Day 4 contd… (Himachal) – Kaza (Spiti Valley)

Hope ya’ll are having a lovely weekend! I am catching up after long as I was continuously travelling, all thanks to my job. 🙂

Continuing from my last post where Ankit & I reached Kaza at 3:00pm on 14th June’16.  With the journey that we had, we were very tired and on top of that had to search for a hotel which was another challenge. But luckily, we had Raapchik (If you haven’t had chance to read about him please find details here) who was as helpful as ever, to show us few options. We, then chose to stay in “Snow Lion” which was a decent hotel with an amazing view of local monastery and ever present snow capped peaks. As the tourism to Spiti Valley has been increasing every year, Kaza now has at least 20+ hotels/home stays with quite a few good ones.

I want to cover this post in a different way so that readers/travellers don’t miss out on important details. It is going to be an interactive Q&A sort of a thing. Hope you have fun reading it.

Q. Where is Kaza?

Ans. Kaza is a very small town located in barren Spiti Valley (also known as Ladakh’s cousin) in Lahaul & Spiti district. It is situated along the Spiti river at an elevation of 11,980ft (3,650m). Ankit & I had heard about Kaza a lot from our friends & on the web (only good things) and hence wanted to witness it. This place is famous for the lush green valley to one of the coldest deserts with different shades of brown, it is the most breathtaking scenery that you would ever see. This place is famous for Monasteries like Ki, Sakya Tangyud aka Komic Monastery, World’s highest post office & petrol station! and of course other mysterious & beautiful places like Dhankar & Pin Valley.

Q. What did I do after reaching Kaza at 3:00pm?

Ans. Perpetually bitten by a travel bug we checked into our hotel, rested, took shower and roughly around 4:00pm left for Ki Monastery. This was on top of our bucket list. As our private cab was waiting we took an hour to reach the place.The Ki Monastery is the biggest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery located at an elevation of 13,668ft (4,166m). The moment we reached on top of the monastery we could hear the sound of whistling winds, praying monks. This place gives you a feeling of serenity and peacefulness. It felt so amazing that you just don’t wanna go back! Ankit & I prayed, we also happened to meet few monks. One of the monk offered us to come inside and see the place where they cook and sit. He offered us Ginger Honey Lemon tea which was out of this world. Honestly, I was really surprised to see such pristine beauty and diversity in India, which most people are not even aware of.

Afterwards, we headed to Kibber village which is a small town situated at an elevation of 14,000ft (4,270m). We also explored the local market in Kaza with bustling shops, Israeli cafes and German bakeries. Note that the market closes around 8:00pm so u gotta be quick with your shopping and dinner! So we did exactly that. Grabbed few mementos, followed by thukpa dinner, we headed to our room, sat in the balcony and watched the moon serenading the stars……………

Q. What to pack?

Ans. As evenings are quite chilly and during the day it’s very hot so carry clothes accordingly. Do not forget to carry toiletries as hotels have limited amenities.

Q. On Acclimatization & Fitness?

Ans. As Individuals are not used to higher elevation hence you need to get yourself acclimatized. If you’re reaching by flight to Manali it’s better to take a day halt and if travelling by road only (like us) then no need to worry! If ur in good health now, ul feel much better there! 🙂

Q. What to do in Kaza?

Ans.

  • Monasteries: Ki Monastery, Sakya Tangyud/Komic Monastery
  • Landmarks: World’s Highest Post office & Petrol Pump
  • Nearby places: Tabo, Kibber, Chichum Ropeway, Hikkim, Langcha, Pin Valley and few others…..
  • Local Market: Spiti T-shirts, Prayer flags, Ox Tail! (If that’s ur thing), Tibetan & Buddhists handicrafts
  • Food: German Bakery, Sol Cafe, lotta other local cafe’s, 1 Liquor Shop.

Few of the pictures, to give you a glimpse of what all we did. Overall we had so many different experiences in a day that we were super tired to do or think anything. And after that we called it a day. Now when I think it is hard to imagine that we covered so much in a day.

More things to Know about Kaza:

  • At Ki monastery, try ginger, honey and lemon tea, monks will offer you
  • Do get Laal Mirch from Kaza, its superb
  • Do explore the local market, for caps/scarfs, prayer flags etc.
  • Kaza has electricity only couple of hours a day, so before finalizing on the stay just check with the hotel if they have electricity back-up (ours did) and other necessary amenities (hot water, etc.).
  • It is advisable to carry enough cash from Manali/shimla as you will hardly find an ATM.
  • Prices:
    • Cab (sharing) (TATA Sumo) – Manali to Kaza – INR 1,000/person
    • Cab (private) (TATA Sumo) – Manali to Kaza – INR 10,000/person (rates vary alot depending on seasonal demand)
    • Kaza Sightseeing – INR 1,500 – INR 2,000 per day (prices vary depending on car, agent, negotiation skills)
    • Hotel “Snow Lion” – INR 1,300 (Double Room per night). A little over average hotel price in Kaza
    • Food – Approx. INR 500 per person
    • Shopping – Approx. INR 500 – INR 1,000 per person
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The stunning Ki Monastery!

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Scenery on the way to Ki Monastery!

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The monk from Ki Monastery who offered us Ginger,honey & lemon tea!

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The most peaceful time of my life while looking at those ranges standing tall!

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Ah, those winding roads. View from the top of Ki Monastery 🙂

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To experience the grandeur of nature!

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“Us” @ Ki Monastery!

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Under the sun so bright & cruel!

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“Van Gogh” Inspired?

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Ah! The Himalayas 🙂

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Do i look tired?

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Conquered Chichum!

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Highway to Heaven!

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One of the breathtaking views from the top of Ki Monastery, sigh!

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Lahaul-Spiti – Of hills & valleys!

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En-route to Kaza!

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View from our balcony!

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