Spiti means the ‘middle land’. Look at the north east on the map of Himachal Pardesh and you’ll see the ‘middle land’ which lies between Tibet and Himachal Pradesh. Like the faces of some of the people who live here, the terrain is harsh and inhospitable. But making Spiti worth the trouble are its people. Warm, hospitable and generous. Maybe the dominant feature of Spiti which is its Buddhist culture has got to do something with it.
Spiti’s remoteness and incredible high-altitude landscape appeals to the adventure traveler who is looking for a place which has not yet been destroyed and corrupted by mass tourism. The traveler who would appreciate Spiti would be the one who is tired of seeing a ‘German Bakery’ around every corner and is equally fed up of refusing touts and shopkeepers. Not leaving out the fact that Spiti boasts Tibetan-style traditions and its lifestyles which still remain largely untouched by the western world.
The naked & rugged snow top mountains and the sparsely populated villages are the main features of this isolated land. Dubbed “Little Tibet” because of its geographical and cultural proximity to Tibet, Spiti along with parts of Ladakh and some areas in the north east is one of India’s most remote and least populated regions. With lofty soaring snow-topped peaks, for the seasoned traveller not even Ladakh can match the beauty of this region. The colourful gompas and the green patches bring some relief in this otherwise stark mountain landscape. Spiti today has emerged as a destination for those seeking cultural enlightment, non- contaminated trekking territory or just scenic bliss.
Undoubtedly the highlight of Spiti is the legendary Snow Leopard but being able to spot this most elusive of cats legendary that prey on blue sheep found in abundance in Spiti is a monumental challenge.
Challenges in Spiti
Its remote location makes Spiti challenging in terms of electricity and many people in the remote villages don’t either speak Hindi or English.
One reason for this isolation
Spiti valley had minimum contact with the rest of the world until the last 15 years and even now it can prove difficult and challenging in reaching this part of India. The roads have improved but ideally for your comfort you should drive up on a SUV.
Manali to Spiti journey.
The drive from Manali to Spiti is an exhilarating adventure. The 210kms that involves crossing of the Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass. On the way when you enter Spiti you cross remote villages and the journey can be made in one day. Ideally to enjoy the trip plan to leave Manali by 5am so that you reach well before sunset.