Kaza Travel Guide: A Gateway to Paradise in Himachal Pradesh (2023)
Kaza is the headquarter of the remote Kaza in the Western Himalayas. It is located in the Lahaul and Kaza district in the state of Himachal Pradesh in India. Kaza is located in a corner in Kaza and is comparatively less visited by tourists than the hill stations like Manali and Shima. This is a peaceful and tranquil place where people can go to get rid of their fatigue and spend some time in nature. Kaza is one of the most beautiful destinations in northern India. Kaza is packed with majestic snow-covered mountains, gurgling rivers, picturesque landscape, and numerous luscious streams. These make the place look dreamy and feels like paradise on earth. This place will leave you wondering about the marvels of nature when you are here.
The place has a rich Buddhist influence, and the place is inhabited by many Buddhists and there are many beautiful monasteries here. The town of Kaza is categorized into 2 parts, New Kaza and Old Kaza. New Kaza has the king’s palace and Old Kaza is home to government offices. The presence of historical wonders, monasteries, and gompas adds a spiritual angle to this charming town. There are Tibetan refugee settlements in and around the town and you can listen to the famous Buddhist chant “Om manipadmehun” in the air at this place or while passing the monasteries. Kaza is an exemplary amalgamation of ancient culture and modernity. The charm of this little town attracts many tourists around the year and the beauty of this place leaves every traveler awestruck and spellbound. The weather in Kaza is exceptionally cold throughout the year given the point that it is located at a very high altitude. The place is said to be blessed, nourished, and thriving by the prayers at the thousand years old monasteries located here. This is a perfect place where you can enjoy adventure activities, relax in the lap of nature. There cannot be a perfect getaway than Kaza if you want to enjoy nature in its purest form and calm your body, mind, and soul to live in the lap of nature for a few days away from the chaotic life.
Kaza Travel Guide: Places to See and Things To Do In Kaza
- Kibber Village: Kibber Village is located at an altitude of 4270 meters and is supposed to be the most inhabited village in Lahaul and Spiti. Everyone should come on a holiday here at this beautiful place at least once. Kibber is a small village, also known as Kyibar, which is located in the Spiti Valley. This beautiful village is surrounded by picturesque mountains and barren landscapes and is considered as the village located at maximum height on a motorable road. The village is particularly famous for the local monastery and Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary. Being at a high altitude, you can feel the fresh air in your lungs while breathing here. Another important fact about this place is that it has only 77 houses and around 350 people residing here. All the houses are similar in architecture and design which adds to the beauty of this village. Even though this village is located in a remote location, Kibber village has a post office, a telegraph office, and a high school. There are a few very famous hikes that you can go for from this village. These are Parang La Trek and Tso Moriri Lake, and both of these are beautiful places to spend your time while you are here in Kaza. Do not miss visiting this place when you are in Kaza. Image Source
- Tabo: Tabo is a small village located on the bank of the Spiti River in Lahaul and Spiti.Tabo lies on the road between RekongPeo and Kaza. Tabo Monastery is very famous in the area and is a must-visit if you are in the area. Tabo monastery is said to be over a thousand years old. The Dalai Lama has expressed his desire to retire in this monastery because the Tabo Monastery is considered the holiest. In 1996, the Dalai Lama conducted the Kalachakra initiation ceremony in Tabo, which coincided with the millennium anniversary celebrations of the Tabo monastery. The ceremony was attended by thousands of Buddhists from across the world. Tabo monastery has a plethora of art and paintings that add to the beauty of this place. Photography is not permitted inside Tabo Monastery and you are only allowed to enjoy the view.
- Key Monastery: Key Monastery is one of the most beautiful and important places to visit when in Kaza. The surrounding area is Key Monastery as it the biggest and oldest monastery in Spiti valley and attracts thousands of tourists. The place houses many ancient Buddhist books and murals which are historically and religiously important. The key monastery is also known as the Kye Monastery and Ki Monastery, it is believed tohave been founded by Dromton, who was a student of the famous teacher Atisha in the 11th century. This monastery is also a very famous training center for the lamas. The monastery is over one thousand years old and about 300 lamas receive education from this pace every year.
- Kunzum Pass: Kunzum passes also known as Kunzum la is one of the most famous and one of the highest motorable roads in India. It is located at a height of 4551 m above sea level. Kunzum La offers an incredible 360-degree view of Bara- Shigri Glacier which is the second-longest glacier in the world. You can see a spectacular view of the Spiti valley from the Kunzum pass. This awe-inspiring view of Kunzum Pass is a photographer’s dream and a must-visit place. Do not miss visiting Kunzum pass if you are in Kaza.
- Chandratal Lake: Chandratal lake is a heavenly place but it is an unmatched paradise for adventure seekers and people who love to camp. It is a very popular camping site. It is said to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world and is located at a height of 4300m in the Himalayas. It is situated on the Samudra Tapu plateau which overlooks the Chandra River. The name Chandratal has significance. The name “Chandra Taal” which means Lake of the Moon comes from its shape as this is a crescent-shaped lake. It is also one of two high-altitude wetlands of India and it attracts thousands of adventure enthusiasts from all over the world.The color of the water of this beautiful lake keeps changing from reddish to orange to blue to emerald green as the day ends. The lush green meadows around the lake offer a perfect camping site for adventure seekers. You will also see an array of different wildflowers during springtime around the lake. There are many hiking trails around the place and the hike from Batal to Chandratalis quite a tedious trail. The views this place offers, and the charms are worth visiting once in a lifetime. but the captivating views and charm of the place will be worth it.
- Dhanker Lake and Dhanker Monastery: Just like other famous monasteries, the dhanker monastery is one of the famous monasteries situated around Kaza. Dhanker Monastery is believed to be 1000 years old and is one of the top tourist attractions in the area. It offers a spectacular 360-degree view of the Spiti valley. This is a beautiful and breath-taking site one must not miss. Dhanker Lake is located 2 km from Dhanker Monastery. You will see the changes in the color of the sky reflecting on the water in the lake that make it more spectacular. It is a blessing to be at this peace and breathe in the cold air once and make memories of a lifetime.
- Hiking in Nature: There several treks in the area. If you are on a hiking trail in the area around Kaza, you will listen to the leaves rustling under your feet. It is quite an experience to be here in Kaza. Some of the famous Hiking trails around Kaza and Spiti valley are Pin Parvati trek, Dhankar lake trek, Chandratal lake trek, Baralacha pass, Kanamo Peak trek, Parang La trek, Pin Bhabha Trek, and there are many more not so famous yet beautiful trails you can discover yourself while walking in this beautiful place.
Best Time to Visit Kaza
The best time to visit Kaza is between June and October. This is during the summer and the beginning of winter in Kaza. It is a nice time for the tourists to get around and to enjoy the cool air flowing in the valley. You can visit Kaza in November also. It starts getting colder at the end of October, and November is extremely cold as compared to plains. During the summer months, the temperature does not drop below zero degrees and is a good time to visit Kaza. Both routes to reach Kaza from Shimla, as well as Manali, are open during this time.
Summer in Kaza starts in March and lasts up to May and June and this time is the most visited in the city as the temperature is pleasant compared to other parts of the country. Winters start in October and last up to February and March. Winter is the least recommended time to visit Kaza. However, October and November are still tolerable.
Many roads to Kaza are blocked and the temperatures drop below zero degrees.
How to Reach Kaza?
Kaza lies on the Manali-Leh Highway and is separated from Kullu by Rohtang and Kunzum passes. There are two routes to connect the Kaza for you to make your journey to this heavenly place. The Manali-Leh highway is accessible to reach Kaza during the summers. However, this highway has been blocked for the rest of the year because of heavy snowfall. But you can take Shimla via the Kinnaur route to reach Kaza and it is accessible throughout the year. This is if you are having a road trip to Kaza which ideally is the best way to spend some time in this heaven and look at the views on your way. However, you can take a flight, train, or a road trip to Kaza. The options are mentioned below:
- Planes: The closest airport to Bir is in Bhuntar which is near Kullu airport, which is located at a distance of 35–40 kilometers away from Dharamshala. This is around 250 km from Kaza and you cannot get direct flights from many cities to this airport in India. The nearest international airport is Chandigarh airport which is around 550 km from Kaza. You can reach Chandigarh and take a connecting flight to Bhuntar airport and travel the rest of the journey via road. And you can book a taxi from the Chandigarh airport to Kaza which is quite a scenic drive and not to be missed.
- Trains: The nearest broad-gauge railway station closest to Kaza is in Chandigarh which is around 550 km from Kaza. Jogindernagar also has a railway station that is nearest to Kaza, but it has very poor connectivity. Honestly, traveling to Kaza via train is not an ideal option as it tires you and the connectivity is also poor. The best way to reach Kaza from Chandigarh is via road.
- Bus: Take a bus preferably Himachal Pradesh tourism from Delhi to Chandigarh. The Himachal state transport runs buses are available for both routes in summers, but it is advisable to take a bus through the Shimla-Kinnaur-Kaza route. Direct buses are available from Chandigarh, Shimla, Kullu, Manali, and some other parts of North India. You can take public transport from your city to reach Chandigarh and can get a direct bus to Kaza from here. There are many public and private buses running between Shimla and Kinnaur from 5 AM to 8 PM. You can also find overnight buses to ReckongPeo which is the headquarter of Kinnaur district and you can get these buses from the New Bus Stand as well as from the Old Bus Stand in Shimla.
- Taxi: Taxi is by far the easiest and the fastest way to reachKaza from Chandigarh and probably the most comfortable as well. As you can stop and enjoy the view as per your comfort. It certainly is a little expensive at the same time as the average cost of a taxi from Shimla is around IMR 2500 – INR 3000 per day. And the prices depend on the season and your bargaining skills as well. You can also drive yourself to Kaza as many people choose these days. However, you should have some experience driving on the steep mountain roads if you are planning to take your vehicle.
Places to Stay in Kaza
Kaza is full of hotels and hostels for people to stay and enjoy their vacation in this little paradise. Often known as the cold desert of India, you will see nude mountains and the majestic views of the valleys you have ever seen from the beautiful hotels in Kaza. There are several hotels and resorts to stay in Kaza and you can choose a place based on your budget. You can also choose from several homestays at this place that you will enjoy which will give you a comfortable vibe and homely feeling.
Make sure you book the place before visiting during the season because it gets really difficult to find accommodation if you land in the town without any arrangement to stay in summer. Some of the famous hotels to stay in the area are The Alpinist, Nyingma Hotel, Spiti Village Hotel, Hotel Le Karze, NoyonMap Hotel, Hotel Deyzor, Spiti Hotel Himalayan Brothers.
What to Eat in Kaza?
There are many places to eat in Kaza and several cafes serving food that is scrumptious at all levels. You would love to go to these places over and over after tasting the food at these places. The Himalayan Café is a heritage and famous place to enjoy meals in the town. You can enjoy an amazing meal at this café and enjoy a view of the hills while eating your food as is with many other cafes and restaurants in Kaza. All food you will eat in Spiti valley is clean and organic. You can enjoy the local pahadi food during your stay here.The locals enjoy non-vegetarian options, such as chicken, mutton, lamb, and sometimes yak. The rivers and streams are full of fish. You can go fishing and cash your fish for food. Nearly everything cooked in the hotels, restaurants, and homestays are usually freshly harvested from the local fields. The food is full of leafy greens, root vegetables, and tomatoes, etc. You will enjoy good Tibetan and local Chinese food at Spiti valley as most of the population residing in this area is Tibetan. Do not Miss hog on the local momos, Maggi and Chowmein in this cold desert. You will have one of the best Tibetan meals in Kaza and the nearby areas.