Himachal Pradesh - Travelling
Kaza, Lahaul and Spiti Valley
A marvelous Kaza is at an altitude of about 12,500 ft, the largest hamlet in the Lahaul and Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, lying on the Indo-Tibet border. It was Rinchen Zangpo who established the oldest Tabo Buddhism Monastery in 996 AD and best place to watch Lama dance. Kaza is the dream destination township is surrounded by majestic high mountains covered with scattered patches snow, bubbling crystal clear river, streams, picturesque barren monasteries and gleaming meadows. Kaza night was very cold at -13 temprature @8 pm, We took thick layers of blankets. The route from Kinnaur Valley is remains open throughout the year, while the Lahaul Valley route opens during summer as the Kunzum Pass closes during winter. Kaza, the landscape of Himachal is the largest functional city. Village homes are constructed in typical Himachali style with timber bonded stone. It is a breathtaking beauty of cold desert region of Valley, where the monsoon never pays a visit. Kaza is famous for pure wool shawls, carpets and woolen clothes. This is base camp for trekking, mountaineering and Pin-Parvati, Parang-La and Pin-Bhaba popular trails start from Kaza.
Kaza, which overlooked by high mountain ridges on all sides and can be easily reached Kinnaur OR Manali via Rohtang Pass. While staying at villages and get an insight of the lifestyle of the incredibly spirited people. Learn about the culture, music, dance, food, arts and crafts. During the winter these roads are inaccessible. Kaza is known for its colorful festivals and the Sakya Tangyud Monastery. Kaza untouched corner sits on the plain of the left bank of the Spiti River, with jagged mountains rising on either side. Town is entirely surrounded by rich flora-fauna in summer. Around Kaza in the unspoilt nature, Himalayan wolf, snow leopard, blue sheep, golden eagle and other species call it home. You have to cross one of the world’s highest getaway passes and drive on the world’s most treacherous road and prove your determination to enjoy the Spiti has offered. Kaza is divided in 2 area Old is Kaza Khas and New is Kaza Soma. Locals also offer adventurous activities such as trekking, mountaineering etc. Even though the cold winds are ever flowing, time seems to stand still while you appreciate the wonder known as Spiti. Some of the communities have monasteries with centuries old history. Some villages, guesthouses or homestays with facilities for tourists are available.
“Festivals promote diversity, they bring neighbors into dialogue, they increase creativity, they offer opportunities for civic pride, they improve our general psychological well-being. In short, they make cities better places to live.” – David B.
Spiti River originates from Kunzum Mountain Range in a way that divides Lahaul and Spiti. The river almost looks frozen during the winter season. It is located at a height of 16,000 ft above sea level. Tourists can relish different kinds of adventures including rock climbing, trekking, paragliding and angling around Spiti River. Almost all human settlements in Spiti are located on the banks of the Spiti River, such as Tabo, Dhankar, Kaza and Rangrik. Most of these places have existed for at least 1000 years. As this part of the Himalayas are desert areas with almost no rains, the river gets no rain water and all its water comes from the melted glaciers of the Himalayan ranges. After flowing through Spiti valley, the Spiti River meets Sutlej River at Namgia in Kinnaur district. It flows in South-West direction in the Himachal. Spiti River, is one of the most important river of Lahaul and Spiti District, added the beauty of this hilly village.
Its located at a very remote place of tribal Himachal. Key Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on picturesque hilltop, close to the Spiti River, in the Spiti Valley of Himachal. The rooms with murals called Tangyur is a must see. This will take at least 5–7 days from delhi-to-delhi comfortably. But if you are lacking time, the best way to visit there is to take the Chandigarh-Rohtang Pass-Kaza route. The monastery has the distinction of being the oldest and the biggest in the district. It is home to around 350 lamas who receive their religious education here. Key Monastery is around 20 km from Kaza which can be reached from Reckong Peo either by HRTC Bus which leaves very early in the morning or your own car, or road are not good after few kilometer from REckong Peo. Key monastery have been founded by Dromtön, a pupil of the famous teacher, Atisha, in the 11th century at nearby village of Rangrik, which was probably destroyed in the 14th century. Monastery is at least a 1000 years old. There was a celebration of its millennium in 2000 in the presence of the Dalai Lama. The culture of Key, closely resembles that of Tibet, the whole of Spiti is known as Little Tibet. Chham (mask dance) by monks are very popular and an integral part of festivities, the dance emphasize the victory of good over evil.
Langza, the offbeat places around Kaza in Spiti Valley which can be easily explored in a day. Langza divide into two as Langza Gongma (upper village) and Langza Yongma (lower village). Population is 150 odd people spread among 35 odd houses. Few home stays available in this village. Live in beautiful destination @20,000 feet most majestic mountain, forever covered with snow, temperatures can go down to -20C or lower and survive in such a place for centuries, when modern facilities did not exist and the answer is "Langza Village". The first time I heard that 'its the Switzerland of Spiti’. It is surrounded by green pastures, snow-clad mountains and barren landscapes. The magic of nature at Langza village leaves everyone speechless. A tiny hamlet, 16 km northwards of Kaza, Langza is the most beautiful valleys in Spiti region. Village is known for its charming scenery, pre-historic buildings, and old monasteries. The village is enveloped by snow-capped peaks, green meadows, and barren plains, offering some wonderful views. This picturesque village is blessed with ancient monasteries and the prehistoric era. Langza, Hikkim, and Komik are One of the highest motorable villages in the world and not worth risk to take car on those narrow slippery roads. There are couple of buses that run from Kaza to Langza every Tuesday and Saturday when roads open in summers. In winters, people trek about 10-12 KMs in snow to reach Langza from Kaza. Being located at high altitude, this village hosts tourists in winters whose looking to spot snow leopard.
Kibber, in Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh, has the distinction of being the highest motorable village in the world. This village is bit on off-route from Kaza but worth to visit. Stone houses and all built unlike rammed earth, this small typical Himalayan village.The village is known for its scenic mountains, barren splendor and monasteries. About 9-10 KMs from Ki Monastery and at an altitude of 4205 Meters, there lies a village named Kibber. It claims itself as the highest village in the world is a small village in Spiti valley. The houses in Kibber are constructed in Tibetan style with stone and adobe bricks and are worth seeing. We passed through the street of Kaza towards the road going to Kibber. The jeep moved along the Spiti river untill it reached to Kye Village. Farming is the main source of livelihood for the people of Kibber and barley and Peas are the main crops harvested here. The journey along the Spiti river was a pretty site with narrow and wide channels of river through the pebbled valley. Kibber village is situated in the remote areas of Spiti Valley. It is the highest village of India. Coming to the population so its around 500 to 600 approx. There is very less oxygen at this place making it even harder to walk . From Kye, the road was bended away from the river towards Kibber Village. 1 Hr. drive from Kaza to reached Kibber village. The village has all the basic amenities like electricity, school, restaurants, hotels etc.
Kaza, the landscape of Himachal is the largest functional city and the scenic beauty of Kaza is a tourist attraction in itself. No issue for accommodation in Kaza, whatever your budget can fit here, easily availbale to stay for the night. Buddhism is the prominent religion of valley, the ancient monasteries are prime attraction like Key Monastery, Tangyud Monastery, Tabo Monastery and Dhankhar Monastery. Confluence of Spiti, Pin Rivers, Kibber and few others names even most of the trekking trails are start from Kaza. The town is sitting in the lap of mighty himalayas, on the right hand side is Spiti river. The temp here varies in differ seasons or even same day but nights remain cold throughout the year. just capture your gaze n' keep your camera clicking. Sunset views while standing on the banks of the river Spiri. Paying guest is another option for cheap accommodation. Bike in rental also available in Kaza or near by place @ around Rs.1000 to Rs.1500 per day. BSNL or MTNL are best option to communicate is only BSNL or MTNL networks, no other network available.
HOW TO REACH
BY AIR : Kangra Airport at Dharamshala is about 290 km away from Rampur Bushahr and is well connected to Shimla, Delhi, Chandigarh. Airlines operate regular flights. After reaching the airport, travellers can hire taxis or take buses to reach their destination, which takes time.
BY TRAIN : Himachal is well connected by the rail network, is the closest broad gauge railhead serving those headed to Rampur. Number of trains connected from all major parts of the country to Himachal. Pathankot Railway Station is the longest in state. Once you reach Pathankot, take a taxi or bus from outside the station, which is easily available. Also for picturesque landscape, choose to travel by the toy train from Kalka to Shimla.
BY ROAD : ISBT Kashmiri Gate has a wide variety of Roadways buses from ISBT to Shimla and Reckong Peo. The Kinnaur Region is paradise for biker’s, if you are interested in going to the Indo-Tibet border, there are some local people who can assist you on getting the permit. Bus run from Reckong Peo to Kaza and Kaza to Reckong Peo in Everyday. Couple of buses run from Kaza to Langza every Tuesday/Saturday when roads open in summers.
WHEN TO VISIT
Kaza can only be visited during months from May to October, during winters the roads get blocked dew to thick snow. The roads are mostly blocked in winter November to March. The place is usually cold and windy during the summer or mid-winter time and spine-chilling cold during the winters. Avoid the height of monsoon and also the roads are likely to be closed during winter. You will have the best views of Valley is in Spring or just after the monsoon. The village remains inaccessible for almost 4 months November to February due to heavy snowfall. Travelling to Kaza is no less than a daredevil act as one has to pass through one of the world’s narrow,, bumpy dangerous roads of Kinnaur district. Kaza is inaccessible during the winter months due to heavy snowfall.