Spiti: A World Within a World.

Dhankar Lake, Spiti valley

by Charu Babbar.

Charu travelled with India Untravelled on our Spiti Kaleidoscope trip.

My trip to Spiti happened exactly a year after my Ladakh trip. The high altitude, arid mountains, and strong sun were reminiscent of Ladakh, but Spiti is a world within a world, as described by Rudyard Kipling in his book Kim. 

Tucked away in the eastern corner of Himachal Pradesh, bordering Tibet, it is a world worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime.  My itinerary for Spiti was drastically different from Ladakh, so apart from the obvious comparisons of topography, weather, food, drive etc.; it wouldn’t be fair to compare the two, since each one has its own culture, conduct and character.

Dhankar Lake, Spiti valley
Dhankar Lake.  Photo by Nidhi Wadhwa.
While Leh-Ladakh is more popular and commercialized, Spiti is pleasantly quiet, distant, and sparsely populated. Outside each village you will find a board that mentions the population of the village. Initially numbers like 200, 180 etc would surprise you, but by the fourth or fifth village you get used to even something like 60. With respect to topography Ladakh and Spiti are similar, although Ladakh offers more variety.  Spiti does not boast of the colours of Pangong or sand dunes of Nubra but it has its breathtaking green belts and coloured skies!  Most of the drives remind you of a journey to Tso Moriri or through Chang-La Pass. Kunzum La Pass would definitely remind you of Chang-La without the Army post and the crowd.

Quaint homestay in Demul, Spiti
Homestay in Demul. Photo by Ecosphere.
Only BSNL network works in the region, and only in the commercial capital Kaza! Electricity is rare and people use solar powered lamps for light. In many remote villages, you will rely on dry compost toilets and bid your daily routine of bathing goodbye. Life in Spiti is simple: work from dawn to dusk six months in a year. In winter the Spiti valley is cut off from the rest of the country and sometimes even getting medical attention a challenge, making the ideal time to visit May to September.

For the first time I decided to do a package tour for my trip, I chose to travel with India Untravelled because I felt they organize my kind of travel, which is to not so crowded places and promising an experience of the place.

Somlata, a sweet berry found in the Himalayas
Enroute Tabo - Somlata. Photo by Ecosphere.
The Spiti Kaleidoscope as it is known in India Untravelled parlance is an eight days journey across the mighty Himalayas. We experienced Spiti through our hikes in various villages, traditional homestays, and delicious Spitian cuisine. Hiking at the height of 4800 meters, seeing a self-mummified monk, discovering somlata (a sweet berry), each day was a new learning and experience for us. Though I cherish each and every day spent in Spiti, my favorites were the treks to Dhanker Lake, Balangiri Top, Komic village, the calm and peaceful setting of Dhanker village and horse riding festival in Komic. Similar itineraries to Spiti can be found here.

India Untravelled and Ecosphere gave us an absolutely delightful trip. The staff at every place was helpful and friendly. Our guide Anjaan and driver Khushal were a great team, and were fun to hang out with and knowledgeable about the area. Khushal was kind enough to lend us his BSNL phone to contact our families as well.  I am sure my love for mountains would make me visit Spiti again! 

Travellers and locals at Langza, Spiti Valley
Anjaan's family and the travellers. Photo by Ecosphere.

Author Bio: Charu is a travel enthusiast based out of Delhi, India. Her interests include exploring 'not so popular' places, nature walks, writing and Marketing. To fund her travel she works with an MNC in a Marketing role. You can connect with her on twitter @charubabbar. 

For more ideas on offbeat and responsible destinations in India, visit www.indiauntravelled.com or join India Untravelled on Facebook and TwitterTo contribute guest posts / photo essays to this blog, please see our contribution guidelines and send your story ideas to blog@indiauntravelled.com.


  1. I have been longing to visit a place like Spiti for quite sometime now. I appreciate Indiauntravelled's effort of bringing out the secluded gems of our country.

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