Lahaul and Spiti
The Trans Himalayan District of Lahaul and Spiti comprises two subdivisions of the same names with headquarters at Keylong for Lahaul and Kaza for Spiti. The Buddhist monasteries punctuate the ethereal beauty of the area. Rohtang Pass at the height of 3980m is the gateway to the stark and forbidding landscape. Across Rohtang are the high bare hills, steep ridges, deep ravines and cliffs of naked rocks patched by refreshing greenery around villages on the banks of running streams. Lahaul, a derivative of Tibetan Lho-yul ‘ country in the south’ or of Lhahi-yul ‘country of the gods’ provides a mix of Buddhism and Hinduism with eighteen gompas and many temples, two of which at Trilokinath and Udaipur are known for exquisite carvings.
Keylong: Green fields all around and a small township is Keylong, the district headquarters of Lahaul where sits the Deputy Commissioner and district officers of other Departments. One English traveler is supposed to have said that Keylong is “a rough cut emerald in a bronze and silver setting”.
Spiti though a sub division of Lahaul and Spiti district, deserves a separate mention because of its ruggedness and the environs that are totally different from rest of Himachal Pradesh. Its ranges appear to be painted in shades of russets, pink and purple. Spiti is cold desert of the State and falls in the rain shadow zone- no rains but abundant snow. It has strong Buddhists traditions and has thirty gompas. It is the place “where the Gods live and a world within a world”. Spiti can also be reached from Shimla via Kinnaur.
Kaza: The headquarters of the District, 412km from Shimla, servers as the base for excursions in the area. A rest house and a few private guest houses besides the HPTDC hotel fulfill the need of the tourists visiting Spiti.
Atrangu: A village on Kaza-Kinnaur route opens the path to Pin Valley formed by the pin river. The “chowmutrhi” horse of this valley especially of Sugnam and Kungri panchayats are very famous and are sold immediate during the Lavi Fair held at Rampur (Shimla district) held on November 11-14 every year. This valley is a National Park for a variety of rare animals. The Lingti Valley is on the left of Pin and offers some strenuous treks.
Kibber: It is 20km from Kaza. Its importance is because it is the permanently inhabited highest village connected by motor able road. This road has further touched the village of Gete at 4995m where there are only six living families.