Himachal Pradesh: Kaza in Spiti Valley


47 kilometers from Tabo is Kaza (also known as Kaze or Kaja), the sub divisional head quarters, and a place of immense beauty.

Manali is 201 kilometers and Keylong is 188 kilometers from Kaza. Buses take about 10 hours to 12 hours from both these places. Always take the first bus from these places, so that you reach before sundown. If you hire your own car, then it will take about 9 hours. But make sure that the driver carries extra fuel, and there are almost no fuel pumps on this route. Also beware of altitude sickness, as suddenly you will be climbing a lot of height. It is advised that you stop the car at times, take small  walks, and then again board it. Carry medicines too. June to October are the months when you should attempt this tour.

The beauty of Kaza is raw, untamed. There is lack of greenery and there is a certain amount of harshness. The area and its culture feels like Tibet. Kaza is divided into two parts. The Old Kaza is where the original residents stay. The New Kaza is the area for the tourists, comprising the banks, post offices, hotels, Bus stands and the markets. World's highest fuel pump is also here.

Chief attractions and places to visit: Check out the Hikim, Komik and Langia monasteries. Also take a bus to Galing and check out the 600 years old Kangari Gumpha of Nigama Pa sect.

Ki Monastery: 12 kilometers from Kaza, at a height of 4116 meters, hanging like a honeycomb is the Ki monastery, also known as the Eagle's nest. It is built in the 13th century like a castle, by the Gelugpa sect. You will find fresco paintings, Thonkas, and a rich collection of very old documents written on leaves of palm trees. The place also serves as view point for the Spiti valley. The Monastery is lit with solar power lamps. The Cham festival held in the months of June and July is the major festival here.

Travel for 8 kilometers from Ki in the North East direction and you will reach Kibber at 4205 meters, on the Tibetan border. About 500 people stay here. They are all friendly and tourist friendly. They make a living out of cattle farming. Known as a trekker's point, Kibber offers stunning views, coupled with a nice weather. The Ladarcha festival held in July is the major event here, when Buddhist monks come here to participate. Travel for 7 kilometers from Kibber to reach Gette (4270 meters) village, which houses the highest human establishment and occupancy in the world.
You can stay at Kibber if you want to, at the Monastery's guest house, or at the hotels at its bus stand, but it is advised that you cover Kibber from Kaza. There is only one Bus from Kaza, that goes to Kibber, via Ki. But the bus passengers have to travel 3 kilometers on foot to go to the monastery. So it is better that you hire a car for this journey.

En route from Tabo to Kaza is the old capital of Spiti, Dhankar. Built in 16 century at a height of 3870 meters, is the fort of Dhankar. Wall paintings, old documents and the monastery are its chief attraction. It will take atleast two hours to climb up the mountains and check out the fortress. There is a buddha idol too. There is a 9 kilometers trekking route from Dhankar to a Gumpha called Langlu.

Just 5 kilometers from Dhankar is the Pin Valley National park, the land of the Ibex and Snow Leopard. The Park stretches from a height of 3600 meters to 6630 meters, and covers an area of 675 square kilometers. One of rare parks where you can chance upon an endangered  Ibex or a Snow leopard.

How to reach: Kaza can be reached by the Batal, Dras and Kargil, Leh route (NH 21). In the months of June to September, buses also ply from Manali and Kulu, via the Kunzum pass. You can also get buses from Nako And Tabo. Buses also ply from Chandigarh, Kalpa and Shimla. But it is advised that you choose the route from Shimla or Manali, in your own hired car.

Where to Stay: HPTDC's tourist lodge is the best option. They also have Spite. HP electricity board and PWD have their rest houses too. There is Banjara retreat, Ki guest house, Geetanjali, Moonlight Guest house and a host of other hotels too. Refer to our hotel booing links below for pictures, facilities, options and online booking.

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