Lahaul and Spiti are ideal areas for nature enthusiasts and trekkers. Situated at an elevation of 3340 m in the north, these are the two remote towns of Himachal Pradesh. Before these two places were consolidated, the Lahaul capital was of Kardang and Dhankar was the capital of Spiti. However, at this point, these are spread over a region of 13835 sq. km with stunning snow topped slopes and the rugged excellence of these locales draw the explorers. Lahaul and Spiti are two detached Himalayan valleys of Himachal Pradesh that lie on the Indo-Tibet outskirt. An excellent place where there is enthralling Buddhist workmanship and culture-Lahaul is recognized by causing mountains and icy masses while the vegetation, atmosphere and the scene of Spiti are like that of Tibet. That is the reason the town of Spiti is likewise referred to as 'Little Tibet'.
Best time to visit Lahaul and Spiti:
April to October is the best time to visit Lahaul and Spiti. In the winter months, the roads are closed due to heavy snowfall and the roads don’t clear till springtime, i.e., end of March. This region hardly every receives rainfall so the weather is always dry.
Ways to reach Lahaul and Spiti:
- By air – The nearest airport is at Bhuntar which is in close proximity to Kullu and 245 km from Lahaul. You can get buses from here or you can hire a cab as well. The nearest international airport is at Chandigarh, which is 522 km from Lahaul.
- By train – The nearest well-connected railway station is at Chandigarh. There are trains connecting Chandigarh to all major cities of the country. You can then take a bus from here to reach Lahaul.
- By bus – Himachal Tourism owned buses, as well as private buses, can be spotted easily throughout the day, going to and from Lahaul and Spiti. There are Volvo styled private buses which run overnight as well.
- By road – By road, you either take the Kullu- Manali route to reach Keylong first and then Lahaul. Another route is via NH 22 which goes through Shimla and you will reach Spiti.
Places to stay:
Some cheap places to stay are-
- Grand Dewachen Earth
- Hotel Chanderbhaga
- Hotel Dekyid
- Hotel Deyzor
- Hotel Yak Jispa
The prices range from 250-1000 per night depending on your room type.
Places to visit in Lahul and Spiti:
Places to see here are-
- Tabo Caves
- Chandratal Lake
- Kunzum Pass
- Rohtang Pass
- Buddhist monasteries (gompas) like Dhankar Monastery, Tabo Monastery and Key Monastery
You can also enjoy fun activities like skiing, trekking and yak safari while you are here.
Festivals in Lahaul and Spiti:
Some of the festivals that are celebrated here are-
- Gochi festival in February
- Tsheshu Festival in June
- Ladarcha Fair in July
- Pauri Fair in August
- Chakhar Mela in September
Must eat foods in Lahaul and Spiti:
When you are in Lahaul and Spiti you cannot afford to miss these delicacies-
- Tibetan and Continental cuisine at the Yak Café. Must try is thukpa and hot herbal tea.
- Paranthas with aloo gravy at Hotel Deyzor. There are several vegan options available here.
- Café Kunzum Top is famous for sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs. It is the perfect breakfast/ brunch restaurant. There is a multitude of chutneys that the café specializes in and each one of them is finger licking good.
Shopping and local markets in Lahaul and Spiti:
Shopping is great here as you get fancy items at very cheap prices. There is a lot of Tibetan inspired crockery and jewellery that you can buy here. Some of the go-to markets are-
- Kaza shopping market- It is famous for woollen items like sweaters, carpets, shawls etc. Be sure to buy bedroom slippers which are made of grass.
- Keylong Market-This market is famous for ponchos, baby shawls, caps and stoles.
- Homestays and hotels can be booked for as low as 250 rupees per night.
- It is advised to consume fluids in small intervals so that you don’t face from altitude sickness.
- The only Mobile network that you can rely on is BSNL.
- There is a shortage of water in this area. So use it judiciously.
- There are a very limited number of ATMs available. So keep cash with you at all times.
Festival Calendar of Lahulandspiti