LAHAUL SPITI – SCENIC VISTAS
For those seeking unusual scenic vistas, the vast and compelling landscapes
of Lahaul and Spiti are ideal. Barren brown mountain slopes, icy glacial streams,
an almost total lack of vegetation, dramatic cliffs and high mountain slopes
— these two districts certainly do not lack in visual drama. Tourists who
come here have the opportunity to undertake exhilarating hikes across high
mountain passes and to retrace the old trade routes to Ladakh and Tibet.
Visitors to Lahaul have a range of treks to choose from : from Darcha in the
Bhaga Valley over the Shinglo Pass to Kurgiakh, the highest village in Zanskar
and then down again to Padum or a path following the River Chandra north to
its source at the Bara lacha Pass (5100 m). This trek takes in the Chandratal
lake, views of the world’s longest glacier the Bara Shigri and the Baralacha
Pass. Since 1992, except for its south-eastern corner, other parts of Spiti
have been opened to visitors who can trek to the Pin Valley and visit the
various monasteries in the region. Kaza, the sub-divisional headquarters of
Spiti is a good base to pick up porters and mules.
Another circuit which is being promoted in a big way is the Pabbar Valley
Trail with its soothing natural beauty as well as opportunities galore for
adventure activities such as hang-gliding, white-water rafting and skiing.
To get to Pabbar Valley, one has to reach Theog, 40 km from Shimla and then
proceed to the apple growing areas of Kotkhai and Hatkoti with its temples.
Other popular tours being promoted by the Himachal Tourism include the 130
km Narkanda Tour along the Hindustan -Tibet Road which includes Fagu, Theog,
Matiana and Narkanda, all places with outstandingand apple orchards, the 120
km Chail Tourwhich passes through refreshing forests and picturesque hamlets
and includes Kufri, Chail and Kiari.
The 180 km Manikaran Tour starts from Manali and passes through temple towns
such as Vaishno Devi and the scenic countryside of the Parvati valley to reach
Manikaran famous for its hot springs and as a Sikh pilgrimage centre. From
Manali, one can also take the Rohtang Tour ( 110 km) which goes to the top
of the 3980 m Rohtang Pass and includes visits to Nehrukund, a Clearwater
spring named after our first Prime Minister and Marhi with its fantastic views
of the Beas Valley. Another new route which has proved to be immensely popular
is the Manali-Leh Highway which was opened up to foreign tourists as recently
as 1989. The second highest
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