The district of Lahaul-Spiti in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is one of the most spectacular valley with ancient monasteries and natural formations. It consists of the two formerly separate districts of Lahaul and Spiti. The present administrative head quarter is Keylong in Lahaul. Earlier, Kardang was the capital of Lahaul, and Dhankar the capital of Spiti. One can visit this place either from Delhi via Manali or from Kalpa via Shimla.
The important tourist destinations spread acrossthe Lahaul Spiti valley are Kaza, Tabo, Nako, Keylong, Jhnaskar and others.
Kunzum pass at 3550 m
Another main attractions of this valley is Kunzum la or the Kunzum Pass (altitude 4,551 m; 14,931 ft) is the entrance pass to the Spiti Valley from Lahaul. It is 21 km from Chandra Tal. This district is connected to Manali through the Rohtang Pass. To the south, Spiti ends 24 km from Tabo, at the Pare chu gorge where the road enters Kinnaur and joins with National Highway No. 22.
The two valleys are quite different in geographical character. Spiti is more barren with huge and varied natural formations at an average elevation of the valley floor of 4,270 m (14,009 ft). It is enclosed between lofty ranges, with the Spiti river rushing out of a gorge in the southeast to meet the Sutlej River. It is a typical mountain desert type area with an average annual rainfall of only 170 mm (6.7 inches).
TABO (3050 m) : 163 km from Kalpa is the ancient village of Tabo, situated on the left bank of river Spiti. Flanked on either sides by hills, its has one of the most important Buddhist monasteries regarded by many as only next to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet. It is also known as the Ajanta of the Himalayas. Tabo is the largest monastic complex of Spiti which has since been declared a protected monument under the aegis of Archaeological Survey of India.
KAZA (3600m) : 210 Km from Kalpa, 47 km from Tabo. The headquarters of Spiti sub-district, Kaza lies on the bank of river Spiti. In earlier times, it was the capital of Nono, the Chief of Spiti. It has a Buddhist Monastery and Hindu Temple.
KEY GOMPA (4116m) : 7 km from Kaza. The largest monastery in Spiti Valley. Established in the 11th century has ancient Buddhist scrolls and paintings. It also houses large number of Buddhist monks and nuns.
KUBBER (4205m) : 18 km from Kaza. The highest village in the world which is connected by motorable road and is the highest habitated village in the world which has its own polling station during elections.
DHANKAR (3890m) : 24 km from Tabo, this place is famous for a Buddhist monastery.
PIN VALLEY : The Pin valley lies below the Kungri Glacier and has several beautiful and important monasteries. iT is called the land of Ibex and snow leopards.
KUNZAM PASS (4551m) : 76 km. One of the highest motorable pass. Goddess Kunjum keeps guard over this pass and wards off evil.
CHANDRATAL LAKE (4270m) :
7 km from Kunzam Pass, is one of the most beautiful lakes in the entire Himalayan region. Surrounded by snow, this deep blue water lake has a circumferences of 2.5 km. River Chandra flows very close to the lake.