchowk - Mandi - Kullu ( about 289 km. ) then from Manali - Keylong (via) Rohtang Pass - Gramphoo - Tandi (115 km)
Shimla to Kaza ( Spiti Valley )
this access route leads via Shimla - Rampur - Puh - Sumdo - Tabo
Shimla to Keylong ( district headqurter ) via Kaza
this access route leads via Rampur - Puh - Kaza - Kunzum Pass (4551m.) - Batal - Gramphoo - Tandi
Chandigarh to Lahaul and Spiti :
Chandigarh to Lahaul Valley
this access route leads Solan - Shimla - Darlaghat - Bhararighat - Brahmpukhar - Ghaghas - Sundernagar - Mandi - Kullu ( around 260 km. ) then from Manali - Keylong (via) Rohtang Pass - Gramphoo - Tandi (115 km)
Chandigarh to Lahaul Valley
this access route leads via Solan - Shimla - Tattapani - Aisindhi - Charkufri - Chindi - Chail Chowk - Baggi - Nerchowk - Mandi - Kullu ( about 289 km. ) then from Manali - Keylong (via) Rohtang Pass - Gramphoo - Tandi (115 km)
Chandigarh to Kaza ( Spiti Valley )
this access route leads via Solan - Shimla - Rampur - Puh - Sumdo - Tabo
Chandigarh to Keylong ( district headqurter ) via Kaza
this access route leads via Solan - Shimla - Rampur - Puh - Kaza - Kunzum Pass (4551m.) - Batal - Gramphoo - Tandi
Air Route :
Bhuntar airport in Kullu is the nearest airport for Lahaul & Spiti. From the airport tourists can reach Lahaul & Spiti by private taxi or bus.
Train Route :
Jogindernagar is the nearest narrow gauge railhead to Lahaul &Spiti. Apart from it Shimla & Chandigarh are two broad gauge railheads for Lahaul & Spiti. Private taxi and bus services are available from the station to Lahaul & Spiti.
Lahaul-Spiti Quick Facts
Situated between 31°44'57'' and 32°59'57'' North Latitude and between 76°46'29'' and 78°41'34'' East Longitudes. To its North lies Jammu and Kashmir, to the East is Tibet, to South-East is Kullu and Kinnaur and to South-West and West is Chamba.
Keylong ( altitude 3,165 meters )
varies from 2500 meters to very high mountains.
Distance between Keylong and Manali is 115 km. And distance between Keylong and Shimla ( via Kunzum Pass ) is 610 km.
13,835 sq. km.
+91-1906 or 01906
Kaza 951906, Udaipur 951909, Tabo 951906
DFO Forest Department
Generally dry and heavy snowfall. Cold Weather.
33,224 ( Lahaul = 22,674, Spiti = 10,550 )
Best time to visit
June to October.
Lahaul-Spiti Famous Places
Famous Places in Lahaul
Keylong ( district headquarter ) :
( 3,340 meters) located above Bhaga river, the district headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti has been described as oasis of green fields, willow planted water courses, brown hills and snowy peaks. In the past, Keylong was home of the Moravian missionaries. There well known monasteries, Tayul, Khardong, and Shashur are within a few kilometers radius.
( 2,573 meters) is situated at the confluence of Chamba and Bhaga rivers. A legend says that there were two lovers, 'Chandra', the daughter of the Moon and 'Bhaga', the son of the Sun god. To perform their eternal marriage, they dedicated to climb to the 'Baralacha La' and from there they ran in opposite directions. Chandra being active and smart, easily found her way down the pass and reached 'Tandi'. Soon Bhaga was found coming with great struggle through the narrow gorges to Tandi, where ultimately both met and the celestial marriage was performed. Tandi's importance for the people of Lahaul is same as it is 'Haridwar' for the Hindus.
( 3,140 meters) a break and windswept place is the first village and gateway toLahaul and on the right bank of the river Chandra 5 kms. from 'Gramphoo'. During winter Khoskar is the coldest inhabited place in Lahaul. The river freezes during winter and is covered with snow to afford regular passage for human beings and also for mule traffic. Khoksar is located on the old trade route from Indian plains to the west Asia.
( 3,160 meters) is located on the river bank of the river Chandra. House of the thakur of Gondhla, called Gondhla castle or fort, is the maiin attraction. According to district gazetteer, this was built in 1700 A.D. by Raja od Kullu Man Singh whose influence stretched upto the Lingti Plains beyond the Baralacha-La. But present Thakur Fateh Chand says that it was 20 generations old. This is eight story building. Raja Man Singh of Kullu had stayed there in 1720 A.D. while on his way to Trilokinath Temple. Remains of the past are lying there. Age old custumes, furniture and idols are also strewn around in a state of neglect. The 'Sharab Raldi' i.e. 'Sword of Wisdom' given to the Thakur by Dalai Lama in the past is also there in the possession of present Thakur. This sword seems to have been built in the 'Toledo' technique of Spain. In the month of July a fair is held when Lamas dance and enjoy. This fair attracts a large number of visitors.
It is in Lahaul valley, located on the bank of Bhaga river. There is a big camping ground. Sufficient trout fish is available in the river. This beautiful spot is 22 kms away from Keylong and 4 kms ahead of Ghemur. The village is situated at the junction of two nullahs with the main river Bhaga. Jispa has a very large dry river-bed, a rarity in Lahaul. Just on the edge of the river Bhaga is a small PWD rest house. The place is virtually an angler's delight. Good juniper plantation is around this village
(2,743 meters) In olden times this village was known as 'Markul' and so the name of the local goddess is 'Markula Devi. Her temple is unique and is very famous for its wooden carvings on its roof and ceiling. This place is therefore a starting point for Mayur valley and further to Zanskar and other peaks. This sub-divisional headquaters is 53 km. away from Keylong.
(3,360 meters) It is in Lahaul valley from where trekkers start their trek to Padam via Singola as well as Barlacha/Phirtsela. Beyond this point there are hardly any trees. Yotche and Zanskar nallahs meet Bhaga river here from different directions.
Famous Places in Spiti
( 3,340 meters) located above Bhaga river, the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti has been described as oasis of green fields, willow planted water courses, brown hills and snowy peaks. In the past, Keylong was home of the Moravian missionaries. There well known monasteries, Tayul, Khardong, and Shashur are within a few kilometers radius. There are two rest houses in Kaza proper. The Electricity Board rest house is at Rangrik just 4 km away. It is the best in the valley.
On the left bank of the Spiti river at a distance of 32 kms downstream from Kaza, near Shichling at an altitude of 3870 m, nestles the citadel of Dhankar, the official capital of Spiti. The citadel is built on a spur which projects into the main valley and ends in a precipice. The location of this fort is strategic as Spiti always had to suffer innumerable aggressions by its neighbors. The location allowed the Spitian to keep vigil on the approaches and to submit messages to surrounding inhabitations in case of danger. Whenever the Spitians were attacked, they built huge fires to signal meeting in the safe sanctuary of rocks, i.e., Dhankars. In the meeting all men and women decided the course of action to be taken against the aggressors.
Spiti (locally pronounced 'Piti') or the 'middle country', has its sub divisional headquarters at Kaza. The river Spiti originates at the base of the Kunzam range and flows eastward to join the Sutlej at Khab in Kinnaur. In practical isolation for centuries, Spiti has an intensely introvertive culture centred around its several monasteries- Dhankar, Ki, Tabo, Mud, Gungri, Lidang, Hikim, Sagnam, Mane Gogma and Giu to name a few. Spiti was loosely ruled for many centuries by a hereditary wazir, styled Nono. The majority of the people are Buddhists, followers of the Geluk-pa sect. The repetition of the mantra "Om mani padme hum" (literally, 'Behold, the jewel is in the lotus'), is constant; it is believed to bring good fortune and wash away all sins. For all the seeming bleakness, Spiti possesses a haunting beauty. The wildlife in the region includes the elusive snow leopard and ibex, found in the Pin valley.
Kunzum or Kunzam Pass :
( 4,590 metres ) As Rohtang pass is a gateway to Lahaul so Kunzum pass is the gateway to Spiti from Kulu & Lahaul. After crossing Rohtang pass and driving 20kms, one has to turn right from Gramphoo. While going to this pass, the panoramic view of Bara-Sigri glacier (second longest glacier in the world) is enthrilling and inspiring. The crest of the pass has been marked by a chorten of stones erected ages ago.
Lossar is the first inhabited village on the Spiti side if you advance to the valley from Manali over Kunzom pass. Situated at a height of 4,085 m., the village is singularly secluded. Sight of Lossar to a trekker coming down from Kunzom brings instant relief. The neatly white-washed mud houses with red bands look extremely picturesque. The contrast is rendered all the more appealing by verdant fields and willow plantations around the village. According to Gerard, "Lofty as the level of Lossar is, there is little in the landscape to betray its position when viewed in summer, embosomed in flourishing crops and herds of Pashmina wool goats. Yaks and horses meet the eye upon the high activities of the mountains, and an ardent sunshine keeps the air looming from the effect of mirage.
Kibber Village :
Kibber is located at a height of about 14,200 ft in a narrow valley on the summit of a limestone rock. It is only 16 kms from Kaza and a bus service plies between these two places in summer. Kibber is a rather pleasant village with plenty of cultivation. The moment you get down from the bus you are greeted by lush green fields which look strikingly refreshing against the arid backdrop of lofty hills. There are only 80 houses in the village.
Lahaul-Spiti Famous Temples
Trilokinath Temple :
UDAIPUR : is a sub-divisional headquaters situated at the junction of the mighty Mayar nullah with the main river Chandrabhaga. Situated 53 kms away from Keylong, earlier this village was known as Margul or Markul. Around 1695 it was renamed Udaipur when Raja Udai Singh of Chamba (1690-172'8) raised it to the status of a district centre in the Chamba-Lahaul which his father Chatter Singh had annexed to his Chamba state.
This place attracts a lot of tourists and pilgrims to its two unique temples, namely, Trilokinath and Markula Devi temples.
Trilokinath temple is representative of the Kashmiri-Kannauj style of, Lalitaditya of Kashmir (725-756). Most of the Trilokinath temple is of much later period, but the column bases of the original porch of the sanctuary are of a very special type characteristic of the reign of Lalitaditya. This Shiva temple was transformed into a Buddhist shrine by Padma Sambhava. However, according to Goetz its present Lamaistic image of Avalokiteshvara-Trilokinath cannot be earlier than the 12th C. This temple continues to attract both the Hindu and the Buddhist pilgrims. In the centre of the compound one can still see the Nandi Bull of Lord Shiva. There is also a drain in a wall of the temple at the level of the platform in the sanctorum which was probably built at the time of construction to drain out the water or milk which was poured over the Shiva.
Mrikula Devi Temple :
The Markula Devi temple goes back to Ajayvarman's reign in Kashmir, though no original work of so early a date survives. But part of the Markula temple has been copied during repairs in the 11/12th and 16th C. The phase of Kashmiri art in the 11th and 12th C in its transition to the Lamaistic art of Western Tibet is represented by the inner facade of the temple; main characteristic of this transitional phase being three headed Vishnu images. The temple is covered with a steep gable roof of wooden shingles in a steep pyramid looking like the Shikhara temples in the plains. The interior, however, is rich in artistic quality. The wall panels depict scenes from the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Sunderkand, Yuddhakand, grant of ground by Raja Bali to Vaaman, three headed incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Churning of the ocean (Samudramanthan) Amritpaan, etc.
Lahaul-Spiti Famous Lakes
Chandra Tal Lake :
This beautiful lake is situated at an altitude of 4300 meters above mean sea level and is 6 km from the Kunzum or Kunzam Pass that connects Spiti and Lahaul. Surrounded by snows and acres of scree, this deep blue-water lake has a circumference of 2.5 km. This is the source of the river Chandra. It is also called the 'Lake of the moon' . Chinese Pilgrim Hiuen Tsang called this lake Lohitya Sarover. The lake lies in large depression formed by glaciers and remains completely frozen during winter. A number of temples exists on the periphery of the lake, which treasures crystal clear water and magnificient scenery. The crystal clear waters of of the lake shining in the light are too inviting and one just can't shrink having short bath in the cold water. Chandra Taal is a favourite halting place for the shepherds because of rich growth of grass. The water in the lake is so clear that stones at its bottom are easily visible.
Sural Tal Lake :
This lake is situated at an altitude of 4980 meters above mean sea level and is located below the summit of the Barachala Pass in the Lahaul division of district Lahaul and Spiti. The Barachala connects Manali and Lahaul to Ladakh. The name Baralacha means 'Pass with cross roads on summit' (Roads from Ladakh, Spiti and Lahaul join on the top of it). There is no road yet from Spiti, only a path exists. This pass is also an origin of Chandra, Bhaga and Yamuna rivers. And the lake which draws a considerable number of visitors - especially in summer - lies by its head. This is the source of the river Bhaga. There is a good trek to it by Zingzing bar.
Dashir Lake :
Dashir lake is situated at an altitude of 4270 meters above mean sea level and is located near the Rohtang Pass that connects district Kullu with Lahaul. Rohtang Pass is at an altitude of 3,978 metres on the highway to Keylong, the mass affords a wide-spread panorama of mountain scenery. Here eye meets a range of precipitous cliffs, huge glaciers and piled moraine and deep ravines. Dashir ( also known as Dashaur and Sarkund ) is a very beautiful lake lies near the Rohtang Pass. This attractive lake has a depth of 3 to 4 m. The bath in the water of Dashir lake effects cure of all bodily ailments or imaginary.
Lahaul-Spiti Wild Life Sanctuaries
Pin Valley National Park :
Altitude : varies from 330 meters to 6632 meters.
Annual Rainfall : mean annual rainfall is 170 mm.
Temperature : temprature varies from -18 to 27°C.
Area : 67,500 hectares ( 675 sq. km. ).
Location : Spiti.
Approaches : The Park can be approached only on foot from the nearest road terminus at Mikkim. One route to Pin Valley is via Manali, Rohtang Pass and Kumzum La, while another is more commonly used via Shimla, Tapri and Kaza.
It was declared a National Park on 9th January 1987. A high altitude Pin Valley National Park containing a variety of rare animals such as woolly hare, Tibetan gazelle and snow Leopard. The entire area is a cold desert, interspersed with a few alpine meadows. There is a heavy pressure on the meadows by the seasonal influx of livestock of migratory graziers. Because of its high altitude and extreme temperatures, the vegetation in the area is scant and mostly dominated by alpine trees, patches of Himalayan cedar and smatterings of several medicinal plants. In summer, flowers decorate the valley with startling hues. Along with animals, rare birds like the Himalayan Snowcock, Chukor, Snow Partridge and the Tibet Snow Finch also flourish in the area.
Forest types found include, Dry Alpine, Scrub and Dwarf Juniper Scrub.
Fauna ( Mammals )
Red Indian Fox, Tibetan Gazelle Woolly Hare, Snow Leopard, Himalayan Marmot, Himalayan Mouse Hare, Indian Hodgsoris Porcupine, Blue Sheep and Wolf.
Lahaul-Spiti Fairs and Festivals
Fairs in Lahaul Spiti
Ladarcha Fair :
Previously, this fair used to be celebrated in Kibbar maidan in Spit in the month of July where traders from Ladakh, Rampur Busher and Spiti meet in this fair to barter their produce. Due to closure of Tibetan traders, this fair is now being celebrated at Kaza, the headquarters of Spiti Sub Division in the 3rd week of August. A large number of visitors and traders from Kullu/ Lahaul/ Kinnaur meet there. It has now become a conference of cultures of Spiti, Ladakh & Kinnaur as also of the Indian plains.
Pauri Fair :
This fair is celebrated during summer in the 3rd week of August every year. In earlier times this was the most prominent fair of Lahaul. People of all casts and creed gather there, not only from Lahaul but from Chamba and Kullu too. The fair is combination of pilgrimage and festive activities.Preparations are made at least a week in advance and most of the people leavetheir homes a day before the celebrations, where they have faced darshan ofthe statue of Triloknath (Shiva Lord of Three Worlds) or Avolokiteshvara as it is regarded by Buddhist.
Tribal Fair at Keylong :
Tribal fair coinciding with Independence day is celebrated with great pomp and show from 14th to 16th August, at Keylong the headquarters of the district. People from all parts of the valley congregate in their queer disposition and a large number of Indian and foreign tourists gather here to witness the fair. It is being celebrated as at State level fair. In order to make the fair colourful , artists and cultural troupes are invited from Chandigarh, Dharamshala, Leh , Chamba, Kullu, Spiti in addition to local artistes.
Tsheshu Fair :
Tsheshu fair is celebrated inShashur, Gemur, Kyi, Kardang Tabo andMane Monasteries in the months of June.A large number of devotees/ people gather on these occasions. Devil dance is performed by the Lamas bedecked in colourful dresses and wearing masks of different birds and animals.
Festivals in Lahaul Spiti
Festival of light ( similar to Diwali ) :
A festival of lights known as Diwali is celebrated all over India in October every year. A similar type of festival is celebrated as Khogla in Pattan valley and Halda inother valleys of Lahaul at the second and third week of January.The date is fixed by a Lama while in Pattan valley it is celebrated to Magh Poornima coincide with (full moon). Pencil cedar branches are cut into strips and are tied together into bundles to make a torch called Halda quite similar to Hola in upper regions of Shimla district.In the evening halda at each house are lit and brought together at one centre place. This is repeated four to five times, each time in honour of different deities. When the ceremony is over, the villagers return to their houses.
Fagli Festival :
Fagli, locally known as Kus or Kuns is one of the most important festial of the Pattan valley.It falls, after a fortnight ofKhogla on Amawasya (Moonless Night) in the first/ second week of February. The houses are fully decorated and oil lamps are lit. A Barazais set-up which consist of abamboo stick, two to three feet tall, mounted on the floor. Around the stick a white chader isdraped in such a maanner as to suggest an angel dressed in while,sitting in the corner, ornamented with jewellery and marigold flowers. Delicious dishes are placed before the Baraza along with burning incense.The Baraza represents the angel “SHIKHARA- APPA) grand mother of the peak andhere visit is considered to bring prosperity to the house. According to ritual demand the head of the family and his wife getup early in the morningto prepare (TOTU) (A dough of roasted barley flour and butter milk)and kwari. The Totu is taken upto the roof which is offered to the deities.Kwari is later thrown to the crows who await for it as if they have received the invitation.The totu is distributed among the family members as prasada. The couple go to pay their annual respects to their cows and sheep to express their gratitude and acknowledge their dependence on these animals.Rest of the family members getup and pay their respects to their elders of the household by bowing to them and touching their feet.
Gochi or Gothsi :
There is a festival of the Bhaga valley which is celebrated in February in the houses where a son was born during the preceding year. It is a festival organised in Gumrang Kothi in Keylong and adjoining areas, falling sometime in January or February. Date for the celebrations is decided by the Lamas on the basis of their astrological calculations. This festival is celebrated jointly by all the families, where male child were born in the preceding year.