11 Mind-blowing Experiences Offered By The Spiti Valley

Planning a trip to the snowcapped barren brown mountains, turquoise rivers, tranquil monasteries and blue skies of Spiti? The best time to visit being June to September, here’s a lowdown on what you can do in this "Middle Land” between Tibet and India.

1. Undertake a Buddhist monastery trail

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Introduce yourself to the ancient sects of Tibetan Buddhism, many of which survive today only in Spiti! Being a research and cultural Centre for Buddhists, Spiti has many monasteries spread throughout the valley. You can have a monk guide throughout, to learn the full story behind the Thankga murals and monastery histories. How often would you otherwise, enjoy a mystical wonder of the inner sanctums of thousand-year-old monasteries and interact with the local monks and lamas?! The Key Monastery (largest amongst others), Kaza Komic, Kaza Dhankar, Kaza Tabo and the Tabo - Kungri Kaza, are the main monasteries where you could have this amazing spiritual experience. FYI - If you are inclined towards art and culture, every July, the monasteries of the Spiti valley, hold the spectacular Chham Dance Festival.

2. Rendezvous with a Mummy

Yes, you read that right! Giu, is this small hamlet with an almost-isolated habitation and no other village till as far as you can see! What still makes it eminent is a mummy of a Buddhist monk that is over 500-years-old! Legend has it, during an avalanche his body got buried under a glacier and remained there for hundreds of year till the Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel found it during a road clearance project, following which it was brought to Giu and placed here, and a small shrine was built around it.

3. Get awestruck camping at the Chandratal lake

Image source: flickr.com/ Sayantan Bhattacharya

If you seek some more closeness to nature, the Chandratal or The Lake of the Moon, will certainly gratify your quench! It is a tranquil glacial lake situated among the snow peaks at 4270m. The lake was named so given its crescent shape. This a sweet water lake with a width of around 2.5 km and the source of Chandra River which merges with Bhaga River to form Chandrabhaga River and later assumes the identity of Chenab. (Phew!) The lake is normally blue but changes colour with the colour of the sky! You could literally just spend your day here, watching the lake change its colours or even better camp for a night! Surrounded by snow-covered peaks on all sides, your tents will be pitched literally on the lap of Himalayas. If you happen to visit the place during full moon you can experience one of the best camps of your life!

4. Send a postcard from the highest post office in the world

There is more to Spiti other than mountains, monasteries, and lakes, it has the highest post office in the world! Housing this is, Hikkim, that lies at an altitude of 4400 meters. Situated between the village of Komik and Langza, it is one of the highest year-round inhabited locations in India. Enjoy a peaceful walk down a small hill and look for the post office painted in white, in a group of houses made of mud and stones.

Send a postcard from here to your loved ones, after all receiving a postcard from the highest post office in the world is something!

5. Enroll for a meditation retreat

Image source: wikipedia.org

Something about this place will urge you to get closer to the spiritual world! Spiti could be referred to as the land of the Gods and anyone who has visited can vouch for the feeling of close proximity to the heavens, it brings about. There are many meditation options available locally, most are a combination of homestay accommodation and guided meditation practice in nearby meditation caves, monasteries or face to face with the majesty of the Himalayas. The silence and solitude of the mountains is amplified by the caves offering an ideal condition for spiritual introspection. Get in touch with yourselves here, or just contemplate and above all just be!

6. Undertake a mountaineering expedition

Image source: wikipedia.org

What is a visit to the Himalayas without some mountaineering?! The Spiti valley has an abundance of treks and is in fact very popular amongst trekkers. The Kanamo peak, also known as White Lady is said to be the holiest mountain in Spiti. The valley boasts of some of the best treks in India, including the Pin valley, Kinnaur, Lahaul, Bhabha and Baspa valleys. On most of these treks, you will also get to try a homestay in case that has been on your list. The traditional hospitality of the villagers provides the day trekker with a comfortable home environment, which could also be a great way to get a taste of the local culture!

7. Yak safari

Image source: wikipedia.org

Traveling is about getting as local as you can right?! What would be a better way to experience local commute than the most common way to travel in this part of the Himalayas - a yak safari! Take a one-day safari in the high plateaus far above the valley floor which. Indulge in a picnic lunch along with some wildlife spotting, the almost-extinct snow leopard is still found here. On request, you can easily expand your safari with an arrangement of camping accommodation. Riding these warm woolly yaks through the picturesque mountain meadows and green pastures, looking down at the silver Spiti River far below is one of the life's special treasures!

8. Visit Langza the fossil store

Hover around for a while in the Langza village and you are sure to come across a fossil! If you don’t stumble upon one yourself, don’t worry, you will have kids coming your way trying to sell one for sure! Fossils of marine creatures and plants are found in plenty under the sedimentary rocks which are millions of years old. The easiest way to find one is to go higher around the mountains and look for them under the rocks. Be careful though as possession of fossil is illegal in India!

9. Make a wish

 Image source: pixabay.com

When you are in the Himalayas and especially the Spiti Valley no matter what, you are ought to feel a connect with Mother Nature. Local Himalayan legend has it that if you stack seven stones one above the other and make a wish, your wish will come true. It’s also believed to bring good luck to travelers.

10. Get some Tibetan souvenirs

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For those who cannot leave without getting a souvenir, the market area in the town of Kaza is the best place to shop in the entire valley. Look out for authentic Tibetian and Buddhist handicrafts like prayer flags, bowls, wheels and Buddha statues. Some of the shops also sell Spiti t-shirts that make ideal souvenirs. If you are someone with a good wit, get your hands on this unique thing sold in a couple of shops - a human thigh bone (fumer) and skull which is decorated in silver and gold artwork and used mainly for religious purposes!

11. Just breathe by the river Spiti

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

You can save this one for the last as you bid adieu to the heavenly Spiti valley. Do nothing but just breathe, as you watch the river flowing in its glory, hear the rushing water and breathe this cool air for one last time as you leave. You can also get some beautiful pebbles on the riverbed making for some thoughtful souvenirs.

Having a good balance of convention and adventure, Spiti fits your Himalayan plan just right. So now, go on make your trip happen, you know what to do in Spiti!

Featured image source: flickr.com/ Carlos Adampol Galindo

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A deep-dyed Piscean, Seema is a dreamer. This extends to the fact that she is seldom in another world of her's or dreaming of the place she would rather be. A wild-child at heart and a keen observer otherwise, Seema's free-spirited psyche is eternally quenching for new experiences. There is no poison for her as restorative as Life, she is the one who will give you the cliched 'I-am-high-on-life', should you offer her a drink. She gets hungover on the feel of a new place, food and conversations with strangers! All this adding to the way she feels and writes!