In Pics: Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Image courtesy: Abhishek Hajela

Whitewashed desert mountain valley landscapes meander endlessly and then you come across a tiny village with a sign that proudly proclaims (Population: Humans: 35; Animals: 75) and you know you are at a place virtually untouched by time. Beautiful mountains interspersed with stark homes and monasteries perched thousands of feet above sea level – Spiti Valley unfolds itself stunningly.

Also read: Road trip through Kinnaur & Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

Also read: 10-must-visit hill stations in Himachal Pradesh

Also read: Best places in India for a digital detox vacation

 

Image courtesy: Abhishek Hajela

Spiti means ‘The Middle Land’ and is literally located in the middle of India and Tibet in the northeast part of Himachal Pradesh. It has a distinctive Buddhist culture and is one of the least populated regions of India and gateway to the northern most area of India.

Image courtesy: Abhishek Hajela

The highlights of Spiti valley are the Ki and the Tabo Monasteries that were also used as locations of the spectacular scenery and cinematography in a few films. The Pin valley in has still got a few Buchen Lamas of the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism.

Image courtesy: Abhishek Hajela

Spiti is also the summer home to hundreds of semi-nomadic Gaddi sheep and goat herders who come to this valley for grazing their animals from the surrounding villages. They come after the snow melts and leave just before winter starts.

Image courtesy: Abhishek Hajela

Another focal point of the area is the undulating Spiti River which is flanked by giant barren mountains that rise to very high elevations.

Image courtesy: Abhishek Hajela

Expect miles of natural beauty! That is the beauty of Spiti – you will drive for hours gazing at rugged and stark scenery without coming across anyone; and even if you come across someone they will most likely be sitting around and soaking in the stunning landscape.

Image courtesy: Abhishek Hajela

Interestingly, most of the villages just get an hour of electricity everyday and they use it to quickly finish the chores.

Image courtesy: Abhishek Hajela

You will see many bikers on the way who make their way on one of the most demanding roads of India. Sections of the road are occasionally washed away by the rain, so always keep an extra couple of days in hand.

Image courtesy: Abhishek Hajela

At every village you will find one friendly villager or a small homestay who are willing to give you a room for a couple of nights. Meals are basic with a simple meat/chicken curry, lentils, egg preparations, paranthas and the good old Maggi noodles being the mainstay of most menus. Camping is also a good option here, but you need to carry your own equipment and gear.

Image courtesy: Abhishek Hajela

Spiti can be accessed via Kinnaur driving ahead from Shimla. The 412-km long road is not in very good condition and the drive is tough.

Image courtesy: Abhishek Hajela

Foreigners need Inner line permits to enter Spiti Valley. Another way to enter Spiti is via the Kunzum Pass from Manali.

AUTHOR'S BIO: Abhishek Hajela is an award winning photographer, traveller, photojournalist, and a blogger based in New Delhi. He leads and develops experiential photography tours! More on: www.abhishekhajela.com

 Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *