Lahaul, the paradise for nature lovers, is the most spellbinding place in Spiti Valley. It is the staple for solitude seekers, truth seekers, spiritual hermits, adrenaline junkies, recluse hearts who are keen to observe and understand nature from very close, to delve deep into minuscule details of life, while sinking spiritually in the ancient Hindu Temples or Tibet Gompas and Monasteries.
It's green meadows, Clean bare mountains, clear blue skies, and a perfect silence are indisputably the best here. Similarly, it is the first choice of trekkers, hikers and adventure seekers for its snow-capped razor peaks, steep hills, deep-cut valleys, slippery tracks, and hiking trails for those who love challenging the adventurer inside them, against the tricky valleys and isolated rocky hills.
Lahaul is rightly called as the valley of Glaciers with numerous glaciers surrounding this area, adding to its mysterious charm and quaint aura. A European traveler Andrew Wilson coined it as 'The Valley of Glaciers' in 1873 Ad.
Also Read: Spiti - The Land Of Lamas
Lahaul is a major attraction of tourists nowadays and often thronged from May to October as for the rest of the time; it is inaccessible because of dense snow. This isolation has instead proved a blessing for Lahaul by making these destinations blissfully untouched by most of the tourists.
Earlier, people follow this route via going from Manali to Ladakh, though lately, they found these terrains as more adventurous than what Ladakh used to throw.
Tourists, however, prefer detouring to mountain villages to mingle in their local culture and tradition besides visiting little monasteries on the way, which still retains medieval cores behind new facades.
Few enthralls by venturing their way off the beaten track up to Pattan and Pangi Valleys to Killar visiting numerous naïve-style temples and other Gompas. From here, one could attend to Kishtwar (Jammu and Kashmir) as a road directly leads to Kishtwar from here, which is the 'World's most dangerous road.'
Or if the snow permits, one can loop back to Chamba across the soaring Sach Pass.
Koksar village, about 19 Km from Rohtang Pass, is the Gateway of Lahaul and is the coldest place there in Lahaul.
Suggested Read: Chitkul - 500 Years Old Mathi Temple
Are Lahaul And Spiti The Same? What Separates Lahaul From Spiti Valley?
No, Lahaul and Spiti are two separate districts of Himachal Pradesh with the present administrative center at Keylong in Lahaul.
Kunzum Pass, also known as Kunzum la at an altitude of 4,551 m, is the entrance pass from Lahaul to Spiti Valley. From there onwards its Spiti. From Chandra Taal, it is 21 Km, and in the South, Spiti ends at 24 Km from Tabo.
The Rohtang Pass connects Lahaul to Manali.
The Lahaul and Spiti Valleys, though are adjacent but are quite different in their characters, with Lahaul more tourists friendly while being green and much live in comparison to Spiti, which is a barren mountain desert area and difficult to cross.
How To Reach -
Lahaul is easily approachable by motorable routes from Shimla via Manali and Spiti. And, one could easily reach Shimla from Chandigarh, which has it's railway station and airport too with good connectivity from major cities. From Chandigarh, one can reach Shimla by train or can take a cab.
From Shimla, it takes five to nine hours by cab, depending upon the weather and the traffic along the roads to reach Lahaul.
The nearest railway station here in Chandigarh from where one could easily reach Shimla either by a train or take a cab.
The nearest airport Chandigarh well connects it to the major cities of India.
Suggested Read: Gupteshwar Caves - The Sacred Shivlingam Caves
Places To Visit In The Beautiful Valleys Of Lahaul
1. Baralacha Pass
Baralacha Pass is next to Leh Manali highway and connects Lahul to Ladakh. It is the first choice of all the adventurers who get thrilled by the adrenaline rush, and for those for whom more is the rush more is the fun besides other explorers who love exploring the intricacies and the extremities of nature.
Perched at 16,000 feet high plateau, it offers unique, mesmerizing, and exquisite views of three different mountain ranges – the PirPanjal, the Zanskar, and the majestic Great Himalayas, which wouldn't let you leave from here without capturing this spellbinding paradise into your shutterbug. This Pass has become the first preference of the shutter burgers to visit here year after year in every season.
Can go trekking or mountain biking from here, which won't be easier to escape one's memories for the rest of their life — fun, thrill, excitement, and adventure, what else one wants.
Location: It is on Leh Manali highway.
Best time to visit: April to October as the snow starts melting in April; however, mid-May is the time when all the roads and the highways are clear without any blockage.
2) Suraj Taal
Suraj Taal, the third-highest lake of India and 21st highest of the World, is more often visited for its divinity and spiritualism connected to it besides the adventurers, photographers, and other explorers.
It is the most promising divine water body nicely placed surrounded by bare mountains and appeasing valleys. It's a centuries-old belief that a holy dip in the Taal's pristine emerald water clear off all ill-doings and clean off all sins while providing moksha to all.
The third highest lake in India and 21st highest in the World, the Suraj Taal, is a divine water body surrounded by barbaric bare mountains and peaceful valleys. It is a common belief to take Holy dip in the pristine emerald waters of the lake to clean off one's sins.
Whether the visit is for clean off sins or to witness the unique natural charm, the Suraj Taal is a must to visit destination during one's lifetime without fail. It's an absolute paradise for all from avid trekkers to adventurers to spiritual souls to bikers to explorers to photographers and all who bring themselves here.
The lake offers a perfect asylum to rejuvenate and recharge during hectic trekking. Whom so ever have ever been there always make a halt during all other ventures?
Location: Lahul Valley, Keylong.
Best time to visit - Once in Lahaul, there are no such timing restrictions.
3) Pin Valley National Park
The Pin Valley National Park, a cold desert, adjoined by the Great Himalayan National Park in the southwest and the SouthSouth by Rupi Bhabha sanctuary is the home of many wild animals, endangered species and other flora and fauna including many medicinal plants.
It is named after the Pin River and is an interface between the Lahaul and Spiti Village. It showcases the best of endangered Flora and Fauna. It houses the World's several endangered animals and other species that are exclusively found here only.
Besides exotic wildlife, the Pin Valley National Park has numerous endangered species of flora and bounty of wildflowers. Against the backdrop of the snow-capped rugged Mountains of Spiti Valley, it provides picturesque scenes to be captured by the photo enthusiasts besides enchanting all.
The Pin Valley National Park has several monasteries surrounding it, and people visiting here often visit Buddhist Monasteries surrounding this area. The terrain here is rough, stony, and precarious to suit only the devil hearts who are strong from inside and outside both.
Location - Close to Kaza
Best time to Visit - May to October - The timings are 6:00 am to 6:00 pm daily except Sundays. As the conditions are too harsh and severely cold because it's a cold desert, it receives heavy snowfall during winters, which are always freezing for close to six months.
Also Read: Pin Valley National Park
4) Gondola Monastery
Gondola Monastery, founded by Guru Rinpoche or Padma Sambhava in the 8th Century, is surrounded by rolling dunes and snow-capped mountains. It is close to the confluence of Chandra and Bhaga River is indisputably one of the most popular Monastery often visited by many spiritual pilgrims besides other tourists and visitors who visit here to get familiar with the Buddhism legacy, heritage, art, and culture. It is deemed to be the oldest Monastery in Lahaul and is also known as Guru Ghantal Monastery.
The Monastery is on the rocky cliffs at an altitude of 3160 m in Tupchiling village.
The Monastery is maintained by the Drupka monks and nuns and it owes loyalty to His Holiness the 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, or Drukchen Rinpoche, and is the house of several precious religious and spiritual treasures with amazing architectural specimen of it's time, like sculptures made of clay, the wooden idols of the Buddha, idols of Guru Padma Sambhava, Brijeshwari Devi and other lamas, an image of Goddess Kali cast in black stone, paintings, murals and white marble heads of Avalokitesvara, and many others.
A seven-story fort of stone and timber built by Raja Man Singh, who was once the ruler of Kullu kingdom, stands tall on the outskirts besides housing a prized sword inside.
The best attraction exciting numerous tourists across the planet here is the annual Ghantal festival of one-day masked dance, where the Lama dances with masks. It is celebrated on the 15th lunar day.
Location - It is located in Lauhala village.
Best time to visit - Any time when in Lauhala
5) Kardang Monastery
Kardang Monastery, one of the biggest and the oldest monasteries of Himachal Pradesh, on the left bank of the river Bhaga, just above the village of Kardang, at an altitude of 3500 m prides a Gompa of around 900 years old.
It houses the statues of Padmasambhava and Tara Devi, Thanka paintings, old weapons, musical instruments like lutes, drums, horns, and lot other things.
There is a library also, with ancient Kangyur and Tangyur scriptures were written in the Bhotia or Sherpa language. It is considered as the most significant Buddhist library in the country.
It is of particular interest to all the tourists and visitors coming here, besides several other attractions, which enchants them. It shelters around 30 monks and Buddhist nuns while allowing them to have a family life. They spend summers with their families and return in the winters for meditation.
Location - The Monastery is located close to around 5 km from Keylong, which lies on the famous Manali-Leh highway.
Also Read: Kinnaur – ‘The Land Of Gods’
Its worth visiting the Lahual– 'The Valley of Glaciers’' for breathtaking adventure, to sink into centuries-old Buddhist Culture, tradition, legacy, and heritage besides appeasing your eyes with the beautiful valleys, ancient monasteries, pristine lakes, snow-capped mountains and a lot more.
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