10 Monasteries of HP Hidden away in the remote desolation of Himachal Pradesh, away from dense urban populations or the distractions of modern India, lies a road less traveled.
WHEN TO GO
Best: July – Mid October Roads finally give way from the high altitude snow fall making access a snap on the single lane road. Temperatures are moderate, but the sun can be deceptive. You’ll want sunscreen and a warm jacket just in case those cool nights creep up. Double check road conditions toward fall.
Good: May – June
Warm clothes are still a must as temps slowly creep back up. Planting begins once the last frost has come.
Skip: October – April
The fall harvest has been completed leaving the entire area a barren grey khaki color. A cooler wind whips through in time for winter snow making roads treacherous if not impassible at times. Wait for the spring planting.
HOW TO REACH
Auto: A single lane road breaks from the main highway in Kaza. Conditions are favorable in the summer and early fall for cars and bikes. Intermittent closures occur in fall and complete closures in winter for up to 5 months
Bus: Local HRTC bus service runs daily July – September from Kaza departing in the afternoon, returning the following morning early A.M. from Kibber
Taxi: Available from Kaza
Train: Nearest rail head is located in Shimla (427 kms)
Plane: Nearest airport is located in Kullu (230 kms)
Kibber has a claim to fame as being the world’s highest motorable village. It may seem this remote and isolated village of mostly Tibetan Buddhists would be void of many of life’s luxuries but that isn’t true. Electricity, a clean water source, a post office and even a high school keep this agricultural town running. Only a few hundred people inhabit the village, and yet, it’s nearly silent save for a few sounds from individual homes performing daily chores.
The harsh landscape of limestone rocks and cliffs in this arid high altitude desert doesn’t deter tourists who come in search of the monastery. Captivating views of the Himalayas certainly aid in building an audience who rarely have a chance to reach such heights by way of a vehicle. Kibber visitors can roam the town in peace while relying on residents to point them in the right direction. English is not widely spoken so you’ll need to use clear enunciation of names or proper hand signals for dialogue.
Kibber Monastery Simple. Void of the modern Buddhist monasteries with colorful murals to dazzle the eyes, the unsophisticated block building looks nearly identical to all the other structures in town. It’s perch near the highest point of town delivers obscene views of the nearby mountain peaks and valley below.
Gete: This village lies roughly 30 kms beyond Kibber to the east. It is inaccessible by road. From here, hike back to Kibber, Kye village to the southwest, or Langza due south.
Dangmachan 5157m: A nice and easy trek to the peak rising above Kibber village (4220m). This route can be done in a day for experienced trekkers. September is ideal for overnighting.
Experience Village Life
Several travel agencies can arrange homestays with local Kibberian villages. Learn the way of an uncomplicated yet challenging way of life for these farmers who pass time making handicrafts when not working their fields.
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.