Himachal Pradesh is a land of many scenic regions. Every mountain, every valley casts a spell on visitors. None can compare to Lahaul, the vibrant and stunning valley in Ladakh. A part of the Lahaul Spiti region, it is vastly different from Spiti, its counterpart.
Lahaul is stark in its beauty. A cold and harsh desert, it offers barely any vegetation or water to its residents. Yet the skies are bright blue and the landscape is something out of a dream. Rugged sharp valleys provide a perfect backdrop for vast, empty stretches of land that go from warm in the day to freezing cold in the night.
You can find snow through the year on the peaks and the weather is invariably cold whenever you go. Tourists can reach Lahaul by the road from Rohtang when the pass is open. Flights are available from any destination in India to Manali. Once you reach Manali, you can hire a cab or bike to Lahaul.
The trip and the weather is not for the faint hearted or children.
Often clubbed together in an itinerary, Lahaul-Spiti has much to offer to tourists and travelers of all kinds. You can visit the Chandra Valley with its pockets of greenery and views or travel straight to Keylong, Lahaul’s capital. Chandra River flows through the valley and travelers can camp on its side and watch the stars on a calm night.
Buddhism is still prominent in Lahaul with little monasteries found all over the region. The monasteries also act as halls of residence for monks studying and living there. Tourists and travelers often trek up to the monasteries to pay their respects and find some peace. The popular Kardang monastery or Gompand a (as they are known locally) is about 7-8 kilometres from Lahaul. It is also the biggest monastery in the area.
Heavy rains destroyed the place of worship 20 years ago. Since then they have rebuilt and still maintain the same commitment to their faith and religion. Interested travelers can find many books and Buddhist artifacts there.
The weather in Lahaul is very dangerous and unpredictable so the ideal time to visit the area is June to October. The roads are safe to drive and ride and the snow is manageable. Adventurous tourists and travelers often ride through the valley on motorbikes.
Trekking in Lahaul needs a lot of preparation and decent athletic abilities. If you haven’t trekked before or suffer from breathing problems, it is not advised to trek in the complicated terrain of the region. Please carry sleeping bags, packaged food, water, sunscreen, medicines and sunglasses. The sun can get harsh during winters and that is why sunscreen is a must. Trekkers are also required to wear proper woolen gear and shoes to avoid frostbite or suffer from any injuries.
You can also ski in Lahaul. The trails are perfect and challenging at the same time. Amateur skiers will not be able to ski in Lahaul. The surface is unpredictable and not built for the newbies.
Lahaul is perfect to try something life changing and unique such as a yak safari. Tourists and travelers can rent a yak and enjoy all the local sights and views available.
Keylong has many restaurants and lodges available for tourists and travelers to stay and eat. Tourism has still let the cuisine remain untouched in the region which means you can savor local and delicious Tibetan cuisine and flavors in Keylong.
Lahaul is a region with many faces. Silence, snow and breath-taking views co-habit peacefully. Visit it for an once-in-a-lifetime experience and memories that are indelible.