The last bastion before moving into less chartered territory, Kaza village is a bustling center of activity for trade and tourism along the Himachal Pradesh Buddhist Circuit. Tibetan markets are flush with handicrafts made during the long winters. Handmade soaps, scarves, caps, shoes and jewelry are part of what tourists enjoy looking for here. Yet Kaza is also a perfect logistical staging point for tourists eager to visit the surrounding monasteries, and trekkers interested in the many trails centered around the area.
Homestays along with multiple guest houses can accommodate most travelers and their needs. A variety of food options are best found in this town, still influenced by Indian flavors.
Not only is Kaza the highest diesel & petrol outlet in the world, it is the last stop for diesel and petrol for vehicles moving northbound. Stock up on water, food, fuel and anything other provisions here before moving toward Kunzum Pass.
Sakya Tenggyu Monastery of Kaza is easily located upon entering town. Mountain cliffs cascade down into the base of the newer built monastery, brightly painted and perched slightly above the rest of the town’s buildings. This stop marks the halfway point for travelers exploring the Buddhist Monastery Tribal Circuit tour of Himachal Pradesh.
Kye (Ki) Monastery
Projecting an entirely different image of Buddhist monasteries is that of the close-by Kye Monastery. Sitting aloft a rock spur 12 kms away, the fort like buildings have become architecturally famous. Views of Spiti Valley from on top are priceless.
Continue another 7 kms along the same rugged road which passes Kye village to find the highest elevation inhabited community in the world. You may have to ask for directions finding the monastery as it blends in with the similar homes of the village.
Langza: Chau Chau Khang Nilda peak (6380 m) lies above this village approximately 18 kms from Kaza. Also accessbile by road, trekkers can make their way back by motor to and from this location if needed.
Hikkim: Continue on another 10 kms to this remote village known for it’s monastery Thang Yud Gompa built in the 14th century. A damaging earthquake in 1975 caused a shift from Hikkim closer to Komic village. The remains of the old monastery are still visible.
Komic: Reach the end of the line and the newer monastery after a steep climb.
Dangmachan: A nice and easy trek to the peak (5157m) rising above Kibber village (4220m). Travel by foot or bus to Kibber village 7 kms above Kye to start this route. It can be done in a day for experienced trekkers with September an ideal time for over night camping.
Several travel agencies can arrange homestays with local villagers. Learn the way of an uncomplicated yet challenging way of life. Work in the farm fields, herd animals, experience a yak safari, and partake in cooking lessons.
Located near Langza village
Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary
This is the only cold desert area sanctuary in India. The high altitude sanctuary spans approximately 1400 sq km, and is home to a variety of wildlife such as blue sheep, red fox, ibex, Himalayan wolf, lynx and snow leopard. Several species of birds can also be seen here.