Exploring Spiti in Winters- A Complete Guide to visit best of Spiti in 10 days

Spiti Valley is a beautiful cold desert located in the trans-Himalayan regions of upper Himachal. The valley is quite big in terms of the vast landscapes, huge mountains, mighty rivers and tiny villages tucked in the mountains. Also, owing to the high altitude of the region and close proximity with Tibet, the culture and traditions of Spiti are largely different from other parts of Himachal. If you want to truly experience the vast deserts of Spiti along with the culture and people, you need at least 10 days to do so.

(Image Source Avalok)

Let us now take a look at the complete guide to visit the best of Spiti in 10 days.

Day 1: Shimla to Reckong Peo (228 kms/ 7-8 hrs)

Start your journey from the city of Shimla towards Kinnaur, early morning. This route will take you through some of the most beautiful villages as you go gradually higher towards the Kinnaur district. Reach Reckong Peo, the district headquarter of Kinnaur, by evening and head to Kalpa for overnight stay. Stay overnight at Kalpa.

Day 2: Exploring Kalpa and Roghi and moving to Nako (102 kms, 4 hrs)

After breakfast, head out to explore the beautiful little town of Kalpa, known for its majestic views of Kinner Kailash mountain ranges along with some of the mighty apple orchards. Take a stroll through the village’s quaint little houses and head further to take a walk through  village Roghi. Have lunch upon returning back, and head further to explore Nako. Upon reaching Nako in the evening, relax for the day .and stay overnight at Nako itself.

(Image Source- Ashish Pawgi)

Day 3: Exploring Nako and heading to Dhankar (93 kms, 3 hrs)

After having an early breakfast, head out to experience Nako, which is at the height of  11,893 feet surrounded by expansive mountains making it one of the most breathtaking  villages in the Himalyan region . Must visit places are the Nako lake and the  the old yet famous Nako monastery. If you are lucky, you might be able to sit with the Buddhist monks for the prayers they offer . Next in line is the Prayer bell situated on the hill-top of Nako from where the entire village with the backdrop of Himalayas can be seen. Post lunch, and drive further to Dhankar. And stay overnight at Dhankar.

Day 4: Sightseeing at Dhankar

Finally, wake up to the majestic mountains in Spiti Valley . Dhankar is a beautiful village located at a hilltop, which was the former capital of Spiti. Unlike other villages, Dhankar is very different in its geography and topography. After having your breakfast, walk around the village and head on a trail to the beautiful Dhankar Lake. The lake is located on a hill above the village which is an easy 3 hour trek. Witness the marvel of the Himalayan lake located at such a high peak with jaw dropping views around. Upon heading down, relax for the rest of the day. Stay overnight at Dhankar.

Day 5: Dhankar to Mudh (50 kms, 3 hrs)

Head out to drive further towards Kaza after the morning routine. Upon reaching Attargo Bridge, take a left and head into the infamous Pin Valley National Park. Pin Valley is quite an untouched area in Spiti where very less number of people come. This makes the place even more beautiful to witness the natural landscapes and experience the warm hospitality of locals. Drive all the way up to Mudh, located at the banks of Pin River. Your  overnight stay is at Mudh, so ensure that you make the most of it.

(Image Source- Ashish Pawgi)

Day 6: Mudh to Kaza  (50 kms, 3 hrs)

After having an early breakfast, head out towards Kaza which the main town in Spiti Valley. Upon reaching Kaza, you can relax for a while and spend the rest of the day strolling around the town shopping and exploring. Also, there is a monastery in Old Kaza which is a must see while you are there. Stay overnight at Kaza.

Day 7: Explore Langza, Komic, Hikkim and Demal ( 84 kms , 5-6 hours Roundtrip)

This morning, after having an early breakfast, head out to explore the beautiful little untouched villages of Spiti. Located high above the mountains of Kaza, are the villages of Langza which is known as the fossil village, Komic , Hikkim and Demul. Visit Langza first to witness the magnificent Buddha statue and then head ahead to Komic which is the highest village in the world with a motorable road. Witness the majestic views of the mountains and head next to Hikkim ,  home to the highest post office of the world. If you make it in time and are lucky , you can also send a letter to your loved ones from here. After, Hikkim, relax for a while and head next to the most untouched village of Spiti- Demul. Located on a mountain, deep inside the valley, Demul is one of the most scenic villages you will ever visit. Head back to Kaza in the evening. Stay overnight at Kaza.

Day 8: Explore Key Monastery and Kibber (45 kms , 3-4 Round Trip)

Spiti Valley has a number of old monasteries that are worth seeing and among all, Key Monastery is the most famous which is only 15 kms from Kaza. After a half an hour drive, you shall reach the magnificent Key Monastery having the  backdrop of huge Rocky Mountains. Visit the monastery during noon to have lunch with the monks who reside here. Witness the breathtaking view of the Spiti river along with the mountains from the monastery. You can also interact with the monks about their monastic life while you are there. Next up is  the village of Kibber which was considered as the highest village in earlier times at a height of more than 15k feet. Kibber is a tiny village with the backdrop of famous Kanamo peak. Spend some time exploring the village and head back to Kaza in the evening. Stay overnight at Kaza.

Day 9: Kaza to Chandratal (101 kms/ 4-5 hrs)

Start early to drive to the mystical lake of Chandratal. Deriving its name for its shape like a crescent moon, Chandratal is one of the most beautiful high altitude lakes in Spiti Valley that you must see. Upon reaching Chandratal , relax for a while and then head out to explore the area around. You can either complete the whole circle of Chandratal walking or can hike to nearby mountains to get a better view of the Himalayas. Stay overnight at Chandratal camps for a memorable experience.

(Image Source- Ambika )

Day 10: Chandratal to Manali (128 kms/ 8-9 hrs)

After waking up to the majestic views of the lake and having breakfast by the river bed, head out on your drive to Manali to end the trip. You will pass through some of the beautiful villages’ enroute like Chhatru, Batal and many more. Upon reaching Rohtang in the evening, stop for a tea break to admire the pass and its views . Soon after that, head down to Manali to end your trip.

Thus, with the above guide, you can definitely make the most out of your Spiti Valley trip in 10 days.

While most of the people prefer visiting the high altitude cold desert of Spiti in summers, winters are the time when it turns into something else entirely. Spiti Valley in winters is entirely different from what you will see in summers. The whole valley gets covered in the blanket of fresh snow and cold all around for winter months.

Owing to subzero temperatures and mostly nothing much to do during winters, you can very well bond with the locals, sit with them and listen to their stories, experience delectable Spitian cuisine and learn a thing or two about leading a tough life in the mountains. Thus, visiting Spiti and experiencing the wonderland it turns into is one of the things you must do. But, before heading to Spiti in winters, there are a few things you must know.

Let us now take a look at how you can explore the wonderland of Spiti in winters.

Weather in winters

The weather in Spiti Valley during winters gets really cold with temperatures dropping below -25 to -30 degrees. Yes, it can be bone freezing during the months of January and February but the snowy views can even warm you up instantly.

Also, owing to low temperatures during winters, the parts of rivers and waterfalls get frozen.

(Image Source- Devil On Wheels )

How to reach Spiti in winters?

While there are 2 ways to reach Spiti, i.e One from Manali and the other from Shimla, the Manali-Spiti route is closed during winters owing to heavy snowfall on the route. The Rohtang and Kunzum pass receive heavy snowfall during winters and thus, are closed for transport.

The only way to reach Spiti is through Shimla route via Kinnaur. This part of Himachal also receives quite heavy snowfall, but the roads are pretty manageable to drive all the way up to Kaza.

If you are planning to go by local transport, the buses to Spiti run everyday from Reckong Peo in Kinnaur. Also, if you wish to drive your own vehicle during winters, it is better to take a good 4 *4 SUV for the road conditions might not be the best. And, if you are planning to explore Spiti live never before in the winters, NotOnMap offers a perfect chance to do so.

Click here to register for the Spiti Valley Winter Expedition 2019

     Things to do in Spiti during winters

Although there is nothing much you can do in Spiti during winters but admire the beauty around. The whole valley is covered in a blanket of snow turning it into a fairyland from story books. While the local transport is available whenever possible, if heavy snowfall occurs, the buses don’t run. You can explore the parts of Spiti on foot. If you can bare the sub-zero temperatures and a bit of hardships, there is nothing like Spiti in winters, it teaches you a lot about the hardships of locals while giving you an adventure of a lifetime . Apart from exploring the villages around you can also indulge in the following activities if you wish .

  1. Camping – Camping in extreme winters is an experience you must take on at least once. No doubt that it will be difficult and really cold, but the sheer feeling of sleeping under stars in freezing cold temperature  is something you should not miss.
  2. Trekking- Trekking around Spiti is really difficult, but if you willing to survive in subzero temperatures or thin oxygen layers, trekking is something you will remember forever. Also, do not forget to take a local person with you in case of any emergency.
  3. Snow-Leopard spotting- Spiti Valley is home to some of the rare flora and fauna including the famous white-cat Snow leopard. You can head to the village of Kibber for spotting Snow Leopard, who generally gets out more often during winters for hunting. It is an experience that you will cherish through and through , seeing the white cat hunting in a land that is turned all white.
  4. Frozen Waterfall Climbing-  If you are someone who loves adventures and want to explore Spiti beyond the usual, you can go for adventure sports like Frozen waterfall climbing. The waterfalls and streams in Spiti freeze during the winters making it a beautiful sight to watch. But if you want to do an adventure, you can go for Frozen Waterfall Climbing with the experts from the town.
  5. Sit at home and laze around with Locals– Probably among the best things to do in Spiti during winters is to sit at the homestay with the locals. The locals themselves do not head out much during winters. This gives you the perfect opportunity to bond with them, sit for hours listening to their stories learning their culture and traditions.  Also, living with them during winters and helping them for simple tasks can help you realize how difficult life is in the mountains for the people and in spite of that how they survive the harshest of conditions and live happily.

Few things to know

  • Electricity problems occur during winters. There will be no electricity straight for weeks or even a month. Be prepared for it.
  • Very less chance of having a mobile signal due to bad weather.
  • No water in the toilets due to freezing weather.
  • Lack of food options due to transportation issues.
  • Few basic stay options without luxury amenities .
  • Medical help might take time to come.

Despite of all the things mentioned above, Spiti Valley is something that will mesmerize you in winters. It is during this time, when the tourists are very less and you get to explore the valley in true sense. Thus, if you are strong enough to bear the subzero temperatures and you crave for an adventure of a lifetime, do must not think twice. Pack your bags and head out to explore the wonderland of Spiti in winters!

Note: Some of the places might not be accessible during winters owing to a large amount of snow blocking the roads or frequent landslides. Please check with the officials before visiting during winters.

Leave a Reply