Lahaul and Spiti, sister of Ladakh from another mother; Himachal Pradesh, is a beautiful and peaceful place. Bikers and tourists love exploring the best places to visit in Lahaul and Spiti district. People usually love the greyish-blue mountains, blanket of snow, clear and blue sky with a traditional touch of monasteries. If you are a nature lover (especially a mountain freak) this is a paradise for you!
About Lahaul and Spiti district
The Himachal Pradesh‘s Lahaul and Spiti district is made up of the two previously independent districts of Lahaul and Spiti. Keylong in Lahaul is the current administrative center. Prior to the merge, Kardang was the capital of Lahaul Valley and Dhankar was the capital of Spiti Valley. The district was established in 1960 and is India’s fourth-least populated district.
These two valleys have quite different personalities. Spiti is more barren and difficult to cross, with an elevation of 4,270 m (14,010 ft) on average. It is surrounded by high mountains, with the Spiti River pouring out of a valley in the southeast to join the Sutlej River. Basically, it is a typical alpine desert environment.
How to Reach Lahaul and Spiti District?
By Air: The closest airport is Bhuntar Airport (near Kullu) which is 245 km away. From Bhuntar, one must go to Manali and then take a bus or cab to Lahaul and Spiti Valley. The nearest international airport to Lahaul and Spiti is in Chandigarh (495 km).
By Train: The Jogindernagar Railway Station (360 km distant) and the Shimla Railway Station (416 km away) are the closest railway stations to the Lahaul and Spiti. The Kalka Railway station, which has strong connectivity to various areas of India, is 485 km distant.
By Road: Road access to Lahaul and Spiti district is possible from two distinct locations. These are Sumdo, Kinnaur District for entry into Spiti valley, and Manali, Kullu District for access into Lahaul valley.
Best Time to Visit Lahaul and Spiti
Summer (May-June): The best time to visit Lahaul-Spiti is during summer. The air temperature is between 8-15 degrees Celsius. The weather will be clear, cool, and perfect for exploration and adventure activities. Spiti’s cold deserts and Lahaul’s green valley will be calling you out.
Monsoon (July-October): The good time to visit Lahaul-Spiti is during the monsoon. Lahaul and Spiti experience little or no rain. And that’s why it is the perfect time to travel, but the road routes from Kinnaur and Manali town are prone to landslides. So I will advise you to avoid the monsoon.
NOTE: Monsoon is another best time to visit Lahaul-Spiti. But the roads leading are highly prone to landslides. So prepare well before going there.
Winter (November-April): Just like Ladakh, weather conditions during the winter are harsh and extreme. And this is not a good time to explore Lahaul-Spiti. In fact, the area remains inaccessible and roadblocks are common. The blanket of snow covers the whole Lahaul and Spiti district.
Top 15 Places to Visit in Lahaul Spiti District
Lahaul and Spiti district is the mecca of bikers and a must-visit for tourists. It offers nothing but beautiful valleys, colorful mountains, and numerous religious places like monasteries and temples. These valleys are not only perfect for sightseeing but also invite adventure seekers.
The top and most famous places to visit in Lahaul-Spiti mentioned in this travellingortraveling blog are Spiti Valley, Kaza, Dhankar, Tabo, Losar, Kibber, Pin Valley, Langza, Hikkim, Lahul Valley, Keylong, Jispa, Sissu, Gondhla, and Udaipur.
#1 Spiti Valley
Spiti, which translates as “middle country,”, is a high-altitude chilly desert studded with monasteries. Indian and Tibetan civilizations have coexisted in this foreboding valley. It receives comparatively little rain and loads of snow. Due to its location in the rain shadow of Zanskar’s ranges. and Great Himalayan mountains, which are the highest in Himachal Pradesh. The entire valley appears in purple, pink, and sunset colors. Spiti Valley’s austere beauty enhances by the deep canyons formed by snow-fed streams.
The Kunzum La, which literally means “meeting place for ibex” (a kind of mountain goat), connects Lahaul valley and Spiti valley. The terrain of the Spiti section of the Lahaul-Spiti region is harsher and hence more difficult to travel. The beauty of the foreboding Spiti is on display for just four months of the year. Because the rest of the year, snow covers the valley.
Kaza is the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti Valley (locally called Piti). Kaza lies along the Spiti River at an elevation of 3,650 m (11,980 feet) above sea level. It is Spiti valley’s biggest municipality and economic center.
Kaza is well-known for its vibrant festivals as well as the historic Sakya Tangyud Monastery. Because of its central location and links to the rest of the valley, it is also popular with visitors and adventure seekers (connects to Leh-Manali Highway via Kunzum Pass). And so, Kaza is a good base camp for hiking, mountaineering, and trips to other areas of the valley.
Dhankar, the formal capital of Spiti, is located on the left bank of the Spiti river. It is 32 km downstream from Kaza and at an elevation of 3870 m. The total number of houses here are 68. There’s a Dhankar Fort that lies on a spur that extends into the main valley and ends in a cliff.
This fort’s position is crucial since Spiti has always had to deal with numerous aggressions from its neighbors. The placement allowed the Spitian to keep an eye on the approaching threat and send signals to nearby residents. When the Spitians were under attack, they used to build massive flames. This was to indicate a gathering in the safe refuge of rocks, that is, Dhankars.
Tabo is a small town in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul and Spiti district. The chilly desert town lies 3,280 m (10,760 feet) above sea level. Scree slopes and snow-capped Himalayan peaks surround the town. Tabo, known for its tranquil beauty. And is among the must-see places to visit in Lahaul and Spiti for an out-of-the-ordinary trip.
The town is around 40 km from the border between India and Tibet. And you’re guaranteed to pass through it if you’re driving from Kaza to Reckong Peo. The most renowned sight in Tabo is a 1000-year-old monastery that the Dalai Lama himself considers to be one of the holiest. The list also contains a few temples and several old caves that were previously inhabited by Buddhist monks to escape from the severe winters.
Losar is the first inhabited settlement on the Spiti side of the valley after crossing the Kunzom pass from Manali. The hamlet is very remote and settles at a height of 4,085 m. The sight of Losar as a trekker descends from Kunzom provides quick relief. The beautifully whitewashed mud homes with red stripes are really attractive. Furthermore, green meadows and willow plantations that surround the hamlet enhance the contrast.
“As lofty as Losar is, there is little in the terrain to reveal its position when viewed in summer, embosomed in thriving fields and herds of Pashmina wool goats”, Gerard writes. Yaks and horses confront the sight as the eye is drawn to the lofty activity of the mountains. And ardent sunlight maintains the air towering from the impact of mirage.
Kibber is in a small valley on the summit of limestone rock at a height of around 4,270 m (14,200 feet). It is only 16 km from Kaza, and a bus service connects the two throughout the summer. Kibber is a nice hamlet with a lot of agriculture. As soon as you step off the bus, lush green fields that contrast sharply with the dry backdrop of towering hills welcome you.
In the settlement, there are just 80 homes. The use of stone instead of mud or adobe brick, which is common in the valley, is a notable characteristic of the architecture.
#7 Pin Valley
The Pin valley, which stretches on either side of the Pin river, is one of Spiti’s four local divisions. The valley is geographically isolated from the rest of Spiti by steep mountains. The Pin river, which pushes its way down a deep tight canyon to reach the larger river Spiti near Attargu, has supplied the only entrance. The Pin valley is globally popular for its Chamurthi horses. Horses are raised and sold for high prices in Rampur-Bushahar and Ladakh at the Lavi fair. The climate and rich grass of the valley produce extremely sure-footed horses capable of negotiating great heights with ease.
A visitor to the Pin Valley may observe dozens of horses, colts and fillies grazing on the riverbanks, as well as some youngsters racing away on these horses, singing loudly in happy abandon.
Langza Vllage lies at 4400 m above sea level. It is separated into two sections: Langza Yongma (lower) and Langza Gongma (upper). Langza Village is one of the lovely places to visit in Lahaul Spiti. This beautiful town is endowed with old monasteries and prehistoric structures. Its verdant meadows, snow-capped mountains, and barren landscapes astound everyone who comes to this breathtaking site.
Langza Village is famous for the Lord Buddha’s statue overlooking the valley, a historic monastery, and mud homes. Visitors can travel to a few high-altitude lakes and engage in extreme activities like as climbing and hiking. This location is particularly rich in fossils of marine creatures and plants that were discovered here millions of years ago. That’s why many geologists and anthropologists visit the town every year.
Hikkim is a village at an elevation of 4,400 m (14,400 ft). Villae is 46 km (29 miles) away from Kaza. It is one of India’s highest year-round inhabited places, with homes ranging from 4330 to 4400 m.
Hikkim village contains the world’s highest post office, which is located at an elevation of 4,400 m (14,400 ft). The post office links tiny settlements in this remote area to the outside world.
#10 Lahaul Valley
Lahaul is the tehsil of Lahaul-Spiti, the biggest district in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh. The Zanskar range and Tibet bound it on the east. While on the south-east by the Kinnaur Valley, and the south by the Kullu Valley. High altitude glaciers are common in the area around Lahaul; the Bara Shigri glacier, 10 km long and 1 km broad, is one of the longest in the Himalayas.
Lahaul and Spiti’s district headquarters are at Keylong. Keylong is located above the Bhaga river on the primary commercial route between the Rohtang and Baralacha passes. This is also the center of all commercial activity, with a bazaar held regularly. Keylong is, unsurprisingly, the most populous and active hamlet in the Lahaul valley.
Jipsa is 20 km from Keylong in a unique, fascinating, and rustic environment characterized by visitors. Jipsa is located on the banks of the Bhaga river, which has enough trout to entice serious fishermen. It also includes a rest house and a mountaineer cabin for those who wish to stay. For more adventure, there is a large camping area adjacent to the river.
Sissu village settles at an elevation of 3130 m on the right bank of the Chandra River. During the summer, thick plantations of willows and poplars on both sides of the road prevent even the sun’s rays from penetrating. Wild roses in white, yellow, and red hues, together with stretches of alpine flowers, adorn the hillsides in a colorful feast.
Some of the famous places are the Gyephang mountain, and Lord Ghepan’s temple (though the entry of outsiders is restricted). Sissu nullah, which runs down a small valley from the Gyephang mountain glaciers. And the magnificent Sissu fall pouring down the cliff from the upper valley between the two mountains is visible across the river.
The village is 18 km from Keylong and lies along the right bank of the Chandra River. It settles at an elevation of 3160 m on a reasonably level stretch of land. Dense poplar and willow vegetation encircle the town.
Sissu and Gondhla are among the best in the world due to the glaciers and snowfields that cling to the precipices. The Thakur of Gondhla’s house, also known as the Gondhla castle or fort, draws a huge number of tourists.
This sub-divisional headquarters is located near the confluence of the powerful Mayar nullah and the major river Chandrabhaga. This hamlet, located 53 km from Keylong. Beautiful kail-blue pine trees surround the village. Because the altitude is low, apples, walnuts, apricots, and other fruits grow well in this region. This hamlet is warm yet prone to avalanches, making it unsuitable for district headquarters.
Udaipur, on the other hand, has the most densely wooded and green scenery in Lahaul. Hermann Goetz, during his visit in 1939, compared its landscape to that of Switzerland. It draws a large number of visitors and pilgrims due to its two distinct temples, Trilokinath and Markula Devi.
To be honest, Leh-Ladakh was my dream place. But after exploring the best places to visit in Lahaul and Spiti district, I felt that I was missing something really mesmerizing in my life. Lahaul Spiti has everything from mountains to rivers, from monasteries to temples, and from adventure to luxury hotels. I must say, visit Lahaul Spiti at least once and wishing you a wonderful vacation 😉
Himachal Pradesh's Lahaul and Spiti is a district. Lahaul and Spiti is made up of the two previously independent districts of Lahaul and Spiti. Lahaul Tehsil is more lush and fruitful, but Spiti Tehsil is largely barren high desert.
Lahaul is a high plateau surrounded by mountain ranges and massive glaciers. Spiti Valley is a chilly desert made up of austere barren mountains and huge canyons carved out by the raging Spiti River. As a result, Lahaul has become much more developed, with a higher number of mountain settlements.
The area is well-known for its high-altitude hiking paths and rich Tibetan-influenced culture. Lahaul and Spiti is a popular tourist destination due to its abundance of monasteries, flora and fauna, and several high mountain passes and rivers.
The best time to visit Lahaul Spiti is during summer (May-June) and monsoon (July-October). The weather will be clear, cool, and perfect for exploration and adventure activities. Spiti's cold deserts and Lahaul's green valley will be calling you out.
But the road routes from Kinnaur and Manali are prone to landslides during the monsoon. So I will advise you to avoid the monsoon.
And just like Leh-Ladakh, weather conditions during the winter (November-April) are harsh and extreme. The blanket of snow covers the whole Lahaul and Spiti district. And this is not a good time to explore.