The beautiful heritage valley of Spiti is located in Himachal Pradesh, a province in India and is adjacent to Tibet. Spiti is also known as virgin mountain heaven, since one will not encounter casual tourists here. The beauty of Spiti valley has to be seen to be described – the atmosphere is serene and full of ancient Buddhist chants that provides a surreal experience, tugging at the heart strings and tempting one to stay there forever. While travelling to Spiti valley, one can see snow-capped mountains, Buddhist prayer flags waving in chilly winds, calm monasteries, and freshness in the environment, and people with purity of thought and purpose.
It’s tough terrain has helped Spiti to maintain its tranquil atmosphere. Roads to this place are considered to be one of the most adventurous motorable roads. While travelling through Spiti valley, we would be able to visit many heritage sites and adventurous motorable passes.
There are two major approaches of reaching Spiti valley, these are either from Shimla or from Manali. It is considered to be advantageous to enter Spiti valley from Shimla’s side because of the basic two facts: firstly a gradually increasing altitude helps our body in acclimatization and prevents acute mountain sickness; and secondly one gets a chance to travel on Hindustan-Tibet heritage road to Tabo. While coming back, Manali side can be used as the altitude level decreases rapidly. Kaza can be a hub for staying while visiting Spiti.
About the Place
Spiti valley is one of the highest energy centers where Buddhism has been preserved. Wellness seekers from all over the world visit this place in search of themselves. Inner line permit is required for foreign tourists. Food here is generally restricted to basics of Thukpa-momo or Indian breads with chicken or vegetables – these are the commonly available dishes there.
One of the heritage sites is Tabo, a center of Buddhist learning which was dwelled on the banks of the Spiti river and on the cross roads of ancient famous trade route. It has one of the oldest and holiest Buddhist monastery complexes consisting of nine temples. Mud coloured walls of the shrine is a part of a monolithic structure that has paintings and statues on their walls; some of the paintings inside the monastery have been restored by the Archeological Survey of India.
The largest religious training center and monastery in Spiti valley is Ki or Kye, which has also been restored by the Archeological Survey of India. This monastery has faced multiple invasions by different armies in ancient times. Gelugpa sect of Mahayana Buddhism has been running this Gompa. Again one gets a sense of the highest level of energies on visiting its prayer halls.
Spiti’s traditional capital Dhankar has an old fort type monastery dating to the 16th century apart from the new one. Collection of Bhotia Buddhist scriptures, four bodied Dhyana Buddha are the main attractions there. To reach Gompa, there is a vertical climb of about 2 hours from a point 2 kms away from Gompa.
Spiti may not be an ideal vacation for leisure lovers due to lack of infrastructure and harsh terrain, however, for the young spiritual and wellness seekers, it might open the gates to a flood of knowledge and assist in one’s search for a body-mind-spirit connect.
Lahaul-Spiti is an another world within our world; to understand its beauty, one needs to visit it in person and savour the experience of a lifetime.