There is an adventure waiting for every kind of traveller in Spiti, be it the physically enduring bike rides and hikes or a softer adventure you would take exploring its culture, cuisine and interacting with the local people.
Up until 1960 Lahaul and Spiti were two different districts in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Today If you visit this “Middle Land” between Tibet and India you will ride right into a valley at an elevation of 4000 Meters above sea level and one of the least populated district in the country. So, don’t be surprised if you are riding past on your bicycle and you see a board that says “Population – 30” they are serious, 10 odd homes make a village and today these 10 households have electricity- although intermittant and supported by solar power, water supply and even a village school for 2 or more villages combined.
The common sights for the adventure or experience seeking traveller would be a “gaddi shepherd” hearding his flock across the valley, children walking in groups getting across man made bridges to their school, women hawking for dung to keep the winter warm and heath running, all of it accompanied by a welcome smile asking you where you are from and what brings you to their land.
Speaking of what must take you to Spiti, here are 8 reasons. Given the space we could go on to list a 100.
Lahaul and Spiti are surrounded by high mountain ranges. The lowest point is 11,000 ft, and villages are found as high as 14,000 ft. If hiking is on your mind then the valleys open up to you, ranging from easy to high intensity hikes, there is a view that will leave overwhelmed in every campsite. Walk along a river or just stand by a gushing water fall, the intensity will barely matter when you have a spellbinding view at every corner.
You must’ve heard of the elusive snow leopard, lets keep it honest…you don’t see the snow leopard but the snow leopard choose to show itself to you. Spotting this elusive cat is every photographer’s dream, you may see a pug mark and that could be it but trailing this valley often you may just get a glimpse and it will make it all worth while. But, why begin and end with the snow leopard when the Ibex, Blue sheep, red fox can be spotted while you hike or bike through the region.
This tiny village of Komik towering at an altitude of 15,027 ft above sea level is the highest village connected by road in the continent of Asia. The bragging rights are not the only thing you will take with you. The view is of a bowl shaped dip in the valley that houses a small cluster of homes on either sides makes for a photographer’s delight. A monastery that is over 500 yrs old is home to a few monks, if a moment of quiet from the hustle and bustle of city life is on your mind then you’ll gain an eternity of it with a shut eye.
We know it’s the age of instant gratification, the various messengers have replaced the good old romance of waiting for a post card. Why not rekindle that romance and send a loved one a post card from the highest post office. The brownie point here is it will make for a beautiful story to narrate and memorablia that you can hold on to for years to come.
The region is sparsely populated due to its climatic and geographical conditions which makes agriculture an almost impossible task. Albeit some farming, the locals make a living hosting travellers through the summer in their quaintly architectured homes with buddhist influences. The cuisine ofcourse is a whole new adventure keeping to the geography and cultural influences of the region. Expect dried meat, ferns, unique herbs that grow only in the himalayan region, forget the cliché of momo’s and thukpa and let your taste buds delight in the Spitian cusine.
Langza is a land that is prime with evolutionary significance. The most humbling experience is to hold a piece of the past in your hand that is proof of existance of a world before ours and destroyed by some kind of catastrophe. Buying or picking fossils from Langza is illegal but the stories we will tell you are part science that is evident and part folk that marks the traditions of the people of Langza.
For every astronomy enthusiast looking for a clear sky to photograph that perfect timelapse, the helipad in Sarahan is the ideal spot. Get your camera gear ready, some warm tea and behold to be amazed by the star lit sky that will unfold before your eyes.
There are close to 18 passes in the Spiti valley and each with a spectacular view of the inner Himalayan ranges. Some are pathways for trade and some used by Shepherds to herd their sheep through the summers. Expect to meet with the locals, hear of their stories and take on an adventure that is beyond just physical endurance.
The Spiti valley is ideal for the adventure seeking traveller and Unventured has an itinerary for you be it hiking through the inner Himalayan ranges or biking across the many quaint villages with accommodation in the homes of locals. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your next adventure.