Famous Places in Lahaul
Keylong ( district headquarter ) :
( 3,340 meters) located above Bhaga river, the district headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti has been described as oasis of green fields, willow planted water courses, brown hills and snowy peaks. In the past, Keylong was home of the Moravian missionaries. There well known monasteries, Tayul, Khardong, and Shashur are within a few kilometers radius.
( 2,573 meters) is situated at the confluence of Chamba and Bhaga rivers. A legend says that there were two lovers, 'Chandra', the daughter of the Moon and 'Bhaga', the son of the Sun god. To perform their eternal marriage, they dedicated to climb to the 'Baralacha La' and from there they ran in opposite directions. Chandra being active and smart, easily found her way down the pass and reached 'Tandi'. Soon Bhaga was found coming with great struggle through the narrow gorges to Tandi, where ultimately both met and the celestial marriage was performed. Tandi's importance for the people of Lahaul is same as it is 'Haridwar' for the Hindus.
( 3,140 meters) a break and windswept place is the first village and gateway toLahaul and on the right bank of the river Chandra 5 kms. from 'Gramphoo'. During winter Khoskar is the coldest inhabited place in Lahaul. The river freezes during winter and is covered with snow to afford regular passage for human beings and also for mule traffic. Khoksar is located on the old trade route from Indian plains to the west Asia.
( 3,160 meters) is located on the river bank of the river Chandra. House of the thakur of Gondhla, called Gondhla castle or fort, is the maiin attraction. According to district gazetteer, this was built in 1700 A.D. by Raja od Kullu Man Singh whose influence stretched upto the Lingti Plains beyond the Baralacha-La. But present Thakur Fateh Chand says that it was 20 generations old. This is eight story building. Raja Man Singh of Kullu had stayed there in 1720 A.D. while on his way to Trilokinath Temple. Remains of the past are lying there. Age old custumes, furniture and idols are also strewn around in a state of neglect. The 'Sharab Raldi' i.e. 'Sword of Wisdom' given to the Thakur by Dalai Lama in the past is also there in the possession of present Thakur. This sword seems to have been built in the 'Toledo' technique of Spain. In the month of July a fair is held when Lamas dance and enjoy. This fair attracts a large number of visitors.
It is in Lahaul valley, located on the bank of Bhaga river. There is a big camping ground. Sufficient trout fish is available in the river. This beautiful spot is 22 kms away from Keylong and 4 kms ahead of Ghemur. The village is situated at the junction of two nullahs with the main river Bhaga. Jispa has a very large dry river-bed, a rarity in Lahaul. Just on the edge of the river Bhaga is a small PWD rest house. The place is virtually an angler's delight. Good juniper plantation is around this village.
(2,743 meters) In olden times this village was known as 'Markul' and so the name of the local goddess is 'Markula Devi. Her temple is unique and is very famous for its wooden carvings on its roof and ceiling. This place is therefore a starting point for Mayur valley and further to Zanskar and other peaks. This sub-divisional headquaters is 53 km. away from Keylong.
(3,360 meters) It is in Lahaul valley from where trekkers start their trek to Padam via Singola as well as Barlacha/Phirtsela. Beyond this point there are hardly any trees. Yotche and Zanskar nallahs meet Bhaga river here from different directions.
Famous Places in Spiti
( 3,340 meters) located above Bhaga river, the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti has been described as oasis of green fields, willow planted water courses, brown hills and snowy peaks. In the past, Keylong was home of the Moravian missionaries. There well known monasteries, Tayul, Khardong, and Shashur are within a few kilometers radius. There are two rest houses in Kaza proper. The Electricity Board rest house is at Rangrik just 4 km away. It is the best in the valley.
On the left bank of the Spiti river at a distance of 32 kms downstream from Kaza, near Shichling at an altitude of 3870 m, nestles the citadel of Dhankar, the official capital of Spiti. The citadel is built on a spur which projects into the main valley and ends in a precipice. The location of this fort is strategic as Spiti always had to suffer innumerable aggressions by its neighbors. The location allowed the Spitian to keep vigil on the approaches and to submit messages to surrounding inhabitations in case of danger. Whenever the Spitians were attacked, they built huge fires to signal meeting in the safe sanctuary of rocks, i.e., Dhankars. In the meeting all men and women decided the course of action to be taken against the aggressors.
Spiti (locally pronounced 'Piti') or the 'middle country', has its sub divisional headquarters at Kaza. The river Spiti originates at the base of the Kunzam range and flows eastward to join the Sutlej at Khab in Kinnaur. In practical isolation for centuries, Spiti has an intensely introvertive culture centred around its several monasteries- Dhankar, Ki, Tabo, Mud, Gungri, Lidang, Hikim, Sagnam, Mane Gogma and Giu to name a few. Spiti was loosely ruled for many centuries by a hereditary wazir, styled Nono. The majority of the people are Buddhists, followers of the Geluk-pa sect. The repetition of the mantra "Om mani padme hum" (literally, 'Behold, the jewel is in the lotus'), is constant; it is believed to bring good fortune and wash away all sins. For all the seeming bleakness, Spiti possesses a haunting beauty. The wildlife in the region includes the elusive snow leopard and ibex, found in the Pin valley.
Kunzum or Kunzam Pass :
( 4,590 metres ) As Rohtang pass is a gateway to Lahaul so Kunzum pass is the gateway to Spiti from Kulu & Lahaul. After crossing Rohtang pass and driving 20kms, one has to turn right from Gramphoo. While going to this pass, the panoramic view of Bara-Sigri glacier (second longest glacier in the world) is enthrilling and inspiring. The crest of the pass has been marked by a chorten of stones erected ages ago.
Lossar is the first inhabited village on the Spiti side if you advance to the valley from Manali over Kunzom pass. Situated at a height of 4,085 m., the village is singularly secluded. Sight of Lossar to a trekker coming down from Kunzom brings instant relief. The neatly white-washed mud houses with red bands look extremely picturesque. The contrast is rendered all the more appealing by verdant fields and willow plantations around the village. According to Gerard, "Lofty as the level of Lossar is, there is little in the landscape to betray its position when viewed in summer, embosomed in flourishing crops and herds of Pashmina wool goats. Yaks and horses meet the eye upon the high activities of the mountains, and an ardent sunshine keeps the air looming from the effect of mirage.
Kibber Village :
Kibber is located at a height of about 14,200 ft in a narrow valley on the summit of a limestone rock. It is only 16 kms from Kaza and a bus service plies between these two places in summer. Kibber is a rather pleasant village with plenty of cultivation. The moment you get down from the bus you are greeted by lush green fields which look strikingly refreshing against the arid backdrop of lofty hills. There are only 80 houses in the village.