Monday, September 29, 2008

Kinnar - Spiti - Lahul

If you travel from Simla to Lahul via Kinnar and Spiti, you will experience the vast range of Himalayan beauty. Himalaya in Kinnar is lush green; but as you proceed towards Spiti and Lahul, you will experience another beauty of Himalayas rough, dry with no vegetations but extremely colorful. You cannot believe your eyes that the barren mountains can be so colorful and attractive!

Fram Kalpa You can enjoy the beauty of Kinnar Kailash mountain, from there follow the NH 22 from Puari. Shatadru river will accompany you throughout your journey. Cross Akpa, Murang, Pu to reach Khab. At Khab Blue Spiti river meets brown Shatadru river. Shatadru will not be with you after this point, buut you will be accompanied by beautiful Spiti. Drive 27 Km from Khab to reach Nako.


Located at a height of 2950 Ft. Nako is a beautiful village at one corner of Kinnar. It is 1o9 km from Kalpa. After this village Spiti district starts. The most beautiful place to see in Nako is its lake. Shadows of willow and poplar trees play with the shadow of icetop mountains in the lake!
Among the silver top mountains seen from here Leo Pargil is most prominent. There is a Gumpha beside the lake have some stucco, old idols, murals. You will enjoy staying one night at Nako.

Where to stay at Nako?

Hotel Leo Pargil +911785 236339 Tariff approx INR 650 per day for a double bedded room. Other slightly cheaer alternatives are Lake view guest house and Hari guest house.


From Nako via Samdho your next destination is Tabo. It is 67 Km from Nako. NH 22 ends and Spiti statrs from Samdho. Attractive combination of colors chocolate, red, green, golden of barren mountains will hypnotize you throughout the terrain.

Situated at height of 3050 Meters, Tabo is famous for the Gompha built on 996 AD. Fresco of Tibetian style, beautiful Budhha stucco and paintings on the wall by the natural colours are excellent. Tabo Gompha received the prestigious world heritage title from UNESCO. It is also called as Ajanta of Himalayas.

Where to stay at Tabo?

Trozon Guest house (+911906 223319) INR 800 for a double bedded room per day.
Hotel Yangh khang Inn : A cheaper alternative.


While going from Tabo to Kaza, at Sichling, if you travel 7 Km up leaving the main road, you will reach Dhankar Frot. At 3890 Meters height it was the capital of Spiti 500 years ago. When you see the fort from a distance it will look like a big termite nest in the mountain. Above the fort there is gompha and a museum. Climb the roof of the gompha to see geometrical design of Pin and Spiti river down below in the valley.

From Dhankar to Kaza, on the road Ottargo will come, where Pin river has met Spiti. Kaza is 22 Km from Ottargo and 52 Km from Tabo. Spiti river will accompany you all the way.

Kaza is a district town in Spiti subdivision. This small and beautiful town is divided in two parts. In the lower part city dwellers lives. On the upper part there are Govt Offices, bus terminus, hotels and lodges. World's highest Petrol station is in Kaza!

The most importatnt palce to visit in Kaza is Ki Gompha. 12 Km away from Kaza at a height of 4116 Meters it looks like a bee hive on the mountain. Many beautiful old paintings on the wall, idols of Tibetian gods, plenty of tibetian religious books, Giluba are the assetes of this Gompha. Built in 13th century yhis gompha was attacked many times by the foreign enemies. Lamas here will invite you to drink tea with them.

From here go to Kibber village, which is 17 Km from here at a height of 4205 Meters. On December - January Village get covered with at least 5 to 6 ft ice.

Where to stay in Kaza?

Hotel Spiti Sarai ( +91 1906 222670, 222711) Hotel The Spiti of Himachal Tourism ( +1906 222752)

Tariff INR 1000 - 1200 per day per dounble bedded room.

Kaza to Keylong:

From Kaza start early in the morning for Lahul. The district town of Lahul, Keylong is 187 Km from Kaza. Throughout the journey mind blowing landscapes will mesmerize you. Within no time you will reach a place of heavenly beauty Kunjum Pass, the highest point in Spiti and world's second highest metal road at 4551 meters! You possibly never seen such a blue sky, as you be sseing here. Bara Sigri, Chota Sigri glacier, Chandrabhaga peak with so many unamed ones. It is like an eternal beauty. A temple of Kunjum Mata is there on the top.

Kaza to Kunjum Pass is 78 Kms. From Kunjum, if you like walk 6 km to see the origin of Chandra river, Chandratal.

From Kunjum the road goes to Gramfu after crossing Chotadhara and Chatru. From Gramfu one road goes to Keylong and then to Ladakh and another road goes to manali via Rotang Pass. Keylong is 51 Km from Gramfu.


Keylong is like an oasis in the barren and cold desert of Lahul. Situated at a height of 3350 Meters, you will find some willow and poplar trees for a change. Surrounded from all sides by snow peaked colorful mountain and inneumerable glaciers, Keylong is paradise. The beauty of the peak " Lady of the Keylong" will remain in your memory for ever.

Khardang Math, 6 Km fro Keylong is famous for Thangka art and Buddhist literature collections. Apart from this Shashur Math and Taul village is worth visiting. In Taul there is a giant idol of Padmasmbhaba.

The must see places fro keylong are Udepur and Trilokenath Temple.
From Tandi along the coast of Chandrabhaga river you will reach Udepur in two hours. You will see the wooden pagoda style temple of Mrikula devi there. Finest carvings on the wood will charm your eyes. The main idol is Durga, is made of metal.

While returning visit Trilokenath Temple 16 kms from here. Made of black slates this is a temple of Lord Shiva, but the idol was made in the style of Budhha.

If you have time visit two beautiful villages Gispa and Darcha, situated on the road from Keylong to Ladakh. A little ahead is Barlacha Pass (4830 ft), again a place with its heavenly beauty. From the road you can see the Suraj Tal, origin of Bhaga river.
Where to stay in Keylong?

HTDC Hotel Chandrabhaga ( +91 1900 222393, 222247) INR 1000 - 1600 per day.
Hotel Day kid (+91 1900 222217) INR 600 - 1200 per day.

From Keylong you come back to Manali via Rotang Pass 115 Kms.

Important Informations to note:

  1. Charge the battery of your laptop and camera at all possible chances, Electricity is very irregular at these places.
  2. Plan your travel between June to October, otherwise Kunjum Pass is closed.
  3. You can start your travel either from Simla and end at Manali or the reverse.
  4. Simla to Sarahan and Sarahan to Sangla, Sangla to Kalpa is another travel circuit.

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