The Spiti Valley is a cold desert mountain valley located high in the Himalaya Mountains in the north-eastern part of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India. Popularly known as Little Tibet, Spiti is nestled in the Himalayan Mountain range in Himachal Pradesh.
The tough and remote region acts as the gateway to the further heights of the northern frontiers of Himalayas. The culture, lifestyle, heritage of Spiti is similar to Ladakh and Tibet Autonomous Region. Buddhism and the simpler nuances of the people are practiced here. The unique culture and beauty are the major enchantments.
Accessible only during summer, Spiti is as remote as it gets. Surrounded by mountains and glaciers, villages perched on mountain crests, quaint old monasteries, crystal clear rivers and streams, prayer flags fluttering in the wind and monks in their robes evoke strong comparisons with Tibet and leaves tourists to this remote region spellbound.
Spiti, originally pronounced ‘Piti’ (the middle land), was historically part of Western Tibet (Nariss Korssum). In the 11th century AD Nimagon, the king of Nariss Korssum divided his kingdom amongst his 3 sons of which Spiti and Zanskar together formed a separate kingdom. Later, Ladakh took over the suzerainty of Spiti and Zanskar, and the area was governed by the Nono (younger brother of the King of Ladakh).
It was only after the invasion of Ladakh by Zorawar Singh that Spiti became part of Kullu. It remained an independent principality for many years, under the judicial and administrative rule of the Nonos (adopted as the title for the king of Spiti) during the British Raj.
Places to Visit in Spiti
A visit to Spiti would remain incomplete without visiting the monasteries here. The Ki/Key Monastery, Tabo Monastery and the Dhankar Monastery are must-visits. For adventure enthusiasts, there are a few trekking trails and mountain biking routes that they must go for. The Chandratal lake and Surajtal lakes are some of the most beautiful lakes in the world and are among the highest lakes in the world. This region plays host to a number of festivals which are all celebrated with a lot of fervour, which includes burning of the devil.
Best Time to Travel on Road to Spiti Valley
Mid – May to Mid – July, is the actual main season in Spiti Valley when loads of tourist make their journey over here and season eventually takes rapid move as the road to Manali over Kunzum Pass also open by second week of June. Mostly all the link roads to various sightseeing places or remote villages in Spiti Valley are open in this period and you can plan your visit. Hotels are all open with full facilities, there is quite a lot of hustle bustle of tourists all around in Spiti Valley. Even Chandratal Lake becomes accessible in the month of June soon after the Kunzum Pass opens. Well, it is one of the good time to be in Spiti Valley and a desperate retreat from the HEAT of northern cities of India.