Travel to Lahaul


Lahaul Travel



A cold valley high up in the mountains, some of which are craggy and bare, Lahaul shares an international boundary with Tibet and is contiguous with Leh in Kashmir. The unique culture, the desolate landscape interspersed with green forest patches dotted with Buddhist monasteries (gompas) and shrines makes Lahaul a tourist must visit place.

Surrounded by high mountain peaks with average elevation of 18000 ft, Lahaul valley is home to a number of glaciers- Bara Shingri, Samundri, Sonapani, Gangstang, Perad, and Chhota Shingri- and treks to some of these are very popular. Rivers Chandra and Bhaga flow through the valley. Lahaul is connected with a number of passes in the mountains. The Rohtang pass connects it to Kullu valley, the Shingri la pass over the Zanskar ranges connects it to Shimla and Spiti, and the Baralacha la pass connects it to Leh.

Named after the high mountain tract, rugged, snow clad and awe inspiring, the Lahaul Valley is a mountaineer's delight. Adventure sports, paragliding, white water rafting, and trekking are the popular tourist activities in summer. There are jeep safaris too. In winter skiing is popular in the slopes around Keylong.

However, tourism is restricted, partly because of the border constraints and partly because of vagaries of nature, especially in winter when Rohtang pass is snow bound and closed. The roads are often blocked and the villages are avalanche prone. You need permits to visit some of the border areas.

Best Time to visit

Lahaul falls in the rain shadow area of the Pir Panjal ranges. The summer months from May to October are the best for a visit. There is little rainfall and the temperature hovers between 30? C and 15? C. In winter from November to April it snows heavily and the temperature is often sub zero.

Places to see in and around Lahaul

  • Rohtang Pass- Located at an altitude of 13050 feet is the gateway to Lahaul Valley from Kullu. The pass is closed in winter from November to May and the access to Lahaul cut off. In summer sudden landslides and avalanches make it quite treacherous though the beauty of the grassy alpine meadow dotted with flowers and hovering butterflies make it a place worth visiting. At the highest point in the pass is the source of the river Beas.

  • Sarkund Lake- It is to the left of this pass and a few km away the Sonapani glacier.

  • Khoksar- On the bank of river Chandra is the first village in Lahaul valley. Surrounded by mountains this avalanche prone village at 3140 meters is the coldest place in Lahaul in winters. Grazing livestock on the flower rich meadows offer a beautiful vista for the tourists in summers.

  • Meadows of the Sissu village- Situated at an altitude of 3130 meters on the bank of the Chandra are a feast for the eyes with their plantations and dense Poplar and Willow forests. In summer this river bank is a halting point for the Siberian wild duck and geese. There is temple of Lord Ghepan and across the river a picturesque Sissu waterfall.

  • Keylong- The district headquarter is on the main route between Baralacha la and Rohtang passes. All the government offices and postal and telephone exchanges are here. The crowed Keylong has hotels and various eateries with a regular market. Three monasteries Tayul; Sha-Shur and Kardang are within a few kilometers. Keylong has a Museum of Tribal Art which displays archaeological finds and the traditional Thanka paintings. It also has rare manuscripts in the Bhoti Script.

  • Gondhla village- 18 km from Keylong has an old house of the Thakurs of Gondhla. This Gondhla Fort is made in indigenous stone and wood architecture and five stories high. It has antique weapons with idols and furniture and ancient holy books. There is Monastery (gompa) which hosts a fair in July.

  • Tandi- About 112 km from Manali on the Manali Keylong Leh highway and 7 km from Keylong falls in the Pattan valley above the confluence of rivers Chandra and Bhaga. The confluence is best seen from the Ghushal village. Tandi has the only petrol station in Lahaul.

  • Jispa- A village amidst Juniper trees it is 22 km from Keylong. There is a large dry river bed here. The river Bhaga which flows close by is an angler's delight with numerous trout in the river. There is a mountaineering institute here.

  • Dharcha- It lies at the junction of two streams with Bhaga River. The village at 3500 m is the base for treks over the passes Baralacha la and Shinkun la as well as to Leh and peaks of Chandra Bhaga. This is the last point of habitation. Beyond Dharcha the terrain is stark and devoid of any vegetation.

  • Suraj Taal- Its a lake and is on the summit of Baralacha La and the source of the river Bhaga.

  • Chandra Taal- Another lake lies at 14000 ft about 9 km from Kunzom pass in Spiti. This clear icy lake fringed with many small temples on grassy patches around it freezes in winter. In summer cranes and ducks abound near the lake.

  • Udaipur- 53 km from Keylong is the sub divisional headquarters and the most thickly forested area around. It can pass for Switzerland with its Pine forests; Apple and Walnut orchards. There are two famous temples here.

  • Trilokinath- A Shiva temple made in the Kashmiri Kannauj style of architecture attracts both Hindus and buddist.

  • Markula Devi temple- It is made of stone bonded wood is made in the 8th century Kashmiri style with rich wall panels depicting scenes from the Mahabharat and Ramayan. A silver idol of Kali is the main deity.


How to Reach Lahaul

Nearest Airport

Bhuntar at 166 km is the closest airport. One needs to go to Manali by road and then enter Lahaul through the Rohtang Pass.

Nearest Railway Station

Shimla at 341 km is the nearest rail head.

Shopping

You can pick up Kullu handicrafts and woven shawls from Keylong which has a Government emporium and a local weaver's Co-operative society shop. The things to buy include carpets, mufflers, stoles, woolen jackets, traditional silver jewelry and pure wool shawls. Tibetan shops in Keylong sell ceramics, local garments, gems and jewelry. Another product to buy is the locally produced Seabuckthorn juice.



Last Updated on : 16/10/2013