Lahaul and Spiti are two remote Himalayan valleys of Himachal Pradesh lying on the Indo-Tibet border. Strange, exciting, primitive, these valleys are incomparable in mountain scape, in the rugged beauty of their rocky escapements and the splendor of their snow covered peaks.
Lahaul is marked by a central mass of uniformly high mountains, massive glaciers, passes, lakes and gushing rivers. The two rivers, Chandra and Bhaga, which rise on either side of the Baralacha La, flow through the narrow Chandra and Bhaga valleys. Lahaul is a land of fascinating Buddhist art and culture. Often called as the 'middle country', Spiti is a cold desert regarded as a "World within a world" and "Palace where the gods live". The monasteries of Lahaul-Spiti are rich repositories of ancient murals, thankas, woodcarving and golden images of Padmasambhava
Spiti is the sub division of Lahaul & Spiti district with its hqrs. 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.
By Air : The Nearest Airport is Shimla Airport 170 kms
By Rail : The Nearest Railway Station is Shimla 170 kms
By Road : You can easily get regular buses to Lahaul and Spiti from other major cities of the country.
Gondla : It is 18 kms. from Keylong on the right bank of Chandra river. The location of royal houses of the village is interesting. In the month of July a fair is held when Lamas dance & enjoy. The Gompa of this village has historical significance and the fair attracts a large number of visitors. The residence of the Thakur of Gondla is an eight storey building of its own kind in the entire Lahaul valley. It is worth a visit. This is called Gondla castle or fort and was built in 1700 A.D.
Tandi : Tandi is 8 kms. short of Keylong and is situated at the confluence of Chandra & Bhaga rivers. A legend says that there were two lovers, Chandra being the daughter of the Moon and Bhaga the son of the Sun god. To perform there eternal marriage, they decided to climb to the Baralacha La & from there they ran in opposite directions. Chandra being active and smart easily found her way &reached Tandi after covering the distance of 115 kms. Soon Bhaga was found coming with great struggle through the narrow gorges to Tandi where consequently both met and the celestial marriage was performed. Bhaga covered about 60 kms. distance which was very difficult.
Guru Ghantal Monastery : This is on the right bank of Chandra river about 4kms. above Tandi and is believed to be the oldest Gompa of Lahaul having wooden structure with pyramidal roofs, wood carving and preserving the idols of Padmasambhava & Brajeshwari Devi. On the full moon night in mid-June a festival called "GHANTAL" is celebrated by Lamas & Thakurs together.
Keylong : Keylong is the district Headquarters of Lahaul Spiti on the main road to Leh over Rohtang. It is an oasis of green fields and willow trees, water streams surrounded with brown hills and snow capped peaks. There are hotels, tourist bungalows and rest houses to stay.
Kardang Monastery : It is about 5kms. from Keylong across Bhaga river. It is believed to be built in 12th century. The Monastery has a large library of Kangyur and Tangyur volumes of Budhist scriptures in Bhoti. Kardang village was once the capital of Lahaul.
Shashur Monastery : Situated on a hill about 3 kms. far from Keylong towards north on the same slope. During June/July this monastery attracts lot of visitors when Lamas perform devil dance. It was founded in the 17th century a.d. It belongs to red hat sect and is located among the blue pines. The paintings are represent the history of 84 Buddha's.
Tayul Gompa : Tayul Gompa is 6 kms. from Keylong and is one of the oldest monasteries of the valley having a big statue of Guru Padmasamhava about 5 m high and houses library of Kangyur having 101 volumes. In Tibetan language Ta-Yul means the chosen place. There is an interesting story behind this.
Sissu : It is on Keylong-Koksar road over 30 kms. from Keylong. There is a big waterfall here. This is the seat of God Geypan, who is worshipped in the entire valley.
Koksar : It is 21kms. beyond Rohtang pass in Lahaul and is the coldest place in Lahaul. HRTC workshop, Rest House, police assistance and eating places are available during the season.
Jispa : It is 20kms from Keylong on the bank of Bhaga river having a rest house and mountaineer hut. There is a big camping ground. Sufficient trout fish is available in the river.
Gemur : It is 18 kms. from Keylong in Bhaga valley where devil dance is held during July in the Local Gompa. The place is situated on Manali-Leh highway.