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Villages in spiti Valley


Komic monastery also known as the Tnagyud Monastery has the honor of being one of the world’s highest motorable monastery at 4587m overlooking the Komic village and mountain peaks. There are a few stories behind the existence of this monastery and they go like this:-

As per the sacred ‘Gum Maro’ (Red Box) kept in the monastery, it was foretold in Tibet that a monastery would be built in Spiti in the backdrop of a mountain with the shape of a snow lion on the left and a beheaded eagle on the right-hand side with 4 springs in the vicinity. The area in between these mountains was to be in the shape of the eye of a snow cock, which was foretold as the exact location where the Monastery would be built. On the basis of this, the area was to be named Komic (‘Ko’– Snow Cock, ‘Mic’– Eye). The monastery is known as the Komic Lundup Tsemo Gompa and dates to the early 14th century built like a fortified castle with massive slanted mud walls and battlements with vertical red ochre and white vertical stripes.

In Komic, there are only about a dozen houses with the total population being between 50-60 people. Other than this, there are the Lamas staying at the monastery throughout the year. The most interesting part is to imagine people living at such an altitude where mobile phones don’t work, the climate is harsh, there is no source of basic amenities and the village is completely cut- off from the rest of the world during the winters due to snow from November to March. The winter characterizes harsh winds and heavy snow where temperatures fall to -30 degrees Celcius. Oxygen levels are low due to the high altitude and travelers normally face breathing problems.

Next to the monastery is a small hill with prayer flags on it. The prayer flags are clearly visible from the monastery area. We suggest that everyone should spend an afternoon sitting on this hill and see the sunset. We wonder if there is any better sunset than this.

If you want to stay in Komic, then homestay and 2-3 rooms in the Gompa guesthouse is the only option here and booking it first in Kaza should be preferred.

At an altitude of 3700 m, Kaza is located on the left bank of Spiti river and is the largest township and commercial center of the valley. Kaza is known for its colorful festivals and a Buddhist monastery of the Sakya sect. It is also popular with tourists and adventure seekers during summer months because of its central location and connections to rest of the valley and outside. This central location also makes Kaza an ideal base camp for trekking, mountaineering and tours directed to other parts of the valley.

Kaza being the centre of all activity has a few hotels, guesthouses and restaurants. Kaza also has the only ATM machine in the whole of Spiti valley but it is not always active. We suggest you do not rely on it.

Langza village, at an altitude of 4200 meters, is one of the most picturesque villages of Spiti located on the highland meadows with snow-capped mountain ranges forming the backdrop. The village is adorned with a beautiful statue of Buddha and an ancient temple more aptly called ‘Lang’ said to be the Abode of the Deities of the region and over 1000 years old. The beautiful peak of Chau Chau Kang Nilda makes the view of this village even more beautiful.

Langza is also well known for its rich fossil reserves. Millions of years ago, Spiti lay submerged under the Tethys sea. Fossils of sea life can easily be found scattered close to the village. Regular fossil excursions are organized for a unique insight into the history of the Himalayas.

At an altitude of 4000m just a few kms ahead of Key Monastery is a beautiful village called Kibber. Sometime back this village had an authority of being the highest motorable village in Asia before Komic took the crown. Kibber is also home to Snow Leopards and sightings have been known to have happened in the surrounding mountains. Kibber is also the starting point for some treks. One of them is through the ancient route between Spiti and Ladakh which is commonly known as the Parang La trek. Another one is Kanamo peak trek that starts from this village.

There are a few homestays and a guesthouse in this village

With its sub-zero temperatures and semi-frozen rivers, Pin Valley is the only cold desert National Park located in Himachal Pradesh. The park lies in the valley of the Pin river, from where it derives its name. In Pin Valley you will find the picturesque villages of Mudh and Sagnam.

The region is also under strong religious influence with some very famous Buddhist monasteries or gompas located here. The valley is renowned for being Spiti’s main stronghold of Nyingmapa Buddhists and home to the last surviving Buchen Lamas. Pin Valley is home to the snow leopard, and its prey, the ibex. Set against a back-drop of awe-inspiring icy mountain ranges, Pin Valley is snowed in for a good part of the year and a trek to this fascinating country should only be attempted by the spirited, adventurous and fit.

Gue Village in Spiti Valley, about 40 km from the Tabo Monastery, has a mummified monk, Sangha Tenzin, who had given up his life while meditating and is more than 500 years. It is the only Buddhist Mummy in the world, that too, in a sitting position. There were other mummies also in Tibet which were buried by Tibetans just after the Chinese invasion. This mummy was discovered by the villagers in 1975 when an earthquake struck the region. Gue village is a restricted area and under the control of ITBP and very few people knew about the mummy until Anuj Singh (A freelance photographer) and his fellow biker Shahwar Hussain (An auto and travel magazine writer) first photographed it way back in the 90’s.

The mummy is remarkably well preserved for its age. Its skin is unbroken and the hair is still on the head. The process of mummification of this mummy is natural and no chemicals have been used to preserve it. Gue also straddles an ancient trading route over which spices, wool, salt, precious stones and sugar moved between India and Tibet. Monks and high Lamas frequented this route.

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