If you want to ride to Ladakh but are apprehensive of the crowds, Spiti Valley also called “mini-Ladakh sans the crowd” is your closest alternative with its rugged terrain, mesmerizing landscape of monasteries, snow-capped mountains and vast green fields.
While travelers marvel at the spectacular sights of Ladakh, a valley not too far away remains unknown to many a traveler. We are talking about Ladakh’s long-lost cousin, Spiti. Having a rugged terrain and picturesque surroundings just like Ladakh, Spiti Valley is a cold desert mountain valley in the Himalayan region, less frequented by tourists.
Wondering how this place could be an alternative destination to Ladakh? Let’s find out more –
Why Spiti Valley?
Route to Spiti:
For most bikers, the thrill of the journey is far more than the destination itself. And if it is an adventure that you are looking for, the road from Manali to Spiti is a treacherous one and poses quite a challenge. The roads in Spiti are much rugged as compared to Ladakh, just what most bikers love to experience!
Not being as well-connected as Ladakh is one of the reasons why Spiti does not have many visitors. The only way to reach Spiti is via the road which again is a difficult one. It takes almost 2 days to reach Spiti from Delhi whereas Ladakh is just an hour away with so many flights available. The valley is accessible via Kinnaur from Shimla route, throughout the year. And in summer, it can also be accessed via Manali through the Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass.
Pristine Nature :
With less number of travelers opting to travel to Spiti, its surroundings are still virgin lands. Bestowed with abundant natural beauty, Spiti’s breathtaking landscape of serene lakes, vast meadows, and snow-capped mountains make it a sight to behold. Ancient monasteries and clusters of villages with whitewashed houses make Spiti Valley just picture-perfect.
It’s not just the land but the sky is equally amazing especially at night. You can capture brilliant start trails in the Spiti Valley.
Attractions in Spiti Valley:
Standing tall for more than 1000 years, this monastery is one of the oldest Buddhist enclaves in operation. It has 9 temples, several stupas and an assembly hall with paintings of Buddhist stories on the wall. Unlike other monasteries which are perched on hills, this monastery at the bottom of the valley.
It is the biggest monastery in the Spiti Valley and is believed to be at least 1000 years old. It houses collections of ancient Buddhist murals and highly valued aesthetic books along with Buddha’s images enshrined in them.
Named after its crescent shape, Chandratal Lake offers a magnificent view, especially at night. Mostly visited during the pre-winter time, when the temperatures drop below zero and the sky becomes a canvas for numerous stars. It is during this time that the lake becomes a frozen mirror and offers a spectacular reflection of the night sky.
The Pin Valley National Park is home to unexplored high reaches and slopes. The breath-taking view of the area attracts a lot of travelers. Also if you are visiting in summer then you are in luck as you will be able to marvel at the sights of some rare birds like the Himalayan snowcock, chukar partridge, snow partridge and snow finch. Other faunas of the region include the magnificent Siberian Ibex and majestic Snow Leopard, both of which are a sight to behold.
The mesmerizing Spiti river is a visual delight for any traveler. The river adorns the valley like a turquoise-grey ribbon. Originating from Kunzum Pass, this river nurtures the flora and fauna of the valley. Many monasteries in the area overlook the Spiti river, as the water element is considered to have great spiritual value in Buddhism.
By now you surely know why Spiti should be on your destination list if travel to the Himalayan region is on your mind. And if you could manage to cover both Ladakh and Spiti in your trip, that would be a roadie adventure of a lifetime. But before you pack your bags and head out to experience the thrills and wonders of nature, remember to be an environmentally conscious rider. Read: Save Ladakh: Ride without Hurting The Pride of the Himalayas.
Check out our Top 5 Rides in every Riders Bucket List for more destinations.