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Spectacular Spiti


smiley Hello friends. Here I am back again to unfold yet another pictorial travelogue and the jewel for you is Spiti, in Himachal pradesh. Barren, desolate, stark landscapes situated at a formidable altitude , breathtaking(quite literally )but beautiful place

pointing-finger Mystical Spiti shot into limelight with the John Abraham and Udita Goswami starrer movie Paap

pointing-finger Rudyard Kipling described Spiti in his book as “At last they entered a world within a world, a valley of leagues where the high hills were fashioned of the mere rubble and refuse from off the knees of the mountains-surely the Gods live here- this place is no place for men.”

pointing-finger Capturing spiti in words is as difficult reaching it, Spiti being one of the most remote and sparsely populated region, but its beauty is also as unique and as unconventional as its location.

Icon4 Spiti along with Lahaul form the northernmost district of Himachal Pradesh ,sharing its international boundary with Tibet.

•Spiti valley is quite vast around 150 sq km even if it is remote and covering Spiti in a conventional holiday fashion was a bit daunting for us due to our time and travel constraints. So though our target was kaza the most important town of Spiti and the district headquarter, we had to turn back from Tabo, another significant spot of Spiti

•Hence In today’s write up I will be sharing tidbits from my own adventure in Spiti as travel tips

Icon5 There are two ports of entry to Spiti-one-NH22 from shimla-rampur-powari-pooh-Khab-Nako-sumdo

•The other is through Manali-kunzum la- koksar-kaza

•NH22 is being maintained throughout by the BRO this being an important arterial road.The other highway remains closed for 7 months in winter

•And of course I haven’t heard of crossing over from the Tibetan side yet .

Icon1 The last petrol pump before Kaza is Powari, so it is better to tank up fuel and if possible take an extra gallon. The vehicle should be in tip top condition with sturdy new tyres if possible. A four wheel drive could be a better option. Repair shops are almost non existent, or for that matter even human population

pointing-finger Since you will be traveling at altitudes more than 3000 m, it is necessary that you stopover at Sangla or Sarahan to acclimatize. It is said by the locals that the blessing of Goddess Bhimakali in Sarahan is beneficial for proceeding on wards to Spiti

pointing-finger Foreigners require online permit at the checkpoint in Pooh to proceed onwards. Don’t confuse this as the entry point to Spiti just as we did because you have a long way to go before reaching Sumdo which is the gateway to Spiti.

Icon1 Night driving is to be avoided at any cost. First –the road is on the rougher side and second –you will miss the awesome sights

pointing-finger if you like a royal spread as your dinner or lunch, then you will be disappointed as Spiti has very little to offer as a menu due to obvious reasons. The PWD guesthouse keeper at Sumdo was ready to let us the whole three bedroom house at Rs 200 but not at all willing to sell even one potato from his veggie basket. So get the idea?

Icon1 Beware of rain and storm in Spiti as the Mountains are all gravelly and sandy so one strong puff of wind and ….all fall down.

pointing-finger All along the road at regular intervals and in villages you will see prayer flags fluttering . A sign of the Buddhist influence.

pointing-finger The Tabo Gompa founded in AD 996 is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

pointing-finger On the way to Spiti, you can visit the Nako lake, which of course is a part of Kinnaur.Covering the distance from Kalpa to Tabo in a day is possible if you make an early start and don’t encounter any roadblocks.

pointing-finger Accommodation is available in Tabo, not the luxury ones, but basic and warm, and of course cheap

Icon1 If you are afraid of heights and if the stark moonscape like terrain does not sound appealing to you then Spiti isn’t your cup of tea.

smiley Through these photos I have attempted to bring before you a little part of Spiti to you, but as I always say, Spiti, of course is much more than these.

Icon5 As some references I have taken the aid of Koko Singh’s Driving Holidays in the Himalayas.


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0 09 February, 2010 Jewel in the crown February 9, 2010

About the author

She is a Doctor by profession , working in Delhi. Loves traveling, mind games and playing with words… And also the chief-co brewer of GingerChai. She is the chief brewer of some of the interesting categories you see in GingerChai. Follow @manishalsam

View all articles by Mani Padma


  1. SS

    I am visiting India next year will try to see if we can squeeze in spiti our travel plan. Thanks for the info. The pictures though amateur has a lots of life in it rather than pure professional glossy ones we see in travel sites. Good work.

    1. mani

      hi. you need around one week for spiti minimum if you want to explore… well thanks for yur really made my husband’s day cos he was the one clicking away merrily. :-))

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