There aren’t many hotels outside Kaza, the capital town of the Spiti valley. This is why we have set up this homestay trail so that you can get the best out of your visit to Spiti.
We have arranged a circuit whereby you see all the important places. Local transport can be arranged between villages in Spiti. Trekking to any standard can be arranged with a local guide. We have covered all the main places of interest, including the ancient monasteries. You can enjoy the summer festivals held by the monasteries according to the Tibetan Calendar.
It is important that the local inhabitants benefit from tourism and not just the big tour operators from outside the valley.
I have personally stayed in all the homestays we recommend, they are clean and the food is delicious. Usually an overnight stay will include dinner and breakfast for about £30 in sterling. You are a welcome guest of the family who take great care to see that you are made comfortable.
If you are travelling from Manali, your first stop will be Kaza, 3,900M above sea level. The best place to stay in Kaza is The United Nations Award Winning Community Centre.
The United Nations Award Winning Community Centre
This was built by Spiti Projects Charity, and is run by Spiti Projects Society the local branch of our charity. The rooms look over the mountains and the Spiti river, one of the best views in the world. The building is run in an environmental eco-friendly way using solar energy, the food offered is organic and grown locally. We suggest you stay two nights to allow your body to adjust to the altitude
The next stop would be Kibber one of the highest villages in the valley. The local taxi service can be arranged to drive you the 16K journey.
On the way visit Kye Monastery, 12K from Kaza which sits on a craggy hill built in a conical shape and can be seen from miles away. The roof area commands spectacular views over the valley. The present building goes back to the 14th century and has a rare collection of Thankas and manuscripts. In July each year the CHAM dance is performed by the monks in the courtyard. This originated in the 10th century and is a traditional religious story of good overcoming evil.
The drive to Kibber through the high mountains is breath taking. I suggest you stay at the Norling Home Stay. The rooms are at the top of the house with a roof terrace which offers excellent views across the valley. Kibber is a great trekking area and the local guides can take you on some beautiful walks, through the Alpine pastures. In winter, this is the place to come to try and see the Snow Leopard. They come down to the lower levels in winter to find the Blue sheep or Ibex which is their staple diet.
The next place to visit is Langza situated at a height of 3,500M, only 12K from Kaza. Stay at Lara Tsering’s Home Stay, another very comfortable home with the back drop of the Shilla Peak and other snow covered mountains. From Langza there is an 8K trek to Komic village where the renowned Tangyud Gompa, a 14th century Tantric temple, is located. Many monks come here for special teaching. The present building was re-constructed after the 1975 earthquake. From here there is a fascinating walk to Hikkim the village below Komic where, from the highest Post Office in the valley, you can send a postcard to your family and it will arrive within a month!
Lara Tsering’s Home Stay
Stay at Lara Tsering’s Home Stay, Langza Village, PO Hikkim, Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 09418537689
You can trek to Lalhung down to the Lingti valley. This is a delightful, mostly downhill journey. Or you can go by jeep via the road. Lalhung is a charming village with no roads or cars. But is famous for the unique Serkhang Temple thought to be built by Rinchen Tsangpo in the 11th century. The wall paintings and murals inside are exquisite and not to be missed. Stay overnight at Tashi’s home stay and experience village hospitality from his wonderful family.
KHABRIK home Stay run by Tashi Gatuk and his wife
Email: email@example.com Tel: +91-9418962704
The next village to visit is Dankhar. This makes a delightful 1-2 hour trek through the high pastures where sheep and goats are grazing, and many alpine flowers can be seen. Or you can continue by road.
Dankhar Monastery, at a height of 3,890M, is 32K south of Kaza. The Fort was once the traditional capital of Spiti where the Nono, head of the Royal Family, lived. It is now in ruins. The Monastery is situated on a hill overlooking the valley in a strategic position where the Pin River joins the Spiti River. Dankhar Monastery once housed hundreds of monks, and still treasures a collection of Thankas and manuscripts of Bhoti scriptures. Now thirty monks are the custodians and would make you very welcome.
Further down the valley, visit the Mane Villages, almost the most beautiful and charming of all. Upper and Lower Mane villages are set back from the main valley on a plateau, tucked behind the hills. It’s recommended to stay 2-3 nights, there is much to see. You can trek to Mane Lake, a 4 hour round trek, take a picnic lunch to enjoy by the lake. On the way back to the village visit the shepherds’ huts where the animals graze on the high pastures in the summer.
Stay at Manerang Home Stay, Mane Village, run by Jeet Singh and his wife
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: +91 941 865 2743
During your stay in Mane, take a one hour drive to Tabu and visit the 10th century monastery complex of five temples, famous for its exquisite murals and stucco sculptures. According to an inscription on one of the walls, it was founded in 996AD and is one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries. It holds a World Heritage Certificate.
Namsay Homestay, Tabu – near bus station
Email: email@example.com Tel: +91-9418600825
The Pin Valley is formed by the Pin River, which rises from the slopes of the Pin-Parvati Pass, (4802M) and meets the Spiti River opposite the Dankhar Monastery. “Pin Valley National Park” is the home of elusive the snow leopard, the Siberian ibex and the wild red fox, among others. It has some amazing rock structures and high mountain passes, which offer some spectacular scenery. This is a favourite trekking area for tourists to trek from Mud over the Parvati pass to the Kulu valley.
Kungri Monastery is the 2nd oldest in the valley, 14th century, and of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. A festival is held in August where the Buchens perform the very special “Breaking of the stone” ritual and sword dance. The women dress in their traditional costumes with their uniquely woven shawls and stunning jewellery, and perform their folk dances which are a real treat to watch.
There are many small villages in the Pin valley where the inhabitants still live in a traditional way by subsistence farming, honouring the ancient Shaman rituals. It is the coldest valley in winter, but has the richest spiritual and ancient traditions, untouched by the modern world, that have survived for centuries.
Takpa House, Sangam, Pin Valley.