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 As roads clear from the winter thaw, access to the hillside village is open to all modes of transportation. Even in this high altitude desert the temperatures never reach too hot. Cool breezes at night remind visitors to come prepared.
Good: May – June
Limited road closures by now allow movement up to the area. Planting season will begin shortly, and residents bundled inside for the long winter are eager to see new faces as well as begin trading goods and services.
Skip: October – April
Winter will come after the fall harvest bringing snow and terribly frigid cold temperatures. Most residents are huddled inside for months on end until this period passes.
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 to Kibber 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)
The fort-like monastery towering over the small village of Kye below offers a visual wonder for tourists. Activity centers around farming during the summer and early fall months with brutally cold winters in this distant outlying just north of Kaza. The rocky terrain of the high altitude desert 4166m above sea level is perfect for trekkers looking for a challenge. Aside from a visit to the monastery or hike along the nearby trails, activities for travelers are sparse.
Kye Monastery For miles, Ki Monastery can be seen from the winding switchbacks of the narrow road ascending the steep terrain of Spiti Valley. You have to want to see this fascinating, and architecturally unique complex as civilization is seemingly left behind as you veer off the main road fourteen miles back in Kaza.
Gete: This village lies roughly 30 kms beyond Kye to the northeast. It is inaccessible by road. From here, hike back to Kye, Kibber village to the west, or Langza due south.
Dangmachan 5157m: A nice and easy trek to the peak 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.
Experience Village Life
Several travel agencies can arrange homestays with local villagers. 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.