Spiti valley - Things to doEnquire
Things you should not miss in Spiti
If you are wondering what you could do in Spiti, the first answer that should come to your mind is "Just be there". The atmosphere that emerges from this high altitude desert, the cradle of a rich Buddhist culture is an extraordinary experience in itself.
In this page you find information about the most important places in Spiti. Main market places, important villages and monasteries, and other outstanding natural spots.
Beside visiting these different places, you may like to do outdoor activities, genuinely experience the local culture, know more about Tibetan Buddhism, or get yourself involved in volunteer work. You will find information about this as well on this page.
Have a look at our classic tour of Spiti valley and you can customize it with any of the activities that you will find on this page.
Let's know your preferences and we will customize your tour package.
Enquire now !
Kaza (or Kaze) is the headquarter of Spiti, people usually reach here first before moving to other places as it is the main market place and it has a central location in the Spiti valley. Kaza is situated along the Spiti River at an elevation of 3,650 metres (11,980 ft) above the sea level.
You can reach Kaza either from Kinnaur Valley or from Lahaul Valley. The route through Kinnaur is accessible throughout the year, except for occasional short-term duration occurring from landslides or heavy snowfall. The other road starts from Manali allows you to go to Kaza only when Rohtang Pass is open, usually from June to September.
The weather in Kaza can be very cold. January being the coldest month of the year with an average temperature of -10 °C, while July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 15 °C.
Kaza is famous for its vibrant culture which is similar to the neighbouring Tibet and Ladakh regions in terms of climate, cuisine, region and Buddhist practices. Festivals like Faguli, Gochi and other harvesting celebrations are observed.
Pure woollen clothes, carpets and ready-made garments made up of merino wools, Chinese ceramic utensils, stone gems and local jewellery can be purchased from the local market.
There are plenty of accommodation and eatery places available in Kaza and it has the largest commercial centre in the valley.
Kaza, Spiti valley
In the peacefull streets of Kaza.
Dhankar, Spiti valley
One of the most scenic village of the Western Himalayas.
Imagine a village having a population of 300 people (as per the census of 2011), located at an altitude of 3,894 meters (12,774 feet) above sea level, this is how Dhankar village is situated geographically.
This lovely village located between Tabo and Kaza, lies on the top of a hill surrounded by barren mountains and a panoramic view of the meeting point of the two major rivers of Spiti Valley – Spiti river and Pin river.
The literal meaning of Dhankar is ‘Fort on a cliff’, so there used to be a fort above the village but now it can be accessed by a short hike to see the ruins.
Dhankar Gompa monastery was once a part of the fort. In 2006, the World Monuments Fund decided Dhankar monastery as one of the ‘100 most endangered sites in the world’ and had begun to attempt its preservation.
It was the former capital of Spiti Valley and the royal family used to stay here. Honestly, few travellers venture in Dhankar, making it an offbeat site in Spiti.
If you are someone who loves to be in a peaceful village with a picturesque location, Dhankar is a must-visit village for you in Spiti. There are limited homestays available in Dhankar village for your accommodation where you can interact with the locals to know their culture and lifestyle.
Being an integral part of the Buddhist legacy through generations, Tabo Monastery (or Tabo Gompa) is the oldest continuously functioning Buddhist enclave in India.
It was established in 996 AD situated in the Tabo village of Spiti Valley. It was built on an area of 6,300 square meters, culturally known as the ‘Ajanta of Himalayas’.
You will be amazed to see the marvelous wall paintings, collection of thankas (scroll paintings), extensive murals and frescoes from life stories of Buddha and stucco sculptures of Bodhisattvas.
This ancient monastery has 9 temples, many decorated stupas, cave shrines, and residential areas for monks and nuns. It was built more than 1000 years ago, interestingly you can see them standing even today.
In 1975, the monastery was rebuilt due to the Kinnaur earthquake and a new assembly hall was also constructed.
Photography is prohibited inside the monastery however you can buy lovely postcards of these ancient paintings that tell the history of Tabo and support the relationship that existed between the two cultures of India and Tibet.
The gorgeous landscapes to resemble its philosophy – Tabo is a must-visit place while traveling Spiti Valley.
Tabo mnastery, Spiti valley
Entry of the more than 1000 years old monastery.
In the Kye monastery
The Kye monastery has been attacked and damaged many times but is now restored.
If Tabo impresses by its age, its wall painting and its very special atmosphere, the Kye monastery (or Key Gompa) is equally impressive but for other reasons.
Firstly, by its location : a secluded rocky peak arising from a steep slope above the Spiti valley and that culminates at 3890 m. The monastery is at the top of the peak surrounded by all the constructions made for the stay of the Buddhist monks.
Secondly, the monastery is brimming with bustle. Indeed, the Kye monastery is the largest teaching center for Tibetan Buddhism in India. Around 250 monks are permanently residing at the monastery, many of them being young students.
The Key Gompa is almost as old as the the Tabo monastery (11th century) and it also belongs to the Gelugpa sect.
The monastery has a very beautiful architecture and many of its walls are covered with paintings and murals. The stunning view of the Spiti valley that you have from the monastery along with the life of the monks adds to the experience.
Ask your guide (that we arrange for you) to introduce you with some of the monks. Have a chai with them, observe their life, have a chat with the monks thanks to your guide. It is a great experience.
The Pin river flows from the northern part of the Spiti valley.
The river originates from the famous Pin Parvati pass that connects the Spiti region with the Great Himalayan National Park in the Kullu district.
The Pin valley shelters a so unique ecosystem that the government decided to protect the area under the status of a national park called the "Pin Valley National Park" in 1987.
A road goes into the protected area. You will find it shortly after the Dhankar village on the way to Kaza. You need to cross a bridge that takes you on the right bank of the Spiti river. About thirty kilometers from the bridge, after crossing several traditional villages, you will reach the end of the road in a village call Mud (say 'u' like in put).
They are a couple of guesthouses in Mud, and so you can easily spend a night there. Don't hesitate booking your night with us so that you are sure to have a room available. Mud is the ending point of the popular Pin Parvati Trek, and so you may have a group of trekkers reaching Mud unexpectedly and booking all the available rooms.
The Pin valley is a good place for those who want to take photos of rare mammals, especially the Snow Leopard and the Ibex.
View of a glacier in the Pin valley.
Sunset at the Komic monastery while camping nearby.
Is there any place near Kaza where you can enjoy great views of the Himalayan range and discover the lifestyle of the local villagers ?
Actually yes. Behind Kaza, on the North-East lies a plateau that is more than a thousand kilometers higher that Kaza. Not only you can visit these villages in one day from Kaza, but for those who are interested in the
The plateau is accessible by road. Shortly after leaving Kaza on the way to Losar, you have a link road going on the left and that climbs the mountain side to reach the top of the plateau. There are several villages on this plateau. The main villages being Komic, Hikkim and Langza.
The first village would be Langza. Langza has a very old and tall statue of the Lord Buddha. The area is also know for having a soil rich in fossils.
The next village would be Hikkim. Located at an elevation about 4400 m, the village takes pride in having the higest post office in the world. Why don't you take this opportunity to send a postcard to your loved ones from Hikkim post office !
You can end your visit of the plateau by the village Komic. Komic has also a world record : it is known as the highest village connected by a motorable road. Komic has a very old monastery. The monks are very hospitable and can show you their monastery rich in paintings and murals.
Watching the sunset from one of these villages is a lifetime experience. So you may consider staying in one of the homestay instead of going back to Kaza.
When you do the entire loop trip of Spiti that starts in Shimla and end in Manali, your way brushes a unique place on earth, the Chandratal lake.
It would be sad to miss it. That's why our classic tour to Spiti includes a night near the lake.
The lake is not reachable by road, as the "road" ends 3 km before reaching the lake. From the road end you need to go on foot on an easy trail. It takes maximum an hour to reach.
But the best way to reach Chandratal is to start from the Kunzum pass. We can arrange that for you as you need a guide to take you on this easy but risky hike (for those who don't know the way). Leave your vehicle at the pass, the driver will continue alone while you walk in a stunning environment with spectacular views of Spiti and Lahaul valleys.
For your stay near Chandratal lake, you will have to camp under tent. No worries, we make it comfortable, but don't forget to bring layers as the night temperature will drop below zero.
The lake is a protected area as it shelters a rare wetland at around 4300 m height. The meadows surrounding the lakes are magical with many varieties of wild flowers. Smaller lakes can be seen near the main lake. These lakes offer awesome sceneries with the gigantic Mulkila mountain and the Chandra river in the backdrop.
A smaller lake near Chandratal with Mulkila (6517 m) in the background.
Homestay in Spiti
Enjoy the warmth and lifestyle of the Spitian people.
Have you been wondering about the Spitian culture and their lifestyle?
The best way to explore and understand the local traditions is by staying with the locals and sharing a bit of their life. In their homestay, you can enjoy delightful home-cooked meals, and become like a real family member.
Our guides will be with you to help you overcome the language barrier. Usually, the bonds we create while travelling with locals and encountering the village folks in faraway lands give us memories for a lifetime.
Not only you can spend a night in homestay, if you are interested we can arrange your multi-day stay in a village so that you can participate in the village life.
You also participate in one of our social and environmental projects in Spiti as a volunteer.
If you would like to have such experience, do let us know :)
Somehow the Himalayas rhymes with trekking, isn't it ?.
Spiti has a wide variety of multi-day treks or even day hikes.
One of these trek is the Pin Parvati trek that starts in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh and enters Spiti via the Pin valley. This treks is a 9 day trek !
Another super trek is the trek that connects Spiti with the Tso Moriri lake via the Parang La (5578 m). It has a similar duration that the Pin Parvati trek.
For those who don't want to go for a multi day trek, you can please enquire with us and we will take you on beautiful trails that will give you a feeling of being on these great Himalayan treks !
Among these you have hikes on the Komic plateau, hikes from Kibber, or even the hike from Kunzum pass to the Chandratal lake.
Trekking in Spiti
Trust our team of professionals and join us for a trek in Spiti.
Spiti Valley bike trip
What about sharing the concerns of the villagers and do something about it.
Spiti is a paradise for motorcyclists. To witness the mighty Himalayas not just by road, but on Motorcycles is a dream that can become true with us.
We provide the legendary Royal Enfield Classic 500 cc or the Royal Enfield Himalayan 410 cc. For all our motorcycle tours we arrange a back-up vehicle with a guide, a mechanic and all the spare parts to manage quickly any problem on the way.
For many year Himalayan Ecotourism organizes biking tours in Spiti and Ladakh. As operator of responsible tourism, we include your carbon emission offset in your tour package. Know more about our carbon emission offset mechanism.
Enquire now commitment-free for your future bike trip to Spiti !
A trip to Siti could be the best opportunity to learn about Tibetan Buddhism.
Get your mind ready to absorb all the Buddhist concepts, philosophy and spirituality. You can learn and develop yourself in a place where Buddhism is a vivid culture for more than a century.
Please contact us for preparing gyour introduction Buddhism in Spiti valley.
Learn about Buddhism in Spiti
Trust our team of professionals and join us for a trek in Spiti.
Volunteering in Spiti
What about sharing the concerns of the villagers and do something about it.
Himalayan Ecotourism is a federation of social enterprises working throughout the Himalayas.
As we dedicate a substantial part of our profits to social and environmental actions, we love to benefit from the help of volunteers, interns and researchers from all around the world.
Conservation of the Himalayan ecosystems is our mission. And we understand that conservation only works through community work, especially with women.
You are a social-minded person and you dream about being among a Himalayan community to work on a project ?.
Please contact us, we will let you know the current projects and discuss with you what could be yours !
Recognition of Himalayan Ecotourism
Himalayan Ecotourism is the winner of the To Do award 2022 in the field of "Socially Responsible Tourism".
We are also the Overall Winner of the Indian Responsible Tourism Award 2019 and the Gold winner in the Best Adventure Operator category.
We have been declared winner of the Sustainable Tourism Award 2019 by Skal International and Biosphere.
Our cooperative-based model of social enterprise and our efforts to conserve the Himalayas are the main reasons for winning these awards.
Thank you to all our cooperative members, our customers, our friends and well-wishers !