Spiti- People, Culture and Religion
Spiti, also known as the “Middle Land”, is a trans- Himalayan terrain located in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh in India. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India. Spiti valley is a place. Spiti valley is home to some of the oldest monasteries (Tabo, Sherkhang and Dhankar- all around 1000 years old), highest motorable villages in Asia (Langza and Komic), highest post office in the world (Hikkim), Chandrataal lake, beautiful and vast landscape, ancient and intact culture and simple people. Spiti valley possesses a distinctive Tibetan Buddhist culture similar to that found in Tibet and Ladakh region of India.
Along the northern route from Manali or Keylong via the Rohtang or Kunzum Pass respectively, the valley lies in the North East of the Indian hill state of Himachal Pradesh, and forms part of the Lahaul and Spiti district.
The sub-divisional headquarters (capital) is Kaza, Himachal Pradesh which is situated along the Spiti River at an elevation of about 12,500 feet (3,800 m) above mean sea level. Spiti valley is a research and cultural centre for Buddhists. Highlights include Kye Monastery and Tabo Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in the world and a favorite of the Dalai Lama. It was the location of the spectacular scenery and cinematography in the Indian films Paap and Milarepa, a biographical adventure tale about one of Buddhism’s most famous Tibetan saints.
The Buddhist monastery in the valley served as the locus of the set and some of the monks appeared in the film. The Pin Valley of Spiti is home to the few surviving Buchen Lamas of the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism. Spiti is summer home to hundreds of semi-nomadic Gaddi sheep and goat herders who come to this valley for grazing their animals from the surrounding villages and sometimes as far as 250 km. They enter the valley during summer as the snow melts and leave just a few days before first snowfall of the season.