From the moment I entered Spiti valley, I was awestruck. I woke up every morning feeling ‘oh! I’ve seen it now’ and then came another mind blowing surprise! The gorgeous rugged landscape, the gushing rivers, some of the highest inhabited villages in the world, the kindest people, the pace of life. It’s really hard to do a bucket list of my favourite moments from Spiti. Every moment was precious!
Well, I’ve still managed to narrow it down to these 8 experiences that will hopefully inspire you to get your bags packed and head to this stunning valley to experience everything for yourself.
A night under the stars in one of the highest villages in the world
Spend a night at a homestay in Kibber, pull out those mattresses and have a meal under the starry blanket. Let the dark outline of the majestic peaks, the brightness of the full moon and the silent weight of the mountains enchant you.
2. A free adventure on the Kibber Chicham ropeway
This one’s not for the faint hearted, but if you do get in there, is sure to take your breath away. Locals have built an ingenious ropeway to transport almost anything, living or non-living, from one village to another. It runs over a stunning deep gorge. As I was reluctantly hopping onto that iron basket, one of the locals reassured me by telling me that the ropeway was built in 2007 and has never yet collapsed.
3. Send some love from the highest post office in the world
In Hikkim village, at 4440 metres, is supposedly the highest post office of the world. Make your way into that cute little dingy room and pick your favourites from an interesting collection of post cards. Send them to your loved ones and wait for them to arrive, slowly but surely, like almost everything else in Spiti and most good things in life.
4. Witness the 550+ year old mummy of a Buddhist monk
The scenic drive, quaint village, tranquil monastery and iconic mummy completely warrant the slight detour to Giu village on your way from Sumdo to Tabo. This 550 + year old mummy of a Buddhist monk in a meditating position is said to have meditated himself to death. You can still see every expression on the fact and it is believed that his nails and hair continue to grow. A land of legends indeed!
5. A local meal at a dhaba
Every village in Spiti comes with a board that mentions its population and elevation. Kah, at a humble 30 people, was one of the smallest I came across. This is one of the first villages in Spiti as you make your way into the valley from Sumdo. Sit at its only little Dhaba, eat some freshly made, steaming chicken momos and Thendok and revel in the barren beauty of the land you have just made your way into.
6. Spend a night at Key Monastery
This is definitely an experience you’ll remember. At Rs 250 for a bed and 3 meals, cooked by the lamas themselves and endless conversations over cups of butter tea. A modest and peaceful night at the monastery amidst the lamas and other travellers. And oh yes! Don’t miss the morning prayers.
7. A meal at the rooftop restaurant by the old monastery in Dhankar
Just next to the old monastery in the beautiful village of Dhankar is a little eating joint, the roof of which offers a stunning view of the entire village. Gape at the beauty in awe as you bite into your Tibetan bread with omelette and of course the quintessential honey lemon ginger tea.
8. Trek to the Dhankar Lake
An experience that will take your breath away, both literally and figuratively. The 1.5 to 2 hour trek affords some gorgeous views of the Dhankar village. And the feeling when you finally get to the lake is totally rewarding.
So make your way to this stunning valley. Let it blow your mind away!
If you need some more inspiration find a photo essay of my journey across the valley here.