The place itself is a must-see. But with great difficulty, I narrowed it down to five things you have to see/do when you’re in Spiti Valley.
Gorgeous, isn’t it? But this pales in comparison to the real deal. Situated at 14,000 ft above sea level, the crescent-shaped glacial lake is breathtaking at first sight. The clear, azure water is numbingly cold, but don’t hesitate to dip at least your toes in. It can only be approached by foot; a 2 km trek at that height can leave you feeling a little lightheaded, so remember to take baby steps and carry water if you’re not used to the altitude. It’s definitely worth the walk.
Snail mail yourself a letter from the world’s highest post office. Postmaster Rinchon Chhering, who has managed the place since 1983, handles around 15 to 20 letters each day. It’s also the world’s highest polling station, at 14, 400 ft above sea level.
One of the highest inhabited villages in the world — 14,830 ft — Komic boasts the highest motorable monastery in the world. It has a population of 114, mostly comprising of monks at the Tangyud Monastery. Don’t forget your sunscreen here; the sun is so sharp, you’re likely to get burned if your skin is exposed even for a few minutes.
From a distance, this building looks like it is made of Lego blocks. Founded in the 11th Century, and destroyed several times over by fire and invaders, the monastery has survived; this explains the haphazard construction. Murals cover the walls and if you’re lucky, you might catch a ceremonial dance performance. A beautiful view of the Spiti Valley can be seen from the topmost floor.
Local belief has it that motorists should drive across the pass for good luck. Carry along some spare change, as a Buddhist temple at the pass is home to a “wishing stone”. One simply makes a wish and then tries to stick a coin (of any denomination) to the stone. If it sticks, your wish will supposedly come true.
All pictures by me.