Spiti Tourism

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Spiti Tourism – The spellbinding Spiti Valley, located in Himachal Pradesh in India, is often proclaimed by those who see it to be world within a world. With an average height of around 12,500 feet above sea level, it consists of stark high-altitude alpine land. This is scattered with small villages and monasteries, and enclosed by soaring peaks crowned with snow.

Spiti is bordered by Ladakh in the north, Tibet to the east, Kinnaur to the south east, and the Kullu Valley to the south. It shares the same religion as Tibet — Tibetan Buddhism.

The majority of people who inhabit the area are farmers who produce crops of barely, wheat, and peas. They rise early every morning to attend to their crops. Only one crop per year is possible, due to the extreme weather.

There are two routes leading to Spiti. These are from Manali, and from Shimla.

Manali to Spiti – the distance from Manali to Spiti is a little over 200 kilometers (125 miles). It can be covered in  eight to 12 hours, depending on whether you go by bus or by jeep, and the condition of the road around Rohtang Pass near Manali. It’s best to leave Manali as early in the morning as possible (before 6 a.m.), to avoid major traffic congestion and delays at Rohtang Pass. Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass are covered in snow for most of the year, with the roads only open from May to October. Therefore, it’s only possible to travel from Manali to Spiti during these months. (Note: the road has been opening in late June or early July as opposed to May in recent years). Nevertheless, this route remains the most straightforward way of getting to Spiti. It’s also very popular with motorcycle enthusiasts. There’s a police checkpoint at Losar village, at the entrance to the Spiti Valley, where foreigners are required to produce their passport and register their details.

Shimla to Spiti (via Rekong Peo in Kinnaur) – the distance from Shimla to Spiti is around 420 kilometers (260 miles). It can be covered in about 20 hours by bus or 16 hours by jeep along the Hindustan Tibet Road. The journey is arduous and best broken up by a stop in Rekong Peo. If you take this route, be aware that foreigners must get an Inner Line permit from the District Collectors office in either Shimla or Rekong Peo. The permits allow travel in the restricted area from Rekong Peo to Tabo. According to the rules, such permits are only issued to groups of two or more people traveling together.

There are five main Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Spiti — Ki, Komic, Dhankar, Kungri (in the Pin Valley) and Tabo. Visiting these monasteries is a fascinating experience.

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