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Spiti - A Difficult Valley

Travelling is my passion as it gives a chance to visit different places and enjoy the natural and manmade marvels.

Prologue

Lahaul & Spiti is one of the top 10 tourist destinations in the world. The people of the area still follow the age-old traditions. Everything in the region is strange and exquisite and the entire valley is not less than a miracle. Every tourist coming to the place from the outside world becomes wonder-struck to see several ancient and centuries-old things in the valley in their preserved form. The history and the time seem to be held at a fixed point in the valley where they were centuries ago.

The Lahaul & Spiti region is also known as “A Little Tibet", as it has a similar terrain, vegetation, climate, topography, and culture like that of Tibet. The local people pronounce the word Spiti as Piti which means, the middle country, and the valley also lies between Tibet, Ladakh, Kinnaur, Lahaul, and Kullu in the Great Himalayan region.

Spiti is the remotest and the sparsely populated picturesque valley with little natural resources. The spectacular Pin Valley National Park is botanical. zoological, geological and archaeological museum.

The rich cultural heritage and spiritual appeal of the Himalayan Buddhism have always drawn wanderers and Western explorers towards it. The roots of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism could be traced to these high mountain ranges. The religion has shaped the political and economic facets of the valley.

The incredibly located ancient monasteries in the entire valley are the homes to the few surviving Buchen Lamas, belonging to the Buddhist Nyingmapa sect of Tibet. These enormous architectural marvels are the result of the age-old prevalence of religious and monastic traditions. They hold the treasures, secrets, and wisdom of ancient civilizations. Such marvelous and fascinating monasteries perched precariously on steep cliffs display the indigenous culture.

This virgin region is surrounded on all sides by the soaring snow-covered summits. The mountains devoid of any vegetation look like the valleys of the Moon because the peaks of the valley have become bare due to soil erosion caused by wind, sun, and snow. The formations of plunging gorges and towering ridges expose each layer of the ancient rocks thrust from the deep ocean, to form the roof of the world. The mountain slopes have been swept down to the riverbeds and the deep blue sky seems to be pierced by the pointed cliffs.

Things have hardly changed for over a century, since Rudyard Kipling in his novel "Kim", termed Spiti as “a place where God lives: and "a world within a world", or - a valley of leagues where the high hills were fashioned of the mere rubble and refuse from off the knees of the mountains.

The flora of the region has been divided into three zones namely- dry temperate, alpine zone and zone of perpetual snow.

Geographical Conditions

Spiti is a desert mountain valley located high in the Himalayan Mountains in the north-eastern part of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh in India. The Spiti valley lies between the latitude 31° 45’‐32° 20’ and longitude 78° 00’‐ 78° 30’. It has two parts, the eastern and western ones, the former is connected with Ladakh & Tibet, while the latter with Kinnaur and Kullu through high mountain passes.

In the close neighborhood of Tibet, it runs parallel to the border. Towards South of Spiti is situated the beautiful valley of Kullu across Rohtang Pass at 3,979 meters and the Bara Bangahal of Kangra district across the Asakh pass at 5051 meters. The Rohtang pass separates the Lahaul & Spiti from the Kullu valley.

Towards West, it touches the boundaries of Pangi and Churah areas of Chamba district.

The eastern and southeastern boundaries touch Kalpa and the western Tibet across Kanzum La, where La means mountain pass in the local language.

The word Lho-Yul, or Lahoul means the southern country, as it is in the south of Ladakh. Towards north are the valleys of Zanskar and Ladakh across the passes of Shingola at 5090 meters and the Baralacha la at 5450 meters respectively.

Untamed Landscapes

The Spiti valley has vibrant, unparalleled and breathtaking landscapes. Every day the ever-changing hues of the barren mountains and their play with the sun and floating clouds provide a captivating spectacle. The surreal panorama complete with a quietly flowing Spiti is marvelous.

The Spiti valley is often confused with the Lahaul valley, while the real beauty of the region begins beyond Kunzum Pass. The journey of the area towards Losar Kaza and Tabo in Spiti valley and then the trail ahead to the region towards Nako in Kinnaur district is an experience in itself. The Pin Valley, Kaza, Tabo, Keylong, Zanskar etc are known for their heavenly beauty.

The Language

The life and culture of Spiti are diverse and even up to even up to seven dialects are spoken by the people of the same valley. A new language is found almost in every region. This is due to the reason that for centuries these remote valleys remained isolated from each other, which developed and preserved their distinct culture.

Their language is a dialect of Tibet, because of more than thousand years ago. the people adopted Bhoti as their language and Buddhism as a religion,

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