Spiti is the sub division of Lahaul & Spiti district with its headquaters at Kaza. It is called "Little Tibet" because it has almost the same terrain, vegetation & climate . Spiti also means "Middle Country". It lies between Tibet, Ladakh, Kinnaur, Lahaul & Kulu. From Shimla via Kinnaur there is a motorable road which remains open upto Kaza for 8 to 9 months. About 10kms. ahead of Pooh, satluj enters India near Shipki la & Spiti river joins it at Khab. The road then goes to Sumdo via Hangrang valley. From Sumdo Spiti valley starts.
The Spiti river flows fast through deep gorges at some places. The valley is not wide but there are villages and some fields where people grow barley, buck- wheat, peas & vegetables. It has an area of 4800 sq. kms. Some inhabitants have adopted Budhism as there faith and Bhoti is the spoken language. The people are simple and honest. The main Spiti valley is split into eastern and western valleys. They are connected with Ladakh & Tibet on eastern side & Kinnaur and Kulu on western side through high passes.
PLACES OF INTEREST
KUNZUM PASS (4590 m): As Rohtang pass is a gateway to Lahaul so Kunzum pass is the gateway to Spiti from Kulu & Lahaul. After crossing Rohtang pass and driving 20kms, one has to turn right from Gramphoo. While going to this pass, the panoramic view of Bara-Sigri glacier (second longest glacier in the world) is enthrilling and inspiring.
There is a temple at the top of this pass dedicated to goddess Durga. The view from the top is breathtaking. On one side is the Spiti valley and to the other are numerous C.B.(Chandra-Bhaga ) range peaks. On way back from Gramphoo one can either return to Manali (71 kms.) or can go to Leh via Keylong , Darcha, Baralacha la, Sarchu, Tanglang la by road. From Tandi (8 kms. short of Keylong) one can also drive to Pangi valley along the Chenab river to Udaipur, Trilokinath and Tindi and thereafter by trekking to Killar. From Killar to Chamba/Dalhousie/Delhi or to Kishtwar- Jammu-Delhi.
LOSAR (4080 m): It is situated near the confluence of Losar and Peeno streams. this village is worth a visit being the first big village and because of its Location. Yak and horse riding are other charms to add to its beauty and unique experience.
KAZA (3800 m): 200 kms. from Manali & Keylong and 425 kms from Shimla. Kaza is a Sub Divisional Hqtr. of Spiti Valley. It is situated at the foot of the step ridges on the left bank of Spiti river. Once it was the headquater of Nono, the chief of Spiti.
KIBBER (4205 m): It is locally known as Khyipur, one of the highest villages in the world at an altitude of 4205 m above sea level in a narrow valley surrounded by mountains from all sides. Gette village, at a short distance away from kaza, is the highest in the world with a height of 4270 m.
MONASTERIES in SPITI
There are a large number of gompas in this valley but it has also some important and famous monasteries, a brief description is given.
KI MONASTERY: It is situated 12 kms. north of Kaza and serves the western population of Spiti. It is the oldest and biggest monastery of the valley and located at (4116 m) above Kye village. It houses beautiful scriptures and paintings of Budha and other goddesses. Lamas practice dance, sing and play on pipes and horns. Many Lamas get religious training here. It has murals and books of high aesthetic value.
THANGYUD GOMPA: It is located 13kms. above Kaza serving western part of central Spiti. Situated in a secluded place in the narrow gauge of Kaza Nallah, it generally has a Lama from Tibet. Above this there is a long plateau which leads to Shilla peak.
KUNGRI GOMPA: It is situated in the Pin valley about 10 kms. from Attargo where Spiti river has to be crossed to enter Pin valley. It is serves the population of Pin valley.
DHANKAR MONASTERY: It is situated about 25 kms. east of Kaza and serves eastern part of central Spiti. Dhankar is a big village and erstwhile capital of Spiti Kingdom. On top of a hill there is a fort which use to be the prison in olden times. The Monastery has about 100 Lamas and is in position of Budhist scriptures in Bhoti language. Principal figure is a Statue of " Vairochana" (Dhayan Budha) consisting of 4 complete figures seated back to back. It has relics in the shape of paintings and sculptures.
TABO MONASTERY: It is another big gompa for serving the population of eastern side. It belongs to the tenth century and is located 50 kms. from kaza. It is a famous gompa next to Tholing Gompa in Tibet. It has about 60 Lamas and a large collection of Scriptures, wall paintings etc. Murals of this gompa have a great similarity to that of the Ajanta paintings.
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