Spiti meaning “The Middle Land” (which is also the land between Tibet and India), is a cold desert mountain valley that is located high in the Himalayan regions of Himachal Pradesh.
Lahaul and Spiti were formerly separate 2 districts in the Northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The 2 districts had separate capitals as well before they were merged to be a single district. The place is located at an elevation of 4,270M above sea level.
The Spiti Valley is a cultural and research centre of the Buddhists. The Key Monastery and the Tabo monastery are one of the oldest monasteries in the world. The beautiful place has been brought to the view of the people through the various films such as Highway. It has a highly rich culture with the Indian and the Tibetan traditions inculcated.
Something that makes Spiti quite different from the other places is the existence of a Mummy Village in the region. The village of Gue has the Mummy of a Lama, who was mummified and is believed to be about 500 to 600 years old. The mummy was found in the year 1975 in the valley, placed in a tomb. The mummy still has got its hair and teeth well preserved and the mummy is kept in a glass chamber.
The Monastery was found in the year 996ADand recognised to be the second oldest monastery after Lahsa in Tibet. The guest house rooms in the monastery are made out of sandalwood and mud.
The market in the town of Kaza is known to be one of the best places to shop in the valley. The shops here sell the various Buddhist and Tibetan handicrafts and statues as well. Not just the regular items, but there are also unique things sold around in this place.
The Spiti River is nurtured in the beautiful valleys of the Lahaul Spiti district, which is a tributary of the Sutlej River. The river receives no rain and the flow of water comes from the melted glaciers of the ranges from Himalayas. The bank of the river is another level of beauty that should be experienced. There are plenty and various types of pebbles and rocks found around the banks of the Spiti River.
The Key Monastery or Key Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery located at an elevation of 4,166M above sea level on the top of a hill. It is a religious training centre for the Lamas and the biggest Monastery in the Spiti Valley. It gives an overlook at the Spiti River and the entire Valley. It consists of several collections of the ancient books and murals, which also includes Buddha images. The walls of the Key Monastery are covered with the spectacular murals and paintings, as an example from the 14th century architecture.
The Dhankar Lake is a high altitude lake located at an elevation of 4,140Mabove sea level in the Spiti Valley. It can be approached by trek from the Dhankar Monastery as it lies just above it. The lake also has a small stupa. It is known as Dhankar Tso (meaning Lake).