Things to do
There’s so much more to Spiti than its landscape and monasteries. The best way to experience this area is to dig a little deeper, hunt a little harder and linger a little longer to uncover the secrets.
Geologically and archaeologically, Spiti is a living museum. Millions of years ago, Spiti however laysubmerged under the Tethys Sea. Remnants of its geological past are evident in the unique landscape and the diverse fossils found in the valley.
While langza village is the most accessible and closest from kaza for fossil exploration in Spiti, there are lots of places in spiti like komic, demul, lalung and especially the mountains behind rangrik where if you are lucky fossils the size of a small dining table can be found. All these fossil sites are easily accessible from Kaza.
MONASTERIES around Kaza
KI - MONASTERY
Founded in the 11th century, the Ki Gompa is one of the largest and the oldest monastery in the Spiti Valley and is supported by a thriving community of lamas. Located at a height of about 4116 meters, the Chaam festival, held in the month of June/July, is a much-awaited event of this Gompa. A monastery in the Gelugp sect, Ki monastery has been attacked no less than 5 times generally by armies. Ki gompa is situated 7 kms from Kaza and was the first fortified monastery in Spiti. The entire complex is located on the slope of a hill and the monastery’s garrisoned architecture still bears stark testimony of the Mongols’ attacks in the region
TABO - MONASTERY
India’s oldest functioning monastery is Tabo Gompa which is 47 kms from Kaza. An architectural illustration of the concept of the Mandala, the monastery celebrated its 1000th Anniversary in 1996 when the Dalai Lama performed the Kala Chakra there. The gompa known as the ‘Ajanta of the Himalayas’ holds some of the finest mural painting treasures in its dimly-lit interiors. Sharp lines, earthy colours and distinct Indian features are the characteristics of the paintings.The Tabo Gompa is the largest monastery complex of this Buddhist religion and has been declared as a protected monument and it’s sculptures, stucco images and wall paintings are similar to the Ajanta-Ellora paintings and are situated at an attitude of 3050 meters.
DHANKAR - MONASTERY
India’s From a distance the Dhankar Gompa stands out because of the solidity of its construction and this led the 19th century traveler, Trebeck, to refer to it as a ‘cold fort’. Dhankar which means ‘Palace on a Cliff’ was once the capital of Spiti and this gompa has been enlisted as one of the Endangered Monuments in the World. The Dhankar Gompa was built nearly 1200 years ago and was also used as a jail at one time. Situated at an altitude of 3870 meters, there is also a lake, an hour’s trek away from the monastery.
KOMIC - MONASTERY
The Tangyud Gompa at Komic at an elevation of 4587 meters is one of the highest villages in the world. The monastery is over 500 years old and has about 50 monks in residence. As a monastery built between two mountains, one shaped like a snow lion and the other like a decapitated eagle. The space between the mountains according to the legend would resemble the eye of a snow cock and this is where the name Komic is derived from – ko means snow cock and mic, eye.
KUNGRI - MONASTERY
India’s From the Nymgya sect, Kungri Monastery was built around 1330 A.D and is high up on a hill overlooking the Pin river. Like Ki monastery, Kungri is famous for its annual Cham Dance. The Cham dance is a tantric dance where monks where costumes and dance on traditional drums beats. This dance is considered as an act of meditation and people come from far away to watch this.
Also known as the Golden Temple, Lhalung Monastery like Tabo was founded by the great Rinchen Zangpo, who ruled the western Himalayan kingdom's of Zanskar, Guge, Spiti and Kinnaur during the late tenth century. The area was formerly a complex of nine shrines enclosed within a dilapidated wall with the main chapel richly decorated. The monastery is considered an ancient centre of learning and debate.The name Lhalung literally means ‘land of the gods’, lha meaning deities and lung meaning land. It is believed that the deity Lhalung is the head of all the deities of the valley and emerges from the Tangmar Mountain beyond the village.
WILD LIFE EXPEDITIONS
Living in the highland of Spiti is a wealth of wildlife and you can rely on us to take you to these trailswhich only the local communities are aware of. Spotting wildlife in Spit however is never a guarantee but you can trust us to know our mountains which would increase your chances of seeing wildlife of Spiti valley.
DOWNHILL MOUNTAIN BIKING
For the monks living at the Komic monastery the road from Komic to Kaza is the only connection between the world’s highest village to the outside world. The road down to the Spiti valley from Komic is an adrenaline junkie’s delight and the descent from the monastery at Komic to Kaza is more than 1000m.The mythical road, the ever-present danger, the dizzying elevation and the beautiful landscape means that it really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
There are plenty of 1 day hikes around Kaza. We can help you with the route, arrange a guide if needed and also help you arrange longer treks.