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Itinerary................................................................................................................................3 Solan....................................................................................................................................4 Chail.....................................................................................................................................4 Shimla..................................................................................................................................4 Narkanda..............................................................................................................................7 Thanedar and Kotgarh..................................................................................................7 Hatu......................................................................................................................................7 Hatu Peak.....................................................................................................................7 Hatu Mata Temple.......................................................................................................

8 Rampur ................................................................................................................................8 Padam Palace...............................................................................................................9 Lavi Fair.......................................................................................................................9 Sarahan...............................................................................................................................10 Wangtu...............................................................................................................................13 Reckong Peo .....................................................................................................................13 Kalpa..................................................................................................................................13 Sangla.................................................................................................................................15 Rakchham..........................................................................................................................15 Chitkul................................................................................................................................16 Ropa Valley.......................................................................................................................16 Giabong......................................................................................................................16 Puh.....................................................................................................................................16 Khab...........................................................................................................................16 Nako...................................................................................................................................16 Leo.............................................................................................................................17 Chango...............................................................................................................................17 Tabo...................................................................................................................................17 Tabo monastery .........................................................................................................19 Kungri .......................................................................................................................19 KUNGRI GOMPA.....................................................................................................20 Dhankar..............................................................................................................................20 Dhankar Monastery....................................................................................................21 Dhankar Lake.............................................................................................................22 LHALUNG........................................................................................................................22 Langza................................................................................................................................23 Kye.....................................................................................................................................23 Kye monastery ..........................................................................................................23 Kibber................................................................................................................................25 Gete ...........................................................................................................................25 Komik................................................................................................................................26 Losar..................................................................................................................................26 Kunzum pass .....................................................................................................................27 Kunzum Jot................................................................................................................27 Batal...................................................................................................................................27 Chander Tal................................................................................................................27 Gramphu............................................................................................................................28

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KHOKSAR................................................................................................................28 Rohtang Pass......................................................................................................................28 Solang................................................................................................................................29 Manali................................................................................................................................29 Raisan.................................................................................................................................30 Kullu..................................................................................................................................30 Mandi.................................................................................................................................32 Bilaspur..............................................................................................................................34 The New Town..........................................................................................................34 Markand.....................................................................................................................35 General information about Lahaul.....................................................................................36 General information about Spiti.........................................................................................37 Not Covering......................................................................................................................38 Kasauli (Near Shimla)................................................................................................38 GURU GHANTAL....................................................................................................39 Lady Of Keylong.......................................................................................................39 SHA-SHUR................................................................................................................40 Shahshur monastery...................................................................................................40 Udaipar.......................................................................................................................40 Godhla Fort .................................................................................................43 Tso Morari Lake .......................................................................................................45 Thang Yug Gompa.....................................................................................................45

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Itinerary
Shimla Narkanda Hatu Rampur Sarahan Kalpa Sangla Chitkul Ropa Valley Chango Tabo Pin Valley Dhankar Kaza Kye/Kibber Losar Batal Rohtang Solang Manali Raisan Kullu Mandi Bilaspur Chandigarh

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Solan
Solan is the district headquarters and is the home to Meakin Brewery. Solan is 48-km from Shimla and is at an altitude of 1,342m. It is also the bifurcation point for Rajgarh with it's orchards and enchanting villages.

Chail
Chail is hiker's paradise. Chail was the summer capital of Maharaja of Patiala, the area is spread over three hills. One has the village of Chail, the other has the Snow View mansion and the third one has the Palace cum hotel of Chail.

Shimla
The Summer Hideout A quaint little hill train chugs up into the Shivalik foothills, over dramatic loops and high arched bridges to the hill resort of Shimla, the capital of the mountain state of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla was one a string of hill stations that the British established to escape from the scorching heat of the plains. The 12-kms, crescent shaped ridge on which it is located was first occupied by the British troops, in the early part of the 19th century, during the Anglo-Gurkha War. The little village of Shymala, a retreat for British officers, soon grew to become the glamorous summer capital of the British, in India. Shimla's salubrious climate, easy accessibility and numerous attractions have made it one of the most popular hill stations in northern India. The splendid views of the snow clad ranges of the Himalayas, fine walks through oak and flowering rhododenron, enchanting resorts within easy reach, golf at naldehra and skiing at kufri and narkanda make shimla an attractive destination throughout the year. Places Of Interest In Shimla The Mall : This is the main shopping centre of Shimla with restaurants. The Gaiety Theatre, which is a reproduction of an old British theatre is a center of cultural activities. A passenger lift of HPTDC can be taken from the Cart Road and the Mall. Lakkar Bazaar adjacent to the Ridge is popular for its wood-crafts and souvenirs. Christ Church & St. Michael's Cathedral: Built in 1846-1857, Christ Church is the second oldest church of Northern India. The Church overlooks the ridge and is one of the landmarks of Shimla. Shimla's other important churches is St. Michael's Cathedral and Roman Catholic Cathedral, which is just off the Mall.

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Prospect Hill: Crowned by a temple dedicated to Kamna Devi 15-minutes walk from Boileauganj on Shimla-Bilaspur road. The hill is situated at an altitude of 2,155m offers a spectacular view of the area. The Ridge: The large open space in the heart of town presents excellent view of the mountain ranges. Shimla's landmarks - the Neo-Gothic structure of Christ Church and the new - Tudor Library building is worth seeing. Jakhu Temple: Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, this temple is at an altitude of 2,455m near the highest point of Shimla ridge. It offers a fine view over the surrounding valleys, out to the snowcapped peaks, and over the town itself. The temple is a 45-minute walk from the Mall. Jakhu is a vantage point for witnessing the changing skyline as the sun rises or sets. Chadwick Falls: Surrounded by thick forests, one can reach these falls by taking about 45minutes (7-km) walk from Summer Hill Chowk. Summer Hill: At an altitude of 1,283m, Summer Hill is a picturesque spot on Shimla-Kalka Railway line offering shady walks in quiet surroundings. The Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to Shimla lived in the elegant Georgian House of Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur located here. Himachal Pradesh University is also situated over here. Adventure Sports in Shimla Trekking: The Shimla- Kinnaur region offers some exciting trekking opportunities. Narknda to Banjar (Kullu) over the Jalori and Bashleo Passes and Sarahan to Sangla are some of the popular treks, both for the domestic and foreign tourists. From Bharari you can walk to the villages that lie to right of the Seismic Recording Centre, or to the villages of Pabo and Kamiana. Longer treks can be made to Kiar Koti and Tattapani, but for taking-up these treks you better take a guide along. There are quite a good number of trails that can be done in the suburbs. Some are - a walk between the Catering Institute at Kufri and Wildflower Hall; a walk to Mahasu Peak from Kufri through the Himalayan Nature Park and a walk along the Bekhalty road from Mashobra and treks from Mashobra to Sipur.

Kufri
Kufri is a tiny hill station located 19-kms from Shimla on the National Highway No.22. It has a Himalayan Nature park and close by is the Indira Tourist Park with HPTDC's Cafe Lalit. Indira Park provides some great views of the nearby places. Here one can enjoy a Pony or a Yak Ride. The region around Shimla including Kufri was once a part of the Kingdom of Nepal. This region remained obscure from the rest of the world until the British 'discovered' it in 1819. The British made Shimla their summer capital in 1864 and it remained so until 1939. As Shimla gained importance, Kufri also began to be recognized as an important place to visit near Shimla.

Adventure Sports in Kufri


Some great Hiking, some skiing, some beautiful scenes and a cool environment that's what Kufri is all about. It is famous for its trekking and hiking trails. Adventureseeking travelers throng Kufri in winters to enjoy skiing and tobogganing along its snow-covered slopes.

Skiing:

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Kufri, near Shimla is one of the oldest places in India to be associated with skiing and the slopes are still in use during winter. Above Kufri, the Mahasu ridge also has some good slopes. There is a range of slopes, including a beginner's run, an advanced slope and slalom run. Himachal Tourism offers ski courses, instruction and has equipment on hire at Kufri. The Skiing season spreads between November to February and the tourist inflow is at its peak during winters.

Mahasu Peak One can hike through thick forest around Kufri to the Mahasu Peak- the highest peak in Kufri. Indira Tourist Park The Indira Tourist Park is near the Himalayan Nature Park and provides panoramic view of the locations around. Chini Bunglow

Naldera
Naldera is situated at a distance of 23 kilometers from the city of Shimla. The stark elemental beauty of the region captivated the the British Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon who frequently visited this region. Enchanted by the beauty of the place, the Viceroy named his daughter Alexandra, Naldehra. The region is also popular for the nine hole golf course that lies in this region. The region of Naldera lies by the Simla Tattapani Road that is traversed by regular plying private cars and jeeps. The region is easily accessible from the city of Simla. Journey through the road is thrilling and cuts in through the densely covered hillsides. The meandering roads lay a mesmerizing effect on the tourists before he arrives at his destination. Situated at an altitude of 2044 meters, the region offers a splendid and commanding view of the mountain ranges. The ancient Nag Temple dedicated to the serpent God is placed in the region of Naldera. The par 68, nine hole golf course at Naldera was first proposed and designed by the Viceroy, Lord Curzon himself. With a natural turf topography, it is one of the oldest and the most challenging golf courses of the country. Maintenance and supervision of the turf falls under the jurisdiction of the Himachal Tourism department. The tourism department has also made provisions to provide for accommodation in the Hotel Golf Glade for the visiting tourist. Other private hotels also provide comfortable accommodation to the tourist. The salubrious climate and the innate natural beauty of Naldera makes it one of the chief places to see around Manali.

Fagu
Fagu is a vantage point with a panoramic view of ranges and valleys. It serves as a good base for exploring the nearby countryside which is flooded with orchards and forests. About 10km away is the bustling market town of Theog, a longish village strung out on to the hillside like a necklace. Nearby are the temples of the local god, Banthia devta, which shows some brilliant exercises in woodcarving. Those who enjoy camping can stop at Katir (13km from Fagu) which has a camping site.

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Narkanda
Narkanda is a town and a nagar panchayat in Shimla district in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is at an attitude of 2708 meters on the Hindustan Tibet road (NH 22) in Himachal Pradesh, India. It is about 65 km from Shimla and surrounded by the Shivalik Ranges that span a large part of Himachal Pradesh. It is a skiing resort in winter. It connects Shimla with Rampur and a detour also goes to Thanedhar, the prime apple belt of Himachal Pradesh where Satyananda Stokes started the apple culture. It has an average elevation of 2621 metres (8599 feet). Hatu Peak which is at 11000ft is 5 km from Narkanda. Kotgarh is 16 km from Narkanda and famous for apple orchards. What gives Narkanda its awe-inspiring view of the snowy peaks is the fact that it is located on the ridge of the last watershed before the Himalayan range. Below Narkanda, to the north is the Sutlej Valley and beyond it is the snowy massif. The ridge on which Narkanda stands is the watershed between the Sutlej on the north and the Giri river. The sleepy town of Narkanda sits astride the watershed between the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. The region is the abode to enormous groves of hilly cherries and apple trees. The area has forests of fir and spruce, with a smattering of maple, aspen and cedar trees. A wooded trek route takes you to Hatu Peak unfolding a magnificent vista of undulating meadows, snow peaks and valleys. Ahead lie the Greater Himalaya and a number of peaks - the Kinner Kailash, the Srikhand and the Kullu ranges. Hatu's flank hold stretches of apple orchards and acres of wild flowers.

Thanedar and Kotgarh


Motorable, bifurcation from Narkanda (18 Km) Land of apples and apricots. The pretty orchard country of Thanedar and Kotgarh- beautiful in spring- are not far away from Narkanda. Khadrala and Baghi with their dense forests and Kumarsain with an interesting wooden palace are also within easy reach of Narkanda.

TaniJubbar Lake
the lake

that is small but very pretty. Famous for 'Nag Devta' temple built along

Hatu
Hatu Peak
An uphill trek through Deodar woods leads to Hatu Peak (8 Km). A better view of Narkanda is obtained from the nearby Hattu peak, which is nearly 2,000-feet higher than Narkanda, and just over an hour's trekking distance from it. Crowning a ridge in the northeast Shimla Hills, Hatu Peak stands at a mere 3400m, and with a 7km road from the nearest town to nearly the top of the peak, it is easily within the reach of any solo adventurer. Although it is smaller in stature, the nearly 700m of elevation gain ensure that ascending to the summit by foot will still leave you feeling a sense of accomplishment.

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From the top of the peak, the deep furrows of the valleys make for interesting views. A truly intrepid climber could turn approaching the summit into a multi-thousand meter bushwack through dense pine forests that are predominant on the usually fairly gentle hill sides. To the north and to the east, the white capped mountains of the Himalaya are visible, even on an overcast day. The nearby highest peaks (both within Himachal Pradesh) are Deo Tibba (6001m -- approximately 120km north near Chatru) and Kinnaur Kailash (6050m -- approximately 100km east near Karcham). The Nandi Devi region is to the southeast, approximately 250km. Numerous small hill stations clutter the sides of the mountain ridges in this region, with the largest being Shimla, 71km to the southwest.

Hatu Mata Temple


Ancient temple of Hatu Mata is alive with skiers.

Temple at hatu peak


This is to a local god. Many hindu gods have local interpretations but I think this god was a local god similar to shiva.

Rampur
Rampur was once the capital of the princely state of bushair and a major centre on the old trade route into tibet. The annual Lavi fair, held in the second week of November, is still an important event for the inhabitants of the region. They gahter to buy, sell and barter their producehomespun blankets, shawls, wool and dry fruits- and to celebrate the event with music and dance. Rampur, on the banks of the Sutlej river is on the N.H. 22 - the old Hindustan- Tibet road that goes from Shimla into Kinnaur. The scenic village of Sarahan with its fascinating Bhimkali temple is on this road beyond Rampur. (140-km) One of the biggest commercial centers of Shimla, Rampur town is located at a distance of around 135 kilometers from Shimla. It is one of the most important market and business centers of Shimla. Rampur used to be the capital city of the Bushahr Empire during the 18th century in India. Located near Shimla, Rampur falls along the ancient trade route to Afghanistan, Ladakh, China and Tibet. It is located on the banks of the mighty river Sutlej. The tradition of Rampur is still pulsating as ever and one feels completely rejuvenated on visiting this place. The main attraction of Rampur is the Lavi Fair, which is supposed to be one of the biggest fairs of North India. This fair is held every year during the second week of November. The fair is quite popular among the people in Shimla and is held for three days. The fair is abuzz with life and activities as it is a major crowd puller. The fair is commercial in nature as tradesmen and craftsmen come from all over Shimla to buy, sell and exchange articles like dry fruits, shawls, blankets, crop produce, handicraft items, fruits, etc. Some people even trade in livestock like sheep, goats, cows and horses. The place is one of the best shopping hubs and one can get just about any exotic item over here. You can pick up handicraft items like wooden carvings and clay sculptures. The most popular items are the handspun woolen shawls and rugs that are warm even in the coldest weather. Rampur is famous for its handspun blankets that are popularly known "Rampuri Chaddar" (Chaddar is Hindi for blanket). The blankets are known for their softness and durability and tourists make it a point to buy atleast one from here.

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Padam Palace
Situated at a distance of approximately 125 km from Shimla is Padam Palace, one of the major attractions of Rampur. It once served as the Winter Capital of the former princely state of Bushair. Raja Padam Singh laid the foundation the palace on the left bank of River Satluj in the year 1919. The construction of Padam Palace took six years and it was completed in 1925. Chief engineer who supervised its construction was known as Bir Chand Shukla. Near the palace one can see a nunnery; a temple and a museum situated nearby. Padam palace of Himachal Pradesh is exemplary in its own right due to its architectural style and craftsmanship. The double-storied building is made up of wood that came from the forests of Munish and Dhamreda and stone that was quarried at Khaneri. Black gram was used as the cement between the stone blocks. The tin roof has beautiful spiral projections. The contrast of stone arches on the lower floor, exquisitely carved woodwork on the upper floor and the wooden screen with intricate floral designs and figurines is quite interesting. Padam palace has a sprawling lawn that serves as the venue for all the festivities and public functions held in the royal palace. Macchkandi, the seating area for the royalty during celebrations, is situated at one end of the lawn and is definitely a masterpiece in woodwork. Woodwork has been done so cleverly that sunlight is let in, but people inside are not visible to the outsiders. Gurjit Singh Fishta was the designer of the Macchkandi. The father-son duo that transformed his designs into reality is that of Gurmail Singh and Gurdev Singh. Even the halls of the Padam Palace are used to host royal functions. The walls of the palace are adorned with portraits of the royalty and its ceilings display some of the most stunning wooden work of art. Apartments and residences of the royal family members are located inside as well as outside this building.a

Lavi Fair
Lavi Fair of Himachal Pradesh is organized annually in Rampur, on the banks of River Satluj. It is held in the month of November and has already attained international fame and renown. Lavi once served as a major trading center and the stopover point on the old trade routes that led to Kinnaur, Tibet, Ladakh and Afghanistan. The fair that takes place there also finds a mention in the records of the erstwhile state of Bushair. It is said that, during the reign of Raja Kesar Singh, a trade treaty was signed between Bushair and Tibet, as a sign of friendliness Horses and swords were also exchanged between them. It is since that time that International Lavi Fair is being celebrated in the town. Earlier, the traders from Tibet and Kinnaur used to put up their stalls at the fair. However, this practice stopped with the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Now, efforts are being made to revive the pristine glory of the fair. Traders come to the Lavi Fair to sell quilts, utensils and other consumer goods. Amongst the things one can buy at the fair, the most popular ones are 'Pashmina' wool, dry fruits, 'Chaumkhi' horses that are surefooted and abound in the surrounding tribal areas and a variety of native handicrafts. Tribals trade agricultural produce, dry fruits, woollen pattoos and kala zira here. Last but not the least; you can also buy Chinese products at the International Lavi Fair, such as jackets, tracksuits and crockery. RAMPUR TOWN (924m): There are many places for sight-seeing. Its old Hindu and Buddhist shrines include the Ragunath Temple, the Ayodhya Temple, the Narsingh Temple and the

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Dumgir Budh Temple which has a large prayer wheel and holds important scriptures. In an interesting colonial and traditional styles, the Padam Palace is one of Rampur's major attractions. DUTT NAGAR (970m): 12 km ancient village on the left bank of Sutlej which derived its name from the ancient temple of god Dattreya.. NIRATH (950m): 18 km, famous for ancient and unique Sun Temple built in nagara style is one of the two temples in India dedicated to Lord Suryanarayan.

Sarahan
Soaked in nature's beauty, Sarahan is flanked on the banks of the meandering Sutlej River. The way to Sarahan through Fagu, Theog, Narkanda, Rampur, and Jeori is extremely scenictraversing through mountains flanked by steep cliffs on one side and deep ravines on the other, dense emerald pine forests, terraced farms, apple orchards. Once in Sarahan, one beholds a range of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks and one of them is the Shrikhand Peak. The rather peculiar thing about this peak is that it is only one whose tip remains uncovered with snow. In the evening, sunrays adorn the peaks and the sight is simply stupendous. In the heart of Sarahan is the temple of Goddess Bhima Kaali, the architecture of which is very akin to a monastery. Lots of almonds, plums, and peach orchards laden with luscious fruits transport one to Eden. About 54 km from Sarahan lies in the Sangla valley. The road to Sangla is narrow, rough, and hazardous, taking one through Wangtu and Karchham. The Sutlej River that meanders below now emerges in all its frenzied ferocity. The sheer force with which it gushes down makes it awesome. The road to Sangla is crudely carved out of rocks and runs parallel to the river that is deep down in the forge. At some places, there is barely enough space for the bus to wriggle through the rough road and the rock above.

Of Stones Soaked In History


This small village in the western Himalayas has a setting that only the Gods could have created. This was where Banasura of the leg-end ruled. One night his beautiful daughter, Usha, had a dream. She saw a prince more handsome and far stronger than any man. And when she woke, Usha pined for that prince and told her friend, Chitralekha, about him. Based on Ushas vivid description, Chitralekha made his portrait. Partially consoled, Usha kept that picture close to her. Then Chitralekha vowed she would search the world over for that prince and bring him to Usha. For a long time, Chitralekha wandered till one day she saw Aniruddha, Lord Krishnas son. Here was the prince of Ushas dream! As Aniruddha slept, Chitralekha picked up the bed and brought him to Usha. But the moment Lord Krishna heard of his sons abduction, he marched with his army against Usha s father. Banasura who hadnt a clue what the battle was all about was defeated. And then the story of the dream was told. Magnanimous as ever, Lord Krishna married his son to Usha and as dowry gave back the defeated Banasura his kingdom of Shonitpur, which is regarded to be the present day Sarahan. Banasura could not have chosen a more beautiful place to rule. This small village in the western Himalayas has a setting that only the Gods could have created. Far below in the valley, and miles out of its source in Mansarovar, tumbles the river Sutlej. Across lies Shrikhand and the other

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snow covered peaks, some so sacred that none may climb them. It is a land closely connected with the epic Mahabharata and the exile of the Pandavas. Alongside Shrikhand is a huge Shivalinga, the Bhimadwar that is visible from Sarahan and is said to have been built by that mountain of a man, Bhima. Around Sarahan itself are fields and orchards, small villages and thick forests.

Legend Of Bhimakali
Between the legend of Banasura and the present day, comes the presence of Bhimakali - which is what Sarahan is all about. Again in legend, there was a time when demons lorded over the Himalayas and harassed the Gods and the Rishis (saints). After a long sequence, led by Lord Vishnu, the Gods breathed fire and poured their strength to a focus. A huge flame rose and as the clouds of smoke dispersed, they saw that a young girl had taken birth. She was the first Shakti - Adhishakti. Hemkunt gave her a white tiger to ride on, Kuber gave her a crown, Varun gave her clothes and water. The other Gods gave her the Lotus, Garlands, a Conch, the Chakra and other powerful Devi, was to repeatedly take birth and destroy the demons. As Bhimakali, she appeared at Sarahan - the place is one of the major Shaktipeeths or Shaktipeethas or Places of Strength, where the Devi or Goddess appeared. While it was the local Pundits who spent hours with us narrating the legends, many are recorded in the ancient texts of the Markandey Purana and the Durgaq Shaptshatti.

Another Legend Connected To The Devi


Ages back, another legend goes, the devotee, Bhimagiri, set out from Bengal to tour all the places sacred to Shiva and the Devi in the Himalayas. He carried just a staff and the image of the devi tucked in his matted locks. When he reached Sarahan, his staff sank deep in the ground and there lay buried the image of Bhimakali. She appeared to him and said that this was her true home and here she would live. Bhimagiri lodged himself in a cave on the hillside and after his death; it was decided to build a temple. A spot, some distance from the present complex, was chosen but every night the pile of construction material would mysteriously shift. The obvious message received, the temple was then built on the present site. As time passed and the mists of myth gave way to verifiable history, the beautiful spot of Sarahan became the capital of the princely state of Bushair. The Raja (king) moved here from Karmu, their original seat in the Baspa Valley. In the 18th century, he moved to the banks of the Sutlej and made Rampur, on the lower boundaries of the state, his capital. Bushair was regarded as one of the wealthiest states of the region and was a major entrepot for trade with Tibet, Ladakh, Kashmir and Khazakstan. But here legend creeps in again and the story is told of two brothers who set out from home. One night, as they slept, a boulder grew between them. In the morning, when one brother woke up, he couldnt see the other. Thinking that he had left, his brother took a high road and began walking. After a somewhat tortuous sequence of events, he became the ruler of the area. The other one woke later and found his brother gone. He took the lower path and in time became the Rajpurohit (the head priest of the kingdom).

Tales Woven Around Sarahan


Centuries ago, the raja of Kullu declared war on Bushair. After a bloody battle, he was defeated and the dismembered head of its ruler was brought to Sarahan and placed on this stone platform. The defeated people of Kullu and the rajas family asked for the return of the head so that they could perform the final rites. The ruler of Bushair laid three conditions before he would return the head - the land seized across the

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Sutlej would be retained, Kullu must promise to never again challenge its neighbour and the captured image of Lord Raghunath (the pattern Devta of Kullu) would not be returned. The defeated kingdom accepted all these conditions and in return only asked that Bushair celebrate the festival of Dussehra. This was accepted and Dussehra is now a major local festival. The image of Lord Raghunath was ceremoniously installed alongside that of Bhimakali. Then about a century ago, a new temple was built and here it presently rests. After this sanguinary story comes another. As one climbs the stairs from the first courtyard, passes the magnificent bras plate doors and enters a short hallway, there is a large flagstone on the floor. A few years back, all around this, smooth light grey Kota stone was laid. But his hunk of rough quartzite still dominates the middle. Kanwar Gopal Singh, scion of Bushairs princely family who superintends the temple complex told the story. A tradition that still continues to an extent is that no individual should build a house similar in design or as grand as the temple or the rulers palace. In the village or Rohru, a man named Masoi decided that this unwritten code did not apply to his and built for himself a house inspired by the design of the Sarahan complex. This was taken as a sign of both sacrilege and revolt and an army detachment was sent to crush him. Masois house was razed to the ground and this stone from his roof was brought and symbolically placed here. And every person entering the complex now walked over that stone and let everyone know that those who tried to rise above their appointed station would be crushed and trod upon for all times to come.

Adventure Sports
Trekking In Sarahan : Sarahan is the base for some of Himachal's finest treks and is also the doorway to Kinnaur's untrammeled beauty. The more popular ones are those going to Badahal, Sangla and Shrikhand Peak. The treks are however open only between April and June and September-October.

Sarahan's stunning beauty offsets extravagant backdrops of snowy peaks and undulating valleys. [citation needed] The Sarahan village is famous for the ancient Bhimakali temple and as a starting point for a trek up mountain Shrikhand Mahadev. Sarahan also has a bird pheasentry (zoo or bird breeding station) where you can find a bird named Jajurana' (scientifically known western tagopharant) that is only available in India in Sarahan. Sarahan also has a Buddhist monastery with a lot of artwork in texture done by the young lamas.

Bhimkali Temple
The Temple Features
With interlocked wooden beams encasing Ashlar worked stone, the outer walls of the Sarahan temple complex encase roughly an acre of buildings and courtyards. On an edge, in the classical shikhara style of temples, is the one dedicated to Lord Narasingh (also spelt as Narasimha or Narusimha). And in the centre of the courtyard is a raised stone platform. Till its recent straightening out, this pointed towards the peaks of Shrikhand and the state of Kullu - a one time enemy of Bushair. After a hard stride over Masois stone, comes the second courtyard and the right hand side is lined with rooms of the erstwhile rulers. There is a temple dedicated to Bhairon and then the main focus of the complex, the temple of Bhimakali. Now locked and used as a repository, the older temple has a weathered and distinguished look. During the devastating earthquake of 1905, it tilted towards a side but the inherent elasticity of the wood-beam structure prevented major damage. A later earthquake straightened the plumb to an extent. The foundations of this remarkable building are said to rest three-storeys deep, and now a disused tunnel connects it to the village of Ranwin, a kilometre away. Through this underground passage, the pundits would enter and leave the temple.

Rebuilding Of A New Structure

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Completed in 1943, by old temples side is the newer temple with a similar architectural pattern but with heavier carving on the woodwork and a fascinating roofline. Here, with a host of other deities, are two images of Bhimakali. The first portrays her as an unmarried maiden and the second as a mature woman. For Sarahan, at a height of 200 mts and 184-km from Shimla, if one were to use the phrase that the stones are soaked with history, it would hold perfectly true. From the time when Goddess Sati scattered her body over the land and her ear fell in Sarahan there are also flecks of blood and washes of legend. Every dawn brings lifting voices of the says first Aarti at the temple and the sound pours over the little villages, carries to the high mountains and its strength churns in the tumbling waters of the icy Sutlej.

BHABA VALLEY: 50 km from Sarahan, a beautiful valley along Bhaba river. Link road to
valley originates at Wangtu. It has a beautiful landscape, reservoir lake, alpine meadows and is best famous for trek route to Pin Valley in Spiti.

Wangtu
Nichar(3150m) : This village is situated between Taranda and Wangtu on the left bank of Satluj
about 5 kms above Wangtu.The scenery is enchanting and the climate is noted for its mildness. In the thick forests and rocky glen from this place downward goral and thar antelopes abound in. Black and red bears are also seen in the higher and colder portions of the range. The village deity is goddess Ukha.

Reckong Peo
is situated at an altitude of 2670 m from the sea level, located 235 km from Shimla. It is the District Headquarter having a panoramic view of Kinner Kailash. Kinner Kailash mountain is regarded as one of the mythical homes of Lord Shiva, here is a 79 feet high rock formation that resembles Sivalinga. This Sivalinga changes the colour as the day passes. Also visible on the stretch is the peak of Raldang (5499 m). Reckong Peo has many hotels and rest houses. There is a Buddhist Monasteries in the Reckong Peo.

Kalpa
Kalpa has all the makings of an Indian Fairyland. At a height of 10,900 feet in Himachal Pradesh, 265 kms ahead of Shimla on the NH22 in Kinnaur District is this hideaway town. It is located at the base of the imposing Kinner Kailash ranges and Shivling peaks which rise upto 20,000 feet, towering above the clouds, kissing the heavens, encircling the area around. Kalpa itself is spread amidst chilgoza forests, apple plantations and the holy deodhars. It is reached after crossing the quaint town of Recong Peo, which has a hundred-year-old monastery. From the turn off at Karcham to the lofty Chung Sakhago pass, the Sangla Valley - along the Baspa river - is about 95 kms long. Till Chitkul, roughly halfway up the valley, it is fairly populous and heavily cultivated. 26 kms from Karcham along the Baspa river Rajesh and Ajay offer 'tented accommodation

Kalpa, 60 kms from Sangla, offers the best panoramic view of the 6,000m high Kinner Kailash range and Shiva Ling peaks. Kalpa is also famous for its apple and chilgoza plantations.

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The Kinner-Kailash range is silhouetted against the lovely town of Kalpa, the ancient capital of the Kinners of Kinnaur. Kalpa was the headquarters of the Kinnaur region till the town of Rekong Peo donned the mantle. In ancient Hindu mythology, the Kinners were birdlike men akin to Gods midway between man and God. Kinnaur is a land like no other, a realm as strikingly varied as the landscape you will encounter on the way.

Much of the excitement of visiting Kalpa lies in the adventurous journey to get here. The scenery changes dramatically from gorgeous valleys, green orchards and forests of cedar, chilgoza-pine and bhojpatra trees, to the starkness of the mountains, high altitude deserts and stunning gorges. The rugged mountains rise up dramatically from the riverbanks. The Sutlej carves a deep chasm through the Great Himalayas as it rages through Kinnaur, to meet the quiet Baspa at Karcham. This is one of the most breathtakingly vertiginous drives you will face. The road is literally carved through the rock face with a sheer drop down to the turbulent Sutlej

Once you reach the town of Kalpa, you are rewarded by the most fantastic views of the KinnerKailash, of the 70 m Shivling that juts out of the peak and the striking sunrises and sunsets that light up the mountains.

Besides the fantastic scenery and drives, set aside some energetic moments for mountain-biking, mountain-cycling, jeep safaris, trout fishing in the Baspa, star-gazing, camping, hiking, trekking and river rafting adventures. Privately organized adventure camps are mushrooming around Kinnaur's valleys, to cater to the audacious.

The villages nearby are abuzz with friendly folk who won't let you pass their homes without an invitation for a cup of tea and a chat. Hindu temples, Buddhist monasteries and gompas stick out like Christmas decorations on the mountain slopes. The architectural style is a happy fusion and you are left marveling at how two cultures, Hindu and Buddhist, blend harmoniously in this land, making it impossible to tell where one stops and the other begins.

Kalpa is situated at an altitude of 2759 m from the sea level, on the old Hindustan Tibet Road at a distance of 260 km from Shimla. Earlier it was the District Headquarter of Kinnaur. It is 14 kms. and half an hour's drive from District Headquarter Reckong Peo. It has all the characteristics of a heritage village. Kalpa came into prominence in the wake of British Governor General Lord Dalhousie's visit in th 19th century. The Narayan-Nagani temple is an exemplary of local craftmanship. There are couple of Buddhist monasteries at Kalpa including the Hu-Bu-Ian-Car Gompa, said to be founded it by Rinchensang-Po (950-1055AD).Kalpa is dramatically located close to the foot of 6050 meter high Kinner Kailash. This is the legendary winter home of Shiva. This is a spectacular sight early in the morning as the rising sun touches the snowy peaks with crimson and gold light.

Kothi is also called Koshtampi is an ancient large village in tehsil Kalpa, little below the Kalpa and nearby
Reckong Peo. The village is environed by the fields and fruit trees punctuated by vineyards. It is over

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shadowed by Kinner Kailash peak which forms a magnificent backdrops. The village with its attractive temple, tanks and gracious willows makes an altogether lovely landscape. The goddess Shuwang Chandika temple is in the village. The local people hold the goddess in great reverence and consider her to be one of the most powerful goddess.There is an image of gold seated in an ark. It is danced up and down by four persons at the time of worship.There is yet another temple dedicated to Bhairon.

Lippa(2438m): Situated near the left bank of Taiti stream. The grass of this village is said to be
found to be very nourishing to cattle and horses. Ibex are said to be found in the nearby forest. There is a game sanctuary. There are three Buddhist temples dedicated to Galdang Chhoikar, Dunguir and Kangyur. Apart from the Buddhist temples there is yet another old sanctuary dedicated to Tangtashu, a local deity.

Moorang(3591m): Situated above the left bank of Satluj at some distance from the confluence
of the Tirang and 39 kms away from the Kalpa. The location is very beautiful and approach to this picturesque village is through apricot orchard. The dell is encircled by the lofty mountains on every side, except westward open to the Satluj, on the bank of which there is an old fort believed to be built by Pandavas. The fort has a square structure situated on a knoll overlooking the Satluj. Its main gate is approachable by a detached ladder. It has a flat roof. The local deity is Urming and there are three structures dedicated to the deity each existing in Thwaring, Garmang and Shilling. Generally these are empty as the ark of the deity remains in the fort. On a sacred day the ark is taken to the above named places. The ark has got 18 'mukh', made of silver, gold and brass. The 18 mukh represents the 18 days of the great epic Mahabharat.

Ribba(3745m): Ribba or Rirang is another large populous village at a distance of 14 kms from
Moorang, the tehsil hqrs. situated between the villages of Purbani and Rispa. In the local dialect ri stands for Chilgoza and rang means a peak of mountain.This village is situated on the northern flank of the lofty Kinner Kailash group. Its surroundings are full of the trees of edible pine.This as well as another village Rispa are known for their grapes orchards and the alcohol famous grape distilled from the vineyards of Ribba.

Sangla
Sangla - a populous village, situated on the right bank of the Baspa river, is famous for its high fertile soil, at an elevation of 2621 m above the sea level and falls at a distance of 17 km from Karcham. It is built on a slope with the house rising one above the other; the scene being closed by the gigantic Raldang peaks towering behind. The forest scenery all-arround and the eternal snow peaks are picturesque. Journey from Karcham onwards is enjoyable and adventurous throughout the valley. The natural scenery all arround and the eternal snow view are picturesque and charming. It is located in the famous Baspa valley. The whole of the Baspa valley is one of the prettiest valleys mainly due to its flat terrain and green vegetation on the slopes which are not very steep.

Rakchham
Rakchham(3115m): Rakchham is situated on the right bank of the river Baspa. Its name is derived from "Rak" a stone and "Cham" a bridge. It is said that in the earlier time there was a natural stone bridge over the Baspa river hence the name of the village.The site of the village is striking at the western exremity of a glen, and at the base a huge mass of bare rock, which rises abruptly in numerous black spires above the village.

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Chitkul
Chhitkul(3450m):This is the last and highest village in the Baspa valley. It is situated on the right bank of the Baspa river. There is a road along the left bank from Karchham. There are three temples of local goddess Mathi, the main one said to have been constructed about 500 years ago by a resident of Garhwal. The square ark of the goddess, is made of walnut wood and is covered with clothes and surmounted by a tuft of yak tail. Two poles called bayanga are inserted into it by means of which it is carried. The goddess has a mouthpiece.

Ropa Valley
The Ropa Valley is in Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh. The valley is connected to the Spiti valley by the Manirang Pass. The valley covers an area of 10,000 acres. Ropa valley is famous for its wildlife including rare reptiles, birds, amphibians and fishes. A portion of the Ropa Valley has been developed as the Golf Club and horse riding club.The Ropa Valley is connected to the Pin Valley by Manirang La Pass.

Giabong

Puh
Puh is locally pronounced Spuwa and is tehsil hqrs. It is 71 kms from Reckong Peo. It is situated above the national highway-22 having all modern amenities as well as green fields, vineyards, apricots, almond and grape orchards enhance its beauty. The local god is called Dabla, who neither has any dwelling nor possesses an ark. The only manifestation of the deity is a pole with a small idol set on its upper portion and adorned with yak tail hair and long pieces of coloured cloth. The whole being called Fobrang, it is occasion brought to the Santhang.

Khab Namgya(3048m): Namgya is situated on the left bank of the Satluj river about two kms above
the confluence of the Spiti river with the Satluj. It is above 183m and 313m above the bed of the Saltuj river. It is surrounded by frightful barrenness and desolation, though close to the habitation on the opposite bank of a rivulet can be seen field of barley, buckweat, turnips and a few vines and apricots.There is a Buddhist temple named Lagang and four local goddess namely Chola, Bushahru, Dabla and Kuldeo Narain. Each of them has a separate labdak (mouthpiece).

Nako
Situated above 3 kms above the Hangrang valley road and is 119 kms from Kalpa on the western direction of the huge mountains of Pargial. This is the highest village in the valley and the existence of lake formed out of the masses of the ice and snow above adds beauty to the village.The lake is fringed with willows and populars. Yaks, kine, horses and asses are reared here in abundance. Local village deity is Deodum and another Lagang temple with several idols exist here.There is a staying hut for visitors.There are small, but significant Buddhist temples and a rock is regarded to have the imprints of the saint Padmasambhava. This is the base for the trek to pargial peak and is en-route to the Thashigang monastery, where an image is said to grow hair.

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Leo
About 105 kms from Reckong Peo pearched on small rocky eminence, on the right bank of Spiti river, and at the confluence of the Lipak torrent flowing from the west is the hqrs. of sub-tehsil Hangrang in Puh sub-division.At the east of it is an insulated rock once surmounted by a fort, now in ruins considerable It occupies a slip of soil embosomed by sterile masses of the earth glowing under the ardour of a tropical sun. From such a situation the climate has acquired a delicious softness.

Chango
Chango (3058m) : At a distance of 122 km from Kalpa, is a collection of 4 hamlets in Pargna Shuwa, sub-tehsil Hangrang on the left bank of the river Spiti. It is encircled on every side by high hills which is witness to the presence of a former lake. Buddhism is generally practiced here but there are some local Hindu deities too namely Gyalbo, Dablaand Yulsa.

Tabo

Situated at the height of 3050 meters and On the left bank of river Spiti not far from Sumdo, Tabo is surrounded by high mountains. The thousand year old Tabo Gompa, that was established by the painted stucco, the monastery has priceless collections of manuscripts and thankas. TABO-The Ajanta of the Himalayas Tabo an ancient village is about 46 Kms from Kaza, on the left bank of the Piti river at an altitude of 10004 feet. The biggest attraction of this village, for that matter of the whole valley, is the Tabo monastery, called Chogs-hkhor ('doctrinal circle' or 'doctrinal enclave') is a complex that holds nine temples, 23 chortens, a monks' chamber and an extension that houses the nuns chamber. On the sheer cliff-face above the enclave are a series of caves which were used as dwellings by the monks and includes an 'assembly hall'. Faint traces of the paintings that once embellished the rock face can be discerned. Even today, Tabo holds the distinction of being the largest monastic complex in Spiti. Constructed in 996 AD, Tabo was the brainchild of the great translator and teacher, Rinchensang Po. Tabo is famous for its exquisite murals and stucco sculptures which bear a striking resemblance with the paintings and sculpture in the Ajanta caves. This is why Tabo has acquired the tide of 'Himalayan Ajanta'. According to His Holiness Dalai Lama, "The most important is Tabo, noted for its exquisite quality of paintings and stucco images that adorn its walls. These works of art delightfully express the vigour of the transmission of Buddhism from india to Tibet and the dynamic mingling of cultures". Tabo monastery is one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries regarded by a large number of followers as only next to the Tholing gompa of Tibet. Tabo is the oldest continuously functioning Buddhist monastery in India and the Himalayas with its original decoration and iconographic program intact. Tabo monastery contains the largest number and the best preserved group of Buddhist monuments in Himachal Pradesh. The nine chapels, four decorated stupas, and cave shrines contain paintings datable to the 1011th c. (Main Temple), 13th-14th c. (Stupas), and 15-20th c. (all other chapels). Except for the main Temple and the painted interior of the stupas, all other extant paintings are attributable to periods following the Gelugpa ascendancy.

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A thousand years ago Tabo served as a meeting place between two cultures, which is graphically represented in the art. Indian pundits and Tibetan scholars came to Tabo to learn Tibetan and Indian Buddhist works respectively. This interaction germinated the seeds of a new art statement best defined as Indo-Tibetan. Tabo was a royal monastery, founded and renovated by two of the most famous royal lamas of the distinguished line of kings of Purang-Guge in Tibet. The Renovation Inscription of the monastery tells the temple was founded by the Bodhisattva (the royal Ye-she-O) and renovated 46 years later by his grandnephew. But tradition attributes Tabo's founding to the Great Translator Rinchen Zangpo. According to an inscription on one of the walls, the monastery was founded in AD 996. The temples of the complex are : The Temple of the Enlightened Gods (gTsug Lha-khang) - This is also known as the Assembly Hall (du-khang) and forms the core of the complex. It houses a vestibule, an assembly hall and a sanctum. The central figure in the assembly hall is the four fold Vairocana. In Vajrayana Buddhism, he is regarded as one of the five spiritual sons of the Adibuddha, who was the selfcreative primordial Buddha. He is portrayed here in a posture "turning the wheel of law". On brackets arrayed along the walls and with stylised flaming circles around them, are life size stucco images of what are commonly known as the Vajradhatu Mandala. These images number thirty three in all, and are the other deities of the pantheon. With five Bodhisattvas of the Good Age placed within, the sanctum is immediately behind the assembly hall. The walls around the stuccoes are elaborately adorned with wall paintings that depict the life of the Buddha. The Golden Temple (gSer -Khang) - Once believed to hav been layered with gold, this shrine was exhaustively renovated in the 16th century by Senge Namgyal, ruler of Ladakh. The walls and ceiling are covered with murals. The Mystic Mandala Temple or Initiation Temple (dKyil-hKhor-khang) - The wall facing the door is embellished by a massive painting of Vairocana, who is surrounded by the eight Bodhisattvas. Mystic mandalas cover the other areas. It is here, that the initiation to monkhood takes place. The Bodhisattva Maitreya Temple (Byams-Pa Chen-po Lha-khang) - This shrine houses the image of the Bodhisattva Maitreya that is more than six meters high. The temple has a hall, vestibule and sanctum. The array of murals within, also depict the monastery of Tashi-Chunpo and Lhasa's Potala palace. The Temple of Dromton (Brom-ston Lha-khang) - The temple lies on the northern edge of the complex and is said to have been founded by Dromton (1008-1064 AD), an important disciple of Atisha. The doorway is intricately carved and the inner walls are covered by murals. The above shrines are said to be the earliest in the Tabo complex and the following are later additions. The Chamber of Picture Treasures (Z'al-ma) - This is an ante room of sorts attached to 'the temple of enlightened gods'. It too is covered with paintings which are in the Tibetan style. The Large Temple of Drom ton (Brom-ston Lha-khang) - The second largest temple in the complex, this has a floor area of over seventy square meters, while the portico and niche add another forty two square meters. The front wall sports the figure of the Sakyamuni, flanked by Sariputra and Maha Maugdalayana. The other walls depict the eight Medicine Buddhas and Guardian Kings. The wooden planks of the ceiling are also painted.

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The Mahakala Vajra-bhairava Temple (Gon-Khang) - This temple enshrines the protective deity of the Geluk-pa sect. Fierce deities people the room and it is only entered after protective meditation. Often it is also called known as 'the temple of horror'. The White Temple (dKar-abyum Lha-khang) - The walls of this shrine are also intricately adorned leaving a low dado for the monks and nuns to lean against. The monastery was originally built as a 'mandala' centering around the assembly hall of the temple of the Enlightened Gods. The assembly hall itself is a vivid representation of the "Vajradhatu Mandala", with the four-fold Vairacana in dharmachakra pravartana pose sitting at the far end and flanked by 33 vajrayana deities. The sanctum sanctorum houses Amitaprabha on a lion, with Ramapani on the right and Mahasthanaprata on the left. The change of mount from peacock to lion is significant and deliberate as it signified the elevation of Pratyeka Buddha to Bodhisattva by meditation on the Vajradhatu mandala.

Tabo monastery
Tabo monastery is a prehistoric monastery, situated in Tabo Village, approximately 46km southeast of Kaza in Lahul and Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh. Built in 996, it is the leading monastic complex in Spiti Valley. Also known as Tabo-Chos-Khor, meaning `doctrinal circle`, the gompa houses 9 temples, 23 chortens, a monk`s chamber and an annex that houses a nun`s bedchamber. Tabo monastery houses delicate sculptures, stucco images and wall paintings, resembling the Ajanta-Ellora paintings in Maharashtra.

Pin Valley
Pin Valley National Park: 30 km from Tabo. A 675 sq km valley at 3600 to 6000 m in Spiti, where the Siberian Ibex, snow leopard and pika roam.

One of the four local units of Spiti is the Pin valley which lies on either side of the Pin river. Geographically, the Pin valley is shut off from the rest of Spiti by high mountains. The only opening has been provided by the Pin river that forces its way through a deep narrow gorge to join the main river Spiti, at Attargu. The Pin valley is famous for its internationally recognised Chaumurti horses that are bred and sold for considerable sums in Rampur-Bushahar during Lavi fair and in Ladakh. The climate and the rich grass of the valley produce extremely sure footed horses able to negotiate great heights without much difficulty. A tourist in the Pin valley may see scores of horses, colts and fillies grazing on the river banks and some youths galloping away on these horses singing wildly in joyous abandon. Horse racing and arrow shooting are very popular in the valley. A tourist may frequently come across arrow shooting competitions called Dhuvor.

Kungri
It is situated in the Pin valley about 10 kms. from Attargo where Spiti river has to be crossed to enter Pin valley. It is serves the population of Pin valley.

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KUNGRI GOMPA
Spitis second oldest monastery is located in the Pin valley. The Kungri gompa built around 1330 AD. Kungri provides unmistakable evidence of tantric cult as practised in Buddhism. Kungri gompa is the main centre of the Nyingma-pa sect in Spiti. The gompa consists of three detatched rectangular blocks facing east. The curious looking buzhens perform a sword dance and are perhaps the only branch of Buddhism in which use of weapons is practised. Some of the buzhens live in Mud village on the right bank of the Pin river. It is a chance encounter with buzhens as these lamas are wandering friars. Most of the Pin valley has been demarcated as the Pin Valley National Park which is the natural habitat of the snow leopard and Himalayan ibex. There is a PWD rest house at Sagnam. Some more accommodation is also being added. Must carry own tents and camping gear. Tracks from this valley lead to Kullu over Pin Parbati pass and Kinnaur over Bhaba pass.

Dhankar
Dhankar situated on the altitude of 12,774 feet above the sea level, south of Kaza around 24 kms. It was traditional Capital of Spiti valley date back to 17the century. The Dhankar Castle is sets picturesquely on a clay hill above Shichilling village. Now new monastery has already constructed below the Castle. There is a natural Lake at about 13,500 feet. Behind the village around 2kms. The Dhankar monastery belongs to Gelugspa School of order.

On the left bank of the Spiti river at a distance of 32 kms downstream from Kaza, near Shichling at an altitude of 3870 m, nestles the citadel of Dhankar, the official capital of Spiti. The citadel is built on a spur which projects into the main valley and ends in a precipice. The location of this fort is strategic as Spiti always had to suffer innumerable aggressions by its neighbors. The location allowed the Spitian to keep vigil on the approaches and to submit messages to surrounding inhabitations in case of danger. Whenever the Spitians were attacked, they built huge fires to signal meeting in the safe sanctuary of rocks, i.e., Dhankars. In the meeting all men and women decided the course of action to be taken against the aggressors. According to the State Gazetteer, "(The fort) became notorious for housing a cavernous dungeon which the Nono used as prison. It contained a cell without doors having only a small opening at the top through which the condemned person was lowered and received his meals." The fort of Dhankar now lies in ruins, but still is a place worthy of visit. From the remnants of the fort one can see vast expanses of the Spiti valley. Dhankar is also of art historical importance. Founded between 7th and the 9th centuries, Dhankar's old temple complex occupies the southern part of the steep mountain slope of the village. It is known by the name of Lha-O-pa Gompa (monastery of the followers of Lha-O).

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The monastery consists of a number of multi-storeyed buildings perched together, giving a fortress like impression. There are five different halls including Kanjur, Lhakhang, and Dukhang where a life size silver statue of Vajradhara, the Diamond Being, is placed in a glass altar embellished with scarves and flowers. Most interesting at the Lha-O-pa gompa is the small chapel on the uppermost peak above the main monastery - Lhakhang Gongma. The building is decorated with depictions of Shakyamuni, Tsongkhapa and Lama Chodrag on the central wall Dhankar's main attraction, although least publicised, is a fresh water lake about 2.5 km from the village at a height of 13500 ft. Set amidst lush green pastures, the lake offers a perfect idyllic camping site. Some boating facilities are proposed to be introduced in the near future. Under the Desert Development Project of Spiti the common carp variety of fish has been introduced in this lake. No angling is, however, allowed in the lake. Dhankar is approachable by a motorable road, good for small vehicles only, that branches off for Dhankar from the main Kaza - Samdu road at a point around 24 kms from Kaza. The branch road is 8 kms in length upto Dhankar. There is no rest house in the village. If you plan to halt for night, do carry tents, sleeping bags and other provisions.

Dhankar Monastery
The Gompa has over 150 monks, some fascinating 'thangka' sculptures and a statue of the 'Dhyan Buddha'. Some of the Gompas were destroyed during a particularly harsh winter in 1989. Principal figure is a Statue of " Vairochana" (Dhayan Budha) consisting of 4 complete figures seated back to back. It has relics in the shape of paintings and sculptures. Dhankar Gompa (also Drangkhar or Dhangkar Gompa) is a Gompa, a Buddhist temple in the district of Lahul and Spiti in India. It is situated at an elevation of 3,894 metres (12,774 feet) in the Spiti Valley between the towns of Kaza and Tabo. The complex is built on a 1000-foot (300metre) high spur overlooking the confluence of the Spiti and Pin Rivers - one of the world's most spectacular settings for a gompa. Dhang or dang means cliff, and kar or khar means fort. Hence Dhangkar means fort on a cliff. The monastery is also referred to as Lha-'od-pai-dgon-pa: "Lha-'od seems to be the local pronunciation of Zla-'od, the name of a famous lama who was born in 1121, according to the Reu-mig. Zla-'od-pa would then mean "a follower of Zla-'od." He is apparently the founder or renovator of the monastery which now belongs to the Gelugpa order. The monks assert that it was not only of earlier origin than the Tabo monastery, but also earlier than Srong-btsan-sgam-po. They have, however, nothing to show of any really ancient relics. They explain this fact by stating that the monastery was plundered many times, lastly during the Dgr war.. Dhankar, like Key Monastery and Tangyud Monastery in Spiti, and Thiktse, Likir and Rangdum monasteries in Ladakh, was built as a fort monastery on the Central Tibetan pattern. It was reported to have had 90 monks in 1855. There is a small museum in the gompa. Below the Gompa lies the small village of Shichilling which contains the new Dhankar Monastery, home to about 150 monks belonging to the Gelugpa School of Tibetan Buddhism. Dhankar was the traditional capital of the Spiti Valley Kingdom during the 17th century and has some features dating back to the 12th century. Beyond the surrounding harsh, lunar landscape, notable sights at Dhankar Gompa include a statue of Vairochana (Dhayan Buddha) consisting of 4 figures seated back to back in addition to various crumbling thangkas.

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In 2006, World Monuments Fund selected Dhankar gompa as one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world. A nonprofit group, Dhangkar Initiative, is attempting to organize its conservation. Dhankar is approachable by a motorable road, good for small vehicles only, that branches off for Dhankar from the main Kaza-Samdu road at a point around 24 km from Kaza. The branch road is 8 km in length up to Dhankar Dhankar is a big village and erstwhile capital of Spiti Kingdom. On top of a hill there is a fort which use to be the prison in olden times. The Monastery has about 100 Lamas and is in position of Budhist scriptures in Bhoti language.

Dhankar Lake
A 45 minute walk on a short trail from the monastery will take you to Dhankar lake. Enjoy a boat ride.

LHALUNG
From the small hamlet of Attargu the track leads through deserted and rugged terrain over heights of around 3800 metres into the Lingti valley. Lingti is the third biggest river, after the Pin which pours its great waters out into the spiti. The road into the Lingti valley leads along the slopes of the Lingti's right bank in serpentine curves from which one has a giddy view of the few medieval settlements along the river. After an hour-long drive the valley opens up a little for the rich pastures of Lhalung town, consisting of barley and the yellow rape that adds another beautiful colour to the reduced palette of Spiti. A few of the chhortens lead up to the monastic site from the outskirts of the village. The compound consists of five buildings. At some spots fragmentary remains of a wall encircling all the buildings are to be found. The local tradition that the site once consisted of nine temples, together with the rich interior of the main chapel and the fact the building is also attributed to Rinchen Zangpo, may suggest that the temple like that of Tabo was designed as a Chokhor site, a place of learning and debate as opposed to a simple chapel for worship by local people. The paintings on the walls are of recent date. Serkhang, the golden hall is completely overwhelmed by the number of deities present. The small chapel has a total of 51 deities, either mounted against the walls or placed on the central altar, of which the most are painted in gold.

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Kaza

224 kms. from Manali, 197kms. from Keylong and 425kms. from Shimla. Kaza (3800 m) is a Sub Divisional Hqtr. of Spiti Valley. It is situated at the foot of the step ridges on the left bank of Spiti river. There are PWD rest houses and a private hotels for the staying. Once it was the hqtr. of Nono, the chief of Spiti. It has all modern facilities and is connected by road with Manali & Shimla except in the winter months. Kaza, the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti, is situated on the left bank of the Spiti river at an altitude of about 12,500 ft. above msl. The village is overlooked by steep ridges. The otherwise soporific place hums with activity of tourists during summer, who converge here for permits, current exchange, information, accommodation, petrol and to witness the annual trade fair which a number of visitors compare with the fairs in some of the gompa towns of Ladakh. Besides, Kaza makes a ideal base camp for all treks and tours within the valley. Guides, porters, pack animals and most importantly permits for treks can be obtained in Kaza. There are two rest houses in Kaza proper. The Electricity Board rest house is at Rangrik just 4 km away. It is the best in the valley. Kaza has one of the two Sa- kya- pa sect monasteries. The other monastery is at Hikkim. Opposite Kaza on the right bank of the Spiti river is Kyuling from where the nono of Spiti ruled over his subjects. Rani Damyanti, a descendent of this ruling, family, now resides in Kaza preserving all the stately charm of the yester years.

Langza
Langza has around 20 houses in all. Langza is framed by the mountain range Chocho Khang Nilda and the village is beautiful. There is a beautiful Buddha status on top of the mountain here. Very highly recommended.

Kye
Kye monastery
It is situated 12 kms. north of Kaza and serves the western population of Spiti. It is the oldest and biggest monastery of the valley and located at (4116 m) above Kye village. It houses beautiful scriptures and paintings of Budha and other goddesses. Lamas practice dance, sing and play on pipes and horns. Many Lamas get religious training here. It has murals and books of high aesthetic value. Kye Monastery is situated 12 kms north of Kaza and serves the western population of Spiti in the Lahaul & Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh. It is the oldest and biggest monastery of the valley and located at (4116 m) above Kye village. It houses beautiful scriptures and paintings of Buddha and other goddesses. Lamas practice dance, sing and play on pipes and horns. Many Lamas get religious training here. It has murals and books of high aesthetic value. This monastery is an outstanding example of the monastic architecture, which developed during the 14th century in the wake of the Chinese influence. The Mongols plundered the monastery in the middle of the 17th century. In the 19th century, it again suffered three brutal attacks. The successive trails of destruction and patch-up jobs have resulted in a haphazard growth of box-like structures, and the

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complex now resembles a defensive fort. Kye Monastery in Kaza is one of the most beautiful monasteries in the valley. The monastery completed 1000 years in 2000 AD. History The history of the monastery dates back to 1000 AD. Thereafter, there have been several attacks on it. In the 17th century, the Mongols were the one who attacked the monastery. The 19th century saw three more effort to ruin the monastery. This continuous onslaught on the monastery resulted in frequent renovation and reconstruction work, which in turn has given rise to irregular box like structure. So much so that the structure now gives an appearance of fort rather than a monastery. Today, the monastery is renowned religious training center for the Lamas who can be seen dancing, singing and playing on their pipes and horns. Site & Architecture The design of Monastery is not symmetrical one. Continuous attacks and rebuilding lead to an uneven design pattern. The monastery looks like a fort, where temples are built on top of one another. Paintings and Murals cover the walls of monastery. This monastery is an outstanding example of the monastic architecture, which developed during the 14th century in the wake of the Chinese influence. The monastery enshrines Buddha images and idols, in the position of Dhyana. Kye Monastery in Spiti valley is another magnificent monument in Himachal Pradesh. The structure is so huge, that it looks more like a fort, than a monastery. The construction of this monastery does not look very orderly, rather it seems that in successive time, many temples have been added on top of the existing one. It has been a major center of Buddhist learning and pilgrimage. Kye houses beautiful scriptures and paintings of Budha and other gods and goddesses. The monastery is also a center for religious teachings to Lamas (the Tibetan Monks). One can find Lamas practice, dance, sing and play on pipes and horns. It has a collocation of ancient murals and books of high aesthetic value. This monastery is a perfect example of the monastic architecture. Kye monastery was attacked by the Mongols during 17th century, and suffered 3 more attacks in 19th century. The successive trails of destruction and patch-up jobs have resulted in a haphazard growth of box-like structures, and thus complex now resembles a defensive fort. The 1000 years old Kye monastery is another millennium years old monastery, after Tabo monastery. Kye monastery dates back to 1000 AD, and a celebration of its millennium years were conducted in 2000. The celebrations witness `His Holiness Dalai Lama`, along with more than 15,000 Buddhist devotees from all parts of the globe. Buddhist regards 1000 years as Kalachakra or the `Wheel of Time`. Kalchakra is a religious celebration performed by the Dalai Lama every year. It is considered the most revered and secret spiritual practice of trans Himalayan Buddhism for the Moksha (salvation) of all mankind. On a monastery`s millennium year, the Kalachakra ceremony was considered all the more auspicious. Overlooking Kaza from a height of about 13,500 ft, the Kye monastery is the largest in the valley and holds a powerful sway over the most populous part of the valley around Kaza. The gompa is an irregular heap of low rooms and narrow corridors on a monolithic conical hill. From a distance is resembles the Thiksey monastery near Leh in Ladakh. The irregular prayer chambers are interconnected by dark passages, tortuous staircases and small doors. Hundreds of lamas receive their religious training in the monastery. It is also known for its beautiful murals, thankas, rare manuscripts, stucco images and peculiar wind instruments that form part of the orchestra whenever Chham is enacted in the gompa in summer. Another interesting aspect of the gompa is its collection of weapons which may have been used to ward off marauders as also to maintain its control over people betraying a church-militant character.

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Thousands of devotees from all over the world were attended the Kalachakra ceremony which was performed in August, 2000 by His Holiness Dalai Lama.Kalachakra initiation (Skt. Abhisheka, Tibetan Wang) is not just an elaborate puja or a religious congregation. It is a workshop in a grand scale to make an earnest effort by both the teacher and disciples to awaken their Buddha nature by the combined forces of teaching, prayer, blessing, devotion, mantra, yoga and meditation. It is an effort by every participant to try to discover the true and permanent peace for the sake of all others. The Buddhists believe mere presence during this elaborate initiation ceremony stretching over a few days, liberates the participant from suffering and bestows on him the bliss of Enlightenment. The ceremony focuses on five main subjects - cosmology, psycho-physiology, initiation, sadhana and Buddhahood. A Kalachakra mandala and Viswatma deitiy in union with his consort are at the centre of this ceremony guiding the disciple through the tedious process of initiation. The gompa is approached by road from Kaza (only 12 km). However, it is only 8.5 kms trek from Kaza.

Kibber
Kibber, the highest village in the world, is located in Lahaul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh, at an altitude of about 4205 mThe main attraction is Kibber Sanctuary. Kibber also serves as a base camp for the trek to the Tso Morari Lake in Ladakh. Kibber Sanctuaryis the only sanctuary in the country which is situated in the cold desert area and covers about 1400 sq km. Wildlife species include blue sheep and ibex. Panoramic views of Shilla Peak and Parang La Pass are the added features. Kee Gompa, on the way to Kibber, is worth a visit.The Kibber sanctuary also covers the highest peak in Himachal Pradesh, Gya (22,290 ft) in the north and it will touch another high point of Kamelong (19,362 ft) in the south.Kibber Sanctuary is linked with road via Lalung, Langcha and Kibber village

It is locally known as Khyipur, one of the highest villages in the world at an altitude of 4205 m above sea level in a narrow valley surrounded by mountains from all sides. Rest houses are available for the visitors. Gette, at a short distance away from Kaza, is the highest village in the world at a height of 4270 m. Kibber is located at a height of about 14,200 ft in a narrow valley on the summit of a limestone rock. It is only 16 kms from Kaza and a bus service plies between these two places in summer. Kibber is a rather pleasant village with plenty of cultivation. The moment you get down from the bus you are greeted by lush green fields which look strikingly refreshing against the arid backdrop of lofty hills.

There are only 80 houses in the village. The remarkable feature about the architecture is the use of stone instead of mud or adobe brick used extensively in the valley. There are a civil dispensary, a high school, a post office, a telegraph office and a community TV set in the village. There is a monastery in Kibber which is named after Serkang Rimpochhe of Tabo. The lama breathed his last in Kibber in 1983 and when he was being cremated a water source erupted from that spot. Even today the source is being used by the villagers. There is a traditional trade route from Kibber to Ladakh over Parang La. The Spitians go to Ladakh to barter their horses for yaks or to sell for cash. The trek to Ladakh takes minimum 3 night halts. Permits are required for this trek.

Gete
Gete - one of the highest motorable villages in the world.

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Gete, a village at higher altitude then kibber, with motorable road and electricity. it has hardly 4-5 houses! (villages in spiti are named on a govt. placard with it's population, most of them had population between 10 and 25!). there are two lakes are used for farming fish, at an altitude of nearly 4300 mts This road has further touched the village of Gete at 4995m where there are only six living families. One can find fossils near Gete Village.

Komik
We were headed to the villages of Hikkim and Komik (at Enormous Buddha at Hikkim 4200 meters high and considered one of the most beautiful villages in the whole of the Himalayan Ranges) and the monastery there. It was certainly beautiful . Totally awe inspiring and the whole environment made us feel very insignificant. Arriving in the tiny village of Komik we were taken to the monastery (painted in blue, white and brown stripes). The rest of the houses were all traditional as in Nako - white, blue framed windows and heavy brush coverings (for insulation against the winter snows) on their flat roofs.

Losar
It is situated near the confluence of Losar and Peeno streams at height of 4080 m above sea level. this village is worth a visit being the first big village and because of its Location. Yak and horse riding are other charms to add to its beauty and unique experience. Lossar is the first inhabited village on the Spiti side if you advance to the valley from Manali over Kunzom pass. Situated at a height of 4,085 m., the village is singularly secluded. Sight of Lossar to a trekker coming down from Kunzom brings instant relief. The neatly white-washed mud houses with red bands look extremely picturesque. The contrast is rendered all the more appealing by verdant fields and willow plantations around the village. According to Gerard, "Lofty as the level of Lossar is, there is little in the landscape to betray its position when viewed in summer, embosomed in flourishing crops and herds of Pashmina wool goats. Yaks and horses meet the eye upon the high activities of the mountains, and an ardent sunshine keeps the air looming from the effect of mirage.

There is a small gompa in the village. The flat roofed houses are topped by white flagpole which the superstitious believe saves them from evil spirits and brings prosperity. There is a PWD rest house at the edge of the village where one can stay. A few meters from the rest house from Spiti river in all its serenity. A small flight of steps leads to the river bank where one could even venture a swim. The village grows seed potatoes and green peas besides traditional crops. Yak is the beast of burden. Ibex, blue sheep, etc. can be seen in the higher reaches around the village. Porters, pack animals and guides for Chandrataal and other treks starting from Lossar can be hired from here. The people of Lossar are very hospitable, it is common for the villagers to invite touring officials to their village for a binge where the gusts are regaled to the tunes of local music and dance an liberal helpings of chhang and arak. One wonder if the tourists are also accorded the same hospitality. The inhabitants dress up more like their Tibetan counterparts and perform an interesting post harvest Yak dance which can be witnessed during La Darcha fair. Lossar is surrounded by vast alpine, meadows which are frequented by herders from Kangra Mandi, Chamba, Kullu and Bilaspur. The shepherds believe a stay of two months in and around Spiti immunises their flock and increases their fertility.

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Kunzum pass
As Rohtang pass is a gateway to Lahaul so Kunzum pass (4590 m) is the gateway to Spiti from Kulu & Lahaul. After crossing Rohtang pass and driving 20kms, one has to turn right from Gramphoo. While going to this pass, the panoramic view of Bara-Sigri glacier (second longest glacier in the world) is enthrilling and inspiring. There is a temple at the top of this pass dedicated to goddess Durga. After seeing this pass one can drive to Batal for a night stay in the Rest House. The view from the top is breathtaking. On one side is the Spiti valley and to the other are numerous C.B.(Chandra-Bhaga ) range peaks. On way back from Gramphoo one can either return to Manali (71kms.) or can go to Leh via Keylong , Darcha, Baralacha la, Sarchu, Tanglang la by road. From Tandi (8kms. short of Keylong) one can also drive to Pangi valley along the Chenab river to Udaipur, Trilokinath and Tindi and thereafter by trekking to Killar. From Killar to Chamba/Dalhousie/Delhi or to Kishtwar- Jammu-Delhi. This pass is situated at 60 kms from Gamphu on the Gramphu-Kaza- Sumdo road. It provides chief access to the Spiti-valley from Lahaul which is separated from the Spiti valley by the great Kunzom range, and from where the Spiti, pronounced Piti, the chief river of the area takes its source. Though higher than the Rohtang Pass, Kunzom is safer and provides easier ascent and descent. The altitude of this pass is about 4590 m. The panorama as viewed from the top is breathtaking. The lofty Shigri Parbat can be seen right in front in all its grandeur. The crest of the pass has been marked by a chhorten of stones erected ages ago. Recently a temple has been built on the top. A hut has also been built for the people to take shelter.

Kunzum Jot
The crest of the pass is marked by a wall of mani stones clearly suggesting that one is now stepping into a Buddhist country. A temple dedicated to Durga, the fierce female deity, was built by some gaddies but it could not withstand avalanches and today is in ruins. People believe that the deity has refused to live in the temple. She prefers to stay in the open. Her foot impressions worshipped by gaddies and local people. There is a small hut about 200 m. away from the temple where travellers can find shelter during foul weather. For tourists it is a favourite halt for tea or snacks. From Kunzom one trek leads. Chandrataal, the lake of the Moon.

Batal
Chander Tal
At an altitude of 4300 metres and 6 k.m. from the Kunzum Pass in Lahaul & Spiti district that connects Spiti Chander Tal Lake and Lahaul areas. Surrounded by snows and acres of scree, this deep blue-water lake has a circumference of 2.5 k.m. This is the source of the river Chandra. According to some believers, this is the spot from where the god Indra's chariot took the eldest Pandava brother, Yudhishtra to 'swarga' (heaven) in his mortal form. The natural lake of Chandrataal is situated at about 14,000 ft above msl between a low ridge and about nine kms from the Kunzom pass. The lake lies in a broad grassy plain which in ancient times was a glacier. The lake is about a kilometre in length and half of it in breadth. Its circumambulation is five kms long. There is a brownish patch "Samundari Tapu" in the middle of

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the lake which a number of people have tried to reach but in vain. There is a story of a mermaid living in the glacial lake. This is also said that a shepherd from Hansa village in the Spiti valley fell in love with the fairy and spent some time with her under the water. Cranes and ducks abound in the lake. Chandra Taal is a favourite halting place for the shepherds because of rich growth of grass. The water in the lake is so clear that stones at its bottom are easily visible. Alpine vegetation grows on the surrounding moraines in summer. This lake freezes during the winter season. Its waters are crystal clear and free from pollution. A number of temples exist along the periphery of the lake.

Gramphu
KHOKSAR
Khoksar is the first village and gate way to Lahaul. This village is situated at an altitude of 3140 m. on the right bank of the river Chandra. There is habitation on the left bank also. H.P.P.W.D. rest house and Serai are on the left bank. Khoksar remains covered under snow during winters. This village is surrounded by high mountains and is avalanche-prone. Avalanches can be seen piled up even near the river bed. During winters Khoksar is the coldest inhabited place in Lahaul. The river freezes during winters and is covered with snow to afford regular passage for human beings as also for mule traffic. Just five kms ahead of Khoksar towards Manali is Gramphu from where a diversion to the left leads to Kaza. During summers rich growth of alpine flowers, beautiful potato fields and numerous water channels spell bound the visitor. Herds of goats and sheep can be seen grazing around. This may be of interest to the reader that Khoksar was on the old trade route from Indian plains to the West Asia.

Rohtang Pass
Situated about 50-km from Manali town, at an altitude of 4,111m on the highway to Keylong, is the Rohtang Pass. There is a beautiful Dasohar Lake left of the Pass. The Pass, which provides the only access to the Lahaul Valley, is open from June to November each year. Snowfall is, however, unpredictable and blizzards can close the Pass even during this period. Here one sees the majesty of the mountains at its height and splendour. A few km away from the pass is the Sonapani glacier and, slightly to the left are the twin peaks of Gaypan-jagged pyramid of rock, snow streaked and snow crowned. Rohtang pass (altitude 13050 feet) separates Kullu, from the exotic charm of the Lahaul valley. In Tibetan Rohtang means "a heap of dead bodies" and the pass stands true to its notorious name. Every year it must take toll of life and property. This is so because after 11 A.M. sudden blizzerds and snow storms called Biannas are only to be expected. The pass becomes all the more hazardous to negotiate due to frequent avalanches. The summit of the pass turns into lush green meadow in summer studded with violets and varieties of wild Himalayan and Alpine flowers. Butterflies of numerous and rare kind and varigated hues also draw the attention of' the visitor. At the highest point on top to the right as one faces Lahaul, is a small stone enclosure and a water spring which is the principal source of the river Beas; .the other, Beas kund is at the head of the Solang nullah. The place gained religious significance because of sojourn of Beas Rishi (the famous Vyasa Rishi, author of the epic Mahabharata.

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To the left of this pass is the little lake Sarkund. On the 20th Bhadon (early September) every year a large number of people visit this lake with the belief and hope that an early morning bath in it will cure all their ailments. Almost directly opposite and obviously only a few kms away is the well defined Sonapani glacier. Slightly to the left are the twin peaks of Gyephang La, seats of Pre Aryan Himalayan gods Jamulu and his younger brother Gyephang. These peaks are snow streaked and snow covered. The higher peak is 5856 m. high. Gyephang La can be seen from Kunzom, Pangi Lahaul and from Serchu plains across the Baralacha La. The higher of the two peaks can be seen on a clear day from as far as the Ridge in Shimla. Himachal tourism buses and taxi operators of Manali provide frequent and efficient service to the tourists in the open season. Tea and snacks are available on the top. However for food one has to halt at Marhi.

Solang
13 kms. is a splendid valley between Solang village and Beas Kund. Solang valley offers the view of glaciers and snow capped mountains and peaks. It has fine ski slopes. The Mountaineering Institute has installed a ski lift for training purpose. Located here is a hut and guest house of the Mountaineering and Allied sports Institute, Manali. Now a few hotels have also come up. The winter skiing festival is organised here. Training in skiing is imparted at this place.

Manali
Situated at the northern end of the kullu valley, Manali has spectacular views of snowcapped peaks and wooded slopes. Manali literally means the 'Home of Manu'. Manu is the mythological character who is supposed to have survived when the world was drowned in Flood. He then came to Manali and recreated human life. Thus, the area of Manali is sacred and Hindus treat the temples over here as pilgrimage. Surrounded by towering peaks at an arm length, Manali's major asset is its proximity to the snowline. It is a flourishing orchard industry, a popular honeymoon destination and trailhead for numerous treks as well as a great countryside ideal for adventure sport lovers. Manali, with its mountaineering institute, is a popular base for trekking and mountaineering in summer and skiing in winter. Interesting routes into the surrounding valleys, over the high passes, are provided with tourist huts and rest houses for trekkign enthusiasts.

Around Manali

Hadimba Temple:
Hadimba or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important temples in the region. This four-story wooden temple is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar. Winding paths through forests and glades of whispering Deodars form the setting for the majestic wooden temple of Hidimba Devi in Manali. The motorable road is shaded by Chestnuts, Chinars and tall deciduous Deodars. This forested backdrop enthral ones spirit and refresh ones mind all along the uphill path.

Vashist Springs (1,982m):


At about half an hours brisk walking distance from town, there are sulphur springs-gush, hot and medicinal emerging out of the mountains at Vashisht. Here, in a bath complex with a restaurant and a beautiful view, couples can soak in the privacy of their own sunken bath, warming all kinds of ailments out of their systems.

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Jagatsukh (6-kms):
It is one of the biggest villages in Kullu district. About 6-km from Manali, Jagatsukh is famous for its Shiva temple that is built in "shikhara" style and nearby is the old and interesting Devi Sharvati temple.

Arjun Gufa (5-kms):


On the left bank of the Beas, 5-km from Manali near the village of Prini, is the 'Arjun Gufa' or the cave of Arjuna. In here Arjuna practised austerities to get Pashupata Ashtra or weapon from Lord Indra.

Beas Kund:
Further ahead is the Beas Kund. The tiny roundish igloo like stone hut shelters the Beas Kund, the very source of the holy river Beas. Water flows at the source of the river likfe a spring, so clear and icy cold that it almost numbs the fingers. All around is the rocky terrain with very little vegetation. A few mules graze around while all and sundry try to brave the wind on a clear sunny day.

Adventure Sports in Manali

Manali Mountaineering Institute:


The Mountaineering Institute located at Manali provides training facilities for basic and advance climbing both for Indian nationals and foreigners. This institute also conducts other adventurous sports activities like high altitude trekking, minor mountaineering, rock-climbing, skiing, and high altitude rescue and relief courses. The institute has sufficient lodging and boarding arrangements and equipment can be hired for trekking purposes.

Rafting in Manali:
The Beas river flowing through Kullu valley is suitable for not only white water rafting but is ideal for canoeing and kayaking too. The Beas River from the Manaki to Jhiri near Bajaura in Kullu district has become very popular among the lovers of river rafting and many competitions have been organised in the same. The trip starts from Mohal and covers a total distance 10-kms. The season normally starts from May to mid-June and rest depends on the arrival of monsoon. The various clubs provide the basic equipment required for the water sports.

Skiing in Manali:
Near Manali there are some slopes, which have been rated the best for skiing in the world. The Solang Nullah, Patalsu, Kothi, Marhi and Rohtang slopes are very good for skiing in the winters as well as in summers. In fact Patalsu and Rohtang slopes are the only places where one can do summer skiing. The slopes are being further developed to accommodate more trainees and tourists. The national level skiing competition is held on the slopes of Solang Nullah and the winter carnival is organised at Manali. The place has immense potential to offer some world-class ski slopes and they are being developed on the same lines. There are private organisations that provide training as well as equipment for skiing. The Mountaineering Institute has put up a small ski lift at Solang Nullah.

Paragliding in Manali:
Paragliding is a combination of hang gliding and parachuting. In parachuting one has to jump from an aircraft whereas in paragliding one has to run down hill. The slopes of Solang Nullah provide just the right kind of slopes for paragliding during summers. There are organisations, which offer packages for paragliding.

Raisan
By the banks of the Beas-and on the Kullu-Manali Highway- Himachal Tourism runs a camping site here. This place is ideal for a taste of adventure and for spending a quiet holiday in solitary splendour.

Kullu
The Silver Valley

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Kullu was once known as Kulanthpitha, which means the end of the habitable world. Beyond rose the forbidding heights of the Greater Himalayas, and by the banks of the shining river Beas, lay the fabled 'Silver Valley' of Kulu. Here is the core of an intricate web of numerous valleys - each of which is a visual delight and seems more beautiful than the other. The Himalayan mountain scapes remain spectacular whether in brilliant sunshine or in the haze of the mist. The town of Kullu has long been a centre of faith. In the 17th century, Raja Jagat Singh installed here an idol of Lord Raghunathji, which he brought from Ayodhya. As a mark of his penance, he placed the idol on his throne and it became the presiding deity of the Kullu valley. The town of Kulu is famous for its colourful Dussehra festival. Decorated palanquins and processions convey Gods and Goddesses from temples all over the valley to Kullu, to pay homage to the reigning deity, Raghunathji. A Fair springs up during the festival which is celebrated with a great deal of singing, dancing and festivity.

Places Of Interest In Kullu

Raghunathji Temple:
In the 17th century, Raja Jagat Singh of Kulu committed a great wrong. To atone for the sin he sent a senior courtier to Ayodhya for a statue of Lord Raghunath - Lord Ram. This temple was built by Raja Jagat Singh to house the image and even today, is greatly revered. The shrine houses an image of Shri Raghunath in his chariot.

Bijli Mahadev Temple:


Set on a spur that offers some spectacular views, this temple is famous for its 20m high rod that periodically draws lightning, which shatters the 'Shivalinga' and scorches the building. Using only butter as adhesive, the 'linga' is then carefully pieced together by the temple pundit.

Around Kullu

Naggar:
For 1,400 years Naggar remained the capital of Kullu. Its 16th century stone and wood castle is now a hotel run by Himachal Tourism. Here, a gallery houses the paintings of the Russian artist, Nicholas Roerich. Naggar also has three other old shrines.

Parvati Valley & Manikarna:


At 1,737 m, here am hot sulphur springs that bubble next to the by waters of the Penal river. The place is revered by both Hindus and Sikhs Treks from here lead to Pulga, Khirganga and Mantalai' a stretch of considerable natural beauty. The route finally reaches the Pin Parvati Pass (4802 m), which opens into the Sutlej valley.

Jagatsukh :
Jagatsukh is the most ancient Kullu capital, situated on the left bank, between Nagar and Manali. Around the Jagatsukh secondary school playground there are two ancient temples - the small shrine of Gaurishankar and the larger chalet-roofed temple to the goddess Sandhya Devi, the stone base of which is much more ancient than the 19th-century wooden verandah and roof.

Deo Tibba:
Also known as Indralika, this 2,953 metres (9,687 ft.) high snow dove Jagatsukh, has a legend around it, with Arjuna. He started performing 'tapa' at this mountain, under the advice of Maharishi Vyas, in order to obtain the powerful Pasupata Astra from Indra.

Adventure Sports in Kullu

Angling & Fishing in Kullu:


Kasol: An open glade by the banks of the river Parvati, Kasol makes a good holiday destination. Clean white sand

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separates the lush green grass from the stone, this place is well known for trout fishing. Katrain: At about midpoint on Kullu-Manali road, this is the home of lush orchards and famous for bee-keeping and trout fishing. Khatrain is the widest point in Kullu Valley and is overlooked by the 3,325 m Baragarh peak. Largi: Largi is a small hamlet, 34-km south of Kulu via Aut, offers the best trout fishing and scenic beauty in the valley. The resthouse there is in a stunning location where two Himalayan torrents, the Sainj and Tirthan, meet. Fishing permits can be obtained from Kullu and Largi itself. Banjar: It is about 58-km from Kulu at an altitude of 1,534m (5,000 ft.). Banjar is famous for its panoramic beauty and trout fishing in river Tirtham. Bathad: A beautiful spot at a distance of 67-km can be approached by road from Kullu. It is recognized for adventurous games such as hunting, trout fishing and breathtakingly beautiful sites.

Mandi
Mandi is situated on the banks of the river Beas. It has a rich culture and history represented by its temples which are a major tourists draw. Mandi is an important trading centre situated on the Pathankot-Kullu road. The town is also the gateway to Himachal's most famous valleys - Kullu, Manali, Lahaul and Spiti. Mandi is also on the KulluShimla road via Bilaspur. It is the headquarter of the district. The entire town has a huge sprinkling of temples.

Rewalsar Lake and Kunti Sar Lake :- Shaped quite like a square and with a
shoreline of 735 meters. It is an important pilgrimage. This lake is known for its floating island. There is a story behind the formation of this lake. The legend goes that princess Mandarva, the daughter of king 'Arshadhara' of Zahor ( tibetian name of Mandi ) resolved to announce her loyal ties and dedicated herself to the religious order. The king agreed and she took her bows before a Buddhist scholar named 'Shantarakshita' ( believed to be the brother of Padmasambhava ). Padmasambhava having observed that she was a dedicated pupil, came through the air from 'Uddiyana' and appeared in person to give her teachings. A cowherd who saw all this spread the words that he had seen the princes with Charlatan. The news aroused King's wrath. He thought that his daughter has broken the vow by flirting with a man. On King's order, the princess was put in a deephole in the earth full of thorns and Padmasambhava was taken out to a secluded place, tied to a wooden pyre which was then set on fire. When the smoke did not clearoff for a week, the King visited the spot and found to his surprise that the place had turned into a Lake with Lotus in the centre. Padmasambhava had menifested himself. Repenting king offered him his kingdom and princess Mandarva was married to him. Rewalsar is known as 'Padmacan' to the Buddhist which means 'Lotus Possessing' and is considered the place, where the spirit of Padmasambhava rests.

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The lake is also associated with Nag cult or serpent worshipping. The lake water is believed to be flowing underground from Rewalsar to 'Nagchala' ( a place 10 km from Mandi on the Mandi-Shimla National Highway ). The Hindus believe that it was here that the 'Lomas Rishi' held his penance in devotion to lord Shiva. Overwhelmed, Shiva gave the rishi, the seven floating islands in reward. This is a very sacred place.

Prashar Lake :- This lake is situated in a cup like valley. A temple of great scenic
beauty is also here. With deep blue waters, this beautiful lake is held sacred to the sage Prashar (rishi). A three-tiered Pagoda-like temple dedicated to the sage lies by the lake and he is regarded to have meditated here. No other temple in the Western Himalayas can rival the grandeur of the settings of Prashar Rishi. A fair is held here in the in the month of June every year, where people gather from all neighbouring villages. This lake is fed by small mountain streams.

Barot :- A nice picnic spot situated at a distance of 33 km. from Mandi on Mandi Pathankot Highway. It is famous for Trout Fishing and a ropeway that attracts the Tourist.

Shikari Devi Temple :- Tranquility for trekkers at a height of 3,332 metres above sea
level. Captivating sunrise and sunset from the temple is soul stirring. You can reach the place from Karsog via Bakrot ( Chindi ) or via Gohar ( Budhakedar ).

Sundernagar :- Beautifully fertile valley receives the tired traveler with open arms at
a distance of 25 km from Mandi on the National Highway. Waters of two giant rivers Beas and Satluj have been wedded here to give birth to Asia's biggest Hydel Project generation electricity for the country. Devi Temple, Sukhdev Vatika and the temple of Mahamaya are the well known places of worship.

Jogindernagar :- ( 57 km. ) Jogindernagar is the terminus of narrow gauge line from


Pathankot-Jogindernagar. A journey from Jogindernagar to Barot in the interior of Mandi district, on the haulage trolley is thrilling. Bassi power station is 5 km. and next to it is 'Macchial' considered to be a sacred spot. It is worth a visit on account of Shanan Hydel Project built by the Britishers Pandoh Dam, Slapper Hydel Project, Rock Salt Mines at Gumma and Darang are other attractions around the main town.

Tatta Pani :- Resting deep in a scenic valley and surrounded by hills. It is located on
the right bank of river Satluj at an altitude of 656 meters. This natural sulphur spring is pure and has curative power for various kings of bodily ailments. The water level of the spring keeps changing with the fluctuation in the water level of the river. Tatta-pani means hot water.

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Chidi :- This little hamlet in an apple growing area is blessed with breathtaking beauty.
There are numerous small temples of considerable antiquity not too far away. Chindi, easily approachable via Tatta Pani from Shimla. It is 107 km. from Mandi.

Janjehli :- At a distance of 67 k.m. from Mandi,Janjehli is a paradise for hikers,


offering treks up to a height of 3,300 metres. After covering 32 k.m. by a motorable road up to Gohar and rest of the journey is on foot. In the midest of thick forest, forests (15 km from Gohar) is Bajahi.There is a beautiful and well furnished rest house to stay overnight, from here Janjehli is a scant 20 km away through bridle path.

Kamru Nag Lake :- Resting resort for trekkers at a height of 3,334 metres above sea
level on Mandi - Karsog road.

Bilaspur
Bilaspur was the capital of a state founded in the 7th century, and known as Kahlur after its earlier capital, or as Bilaspur after its later capital. The ruling dynasty were Chandela Rajputs, who claimed descent from the rulers of Chanderi in present-day Madhya Pradesh. The town of Bilaspur was founded in 1663. The state later became a princely state of British India, and was under the authority of the British province of Punjab. On May 13,1665, Guru Tegh Bahadur went to Bilaspur to attend the mourning for Raja Dip Chand of Bilaspur. The Dowager Rani Champa of Bilaspur offered to give the Guru a piece of land in her state. The Guru bought the site on payment of Rs 500 (Five Hundred Ruppees). The land consisted of the villages of Lodhipur, Mianpur and Sahota. Here on the mound of Makhowal, Guru Tegh Bahadur raised a new habitation. The ground was broken on June 19, 1665, by Baba Gurditta Randhawa. The new village was named after the Guru's mother, Nanaki. Chakk Nanaki later became famous as Anandpur Sahib. In 1932 state was made part of the newly-created Punjab States Agency, and in 1936 the Punjab Hill States Agency was separated from the Punjab States Agency. India became independent in 1947, and on October 12 1948 the ruler, HH Raja Sir Anand Chand, acceded to the Government of India. Bilaspur became a separate state of India under a chief commissioner, and on July 1 1954 Bilaspur state was made a district of Himachal Pradesh state by an act of the Indian Parliament. The historic town was submerged in 1954 when the Sutlej River was dammed to create the Govind Sagar, and a new town was built upslope of the old.

The New Town


The ultimate effects of the colossal construction were to generate many thousands kW of electric energy, which combined with a canalization of the waters has extended irrigation over ten million acres, to help feed the teeming millions. The Gobindsagar reservoir behind the dam is 80 kilometers long on whose banks has sprung the new township of Bilaspur. Two big generating stations have been built just below the Bhakra Dam, each with a capacity of 600 millions watts. As the old town was submerged, plans were already afoot to build a new and the place become a big tourist attraction. A link with the past is still provided by the nalwari, the most important fair of Bilaspur which is held 34 of 45

every year in the third week of march. Situated in the hot temperature zone the climate of Bilaspur ranges from high temperature to sub tropical and snow rarely falls. Situated at the height of 673 meters.

Markand
Himachal has always been the favourite stamping grounds of the ancient Rishis (Sage) here they performed penances and sought cures for mankind in their orisons (prayer). Markand is 25 kilometers from Bilaspur,is where the Maharishi Markande the sacred waters over here is a sure cure, it is believed, for infant diseases and sterility. Performed the strictest austerities on his body to delve into the secrets unknown to man. A dip in the sacred waters over here is a sure cure, it is believed, for infant diseases and sterility.

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General information about Lahaul


Zanskar
The Zanskar valley is noted for its high ranges, fine Gompas and gentle people. The most isolated of all Himalayan valleys inaccessible for 8 months in a year, it is now a popular destination with trekkers. Set in a wide plain where two swift flowing tributaries join to form the Zanskar River, is Padum the main habitation and the sub divisional headquarters. Close to the town are a set of ancient rock carvings and two picturesque monasteries, the Stagrimo and Pibiting Gompas. A two-hour trek from Padum takes one to Karsha with the largest and most wealthy Gompa in the region. It dates back tot he 16th century. Other interesting monasteries include the castle like Gompa at Sani, the splendid Stongdey perched on a rocky outcrop, Bardan and the spectacularly located Phugthal just off the Padum-Manali trail.

Lahaul Spiti & The Great Himalayan Safari


The Lahaul plateau nourished by the Chandra and Bhaga rivers and the Spiti valley linked to it by a high pass the Kunzam la, are together a district in Himachal Pradesh - another region where nature can be seen at its wildest. Lahaul is glacier country and some of its most dramatic glaciers include the Bara Shigri, Chota Shigri, Samundari and Sonapani glaciers. The narrow Spiti valley carved out by the swift flowing Spiti River rising from the slopes of the Kunzam la is an area of weathered gorges and dramatic mountain scapes. In summer the valleys are green, the meadows carpeted with flowers and a patchwork of fields ornaments the villages. The people are charming, friendly and hospitable.

Approaching Lahaul
The only approach to this exotic region is by road. The rugged Manali-Leh highway (N.H.21) one of the highest mountain roads in the world is open for 3 months in the year from early June to September. It traverses the subdivision of Lahaul and crosses the Great Himalayan range into Ladakh. Manali in Kullu district is the ideal base for visits to this area. It is in turn linked by road and air to Chandigarh, Shimla and Delhi.

Attractions In Lahaul
Manali with its forested slopes and beautiful scenery is the start of an arduous journey across some of the most fascinating landscapes in the country. The Rohtang pass is not far from Manali and takes one abruptly from the lush meadows of the Kullu valley into the barer hills and rocky landscape of Lahaul. At Gramphu the road from Spiti coming over the Kunzam pass meets the highway. Just 18-km from Keylong, the sub divisional headquarters, an imposing 7 storeyed structure, the fort of Gondla seems to guard the road. At the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga Rivers, just short of Keylong is Tandi. From here one can visit the monastery of Guru Ghantal believed to have been established by the guru Padmasambhava himself about 800 years ago. Keylong, located on the Bhaga River makes a splash of emerald in the browns and greys of the surrounding hills with its fields, trees and watercourses. Close to Keylong is the Shashur monastery. It is perched almost 600m above the valley and a steep and difficult track leads up to it. Khardong the largest Gompa in the area is located across the valley from Shashur. Udaipur in Upper Lahaul is an interesting excursion. It is also the base for treks to the Zanskar valley. Beyond Keylong the road follows the river Bhaga winding upwards to the Baralacha-la, the pass across the Great Himalayan Range. The Zanskar range and two more high passes the Lungalacha-la and the Taglangla have to be crossed before the road descends to the Indus plain and on to Leh. The 473-km drive is fairly arduous and the journey can be broken with stops at sarchu the last post at the Himachal border or pang where there are tented camps.

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General information about Spiti


Spiti is the sub division of Lahaul & Spiti district with its hqrs. at Kaza. It is called "Little Tibet" because it has almost the same terrain, vegetation & climate . Spiti also means "Middle Country". It lies between Tibet, Ladakh, Kinnaur, Lahaul & Kulu. From Shimla via Kinnaur there is a motorable road which remains open upto Kaza for 8 to 9 months. About 10kms. ahead of Pooh, satluj enters India near Shipki la & Spiti river joins it at Khab. The road then goes to Sumdo via Hangrang valley. From Sumdo Spiti valley starts. The Spiti river flows fast through deep gorges at some places. The valley is not wide but there are villages and some fields where people grow barley, buck- wheat, peas & vegetables. It has an area of 4800 sq. kms. Some inhabitants have adopted Budhism as there faith and Bhoti is the spoken language. The people are simple and honest. The main Spiti valley is split into eastern and western valleys. They are connected with Ladakh & Tibet on eastern side & Kinnaur and Kulu on western side through high passes.

Approaching Spiti
Spiti is accessible during the brief summer months from Manali via the Manali - Leh highway. The road branches off from Gramphu in Lahaul to cross the high Kunzam la. The longer but popular route into the valley is along the old Hindustan - Tibet road from Shimla across the scenic district of Kinnaur. There are interesting little towns along this route. Sarahan is picturesque and is noted for the Bhimakali temple with its impressive architecture. Further into Kinnaur the beautiful Baspa valley and the village of Sangla provide a breathtaking excursion. Kalpa with its fine view of the Kinner Kailash Peak and Nako with a little lake make fascinating breaks in the journey.

Attractions In Spiti
Spiti which means Middle Country is a vast highland basin for swift flowing glacial streams that have cut deep gorges into the mountain terrain. Among them pin and Lingti are the main streams that feed the Spiti River. The Lingti valley is a living geological museum noted for its shales and fossils, dating back 250 million years. The pin valley, a protected area with its National Park is the habitat of the ibex and snow leopard. Spiti valley is barely 3-km wide and most of the villages are located along its wider bank. The terraced fields, groves of juniper and flat roofed houses are set against the backdrop of rocky mountain - sides that seem painted in shades of purple and pink. Some of the hills are eroded through the reveal its undulating strata. Isolated in the deep valleys the culture of Spiti has developed undisturbed, in a little world that centres around its many Buddhist Gompas. Dhankar, Ki or Kye, Tabo, Mud, Kungri, Lidang, Hikim, Sangnam are the more prominent of the 30 or more monasteries in Spiti. Spitis most sacred Gompa, the 1,000-year-old Tabo monastery, is a treasure house of art. Over the centuries succeeding generations contributed to its expansion and embellishment and today tabo has nine temples with a wealth of fine murals and painted stucco work that unfolds the iconography of the region. In the temple of enlightened gods, which is the du-khang or assembly hall of the complex, there are beautiful murals painted in an Indian style. This is why tabo is known as the Ajanta of the Himalayas. Tabo is located not far from sumdo on the kinnaur-spiti border. Just 25-km from Tabo is the Dhankar monastery. Dhankar was once the capital of Spiti. The hilltop Gompa, which doubled as a jail in the old days, dominates the village. The main attraction at dhankar is a natural lake at 13,500 ft., a perfect camping site, a walk of 2.5-km from the village. Proceeding along the state highway towards Kaza, the sub divisional headquarters of Spiti, one gets to Attergu. This is the point of access to the pin valley where there is an interesting gompa at kungri. Close by too, is the lingti valley.

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Kaza is located 76-km south east of Kunzam la and 74-km from Sumdo. Ki Gompa the largest in the valley is 11 km away, located above Kaza at the height of 4116 m. fine murals and a valuable collection of Kangyur - ancient Buddhist texts are its attractions. Among its other treasures are two horns almost three metres long. Brought out on festive occasions they resound across the valley. Spiti (locally pronounced 'Piti') or the 'middle country', has its sub divisional headquarters at Kaza. The river Spiti originates at the base of the Kunzam range and flows eastward to join the Sutlej at Khab in Kinnaur. In practical isolation for centuries, Spiti has an intensely introvertive culture centred around its several monasteries- Dhankar, Ki, Tabo, Mud, Gungri, Lidang, Hikim, Sagnam, Mane Gogma and Giu to name a few. Spiti was loosely ruled for many centuries by a hereditary wazir, styled Nono. The majority of the people are Buddhists, followers of the Geluk-pa sect. The repetition of the mantra "Om mani padme hum" (literally, 'Behold, the jewel is in the lotus'), is constant; it is believed to bring good fortune and wash away all sins. For all the seeming bleakness, Spiti possesses a haunting beauty. The wildlife in the region includes the elusive snow leopard and ibex, found in the Pin valley. Spiti has come to be known as the "fossil park of the world". The three villages Kibber, Kaza & Kye fall on the route faovourite among those looking for fossils. These villages are situated at heights between 13,500 ft. and 14,400 ft. above msl. Langza is famous for fossils of maritime life. These fossils are found on either side of Kang-yur and Paapen-yu nullahs near the village.

Not Covering
Kotkhai, Hatkoti, Rohru And Jubbal (Nearer to Narkanda)
Hatkoti in the picturesque valley of the river pabbar, about 104-km from Shimla, is noted for its historic temple dedicated to Goddess Durga. Enroute to Hatkoti is the village of Kotkhai, splendidly located among apple orchards- a village with fine traditional architecture. Jubbal, once the capital of a princely state with its impressive palace is also on the way. Hatkoti in the picturesque valley of the river pabbar, about 104-km from Shimla, is noted for its historic temple dedicated to Goddess Durga. Enroute to Hatkoti is the village of Kotkhai, splendidly located among apple orchards- a village with fine traditional architecture. Jubbal, once the capital of a princely state with its impressive palace is also on the way.

Tattapani (Near Shimla)


This small village is famous for the hot water sulphur springs. Unlike the springs in Manikaran and Manali, these springs are not so eye-catching at first, but their setting is very beautiful. The village is very relaxed and peaceful.

Kasauli (Near Shimla)


In recent times Kasauli has developed as an alternate accommodation for Shimla. It is 12-km from Shimla on the way to Kalka. Kasauli has been coming up as a side trip from Shimla. It has some great walks. The walk to Sanawar is very pleasing and full of natural beauty. Sansar has the potential to become another hill station in the area as nature has provided abundance of beauty and scenery to this place.

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GURU GHANTAL
This monastery is situated on a hill above the Tupchiling village at the confluence of the rivers Chandra and Bhaga. This gompa was founded by Padma Sambhava and is more than 800 years old. The peculiar feature of the gompa is the wooden idols as distinguished from the clay idols found in other monasteries. The Guru Ghantal white marble head was installed by its founder, but now the same is kept under lock and key for fear of theft. This monastery has idols of Guru Padma Sambhava, Brijeshwari Devi and several other lamas. On the 15th lunar day (mid June) a festival called Ghantal was celeberated at which the visiting lamas and Thakurs used to feast for one day. The festival is no longer celeberated. There is one blackstone statue of a goddess identified as kali in the innermost chamber which gives credence to the theory that this was once a Hindu temple like the Trilokinath temple at Udaipur. The wall paintings are in stone colours. Because of lack of care colours have washed away. There is lot of seepage in the monastery. Another reason for lack of care is that most of the valuables have been transported to the Tupchiling gompa which is easily accessible and the caretaker also hails from this village only. The workmanship in the gompa is certainly superior to all other gompas.

Keylong
Keylong is the district head quarters of Lahaul and Spifi. At an altitude of 3156 m. Keylong is situated on the main trade route between the Rohtang and Baralacha passes above the Bhaga river. Most of the government offices are located at Keylong. This is also the hub-centre of all commercial activity with a regular bazaar. Naturally Keylong is the most populated and busy village of the Lahaul valley. As far as communication facilities are concerned, there are police and telegraph radio nets, telephone exchange at Keylong and postal service throughout the valley. There are three light TV transmitter has been installed one in Sumnam village, second in Baring & third in Udaipur. In the past Keylong was home for the Moravian missionaries.

Lady Of Keylong
During summers Keylong is very green looking refreshingly striking against a backdrop of brown hills and snow clad peaks. Because of this panoramic setting Lieut. Col., the Honble C.G. Bruce, M.V.O. likened Keylong to a barbaric jewel--a roughly cut emerald in a bronze and silver setting. There can not be a better simile to describe the lush green charm of Keylong during summer's. "It is an oasis of green fields and willow planted water courses surrounded by brown hills and snowy heights". There is a Cricuit House, a P.W.D. rest house, a Sainik Rest House, a Tourist Bungalow and many hotels which provide accommodation to the tourists. Several eating joints and restaurants are also there for every taste. Three of the best known monasteries Tayul, Kardang and Sha-Shur are within a few kms. from this village. Tourists may also like to visit the temple of the local deity Kelang Wazir in the house of one Sh. Nawang Dorje

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SHA-SHUR
Sha-shur in the local parlance means in the blue pines. This is very apt as good patches of blue pine can still be seen around the monastery. This gompa was founded in the 17th C. AD by Lama Deva Gyatsho of Zangskar who was a missionary of Nawang Namgyal, the king of Bhutan. The lamas of the gompa are of the Drugpa sect (red hat sect). Namgyal founded this sect and the name originated from Dug which in the Bhoti language means Bhutan. Before Deva Gyatsho renovated the present monastery, there existed a small gompa. Deva Gyatsho stayed at the monastery till his death. When he was being cremated, this is said, his heart did not burn and was enclosed in a black image of Gyatsho. A statue of Namgyal is also present in the gompa. This gompa has the biggest Thanka paintings, over fifteen feet, and invalueable wall paintings depicting all the 84 siddhas of Buddhism. In the month of June/July Chham is performed in the monastery which is the most popular Chham in Lahaul.

Shahshur monastery
Situated on a hill about 3 kms. far from Keylong towards north on the same slope. During June/July this monastery attracts lot of visitors when Lamas perform devil dance. It was founded in the 17th century a.d. It belongs to red hat sect and is located among the blue pines. The paintings are represent the history of 84 Buddha's.

Udaipar
Udaipur is a town in Lahaul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh. It is located at an altitude of 2,743 meters, and is around 53 km north of Keylong.The village was called 'Markul' in olden days. Major attraction here is the Markula Devi Temple.A temple dedicated to this goddess is quiet famous in Lahaul because of the wooden carvings in it. The village is situated at the point where the Chenab and Mayar Nallah meet, hence it also becomes a starting point of the Mayar valley. This place is therefore a starting point for Mayar valley and further on to Zanskar and other peaks. This is a green area rather the whole Chenab valley is greener than the Lahaul valley. It has a rest house and some hotels and is a good resting place This sub-divisional headquaters is situated at the junction of the mighty Mayar nullah with the main river Chandrabhaga. Situated 53 kms away from Keylong, earlier this village was known as Margul or Markul. Around 1695 it was renamed Udaipur when Raja Udai Singh of Chamba (1690172'8) raised it to the status of a district centre in the Chamba-Lahaul which his father Chatter Singh had annexed to his Chamba state. Good kail-blue pine forests can be seen all around the village. Since the altitude is low, apples, walnuts, apricots, etc. are grown in the area. This village is warm but avalanches-prone; the latter making it unsuitable for district headquaters. However Udaipur offers the most thickly forested and green scenery in Lahaul. Hermann Goetz who visited this area in 1939 complimented the natural charm of this place by comparing its scenery to the Swiss scenery.

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This place attracts a lot of tourists and pilgrims to its two unique temples, namely, Trilokinath and Markula Devi temples. Trilokinath temple is representative of the Kashmiri-Kannauj style of, Lalitaditya of Kashmir (725756). Most of the Trilokinath temple is of much later period, but the column bases of the original porch of the sanctuary are of a very special type characteristic of the reign of Lalitaditya. This Shiva temple was transformed into a Buddhist shrine by Padma Sambhava. However, according to Goetz its present Lamaistic image of Avalokiteshvara-Trilokinath cannot be earlier than the 12th C. This temple continues to attract both the Hindu and the Buddhist pilgrims. In the centre of the compound one can still see the Nandi Bull of Lord Shiva. There is also a drain in a wall of the temple at the level of the platform in the sanctorum which was probably built at the time of construction to drain out the water or milk which was poured over the Shiva. The temple is built in the classical style introduced in the hills in the 7th and 8th C. As is typical to the style this temple consists of a curvilinear stone tower (shikhara) crowned with the characteristic 'amalka' (imitating a segmented gourd). Like plains there is no pillared hall (mandapa) in the hills perhaps owing to non-availability of clear ground. Every year in the month of August a festival named Pauri is held there for three days when followers of both religions gather to offer prayers. The Markula Devi temple goes back to Ajayvarman's reign in Kashmir, though no original work of so early a date survives. But part of the Markula temple has been copied during repairs in the 11/12th and 16th C. The phase of Kashmiri art in the 11th and 12th C in its transition to the Lamaistic art of Western Tibet is represented by the inner facade of the temple; main characteristic of this transitional phase being three headed Vishnu images. Markula's wood carvings belong to two different periods, the earlier one consisting of the facade of the sanctum sanctorum and the ceiling and four main pillars of the mandapa; arid the later one consisting of two additional pillars, the dwarpala statues on both sides of the facade, window panels and the architraves supporting the ceiling. The exterior of the temple is most ordinary as it had to be renewed time and again because of vagaries of nature. The temple is the usual structure of timber-bonded stone. The temple is covered with a steep gable roof of wooden shingles in a steep pyramid looking like the Shikhara temples in the plains. The interior, however, is rich in artistic quality. The wall panels depict scenes from the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Sunderkand, Yuddhakand, grant of ground by Raja Bali to Vaaman, three headed incarnation of Lord Vishnu, Churning of the ocean (Samudramanthan) Amritpaan, etc. The ceiling consists of nine panels of different size and shape. Eight of these border the big centre piece. The centre piece, is in the Lantern style. The 'kirtimukha' masks on this centre piece are characteristic of the 7th and 8th C. Four figural panels on the four basic directions depict Gandharvas busy with their mates and holding objects like crowns, bracelets, jewels and charnaras, etc. Their dance, poses are those of the Bharta Natya and the costumes resemble the late Gupta period. Also shown are Nataraj and Gauri with dancing Ganas. Shiva on both sides is flanked by his alter egos, the Bhairavas. The next panel deviates from the Hindu pantheon or myth for it represents the "Assault of Mara". In the centre Buddha is shown sitting on the Vajrasana in Bhumisparshasana calling the Earth goddess to witness his victory over Mara or the god of Lust and death. The facade of the temple is most richly, elaborately and intricately carved. The niches of the door jambs have been carved into complicated gables of late Kashmiri style. The facade displays, the Ganga, the Yamuna, several Yakshas and. Kinnars, ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu the

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Navgrahas and Lord Surya (the sun god). The Sun god is repeatedly shown on his chariot drawn by seven horses making it explicit that the temple was dedicated to Lord Surya. The silver idol of Kali in her aspect as Mahishasurmardini was installed by Thakur Himpala in 1569-70. The statue was cast by one Panjamanaka Jinaka from Bhadravah. The workmanship of the statue cannot be called exquisite because the bodies of the goddess and the buffallo look bloated. The statue head is too big and her Crown resembles the ceremonial headgear of a Tibetan lama. The enclosing frame suggests brass idols of the 15th and 16th C. from Rajasthan, the top of it-the backs of early Moghul thrones. The impact of the Moghul and Rajput styles is understandable which perhaps penetrated via Balor which then had some control over Bhadravah. The Tibetan element is also not surprising in a frontier area like Lahaul where Tibetan Lahaulis treat Markula Devi as rDo-rje phag-mo (sanskrit Vajravarahi). Previous to this installation Lahaul had been for several centuries under the Ladakhi supremacy, and it was then that the Lamaistic sculpture was introduced. At the time of its reconversion into a Hindu shrine it was natural to seIect an image of Kali because of its superficial similarity to Vajravarahi. The poor and uneducated local population could hardly make any distinction between the Lamaistic and the Hindu interpretations of the great goddess. This Hindu revivalist style was patronised by Raja Pratap Singh (1558-82) of Chamba. Selection of episodes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata is typical to this style. Local population believes this temple to be the work of the master craftsman who built the famous Hidimba Temple at Manali for Bahadur Singh of Kullu. Historically this theory sounds plausible because Pratap Singh was the son-in-law and close fried and ally of Bahadur Singh. There is striking similarity between many figures and other details of the later wood carvings to the relief's of the Hidimba Devi Temple. This unique shrine is the last wooden temple built fundamentally in the tradition of the early 8th C. This is a must-visit place.

Gondla (Near Keylong)


Around 18 km from Keylong, this village of the Lahaul valley has some royal heritage as its prime attraction. The eight storeyed residence of the thakur of Gondla called the Gondla Castle or fort was constructed in the 17th century. The village is situated at a distance of 18 kms from Keylong, the district headquarters along the right bank of the river Chandra. Situated at an altitude of 3160 m. on a fairly level expanse of land this hamlet is large as compared to other villages in the valley. The village is surrounded by thick foliage of poplars and willows. From Sissue to Gondhla land is cultivable and fertile. Between these two places the whole mountain side from the peaks over 6090 m. to the river bed below 3050 m. is awe-inspiring. Glaciers and snowfields overhanging the precipices make them one of the finest in the world. House of the Thakur of Gondhla, called the Gondhla castle or fort, attracts a large number of tourists. The Present Thakur Fateh Chand would like the tourists to believe the Fort is about 20 generations old, but according to the District Gazateer of Lahaul and Spiti the fort was built in 1700 A.D. by Raja Man Singh of Kullu whose influence stretched upto the Lingti plains beyond the Baralacha-la. This Raja also married a daughter of the Gondhla family to cement his ties with the Thakur. , The castle is an example of the indigenous timber bonded stone style of the Western Himalayas consisting of alternate courses of stone and wooden beams and cemented together with wet clay. This seven storey high edifice is topped by a wooden verandah which runs round the upper storey. This is some thing like the Swiss Chalet. The staircases in the building are partially notched wooden logs. The building has many apartments which can comfortably accommodate more than 100 people.

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The fifth storey was exclusively meant for the Thakur. It consisted of personal prayer chamber and a verandah from where the Thakur used to listen to the public and later pronounce his judgements. Once the walls of the prayer chamber were painted all over in stone colours. Forty volumes of Kangyur can still be seen littered around and carelessly stacked on a wooden rack. Ganesha as the main deity carved on the facade of the prayer chamber. In one of the prayer chambers the window connecting the outer room is an exquisite work of wood carving. The 'jali' (net) carved on a single piece of wood looks exactly like the cane work. Raja Man Singh of Kullu is believed to have stayed in the sixth storey of the-fort in 1720 A.D. when he was on his way to Trilokinath Temple in Udaipur. Remains of the kitchen and utencils can still be seen in the room. Several weapons including bows, arrows, quivers, catapults, guns and canons beside other articles of antique value can be seen rusting in the apartments. Age old costumes, furniture and idols are also strewn around in a state of neglect. The Thakur is negotiating with the Department of Language and Culture of Himachal Pradesh to sell it as he finds it difficult to maintain this structure.

Godhla Fort
Another interesting article to be seen in possession of the Thakur is Sharab Raldi, i.e., "the sword of wisdom" as Sharab means wisdom and Raldi means a sword. Sword of wisdom (sanskrit Pragya Kharga) has great importance among the Tibetans. Manjushri is the Tibetaa god of wisdom and he is always portrayed carrying this sword of wisdom in his right hand. According to the Thakur this sword was given to one of his ancestors by His Holiness Dalai Lama when that ancestor had fled to Tibet sick of the designs of the local people. This sword seems to have been built in the Toledo technique of spain. This technique is stated to be superior to the Sheffield technique. In Toledo thin steel wires are beaten with a hammer to obtain the desired shape of a sword or other like weapon. One can really observe thin lines in the length of the sword. Earlier this sword was never shown to the outsiders but now an insistent visitor can see this prize sword of the Thakur. The village gompa is of historical importance. Every year in the month of July a fair is held for two days. On the first day the famous Chham or devil dance is enacted. Large number of people turn out to witness the performance. Near the Govt School there is a boulder bearing greater than life size rock carvings of some deities. Local people ascribe the work to the Pandavas of the great epic the Mahabharata. But these figures resemble some Buddhist deities, which is yet to be ascertained. In Gondhla there is a P.W.D. rest house which is surrounded by willows. No eating joint is available in the village.

Tandi (Near Keylong):


Tandi is situated at the altitude of 2573 meters at the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga river, Tandis just 8 km short of Keylong. The village has a population of about 500. It is believed that this place was founded by Raja(King) Rana Chand under the name of Chandi which over the years got corrupted in Tandi. The village is situated above the confluence of the rivers Chandra and Bhaga in the Pattan valley some 7 kms away from Keylong. Revenue and settlement records reveal that Tandi was founded by Raja Rana Chand Ram under the name of Chandi which over the years got corrupted into Tandi.

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There are atleast three mythological stories connected with Tandi. First, Tandi is believed to means Tan Dehi, i.e., giving up of the body. This is associated with Draupadi, the wife of Pandav. as, who left her body at this place. Second, this is believed that Rishi Vashishtha who meditated near the hot water springs of Manali was cremated at this confluence; hence named Tandi, i.e., body consumed. According to the third, Chandra and Bhaga were son and daughter of the Moon and the Sun gods respectively. They were in love with each other. To perform their celestial marriage they decided to climb the Baralacha-la and from there run in opposite directions encircling a vast tract of Lahaul. Thus flowing south-east and south-west both met at Tandi to enter the wedlock. Another village above the confluence is Gushal which looks extermely beautiful when seen from Tupchiling or Kargha. The confluence itself is best seen from Tupchiling, Kargha -and Ghushal.

Sissu (Near Keylong)


At an altitude of 3170 m, this place is famous because of a magnificent waterfall. Its fame is also because it happens to be the seat of God Geypan, a deity respected in the entire Lahaul valley. This village is situated on the right bank of the river Chandra at an altitude of 3130m. The village is located on a broad flat ground above the Chandra river. Good plantations of willows and poplars on both sides of the road are so dense during summers that at places even the sun rays fail to penetrate. The terraces are green with potato, peas, barley and buck wheat. Wild roses of white, yellow and red hues with expanses of alpine flowers deck the slopes in an unforgettable feast of colours. There is a swampy patch on the river side where the Siberian wild duck and geese halt when on their way back from the Indian plains. Snow trout is also available in the village near the river side. Behind the ridge on which the village is situated is the famous and most propitiated Gyephang peak. Lord Gyephang or Ghepan is the presiding deity of Lahaul--the protector of people. In olden days people of Lahaul fought, their wars under the banner of Lord Gyephang. The temple of Lord Ghepan is in this village. The temple is not open to outsiders. Once in two/three years the deity is taken out of the temple in a procession. A little short of the village is the Sissu nullah which flows down a narrow gorge from tho Gyephang peak glaciers. Across the river one can see the beautiful Sissu fall cascading over the cliff from the high valley between the two mountains. A suspension bridge over the river provides easy access to this picturesque fall. Very good photograph of the fall can be had from the road just short of the P.W.D. rest house. Two fountain slabs dating back to 1l th or 12th C. AD can also be seen in this village.

JISPA (Near Keylong)


This beautiful spot is 22 kms away from Keylong and 4 kms ahead of Ghemur. The village is situated at the junction of two nullahs with the main river Bhaga. Jispa has a very large dry river-bed, a rarity in Lahaul. Just on the edge of the river Bhaga is a small PWD rest house. Near this the river is shallow and plenty of trout fish can be caught during summers. The place is virtually an angler's delight. Good juniper plantation is around this village.

Darcha (Near Keylong)


At an altitude of 3360 m, Darcha is ideal place for trekkers. You can start off trekking from here to Padem passing through Shingola as well as Baralacha/Phirtsela. It is around 24 km from Keylong and offers facilities for camping.

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Darcha is situated at the junction of Yotche nullah and the Zangskar chhu which takes off from the Shinkun la. Both these nullahs meet with the main river Bhaga at this place. The valley broadens out from Darcha. The altitude of Darcha is about 3500 m. which makes it an ideal base camp for acclimatisation. Two days acclimatisation at this place will prove useful for expeditions to Baralacha la and beyond. Darcha is the jumping off point for treks to Padum over the Shinkun la or Baralacha la and Phirtse la and for treks or mountaineering expeditions to Leh and peaks of Chandra Bhaga series. However no tourist bungalow or rest house facilities are available on either side of the nullahs. A police check post is also there. Darcha is the last village where one can see sparse growth of trees. Beyond Darcha not even a single tree can be seen on either side of the highway. Landscape starts looking desolate and absolutely barren.

Gemur (Near Keylong)


It is 18 kms. from Keylong in Bhaga valley where devil dance is held during July in the Local Gompa. The place is situated on Manali-Leh highway.

Tso Morari Lake


Tso Morari, sometimes spelt Tsomiriri Lake, one of the largest lakes in the Ladakh region, is situated at an altitude of about 4900 m. This lake which is almost like an inland sea, has a length of about 22 km and a depth of more than 30 m at the deepest point.

Thang Yug Gompa


It is located 13kms. above kaza serving western part of central Spiti. Situated in a secluded place in the narrow gauge of Kaza Nallah, it generally has a Lama from Tibet. Above this there is a long plateau which leads to Shilla peak.
Near Comic village is the renowned Tangyud gompa. Built around the early decades of the 14th c, the gompa belongs to the Sa-kya-pa sect and is of historical importance. It is recorded that a team of Buddhist scholars of the gompa accomplished the task of revision of Tang-rGyud - the Tantra treatises which in 87 volumes form one class of Tibetan scriptures. The lamas of this gompa are supposed to be proficient in tantra. This gompa was earlier near Hilkkim village which was brought down in the earthquake of 1975. The villagers then shifted this gompa to its present site. Some remains of the monastery can still be seen near Hilkkim. Kaza to Langza by road is about 9 kms. From Langza one has to walk to Hikkim - Tangyut Comic, which is another 8 kms. From Comic to Kaza is a trek of about 6 kms. It is a circular trek which can be adjusted according to one's own convenience.

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