As the name is unique so does the place. Spiti Valley is a mesmerizing place for nomads and travel enthusiasts all across the globe. As unique as its name, a trip to Spiti Valley is an experience of the ultimate abandoned beauty! Separated from breeding Lahaul by the soaring 4551m Kunzum La, the Himalayan region of Spiti is another piece of Tibet marooned in India. While this region stays cut off from the rest of the world in October to February, you can visit Spiti from March to May to enjoy the snow-clad mountains of this sumptuous cold desert. That is precisely what this blog is about – Yes Winter Spiti- White Spiti. what our Winter Edition
Moonscapes to Marvels of Spiti Valley
Diverged villages in a saw-toothed moon land appear like mirages on the road to Spiti valley. Roads like these will make you overlook any other scenery you’ve ever seen. The whitewashed and snow-covered, mud-brick houses dwell into the local heritage. These houses look marvellous from the viewpoint of Key Monastery. And when they all covered with snow it is like a white wonderland.
Rediscovering The Ancient Spiti
Spiti Valley is the place to rejoice the love for long lost things. This could be sending a postcard from the highest post office in the World, or go fossil hunting in the villages of Spiti. One such fossil village-Langza embraces you with a life-size golden statue of Buddha. The sedimentary rocks of this village cover the remains of plants & marine life which are millions of years old. Go see for yourself if you’re lucky enough to spot one! I was lucky to have found one.
Variation in Beauty
Contrary to all shades of grey and white, a turquoise ribbon of the Spiti River will coincide you as your near-constant escort, speeding along a deep valley before turning south at Sumdo into the craggy gorges of the Hangrang Valley. Spiti fascinates many travellers, including a huge bunch of Indian motorcyclists, as a kind of ‘mini-Ladakh without tourist crowds’. This title is justified until its serene nature (a high-altitude desert) and culture (Tibetan Buddhist) are still intact. For this, we all need to be a responsible traveller and whoever visits Spiti Valley, please take care of littler, carbon footprints and strictly no plastics.
Things to Remember
Who all planning to travel Spiti Valley in winters, please have a look at the tips below and the temperature as certain areas can be nerve crunching.
It gets very cold here in winters i.e. December through February with temperatures hitting – 30C to -35C. You will need to be mentally and physically fit and must have done some high altitude travel to be able to manage travelling through this high altitude region.
Majorly you will get only homestays in winters and the hotels and guest houses will be shut. These homestays will have dry eco-friendly squatting toilets. You will need to equip with this system as due to water freezing and water lines freezing wet toilets are not available.
Because of the water lines freezing, the locals have a hard time carrying water for utilities from a close water source and therefore having a bath while you are in Spiti will not be possible.
In peak winter i.e. January and early February, all the places might not be open due to unfavourable weather conditions. Thus, whatever you are able to visit take it as an opportunity to explore the place.
Wintertime is actually not a season time to visit Spiti Valley thus you will not get a variety of activities and things to do in cold weather. at times you will not be able to move around much and will have to end up in the homestay. That is why I would recommend travellers to be prepared and make the most of the destination whilst enjoying snow everywhere.
Being in a homestay you can make most of the time talking to locals, knowing the Spitian culture, food and much more. You can be with the host and can understand the local food culture.
Be prepared to be empathetic and adaptable, as due to weather last minutes’ plan changes can happen or you can be forced to change your plans due to safety measures.
Things To Carry
Shirts / T-shirts, Trousers / Track Pants
Windproof jacket, Raincoat / Poncho
Thermal inner wear (upper and lower)
Woollen cap, Woolen gloves, Woolen socks along with extra pairs
How to rekindle and make new friends, while on a work trip to a new country/destination?
It was a beautiful Monday morning and I was checking my E-mails in the office, while one of the E-mail suddenly grasped my attention. My boss has asked me to provide my passport details, in which later on I found out that I am supposed to travel for work perspective to Hong-Kong for a month. It was surprising and intriguing to me. This was a short trip where I was supposed to meet clients and channelize the desk work to foreign clients of my company. Being an introvert guy and single, this notion of travelling alone to a different country makes me crazy. It is not that I have not travelled before, I did and I was always accompanied by some of the other office colleagues which were not the case this time. Anyways not much of the option the day of my travel arrived and finally I departed and landed in a new country, Hong Kong.
I reached to the hotel, settled myself and then rushed to the office as it was my first day in the new town. I was decked up and then the day came to an end and my fear started popping up, more I was closer to my hotel, lonelier I was feeling. It was just the first day in the country where I have landed and has not spent even 24 hrs and already homesickness started biting me. After dinner, I went for a walk down the lane near the central park. I saw all the new culture and people around me. Sitting quietly on a bench, I was browsing on the internet and saw an ad of an app which mentioned how you can make friends at an alien place. For an expat like me, this idea of making friends at foreign territory hit me though I have not registered myself.
Registering and Rediscovering
Next day after my office I moved out of my hotel and went to a pub, sitting alone and lonely watching people talking, laughing, and smiling with each other. I gulped in a couple of drinks and saw one lady name not revealed was sitting alone. I approached her and we started chatting here and there. I asked her number so that we can connect later on and she politely denied and I understood this was a very short meeting which can only last for some hrs etc.
When I was heading back to my hotel I decided that I am going to give it a shot. I registered and started looking for accomplices who are there in Hong Kong and soon I found one person called Rachel (name changed).
She was a lawyer and was there in Hong Kong for an assignment for a couple of weeks. We met at a place called SpeakEasy (old town of Hong Kong) and get along immediately. We started talking about how lonely and alone a person feels when they are in a new city or a new country. How you feel lost in the new culture and new place? And how apps help in making life easy for all those people who are just looking for a good and genuine company when you are travelling. It can be for work or you are just a traveller, everyone needs to be with someone to share thoughts. Even if you are a backpacker or a solo traveller, you would like to explore and mingle with local culture and communities, which is again a daunting task. Nevertheless, this app helped me in achieving that a bit.
Finding a companion while travelling
We met a couple of times and roamed around the city together visiting new places. She has been to Hong Kong before that makes it easy for me since she knows a lot of places and helps me in discovering those which was not easy for me to explore so easily without me wasting time looking on the internet.
Before we said a final goodbye to each other we met one last time where we first met and I told her that it was really good to have a new friend for a short period with whom you can roam around and share some experiences of yours and listen to other person’s experiences. Rachel immediately agreed to me and said that how her last couple of visits were not that great and this time after we started moving out together exploring places was a different experience altogether.
Those people who are going on a short or a long tour and are looking for some companionship since they feel lonely, I will suggest them to look for mobile applications like Couchsurfing etc. and register as it a different experience to be with some person chatting and talking and exploring new destinations.
Leave your comments on how you met your friends while travelling!
Wander with me in the most stunning and breathtaking landscapes of India which is incomparable with anything in the world. Well, I have not travelled the world but I would definitely say that Spiti Valley is one of the gorgeous valleys of the Himalayas. As I discovered the dazzling sceneries, deep-blue lakes, barren terrain, sun-kissed white peaks, and wildlife with some of the remotest villages of India. I have been touched by the magic of Spiti, and I know you will be too. For knowing more about Spiti and the places to see read my blog here…
And for the exploration in its true sense and warming and cosy homestay and accommodation in Spiti valley, keep reading below.
If you want to travel around Spiti in the real sense, then staying with a local family in their house, eating and cooking with them whilst enjoying the local food like what they eat and how they cook is one of the best ways to go about it. Homestays in Spiti are a very common concept today and a different way of lodging. It gives you acumen into how punitive life is at such altitudes where people have to scuffle every day in extreme climatic conditions and terrain. Thus, staying in a homestay will offer you a sense of serenity and delight like no other. In fact, you can move out with a local to their fields, and help them cook food, sitting next to the ‘tandoor’ – which is a local heater. Enjoying the grazing lands of their cattle is a sight not to miss when in Spiti.
Here are the best Homestays to stay when you are in Spiti Valley and do consider them as my personal review and recommendation as well:
Incredible Spiti, amazing Kaza – though Kaza has numerous homestays and hostels to stay and relive the homely feeling amidst clouds and mountains, my favourite is Solo Yolo. Many foreigners and Indian travellers love to stay here. It is situated in Kaza near to a cricket playground which makes it an ideal place for stargazing in the night and view of the mountains and snow from the windows. The rooms are cosy and comfortable. The dining place is yet another spot not to miss. What about the caretakers – man, they are superbly friendly and happy going. They would help you with everything you need for your stay and roaming around in Kaza.
India’s last village on the border of Indo-china – it is in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. While my trip to Spiti valley I happen to stay one night in Chitkul. The view of Bapsa River, Mathi temple to get a glimpse of the ancestors, and the population of around 700 people who live here since ages – are worthy to pay a visit. You may find cheap hotels and affordable homestays and zostels in Chitkul. Where I stayed was the Sunny Mountain View which is owned by Mr Chetram Ji – an old man but young at heart. The rooms are clean with subtle wooden work. You get the balcony and the view from every window of the room – just be there once and rekindle your love for mountains and India’s last village where our road ends.
Tabo is a small town in the Lahaul and Spiti district that lies on the banks of the Spiti River. This place has a charm of Tibetan and Buddhism culture and you may see it influential enough in the entire terrain and breeze. Tabo is an absolute gem and the homestay where I stayed is Kesang Homestay – it is just on the road of Gompa Bus stand and what a beautiful and peaceful place to live in. The rooms are pretty spacious, clean and comfortable. The super friendly owner with her gracious smile will make you feel rejuvenated. I happen to get the opportunity to taste local Tibetan food too. She helped me to get plenty of local knowledge and places to see in Tabo. With this friendliness and warmth, it is a great place to stay.
Other than this in Chandrataal was the Camping Tents
This lake is at the surface level of 4250m; it is in the middle of the Himalayas and falls under Spiti Valley. This moon lake is wedged deep within the mighty Himalayan ranges which gives you spectacular views and positive aura to be there. For staying options – you only have tents there as the human population is not allowed to make hotels and also it remain closed for three months from October to January end, until the snow descends. I too stayed in a tent there – a very clean and undisturbed tent with attached bathroom. It has extra blankets for the dipping temperature which goes to even -8 to -10 degree Celsius in October and a bed in good condition. You are served with fantastic ginger lemon honey tea clubbed with breakfast and dinner with local flavour. Anything at that altitude where survival is tough is just a divine feeling.
Keep reading, Keep travelling.. the world awaits you!
Who doesn’t love mountains – we all do, isn’t it – and if you don’t, I’m sure the moment you get a chance to visit them, travel through them, hike them – you would fall for them forever.
This international mountain day – here’s my view and some options or thoughts which I would like to share as a solo traveller.
Mountains are early gauges of climate change and as we witness a global climate change that continues to get warm, the mountain people and some of the world’s hungriest and poorest they face even more struggles to survive. The rising temperatures, of course, mean that mountain glaciers are melting at unmatched rates, heartrending freshwater supplies which are downstream for millions of people who live in mountains and otherwise.
Do you know that almost one billion people live in mountain areas, and over half the human population is dependent on mountains for food, water, and clean energy? Yet we humans are playing around them and our mountains are under threat from land degradation, climate change, natural disasters, and overexploitation, in fact, there some far-reaching and devastating consequences. On the other hand, the Mountain communities have an affluence of knowledge and approaches that are accumulated over generations, on how to acclimatise to this climate variability – yet the life is now tough.
Not going on the deeper threatening mode I would like to highlight India’s oldest and the youngest mountains.
To your surprise, India is the country who has the oldest and the youngest mountains in the entire world. Woah! On this international mountain day – have a look at some of the facts about the Himalayas….
The Himalayas is still growing at a speed of 20 millimetres per year. Due to which landslides and tremors are frequent in the region.
The Aravalli Ranges in India is considered to be the oldest in the old step category on mountains. These types of mountains are formed from continuous and longing natural erosion of steep mountains. Earlier the height of Aravalli was at par with the Himalayas.
The Aravalli ranges are the oldest mining fields as well in the world and the archaeologists have actually found traces of copper mining dating back to the 5th century BC.
The Himalayan mountain range has nine highest peaks in the world and the highest being is Mount Everest – 8848 meters.
The highest peak of Aravalli is Guru Shikhar which is 5650 feet at Mount Abu in Rajasthan. The peak is named after Lord Dattatreya, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
If you go north India – beyond this there lays the most hostile natural environment on earth – that is the Siberian winds. In fact, it is only because of the Himalayan range that the country does not face severe cold breeze and windy air from the north.
You should know that Himalayan mountains are the ones who are responsible to create one of the hardest deserts on earth to its north – that is Taklamakan Desert – China also called as Sea of Death.
The Himalayan holds the third largest ice mass in the world after the artic and Antarctica. The range of the Himalayan Mountains consists of over 15000 glaciers that store almost 12000 cubic kilometres of fresh water.
These are the facts about the Himalayas which show how rich they are and what all India is known for in the entire world. Other than this the exotic wildlife, flora and fauna are unbeatable. But all these are in danger too, thus, maybe we travellers can take a pledge to keep our Himalayas clean, safe and preserved by doing our bit in our own way so that our generations can witness the grandness of the Himalayas and our mountains.
Spiti Valley – the moment this name comes, a lot of people get amazed and ask ohh, is this in India and if yes where? This is a hidden isolated world in Himachal Pradesh which is a wonder in itself. This blog is close to my heart and you will get to read more such on Spiti valley as this place is a treasure chest for me and I’m sure many traveller enthusiasts would agree with me.
Treasure chest – just two words to say about a world that was forbidden to visitors for about 30 years. Travelling to Spiti Valley is like Time Travel, you tend to get a feeling of getting in a time machine and travel to a world and time unknown. Wow! Goosebumps.
This blog is based on my recent 10-day bike travel to Spiti valley with a rider me being a pillion on Royal Enfield 500 cc. In particular, this blog is about 6 reasons to visit Spiti Valley – the hidden treasure of Himachal Pradesh. So let’s start by knowing the place a bit.
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” – John Muir
This all belongs to Spiti that lies across the main range of Himalayas, called the Trans-Himalaya. But hey, wait, what are those things that come to your mind when we think about Himalaya. Spiti is 13,800 square kilometres of untamed land. Lush green meadows, misty mountains with dense pine forests, snowing ranges, and soaring high snow peaks. On the contrary, if I say you won’t get to see much of these in Spiti valleys then? What I wanted to say is – Spiti is the complete divergence of all that, but just as beautiful as the other side of Himalayas.
Spiti Valley is a cold desert mountain valley that is situated in the Himalayas – the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. It is the land of barren hills, gorgeous lakes, grey scree slopes, rubble rocks, muddy terrains, and some of the world’s highest inhabited villages that are secluded with the least of 30 humans, and as their population and not more than 100 people in one village at the max. it is a land of beautiful monasteries hovering histrionically over its landscape. The touch of desolateness and a sense of ancient civilisation are some add-ons. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India. Let’s find out reasons to visit this unadulterated and hidden treasure that has gradually getting transformed into an exotic tourist destination. Let’s see…
Spiti valley is also home to the highest motorable village in Asia – Komic it is a beautiful scenic village where the temperature dips to -30 degrees Celsius in winters. The landscapes are amazing that will leave you awe-struck.
This village has a population of around 50 to 60 people. The houses here, separated by swish lawns and green threads of the loom with wooden windows and doors, very Indo-Tibetan feel. This set up gives everyone enough room to bask in the winter sun. These houses are a welcome change from our congested city houses.
Spiti is the secluded terrain for many visitors yet there is a reason to visit because of plenty of homestays in this scarcely inhabited Spiti. My favourite is Solo Yolo – Kaza and for more on homestays in Spiti read next blog
This gives you a wonderful opportunity to the visitors to learn about their culture and stays with locals. Most of these homestays are in the middle of the villages and at a very high altitude giving you the perfect view of the entire valley.
It has a beautiful monastery amidst the mountains that dates back to 996 AD. Key Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,166 metres (13,668 ft) above sea level, close to the Spiti River. It is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for Lamas. It reportedly had 100 monks in 1855. You can stay in the monastery and pray in the praying room.
The monasteries are one such reason for not to miss visiting Spiti. There are many monasteries in Spiti that are considered to be the centre of Buddhism; you will get to unwind your soul in this perfect place. Come to stay in monasteries and have some soul-searching.
The glorious and stunning view of the Milky Way at Pin Valley, you get to have them at Tabo and Kaza as well. In fact, Chandra Tal shall not be missed for star gazing and this amazing view to fall in love.
Now that’s a sight we simply don’t get at too many places.
There are dozens of lakes in Spiti that are neatly tucked away in the valley for you to discover. One such major tourist destination known for some of the toughest and exciting motorable roads in India is a stop at Chandra Tal lake – the lake of the moon. It is on the Samudra Tapu plateau overlooking the Chandra River. It is at the altitude of 4,300 metres (14,100 ft) in the Himalayas. Camping by this lake under the starry skies is exactly the kind of life-changing experience you are looking for.
These are some of the reasons to visit Spiti – an offbeat travel destination in India. Here are many more offbeat destinations in India which you can choose for your next travel.
Keep reading, Keep travelling.. the world awaits you!
Travelling is exploring your inner being. It always fascinates me as it brings a lot of challenges and expedition in my kitty. This time when I was planning my next trip, the third highest peak of Maharashtra named Ghanchakkar that is positioned beautifully amidst the Sahyadri ranges came out from my bucket list.
Overview of the destination:
These ranges offer an opportunity to observe the beauty of nature and lush green terrain that is perfect for hiking and trekking. Of course, any traveller would love to visit this place. SO, here I decided to take a plunge to the Ghanchakkar peak.
The topography of Ghanchakkar plateau in the western India is a rugged terrain with stunning mountains amidst the Sahyadri mountain ranges in Maharashtra. Ghanchakkar plateau is the third highest peak in the Western Ghats of Sahyadri mountain ranges. It stands beautifully, guarding the two small villages and the flora and fauna, at the height of 1532 meters ( 5,026 ft).
Two base villages surround ascents of the peak, out of which we visited Shirpunje village, which is positioned around 22 kilometres from Rajur on the northern side of the Sahyadri Mountains. Taking this village, a base one can trek the Ghanchakkar peak in around 2.5 hours.
Let’s begin our journey:
I would love to begin my journey with letting you guys a bit about this rugged topography and Rocky Mountains of Ghanchakkar peak. Although, the region is surrounded by gorgeous views, waterfalls, lakes and an extensive forest region that are the virtual paradise for camping, trekking, climbing etc. This region provides an array of choices for outdoor adventures and nature lovers.
It’s indeed a pleasure to illustrate the whole experience of the trek on a canvas of magnificent mountains standing high, stunning waterfalls and nature at its best. The group of around 24 adventure enthusiasts went crazy just with the thought of going on different type of trek and camping. This gusto led me to take a wrong train, Alas! But, I managed to get on the train to move ahead.
Well, wait, the journey to the base camp was thrilling as the monsoons added an extra charm to our trip. The lush green vicinity and the roads all drenched with rains made the view awesomely great. Not just this, the when a 7-year-old kid sat on the top of the jeep, everyone went awe-struck, she enjoyed immensely in the rains while on the top of the jeep with other travelers.
Unforgettable trek experiences
Accommodation: When we travel accommodation becomes an integral part, thus here, I had a home stay this time, which was in the heart a small remotely located village surrounded by the peaks and waterfalls. Yes, visualizing it is divine! The base village was actually a very tiny village that is not developed with a lot of modern amenities and lifestyle; rather I loved the place because of their immense welcoming attitude and treasured culture, which ideally, I was unable to experience in my urbane and chic lifestyle.
With few fellow trekkers we stayed for a night and relished local cuisine, home cooked by the villagers (Staple Maharashtrian food), in fact, we all helped them and learned about the local food that they eat. Moreover, it was great fun to cook with them as well. Wow! What a thrilling experience with the entire team and the co-trekkers. The stay was warm and cozy with mesmerizing views from the windows, needless to mention it was raining, thus the lush green grass and the tiny ponds made us felt like kids again. The whole idea of connecting and gelling up with the villagers paid off when we played with the kids of the villagers. It was indeed an unprecedented experience. Of course, selfies can’t be resisted!
Trek and Trail: We went for a night trail to enjoy the cool breeze and the serenity that this place has to offer. The team had fun at a huge lake that was approachable with an interesting small trek. The panoramic views and the rains was a terrific experience.
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There is a piece in me that like to tenderly imagine my maverick and seditious soul. But, precisely, I love to have a picky and cosy relationship with my soul that can rub up against a little bit, putting me alive.