Diana Jue-Rajasingh

Visiting Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

Posted in India, Traveling by Diana on July 6, 2016

Earlier this week, Josh and I returned from a trip to Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh. Spiti is a part of the Himalayas and is located about 8 to 14 hours outside of Manali, depending on how fast you drive and whether or not you get stuck behind other vehicles on narrow, single-lane, mountain-hugging roads. The landscape is barren, as the terrain is rocky like a mountain and dry like a desert. It never rains in Spiti; the only precipitation it gets is snow. I’ve seen no other place like it.

When we talk about disconnected, remove villages in India, these small villages in Spiti would be exemplary. For example, we visited Komic, the highest inhabited village in Asia with 82 residents. Komic and other villages like it are completely inaccessible during the winter, when the roads are shut because of snow. (I also learned that winter activities in Spiti consist purely of eating, drinking, and sleeping.) If Essmart were to work in Spiti, I have no idea how the company would make money. Rural South India’s density and easy-to-drive roads make it a much easier market to serve.

Spiti Holiday Adventure, the company that we booked our tour with, prides itself in being a company run by Spiti locals. Hence, customers also get local guides, experiences, and prices. Our 7-day Innova Jeep Tour cost only INR 12,470 (USD 185) per person. The accommodations exceeded my expectations (e.g. when camping, I slept in a comfortable bed instead of a sleeping bag like I was expecting). We got to try non-touristy activities, like riding in a steel basket that’s used to connected two villages a gorge part from each other. I’m not even sure if the company profits from these tours (perhaps they’re being supported by public funds?). Either way, Spiti Holiday Adventure is definitely driven by the mission of bringing sustainable development to Spiti, and I would recommend going with the company if you’re planning a trip or a trek there. You can learn more about them on their Facebook page or by Googling Ramesh Lotey, one of the founders who’s been working to bring people to Spiti for the past 27 years.

And now, for some photos, which are mostly also on my Instagram account.

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