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Spiti Valley in Winters, 2022

Spiti means ‘The middle Land’ and it is called so because of the valley in the middle of Tibet and India. Its height is nearly 3800 meters from sea level which covers various small high altitude villages like Kaza, Kibber, Hikkim, Tabo & Komic etc. Spiti Valley in winters looks exactly like a desert but with snow in place of sand. You’ll get mesmerized by its breathtaking landscapes. As I mentioned above it is land near Tibbet thus you are going to see more of a Tibetan culture across the valley. It’s a cold desert mountain valley thus night temperature may fall to -30 degrees in peak winters or sometimes even lower. To know more, let’s dive into the valley a bit more.

The temperature in Spiti Valley in Winters:

The lowest temperature in Spiti valley start dipping below 0 degrees from October month till the first week of June. Let’s have a look at the temperature month-wise:

NovemberDecemberJanuaryFebruaryMarchApril
Lowest Temp (in celsius)-12-19-20-19-1511
Highest Temp (in celsius)-1-7-9-6-32
Temperature Details for Spiti Valley

PS: At some high altitudes near Kaza the temperature may go down up to -30 degrees in winters depending on the weather conditions.

The best time to travel in winters:

As the roads get closed in peak winters and the conditions of roads are not good enough for vehicles the best time to travel the valley in winters is from March to June when the temperature ranges from zero degrees to -15 degrees.

How to reach the Valley in Winters:

There are mainly two routes to reach Kaza. Either via Manali or via Shimla. You can select either of them but we recommend you to travel via Shimla in winter as the roads get closed in peak winters due to heavy snowfall. Take a look at Shimla/Kaza route:

shimla to kaza route guide
Shimla to Kaza Route

The places to visit in Spiti valley:

Monasteries:

If you’re fond of monasteries or want to explore some offbeat monasteries then you are at the right location. Spiti Valley is covered with many monasteries some of which are mentioned below, you can take a look:

Key Monastery:

key monastery
Key Monastery- Spiti Valley

Key Monastery or Key Gompa is almost 1000 years old and one of the oldest training centres for Lamas. The monastery is famous for its architecture. Murals on the walls are very eye-catching here. If you are in the valley and fond of monasteries, Key Monastery is a must-visit place. The best time to visit here is summer i.e. till October.

Tabo Monastery:

Tano Monastery
Tabo Monastery- Tabo Village, Spiti Valley

Tabo monastery is situated above Tabo village which was constructed by a Buddhist king in 996AD. Its architecture comprises 9 Temples, 4 Stupas, Chortens & Monk Quarters. Owing to heavy snow in winters, the best time to visit here is from May to October.

Lhalung Monastery:

Lhalung Monastery
Lhalung Monastery, Spiti Valley

Lhalung Monastery or Golden Temple is situated in Lalung Khas village and again the best time is from May to October.

Comic Monastery:

Komic/Comic Monastery is in Comic village near Hikkim.

Pin Valley National Park:

Pin Valley National Park
Pin Valley National Park- Spiti Valley

Pin Valley National Park is one of the key attractions for tourists. The park is home to many endangered animals including Snow leopards and the Siberian Ibex. You merely find any vegetation here due to high altitudes and temperature conditions. But wandering in the region will definitely give you goosebumps.

Kunzum Pass:

Kunzum Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of approximately 4155m. It starts from village Gramphu in Lahaul to Kaza. It is nearly 110-120KM from Manali. The pass has many scenic sites and landscapes which makes it a heaven for photographers. It is also considered as one of the highest motorable passes in India due to its road conditions and high altitude. Definitely, your driving skills should be at par if you are new to this place or driving yourself for the first time otherwise hiring a local driver would be a good choice.

Chandar Tal Lake:

chandratal lake
Chandartal Lake- Lahual, PC: Anonymous

Chandratal Lake would be one of the best offbeat places in the valley. It is situated in the Lahaul part of Lahaul-Spiti Valley at an elevation of 4300m. You have to take a left turn after crossing Batal village if you’re coming from the Manali side. The famous “Chacha Chachi Dhabha” is also situated between Batal and the Chandratal Road starting point where you can take a short halt to fuel your stomach. To reach this place you can either take Bus which runs every morning from Manali to Kaza at 5 AM or you can hire a taxi from Manali or Losar village in Kaza.

PS: If you love photography and trekking you must visit this place.

World’s Highest Post Office:

The world’s highest post office is in Hikkim Village which is at an elevation of 4400m above sea level. The village is nearly 45km from Kaza. Due to having the post office in this village, it is well connected to the rest of India. People also come here to post letters to their loved ones from the highest post office in the world.

Chitkul:

chitkul village
Riverside View, Baspa River- Chitkul (Sangla)

Chitkul can also be referred to as one of the best offbeat destinations along the route from Shimla to Spiti Valley. Due to its settlement on the river Baspa, you will enjoy riverside panoramic views. To reach this beautiful place you’ve to take a short de-route of 40Km to the right of Karcham village.

Stays in Spiti Valley:

Now that you’ve enough destinations to explore in the valley the next thing that must be bothering you is “What about the stays in Spiti Valley? ” Don’t bother we have covered this as well for you.

To be honest, if you enjoy somewhat luxurious stays during your journey, Spiti Valley should not be on your list. After Shimla or if you’re going via Manali, you barely find any luxurious hotel or even no hotel at all. As there are mostly villages in the valley, you may easily find homestays. Staying in homestays will also give you some offbeat experience and you get to enjoy local Tibetan food and culture.

The food options:

As we’ve already mentioned above that you barely get any hotel so getting your own favourite food is quite difficult. But you can easily enjoy the local foods in homestays which may include Thukpa, Tsampa, Tibetan Soup, Buckwheat, Chiltas, Maggie and Steamed Momos etc. The harsh winters cut the valley from the rest of India making it more difficult to get any non-veg food. So if you’re a chicken or meat lover, you can carry some ready-made foods.

The wildlife in Spiti Valley:

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, travelling in Spiti valley can enthral you with many animals like Snow Leopard, Red Fox, Ibex and Blue Sheep. Snow leopards, known as Ghost of Spiti valley, are very common and found in Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary and Kaza. In winters they get closer to humans in search of food. So you may encounter them during peak winters.

snow leopard in spiti valley
A snow leopard was captured in Spiti Valley. PC: Vikrant Singh

The weather and road conditions:

According to me, this is something you must consider if you are planning to travel to Spiti Valley. Travelling to Spiti Valley in winters may be very challenging for those who’ve/are:

  • High altitude sickness.
  • Have some chronic disease like asthama.
  • Going with kids.

It will take 1-2 days to get used to the high altitude as getting high altitude sickness is very common here. In winters the day and night temperature range from 2 degrees to -25 degrees depending on the month you’re visiting in. It results in heavy snowfall and the route from Manali to Kaza gets closed in peak winters for the safety of travellers.

If we talk about the roads conditions, the Spiti Valley route is considered one of the toughest routes for adventurers. You’ll find some patches under construction which may be time-consuming but scenic views will keep you boosted throughout the journey, I must say.

The petrol pumps on Shimla to Spiti Valley route:

This could really be painful if you are stuck with an empty tank during your journey. Keeping this in mind, we have provided a list of locations on the Shimla to Kaza route where you can fill your tanks accordingly:

  • Shimla
  • Narkanda
  • Kingal
  • Bithal
  • Badhrash
  • Duttnagar
  • Rampur
  • Jeori
  • Saki Charang
  • Tapri
  • Recong Peo
  • Kaza

The footnote:

According to my personal experience, you should choose Shimla to Kaza route to avoid any road blockage due to heavy snow in winters. You may find the roads and weather conditions are a bit on the harsh side but that’s the beauty of travelling to Spiti Valley. We also suggest you to carry enough cash because there may be chances of you encountering a dead ATM, especially in KAZA. If you’re someone who likes to travel offbeat places and enjoys local foods with no luxury, I would highly recommend you to explore the valley.

Last but not least, if you have got an offbeat experience, please mail us your story at [email protected]. We will share it with our readers.

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