Spiti Valley is an offbeat destination. There are no questions about it. The younger sibling of the popular Ladakh, Spiti has maintained its aura and mystique as an unknown land. But, in this age of over-exposure and insane levels of research before embarking on any journey, there is a certain knowledge already easily available. And this is fine – for it is great to be prepared. Places such as Mane, Lhalung, Komic are insanely gorgeous. But, when you’re looking for seclusion, zen and being part of something so strikingly challenging like the arid jewels of Himalayas- offbeat and unknown is integral!
7 Off beat places in Spiti
So, you’re not the touristy type. You need to discover places and call them your own. You need the possession of life, of nature, of something truly belonging to you! I understand, I get it, I am the same way. Especially when exploring such far-flung regions, it is essential to go off the path, make your own way. Here are some of the places no one has heard about, or explored this way. Hope this is helpful.
1 Sopona Lake
A seasonal lake, formed thanks to the nearby glacial melts – Sopona has the potential to be amazing. Amazing, that is, if the lake has water! If you’re heading in early summers – you might be in for a dry lake. However, fret not. For, it is all about the journey and not the destination! You will come across some of the seriously most jaw dropping, magnanimous views on any trek. Add to that the views of the hardly experienced Manirang pass, which forms part of the highest mountain ranges in Himachal, and it is easy to see you’re in for a treat! As if all of this was not enough of a selling point, you should keep your eyes peeled for spotting some snow leopards around the lake. The best time to visit Sopona Lake is in the summers.
DoW has covered the entire journey and how to make it safe and fun for your easiness!
2 Kanamo Peak
While, I have spoken about Kanamo Peak previously, and extensively, this place deserves a well-earned spot on the list! Yes, it is one of the few trekkable peaks in the region. No, it is not easy by any means. Yes, it will reward you with some of the most picturesque, in-your-face views. No, it is not doable by everyone. In fact, a solid competition for this peak has to be the Stok Kangri. Test your endurance and get rewarded! From the summit, you’ll be viewing 360-degrees Ladakh, Spiti, Kullu, and Kinnaur side peaks.
3 Chicham Village
No one has heard about this place. This village is seen by everyone, but hardly visited as it lies on the opposite side of ever-famous Kibber Village. The sheer hard luck of the place is that it is completely off the circuit. Only the adventurous take the road less travelled (or the jhula unheard of!). You could reach the village by a 3-hour long road journey, or utilizing the 10 minute Jhula (cable car). Just picture this – two cliffs, two villages separated by a gorge, harsh waters sloshing below you and a rope pull with a swinging basket. What a way to travel. However, the infrastructure Gods are kind, and a bridge has been built connecting Chicham.
4 La Darcha Grounds
Super close to Chicham, La Darcha was the convene point for traders from across the hills. This place worked mostly on barter system, with goods exchanging hands – not money! For example, it is still prevalent in Spiti to exchange horses for yaks! Spiti now celebrates this as a festival and La Darcha Fair is quite an abode to a beautiful part of tradition! Visit the grounds, for the stunning views, the amazing stories and a good time indeed!
Deceptively generic to the Spiti geography, Pangmo truly is one of the most hospitable places worthy of a visit. Though not many people know of this place – you’d definitely drive by them without realizing. Lying between the famous stops of Losar and Kaza – the raw beauty of the place shines through.
If at all, you are aware of Pangmo & Morang – it will definitely be because of the Sherab Choeling Nunnery and Institute at Morang, where a lot of nuns are from Pangmo.
6 Kakti Village
A village with just one home and 5 residents? You may call me delusional – but, let me introduce you to Kakti Village! Obviously the smallest village in Spiti, the village is connected through a motorable road 10 KMs from Kaza, has cable TV and even electricity! Remember to carry along all your essentials and necessities and do take something extra for the family!
7 Samudri Tapu
Last, but, certainly not the least is my most favorite spots in Spiti. For good reason, Chandratal is a famous landmark, that definitely must be experienced. But, close to Chandratal lies another gem that not many know of, or visit! Samudri Tapu is the glacial melt which is also the source of Chandra river. The glacial melt forms this beautifully serene lake. However, a word of advice is to not visit this place alone as the route can be confusing at times. What adds to the thrill further is that you’ll have to rappel across the river to reach here? I recommend asking local camp operators on how to reach here and take a guide along.
Spiti is an eclectic place, special to those that understand its value. It is anyways not a tourist destination. Though, it is becoming far easier for Tourism to now reach these places, the true travelers like to be there before the places become commercialized. Of course, tourism is such an integral part of the livelihood in such places and I fully support the increasing connectivity to these places. However, sometimes, a traveler really needs to be alone with nature. And, for that, I hope this list helps likeminded people get to experience the love of Spiti.
Did I miss out on any important off-beat places that you adore in Spiti? Comment below and let me know. I will add it on to my next visit!