A place not to miss while in Spiti Valley is the beautiful village of Dhankar. A four hour drive from Tabo along the steep, winding roads of Himachal Pradesh leads one to Dhankar. At a towering height of 12, 774 feet above sea-level (3,894 m)lies this village inhabited by 44 people.

The first thing one will notice in the village is the new monastery that houses the Buddhist monks and nuns. The only place to stay in the village is Yak and Yetty, a seasonal lodge. Though home stays are available, they lack washroom facilities.

When it comes to food aloo paratha, dal and rice are the staple food that one gets there. Electricity is available in the village from 11am to 2pm. The people in the village are primarily farmers. They claim to cultivate medicinal herbs that heal heart and lung diseases.

At the far end of the village lies the older monastery that many believe is as old as Tabo monastery but due to lack of records this fact cannot be proved.

The sunrise in the village is as early as 4am and the sunset as late as 8pm. The nights are chilly and sitting around a bonfire is the perfect way to keep one warm. The village doesn’t have a school and children are mostly in boardings at Kaza. The village also does not have a heli-pad and people hence prefer going to Kaza, which is much warmer during the severe winters.

The pipes that supply water to the village often burst due to the water in them getting frozen which leads to lack of water supply to the village. The Dhankar Lake is a five kilometer uphill trek along a barren, muddy and dusty path.

This is the only way to get to the lake and carrying water along can prove to be a life saver as one is on the difficult trek to Dhankar Lake. This trek is a true test of fitness and stamina as both are needed to go from a height of 12, 000 feet to 13, 500 feet in a matter of hours.

The trek witnesses  change of temperature for which extreme endurance is needed as it goes from warm to windy to very cold. The Dhankar Lake at the height of 13, 570 feet above sea-level is picturesque as it is surrounded by the snow capped Himalayas and has water coming to it from a glacier.

The lake is frozen for about eight months of the year and is only accessible from mid-May to September. The lake is surrounded by shrubs that are characteristic of the region. There are prayer flags at the side of the Dhankar Lake.

The lake appears blue and green from different angles. The banks of the lake are a perfect place for backpackers to pith their tents. But carrying sufficient firewood and food is necessary as the lake is virtually in the middle-of-nowhere.

The best time to do the trek is during the day as it is a safer option. The descend is much easier and takes less time as compared to the ascend.

The village of Dhankar truly justifies Spiti’s claim as the middle kingdom.

20 Responses

  1. Mihir Nyak

    Really nice place that you have written about must say very interesting and a place that has pure natural beauty. I love the green tint that the lake has in these pictures of yours. wonderful

    Reply
  2. Dilip Yadav

    Lovely post I but i just cant digest that this is a village in out very own India. Simply amazing just cant digest this fact. Superb :))

    Reply
  3. David

    the place is very beautiful and to add on the pictures speak it all. Its worth a visit. Only the idea of trekking in such cold conditions gives me a cold shock right here on my seat. The people of the village are going through a lot of problems though. overall it would prove an adventurous trip.

    Reply
  4. ankitmathur3287

    Hey Sherwin!, Need some help, how did you make the albums like that in your posts as i am unable to do so in mine??? Please let me know.. Thanks

    Reply
    • sherwin rebello

      After you add the pictures to the media section then at the bottom of that page you will find something as “insert album” click on that and your pictures will show in your post.

      Reply
  5. Nandini

    Wonderful post! I loved the photos. So glad to know that you are having fun out there. 🙂

    Himalayas brought me to your blog. It’s my home! 🙂

    Reply
  6. David

    I think it is heaven, I’m hectic with my daily life and I’m totally exhausted. I’m planning for a long leisure and this is absolutely the right destination. Please suggest me, any good religious destination in India. The pictures are truly amazing, Thanks a lot for sharing this.

    Reply
    • sherwin rebello

      hey David, its really nice to hear that you are planning on making a trip to India. There are plenty of places like Dharamshala and Mcleodganj where the Dalai Lama resides. You can also travel to the river Ganga which is another holy place but very crowded. I personally suggest you make a trip to Dharamshala if you are really looking to find some inner peace.

      Reply
  7. Akbar Rosarium

    I would love to start my day by watching the early morining sunrise,then enjoy trekking and keep myself warm at night by sitting around bonfire.I wish to visit the lake , as blue and green are my favourite colours.I hope the landscape and aura of Dhankar Monastery in Himachal makes a spell binding impact on me making it an experience of lifetime.

    Reply
  8. ankitmathur3287

    Hey Sherwin! This is simply amazing.. i am planning to explore the lahaul and spiti valley in the month of June… can you help me in giving the details as to what would be my max budget and how many days trip i plan??? thanks

    Reply
    • sherwin rebello

      Hey Ankit, the budget depends entirely on how many people are doing the trip with you ideally 6-8 are a good number. with that many a budget of Rs600/day per person should be more than enough and if your gonna take the local buses around the valley it will work out even cheaper.You’ll need a day for each village in the valley and a couple of days to get there from Manali or Shimla 10days min is more than enough.

      Reply

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