The Spiti Valley is a desert mountain valley located high in the Himalaya mountains in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India.

The Spiti valley is connected to Lahaul through Kunzam Pass at a height of 4500 m A road connects the two divisions, but is cut off frequently in winter and spring due to heavy snow. The valley is likewise cut off from the north up to eight months of the year by heavy snowfalls and thick icing conditions. A southern route to India proper is periodically closed for brief periods in the winter storms of November through June, but road access is usually restored a few days after storms end via Shimla and the Sutlej valley in the Kinnaur district.

The valley and surrounding region is one of the least populated regions in India and is the gateway to the northernmost reaches of the nation. Along the northern route from Manali, Himachal Pradesh or Keylong via the Rohtang Pass or Kunzum Pass respectively. The sub-divisional headquarters (capital) is Kaza is situated along the Spiti River at an elevation of about 3,800 m. Spiti possesses a haunting beauty. The wildlife in the region includes the elusive snow leopard and ibex, found in the Pin valley.

Spiti is more barren with huge and varied natural formations at an average elevation of the valley floor of 4,270 m It is a typical mountain desert type area with an average annual rainfall of only 170 mm .Spiti river flow throughthe region is formed ast the base o fthe Kunzam range. It flows eastward to meet the Satluj at Khab in Kinnaur. Enroute it is fed by several stsreams – Pin, Chiomo, Gyundi, Rahtang, Ulah, Lungze, mane, Surahi, Hanze, Tagling, Thumpa Lumpa, Kaza, Lingti, Parechu and Tabo. The area’s valleys are narrow.

How to Reach Spiti

By Air: Shimla and Kullu are the nearest airports to Kaza.

By Rail: Shimla and Joginder Nagar are the nearest railheads to Kaza.

By Road: National Highway No.21 connects Manali

There are two routes to enter Spiti.

From Manali via Rohtang Pass to Kaza, the hqtr. of Spiti. Manali is connected by Air, Rail and Road. From Manali, there is a regular bus from July to October.

From Shimla via Kinnaur. Shimla is connected by Air, Rail & Road. From here by buses to Kaza from May to October.

Best Time To Visit Spiti Valley

The best time to come to Spiti is the Summer months between May and October when temperatures are perfect, roads are (mostly) clear and the sun is shining!

Places To Visit In Spiti


Kaza is the main town and the administrative center of Spiti. It is situated along the Spiti River at an elevation of 3,800 m, is the largest township and commercial center of the valley. It is 76 km to the south east of Kunzum Pass and around 200 km south of Manali. Best time to visit Kaza is from May to October.

There are two rest houses in Kaza proper. The Electricity Board rest house is at Rangrik just 4 km away. Kaza serves as the base for excursions . It is the best in the valley. Kaza has one of the two Sa- kya- pa sect monasteries. The other monastery is at Hikkim. Opposite Kaza on the right bank of the Spiti river is Kyuling from where the nono of Spiti ruled over his subjects. Rani Damyanti, a descendent of this ruling, family, now resides in Kaza preserving all the stately charm of the yester years.


Dhankar is an erstwhile capital of Spiti is a scenic village which is situated at an elevation of 3,870 m . It is 25 km downstream from Kaza . The Dhankar Monastry which is 800 year old is the major center of attraction of Dhankar village

Dhankar is also of art historical importance. Founded between 7th and the 9th centuries, Dhankar’s old temple complex is known by the name of Lha-O-pa Gompa (monastery of the followers of Lha-O).

The monastery consists of a number of multi-storeyed buildings perched together, giving a fortress like impression. There are five different halls including Kanjur, Lhakhang, and Dukhang where a life size silver statue of Vajradhara, the Diamond Being, is placed in a glass altar embellished with scarves and flowers.

Dhankar’s main attraction, although least publicised, is a fresh water lake about 2.5 km from the village at a height of 13500 ft. Set amidst lush green pastures, the lake offers a perfect idyllic camping site. Under the Desert Development Project of Spiti the common carp variety of fish has been introduced in this lake. No angling is, however, allowed in the lake.

Dhankar is approachable by a motorable road.There is no rest house in the village.


From the small hamlet of Attargu the track leads through deserted and rugged terrain over heights of around 3800 metres into the Lingti valley. Lingti is the third biggest river, after the Pin which pours its great waters out into the spiti. The road into the Lingti valley leads along the slopes of the Lingti’s right bank in serpentine curves from which one has a giddy view of the few medieval settlements along the river. After an hour-long drive the valley opens up a little for the rich pastures of Lhalung town, consisting of barley and the yellow rape that adds another beautiful colour to the reduced palette of Spiti.

A few of the chhortens lead up to the monastic site from the outskirts of the village. The compound consists of five buildings. At some spots fragmentary remains of a wall encircling all the buildings are to be found. The local tradition that the site once consisted of nine temples, together with the rich interior of the main chapel and the fact the building is also attributed to Rinchen Zangpo, may suggest that the temple like that of Tabo was designed as a Chokhor site, a place of learning and debate as opposed to a simple chapel for worship by local people.

The paintings on the walls are of recent date. Serkhang, the golden hall is completely overwhelmed by the number of deities present. The small chapel has a total of 51 deities, either mounted against the walls or placed on the central altar, of which the most are painted in gold.

Kunzam Pass

Kunzam Pass, at an altitude of 4590 m, is the main access to Spiti Valley from Lahaul Valley. Apart from the majestic sights of valleys and mountains, the scenic Bara Shigri Glacier can be viewed from here at its full beauty. There is a temple named Kunzum Devi, which is dedicated to Goddess Kali, in the vicinity.

Kunzum Jot

The crest of the pass is marked by a wall of mani stones clearly suggesting that one is now stepping into a Buddhist country. A temple dedicated to Durga, the fierce female deity, was built by some gaddies but it could not withstand avalanches and today is in ruins. People believe that the deity has refused to live in the temple. She prefers to stay in the open. Her foot impressions worshipped by gaddies and local people.

There is a small hut about 200 m. away from the temple where travellers can find shelter during foul weather. For tourists it is a favourite halt for tea or snacks. From Kunzom one trek leads. Chandrataal, the lake of the Moon.


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.

There is a small gompa in the village. The flat roofed houses are topped by white flagpole which the superstitious believe saves them from evil spirits and brings prosperity.

There is a PWD rest house at the edge of the village where one can stay. A few meters from the rest house from Spiti river in all its serenity. A small flight of steps leads to the river bank where one could even venture a swim.
Porters, pack animals and guides for Chandrataal and other treks starting from Lossar can be hired from here.
The people of Lossar dress up more like their Tibetan counterparts and perform an interesting post harvest Yak dance which can be witnessed during La Darcha fair.

Kye Monastery

12 km f rom Kaza, the Kye monastery is the largest in the valley around Kaza. This lies high above the left bank of the riveer Spiti. The gompa is an irregular heap of low rooms and narrow corridors on a monolithic conical hill. From a distance is resembles the Thiksey monastery near Leh in Ladakh. The irregular prayer chambers are interconnected by dark passages, tortuous staircases and small doors.

Hundreds of lamas receive their religious training in the monastery. It is also known for its beautiful murals, thankas, rare manuscripts, stucco images and peculiar wind instruments that form part of the orchestra whenever Chham is enacted in the gompa in summer. Another interesting aspect of the gompa is its collection of weapons which may have been used to ward off marauders as also to maintain its control over people betraying a church-militant character.

Thousands of devotees from all over the world here attended the Kalachakra ceremony which was performed in August, 2000 by His Holiness Dalai Lama.Kalachakra initiation (Skt. Abhisheka, Tibetan Wang) is not just an elaborate puja or a religious congregation. It is a workshop in a grand scale to make an earnest effort by both the teacher and disciples to awaken their Buddha nature by the combined forces of teaching, prayer, blessing, devotion, mantra, yoga and meditation. It is an effort by every participant to try to discover the true and permanent peace for the sake of all others. The Buddhists believe mere presence during this elaborate initiation ceremony stretching over a few days, liberates the participant from suffering and bestows on him the bliss of Enlightenment.

The ceremony focuses on five main subjects – cosmology, psycho-physiology, initiation, sadhana and Buddhahood. A Kalachakra mandala and Viswatma deitiy in union with his consort are at the centre of this ceremony guiding the disciple through the tedious process of initiation.

The gompa is approached by road from Kaza (only 12 km). However, it is only 8.5 kms trek from Kaza.

Kibber In Spiti

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.

There is a monastery in Kibber which is named after Serkang Rimpochhe of Tabo. The lama breathed his last in Kibber in 1983 and when he was being cremated a water source erupted from that spot. Even today the source is being used by the villagers. There is a traditional trade route from Kibber to Ladakh over Parang La. The Spitians go to Ladakh to barter their horses for yaks or to sell for cash. It also acts as the base for several high altitude treks. Permits are required for this trek.

The Kibber Sanctuary that lies past the village has blue sheep and ibex and covers an area of 1400 square kilometers.

Pin Valley In Spiti Valley

The Pin valley lies below the Kungri Glacier and has several beautiful and important monasteries. The Pin Valley has good treks – the main route connects the Kullu Valley over the Pin Parbati base while another leads to Kinnaur through the Bhaba valley.

The Pin Valley is a National Park This is home to over twenty species of animals and birds. The highly endangered snow leopard is one among them.

The Pin valley is famous for its internationally recognised Chaumurti horses that are bred and sold for considerable sums in Rampur-Bushahar during Lavi fair and in Ladakh.

Horse racing and arrow shooting are very popular in the valley. A tourist may frequently come across arrow shooting competitions called Dhuvor.

Another main attractions of this valley is Kunzum la or the Kunzum Pass (altitude 4,551 m; 14,931 ft) is the entrance pass to the Spiti Valley from Lahaul. It is 21 km from Chandra Tal. This district is connected to Manali through the Rohtang Pass. To the south, Spiti ends 24 km from Tabo, at the Pare chu gorge where the road enters Kinnaur and joins with National Highway No. 22.


163 km from Kalpa is the ancient village of Tabo, situated on the left bank of river Spiti. Flanked on either sides by hills, its has one of the most important Buddhist monasteries regarded by many as only next to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet. It is also known as the Ajanta of the Himalayas. Tabo is the largest monastic complex of Spiti which has since been declared a protected monument under the aegis of Archaeological Survey of India.

Key Monastery / Key Gompa

7 km from Kaza. The largest monastery in Spiti Valley. Established in the 11th century has ancient Buddhist scrolls and paintings. It also houses large number of Buddhist monks and nuns.

Lingti Valley

Through a deep gorge, the Lingti stream, another one of the Spiti’s tributaries, flows down from the north. The valley offers some strenuous treks.

Adventure Activities in Spiti

For trekkers, the Spiti Valley is a paradise, offering challenging treks to explore the new heights of the Himalayas. The treks takes you to the most remote areas including the rugged villages and old Gompas followed by the exotic wildlife trails. Some of the popular trekking routes in the area includes Kaza-Langza-Hikim-Komic-Kaza, Kaza-Ki-Kibber-Gete-Kaza, Kaza-Losar-Kunzum La and Kaza-Tabo-Sumdo-Nako. There are some very high altitude treks also where you have to cross passes- like Parangla Pass (connecting Ladakh with Spiti Valley), Pin Parvati Pass, Baba Pass, Hampta Pass treks etc.. Carry all the necessary things for the trekking tour to Spiti. Tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, heavy wooolens, sunscreen and sunglasses are a must.

Skiing In Spiti

Skiing is the popular adventure sports in Spiti and is popular in India from the past few years. The amazing snow clad mountains with the added advantage of inspiring heights are enough to allure the adventure spirits of the avid skier, providing all the thrill and fun attracted to the sport. People from all around the globe come to experience this enthralling adventure activity.

Yak Safari In Spiti

The most exciting of all adventure activities in Spiti is the Yak safari. One can hire the Yak to see the flora and fauna of trans-Himalayan desert. It is, in fact, the lifetime opportunity that one won’t find anywhere else so easily. Apart from this, horse safaris are also conducted in this area.