- By - Siddhant Bhatnagar
- On - 2022-02-17
Secrets of Spiti
The Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh is one of the most remote and unexplored valleys of the Indian Himalayas. Though the neighboring valley of Ladakh is far more popular and more traveled, Spiti is equally attracting tourists due to its ethnically different inhabitants like the Monpa people, Buddhist monasteries, grand high altitudes, and stunning landscapes. There are not many travel sites that offer information and tours concerning Spiti. Hence, we’ll be exploring some offbeat places in this beautiful destination so that you can take your decision accordingly.
1. Sopana Lake
Source: Vargis Khan's Blog
Sopoana Lake is a seasonal lake, formed due to the nearby glacial melts. If you're heading in early summers – you might be in for a dry lake. However, fret not. For, it is all about the journey and not the destination! You will come across some of the most jaw-dropping, magnanimous views on any trek. Add to that the views of the hardly experienced Manirang pass, which forms part of the highest mountain ranges in Himachal, and it is easy to see you're in for a treat! As if all of this was not enough of a selling point, you should keep your eyes peeled for spotting some snow leopards around the lake. The best time to visit Sopoana Lake is in the summer.
2. Kanamo Peak
Located in the Spiti Valley, Kanamo Peak is one of the most picturesque treks that you can do in Himachal. The locals will tell you that it’s a trek for the crazy ones, but that’s not true. It’s a trek for anyone who wants to challenge themselves and get rewarded with some amazing views of the valleys.
The best time to go here is between July-August. During this time, the mountain is completely covered in snow and there are many chances of avalanches so it isn’t safe to climb. You can think about visiting this place with your friends if you want to challenge yourself.
Also Read :- Waichin Valley Guide
3. Chicham village
Tucked away in the heart of Zanskar, Chicham village is just a few kilometers away from Kibber, the point where the road ends. One can get to Chicham by cable car across River Indus or a three hour long journey on foot. In fact, it is said that walking to Chicham is easier than reaching it by cable car.
Chicham is situated on a cliff face at an altitude of 12000 feet, while Kibber is at a mere altitude of 10,000 feet. That’s 2,000 feet difference in height! In order to reach Chicham, one has to cross a jhula (a traditional wooden bridge) which is one of the biggest in the world. The villagers have been living in these heights for centuries now and have mastered the art of living amidst hardships. The settlement consists of around 80 houses and 200 people who are engaged in farming and animal husbandry among other things.
4. La Darcha
Most of the villagers are farmers and they rely on their produce to make a living. La Darcha, the biggest trading fair in Spiti, is held once a year on the first weekend of August. This is where traders come from far and wide to buy and sell their products.
The two days of barter trade sees spectacular deals being made, with nothing but a handshake between buyer and seller as a contract! These days you will find many stalls decorated with colorful ribbons, banners, and flags set up at La Darcha. Check out the warm hospitality from the locals. You will be surprised to see that everyone knows each other here!
The locals have been celebrating this festival for centuries. And it is one celebration that you shouldn't miss!
5. Chandratal Lake
Chandratal is a high-altitude lake in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. The lake derives its name from its crescent shape (Chandra means moon in Sanskrit). It is one of the most beautiful lakes in Himachal Pradesh. It lies in the Spiti part of the district, close to the border with Ladakh. It is situated at an altitude of around 4,300 meters (14,100 ft).
The lake is located at the base of the Chandra Bhaga range of the Himalayas. The lake is accessible during summers as it lies on the road connecting Manali and Leh/Kaza that remains open between May and October. The nearest village is Batal, which is 14 km away.
Also Read :- Himalayan Dreamscape: Explore Mcleodganj In December
Spiti has a lot to offer if we open our minds and hearts to it. Nature can be harsh and unforgiving but at the same time, more nurturing and forgiving than we realize. It is this dichotomy that makes Spiti an interesting place. It is an intersection of old and new, comfortable yet challenging, life-giving yet also strangely desolate. And it fits this description perfectly too. Spiti is all of this at once and yet manages to come out as a whole that just makes sense to your heart.