meaning the middle country, Spiti is a high altitude cold desert
dotted with numerous monasteries. Rudyard Kipling in Kim called
it a ‘…world within a world’ and a ‘…place
where the Gods live’. Lying in the rain shadow area of rugged
mountain ranges of Zaskar, it gets very little rain and plenty of
snow. Alexander Cunningham in his book Ladakh writes about Spiti
that rainfall here is scarce and rarely above four inches annually
and all of it seems to be falling on the same day.
The whole valley seems to have been painted in hues of purple,
pink and russet. The deep gorges carved out by the snow–fed
streams add charm to Spiti’s stark splendour. The valley is
locked between the Zaskar and the Great Himalayan ranges –
the tallest ranges of Himachal. The Kunzum La – literally,
meeting–place for Ibex (a kind of mountain goat) – is
th tenuous link between Lahaul and Spiti. The Manali road traversing
through Lahaul enters the valley through Kunzum La. This pass also
connects Batal in the upper Chandra valley and the first village
Losar of the Spiti valley. Kunzum La is crossable on foot from May/
June to October/ November and the snowfall here is also less than
on the Rohtang pass. The Chandra River flows from the west of this
pass and it also has a track that connects it to the enchanting
Chandra Tal (4220m).
Spiti has four distinct regions and its main valleys are the Spiti
Valley, Lingti Valley and the Pin Valley. Spiti sub division of
the Lahaul Spiti District is rougher in its terrain and is thus
more difficult to traverse. The river valleys of Spiti still add
some charm to the otherwise barren valley like the Spiti River that
rises to the east of the Kunzum La.
The beauty of the forbidding Spiti is on show for only four months.
For the rest of the year it is hidden under a white veil of snow.
Winters are usually spent in spinning and weaving cloth. Layers
of woollen are worn by locals to trap body heat – in fact,
even yaks and mules get their share of designer woollens.
Words about Spiti wouldn’t be complete unless the shales
of Spiti are mentioned. The rockfaces found here are information
banks on the geological history of the Himalaya while some of the
valleys here are helpful in the study of creation of this lofty
mountain range. Spiti shales or Ammonites are pretty well known
in the field of geology. These were once living creatures that got
extinct almost a hundred million years ago. They are now in the
form of fossils. The ammonites once lived under the sea and the
tectonic thrust that formed these areas also fossilised them. The
best among the lot is called Shaligram and is considered very rare
Most of the mountains of Spiti are still unclaimed by the mountaineers.
Spiti thus invites scores of climbers as well as trekkers to come
and rediscover her unconquered terrain where the Indian and Tibetan
culture has mixed with each other.
Direct bus service is available from Shimla and Manali. There is
a bus service between Kaza and Shimla on every alternate day. There
are one or two daily buses from/to Manali, but the bus service between
Kaza and Keylong is not dependable. All the smaller places in Spiti
can be toured by jeeps or taxis which can be hired from Kaza.
Climate : Cold and dry
Season : June to October
Clothing : Heavy woollen
General Information & Accomdation info on Spiti city of Himachal Pradesh - India