Lahul Spiti Travel Packages
  The Destination | Facts at Glance | History | Orientation |
Attractions
| Activities | Events | Getting There & Away |
Getting Around
 
 


Lahaul - The Destination

The frontier fantastique

Trekkign in Lahul

Lahaul is dramatically different from the rugged beauty of Spiti. Like a hummable melody after a rather introspective tune. Lahaul is nature’s way of providing the perfect break from the stark splendor of Spiti.

From Manali to Lahaul and Spiti, through the Rohtang Pass, the landscapes gradually change from thick green to barren whites. What makes the journey more spectacular are the interesting places that dot the route. Khoksar, the meeting point of Chandra and Bhaga

rivers, is a good point to watch the locale. The famous Guru Ghantal Gompa here is the oldest and one of the most famous, founded by Padmasambhava himself. It mentally prepares you to expect the oasis that follows in the shape of giant poplars, lurking streams - a quintessentially British hill station with a mall and popular flea markets, restaurants. Next is the Kardang, a 900-year old gompa that neighbors Keylong, with some recently restored collections, ancient artifacts and murals.


It is in the Pattan valley that Lahaul goes Hindu where epic folklore takes over from Buddhist myths. In Trilokinath, 4 kms before Udeypur by Chenab’s skirting shores is a perfectly chiseled marble statue of Avalokiteshwara, a local deity which has two pillars with an interactive story around them. If you are not a sinner then you will be able to go between the two pillars and the wall space. Never mind if sheer size doesn’t permit some to squeeze through. To God, what

Pattan valley

matters is the heart of the sinner not his or her body, as they say. The temple itself is visited by Hindus and Buddhists both, and even has prayer wheels outside. The 10th century temple of Mrikula Devi at Udeypur, a little bigger than a village itself, is studded with fabulous wooden carvings from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. It brings literature to life for these isolated hill folk in an immensely creative and aesthetic way.

Move over to something otherworldly - Spiti. This is the land that was once immersed in water and now thirsts for it. A landscape that is ostensibly stark and fruitless and yet, stunningly attractive. Quite unlike all it’s other Himalayan kin where literally ‘the grass is greener’. And also quite unlike them, these areas are your best monsoon bet. The mountains stand guard possessively over this desolate privy, shunning the torrents of rain entirely. A land that was opened to the modern world as late as the 1970s - 80s.

These areas are really special. First, it is the sheer nothingness. The simple enticement of wilderness left alone to power of elements. Like nowhere else on earth. A vast desert with jagged peaks resembling honeycombs or mud-scud missiles or prehistoric giant animals reaching towards the heavens with their jaws wide open. Mountains per square kilometer change shape and color while rivers blush a near deep red in such masculine company.

However spartan the natural abode, the people of Spiti converge invariably in villages close to river beds. Visible in green patches of habitation which bring some reprieve to sandy eyes. Of course giving company today to these simple folk could be a Harley Davidson rallyist or a Nikon wielding scholar of Buddhist faith researching the treasures found in these monasteries.


Lahaul - Facts at a Glance

State : Himachal Pradesh
Temperature : 11°C - 20°C (Summers)
-25°C - 8°C (Winters)
Altitude: 3000 - 4800 mts.
Permits: Not necessary for travel as far as Tabo
When to Go :  

As the climatic conditions are particularly harsh here, Lahaul and Spiti remain inaccessible and inhospitable most of the year. The only time you may visit Lahaul is from middle of June to late October and Spiti from August to October.


History of Lahaul


While there are no written records of the antecedents of the local inhabitants, myths and folk tales of the surrounding regions confirm that the people here they have descended from Austric speaking Mundas and consequently from Aryans and Mongoloid races who even in the millennium before Christ were organized as village republics.

In the 10th and 11th centuries, this came under Western Tibet, it’s cultural cousin even today. And then, after the Dogras of Jammu and the British, eventually came 1960 when Lahaul and Spiti became a separate state and in 1966 became a part of Himachal.


Orientation of Lahaul

Lahaul and Spiti form the largest district of Himachal Pradesh with the capital of Lahaul at Keylong. Kaza is the administrative center for the Spiti sub-division. Keylong's bus station is on the Leh-Manali road itself and a short walk takes you to the town. Kaza, in the Spiti valley is a small town with shops and hotels clustered mostly around the new bus stand. In Lahaul, approximately half the population is Buddhist and the other half, Hindu. Almost the entire population in Spiti is Buddhist.

Glossary:

Gompa: Tibetan Buddhist monastery

Padmasambhava: An Indian Buddhist monk who was invited into Tibet to popularize Buddhist thought and reading

Avalokiteshwara : Lord who looks down, Bodhisatva, the compassionate

Mahabharata : Considered to be one of the largest epics of the world, it is a story about the Pandava and Kaurava brothers. The original author was Vyasa, an ancient philosopher. Originally written i n Sanskrit, it has about 100,000 verses and has been translated into almost all languages.

Ramayana : A Sanskrit epic that revolves around the story of Lord Ram.

   

[ close this window ] close

[ close this window ] close