Perching at a height of 3600 meter, Kaza is a Buddhist town and headquarter of the Lahaul Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. The place is famous for the colourful festivals and the ancient Sakya Tangyud monastery. This small town overlooks the steep ridges. The otherwise tranquil place Kaza turns out to be an ideal base for trekking and camping. With small green areas over a dry, weather-beaten face, Kaza is actually a cool desert with no monsoon rains. The place is dotted with by spectacular beauty, narrow valleys and high mountain ranges.
Places to see in Kaza: This placid location has a no. of sight seeing spots. These include:
This is the biggest monastery of the Spiti Valley. The monastery stands midway to Kaza and Kibber, and dominates the Ki village and Spiti Valley. It is Monastery (4116M) of the Gelugpa sect. The hilltop position marks a post-thirteenth century construction. The site is populated with monks’ dwellings mainly up the south and east face of the summit, where the main temple building is located. The greatest wealth of Ki Gompa lies in its collection of ‘Thangkas’ salvaged with difficulty from the devastating battle of the Dogras and the Sikhs in the 19th century.
Chander Tal lies in Lahaul. This lake can be reached through either 4551m high Kunzum Pass (the pass dividing the Lahaul and Spiti areas) or through Batal, lying at the base of the Kunzum Pass.
This renowned monastery is located in Dhankar, the traditional capital of Spiti. The Hill-top fort overlooking the Spiti Valley also served as a jail in good old days. It is a residing place of 160 lamas now. A statue of Dhyan Budha where four complete figures of Budha sit back to back is the main attraction of this more than seven-century old monastery. This 700 hundred year old monastery apart from being a place of prayer was also a kind of fortress, jail and a seat of power.
The Pin Valley located in this cold desert region of the Spiti valley was declared a national park in the year 1987.The valley is formed by the Pin River that rises on the eastern slopes of Pin-Parvati pass (4800M) thus meeting the Spiti River near Attargo Point. The Park forms a home to a number of rare animals species including the Snow Leopard and Siberian Ibex. The snow laden unexplored higher reaches and slopes, ideally makes it, their habitat. It spreads in the south of Dhankar near the Tibetan border, and forms the borderline between the Lahaul and Spiti divisions of the State. The elevation of the Park ranges from about 3,500M near Ka Dogri to more than 6,000M at its highest point. The extreme climatic condition and the higher altitude, makes the vegetation in this area very scanty, thus mainly dominated by alpine trees, patches of Himalayan cedar and several medicinal plants. The valley is decorated with flowers. Sometimes the valley hides under the startling hues. Apart from the animals this park is also a home to the rare birds like the Himalayan Snowcock, Chukor, Snow Partridge and the Tibet Snow Finch also flourish in the area. Steeped in history, the influence of Tibetan culture is prevalent in the surrounding areas of the Park – visible in the Buddhist lamas, shrines, monasteries and culture of its residents. Pin valley is the only area in Spiti where Nyingmapa sect- a sect of Tibetan Buddhism- rules. You will be wonder-struck after visiting here. Discover a new way of life that is quite charming. This is the greenest area in the entire Spiti region. But one does not get that impression while entering the valley from Attargo on Tabo- Kaza road as the first 10 kms are very narrow with steep narrow rock walls rising on both the sides. The maximum number of villages is situated along the Pin River, the largest tributary of the Spiti River, and has a catchment area of 2200 sq Kms. The fossil rich soil of the upper valleys; the carpet of lush green pasture dotted with sheep, goats, yaks, horses, herds of Ibex; striking rock faces in myriad hues; snow covered mountains thrusting up the azure skies; all join to create images that leave a lasting impression on the mind.
Nearby attractions around Kaza: You can make an excursion to places like:
Losar, located at an altitude of 4,085 meters is only 47km from Kaza. Lying in the lap of snow covered Himalayas this village is a must visit spot for being the first big village. The scenic view of the mighty Himalayas will steal your heart from you. Yak and horse riding are the activities worth enjoying that adds the uniqueness of the place.
The state of Himachal Pradesh is full of incredible destinations offering diverse sceneries The picturesque hamlet of Langza is one of them. Just 15km from Kaza, and located amidst the green pastures the Langza village rests at an altitude of 4400 meters. The village is famous for having the Buddhist statue of 20 to 25 feet.
Things to do in Kaza: Sightseeing apart, Kaza is an ideal base for camping and trekking. Enjoy the stunning views of the Himalayas. Make a visit to the pristine Dhankar monastery and get completely lost with the calmness and serenity of the spot. The avid animal lovers and bird lovers must visit the Pin valley national park.
Best time to visit Kaza: The best time to visit Kaza is during the summer season. When the temperature remains cool and comfortable and is perfect for sightseeing.
How to go ?
Kaza can be reached either from Manali or via Shimla. Indian Airlines and some private airlines operate regular flights to Bhuntar Airport, which is the nearest airport to Manali. Pre-paid taxis are available from Bhuntar airport. Buses and taxis can be hired from Manali to Kaza. Flights from New Delhi and Chandigarh operate on a daily basis to Shimla airport.
Jogindernagar is the nearest railway station. The rail route from Jogindernagar to Chandigarh is a narrow guage one. Shimla and Chandigarh are the nearest broad guage railway stations. Buses and taxis are available from Shimla and Chandigarh to reach Kaza.
It is a 115 km journey from Manali which takes six hours. Another option is to take bus from Shimla via Kinnaur to Kaza. The route from Shimla to Kaza remains open from May to October and is about 412 km long.
Where to stay ?
Kaza is dotted with decent hotels and resorts. Some options are:
The Spiti: +91-01906 – 222752
Grand Dewachen: +91-01906 223318 Website: www.dewachenretreats.com
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.