Lahaul

Why To Go

The Lahaul and Spiti District of the state of Himachal Pradesh grazes the Indo-Tibet border of the country, and the effect of this proximity has become quite evident in the culture of the district. Lahaul, often called the ‘Little Tibet’ is surrounded by immense natural beauty and flanked by snow-capped mountain peaks. The “Valley of Lahaul is a brilliant tourist location for those who like to escape into mountainous beauty for their holidays.

Lahaul is located about 2,745 meters above sea level, this beautiful place is packed with natural beauty and wilderness. The proximity to Tibet has lead to an amalgamation of cultures, and Buddhism, as well as Hinduism have come together to create a uniquely beautiful cultural scenario here. Filled with Buddhist monasteries, the place is filled with natural and cultural beauty.

The trans-Himalayan area of Lahaul is one of Himachal’s loveliest and least explored. It is historically and geographically split in two – the Chandra and the Bhaga valleys of Upper Lahaul, with stark high mountains and the Pattan Valley stretching from Tandi to Udaipur in Lower Lahaul.

Lahaul and Spiti together make up the northernmost district of Himachal. Traditionally, Upper Lahaul was the frontier between Ladakh and Kullu, both of which flexed their muscles over the region. In contrast, Lower Lahaul was ruled by the erstwhile Chamba and Kashmir kingdoms. Tibetan kings have also ruled Lahaul.

Travel Tips

Lahaul is a cold place. Nestled in the heart of the Himalayas the place experiences cold and brutal winters. The best time to visit is between June and October, when the weather remains cold but pleasant. Carry light woolens and sturdy shoes with you, during your visit to Lahaul.

Things To Do

Keylong is the regional headquarter for Lahaul, and is located by the Bhaga River. This idyllic town is beautiful, and contains some monasteries such as Tayul, Khardong and Shashur Monasteries. All three are not just rife with beautiful Buddhist art, but are also crucial historical heritage sites. Tandi is located at the confluence of the Chamba and Bhaga Rivers. This small village is a very holy destination for the people of Lahaul. Khoksar, which forms the gateway to Lahaul, and in the winters, it constitutes the coldest part of the district. This small village is located to the right of River Chandra. The river freezes over during winter, imparting the beauty of the glistening snow and ice to this place. Jispa is situated on the banks of River Bhaga and is known for being an ideal camping ground. Lahaul has immense trekking potential, and a stopover at Jispa during the longer treks is perfect, because the place is also suitable for fishing purposes. It is located 22 km away from Keylong, and it also has a PWD Guest House for those who want to avail its facilities. Darcha, on the other hand, is the natural starting point for most treks in and around Lahaul. This part of the district is much greener than the Spiti side. Gondhla is another popular location within Lahaul. The Gondhla Fort, which was built Raja Man Singh of Kullu in 1700 A.D is located here, and is still used by the present Thakur of Gondhla. You should also visit Udaipur in Lahaul to visit the temple of Markula Devi. The town was previously called Markul after her.

Getting Around

Having your vehicle is a huge advantage. Himachal Roadways buses are available from Kaza to nearby areas. Local cars can be hired. Rickety buses ply the winds mountain road with varying frequency. Motorcycles are also an option, but make sure you are experienced and comfortable. Another option in some areas is to walk between villages, which can take anywhere from a couple of hours to the whole day is rewarding in its way.

How To Reach

FLIGHT

Bhuntar Airport in Kullu is the closest to Lahaul, which is around 85 km. From here on, the journey must be made on the road.

TRAIN

Jogindar Nagar Railhead (Ahuj Railway Station) is the closest to this location. The rest of the journey needs to be made on the road. Alternatively, you can take train to Chandigarh and then reach Lahaul via Manali and Spiti via Shimla. The journey would be around 7-9 hours. You may also reach Shimla by train and then hire a cab to reach Lahaul.

ROAD

You can also drive down to Lahaul via Shimla. Keylong to Manali is 115 meters. However, the road from Delhi to Lahaul is a lengthy one. But the roads are covered by snow most of the time so check before you decide to take along drive.

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Surrounding Attractions

Shimla is close by, and Spiti is the other half of the district. The latter has an impressive, desert-like landscape, and a lot of trekking potential too. The museum of Lahaul has photographs of tourist sites in Lahaul and a collection of traditional attire, instruments, prayer lamps, and more. Tandi is where Draupadi is said to have given up her body. A myth attests that this is where the Moon and Sun God got married. Indeed the Chandra Bhaga confluence is where one of the mightiest rivers to rise in India; the Chenab is born. The road to the bridge is stacked with food snacks.
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