Situated about 12,500 feet high above sea level Spiti Valley is a place that makes you fall in love with the beauty and the peace it carries. A hub of the world’s oldest monasteries, they believe in preserving traditions and the culture of their ancestors.
A trip to any of the monasteries in Spiti Valley, would give an individual a glimpse into the world of the monks and the life they lead. Waking up to the early morning bells and the chanting of the mantras is a beautiful experience.
The cold weather adds to the charm of the place and helps makes the experience more appealing.
Charting out your route:
Delhi – Shimla- Recong Peo- Tabo-Dhankar- Kaza- Key- Kibber
It is easier to travel by road, preferably in a car as opposed to public transport if you would like to stop along the way and indulge in sightseeing. However, travelling from Delhi to Spiti is much cheaper via public transport.
The total distance is about 750 KM from Delhi.
The bus journey from Delhi to Shimla (both local roadways and Volvo) is an overnight journey. (Cost: Rs.350-1000). From Shimla, there are local buses to Recong Peo with a fare of 200-250. There are just two busses a day so I would recommend finding out the timings and getting there well in advance.
A night stay at Recong Peo would be highly recommended, as one would be able to see the breathtaking green frozen hills. There is an early morning bus, which leaves from Recong Peo to Kaza at around 6 am. Since there is just one bus a day, it would be best to book in advance.
Out of Recong Peo, your first stop would be Tabo Monastery. This journey would take 8-10 hours so be prepared with some food and a good dose of patience.
Main attractions of Spiti Valley:
Oldest functioning monastery TABO (996 A.D.)
Tabo monastery was established by the King of Guge. It is famous for its wall paintings and murals. The monastery is as well known as the Ajanta and Ellora of the Himalayas. Near the monastery are caves used by the monks for meditation. The monastery today, serves as an educational institute for young apprentice monks.
Front view of the Tabo monastery
A prayer wheel inside the monastery
Dhankar monastery lies in between Tabo and Kaza monastery. One can reach there by road. But the real adventure is in trekking 4-5 KM along the rocky path. Do watch out because the stones do tend to slide.
Kaza monastery is one of the recent monasteries to be inaugurated by His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
Inside view of the monastery in Kaza
Key Gompa is one of the highest and the most mesmerising monasteries of the world. The best part is that they let outsiders live in the monastery, so you can experience their lifestyle firsthand.
View of the Key Gompa monastery.