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10 Fun facts about Kaza, Spiti Valley

The town of Kaza, Kaze or Kaja is the sub-divisional headquarters of the remote Spiti Valley in the Lahaul and Spiti district of the state of Himachal Pradesh in the Western Himalayas of India.

Spiti, which is a part of the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal, is a high altitude or cold desert having close similarities to the neighbouring Tibet and Ladakh regions in terms of terrain, climate and the Buddhist culture.

Kaza

1. Altitude

Kaza, situated along the Spiti River at an elevation of 3,650 metres (11,980 ft) above sea-level, is the largest township and commercial centre of the valley.

2. Old and New Kaza

The town is divided into the old, as Kaza Khas and new as Kaza Soma sections. The new town contains administrative buildings. The Tangyud (Tang-Gyud) Gompa dates to the early 14th century and is built like a fortified castle with massive slanted mud walls and battlements with vertical red ocher and white vertical stripes. It is on the edge of a deep canyon and overlooking the town of Kaza, four km from the town. Approaching it from the south one sees Kyu-ling (Skyid-gling), the stately palace of the Nono (king) on the other side of the river.

Kaza lunch stop

3. Location

Kaza is overlooked by high mountain ridges on all sides. It has two access points: one from Kinnaur valley and the other from the Lahaul valley, 11 km from Ki monastery, the famous Gelugpa establishment. The route through Kinnaur is open throughout the year, except for occasional short periods resulting from landslides or heavy snowfall. This road, starting from Shimla, follows the Sutlej river unto a little beyond Poo, thereafter turning northwards to follow the Spiti River all the way to Kaza.

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The other road starts from Manali and after crossing the 13,090-foot (3,990 m) high Rohtang Pass to reach Gramphoo where it joins the road from Keylong and proceeds south along Chandra River till Batal then climbs up to cross the 14,928-foot (4,550 m) high Kunzum pass, enters the Spiti Valley to reach Kaza. It remains closed during the winter months, normally from October-end to June due to heavy snowfall on both the passes.

4. Weather

The temperature varies greatly in different seasons and during a day, January is the coldest month of the year with an average temperature of -25 °C, while July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 10 °C.

5. Ideal base camp

Kaza is known for its colourful festivals and the ancient Sakya Tangyud monastery, 14 km from the town. It is also popular with tourists and adventure seekers during summer months because of its central location and connections to the rest of the valley and outside. This central location also makes Kaza, an ideal base camp for trekking, mountaineering and tours directed to other parts of the valley.

6. Nearby Attractions

Some of the major tourist attractions in and around Kaza beside Tan Gyud monastery are the Key Gompa, Kibber village at an elevation of 4205 metres above sea-level, Gette village at an altitude of 4270 m above sea-level, Langza village famous for the presence of marine fossils, the Pin Valley National Park, a protected area for the Himalayan high altitude wildlife and the Losar village 40 km to the north of Kaza at an altitude of 4079 metres above sea level.

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7. Accommodation

It is not difficult to find mid-range and budget accommodations in Kaza. Some are located near the river. PWD guest houses run by the Himachal Pradesh government are your other options but prior booking is a must. Homestays are recommended if you want to explore other cultures to the fullest.

8. Food

Eating options are limited. Indian and Tibetan cuisines are available in and around Kaza and serve vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

9. Kaza’s speciality

The place is famous for its carpets, pure wool shawls and woolen clothes. Readymade garments made of Merino wool and unique items like bedroom slippers made of grass.

10. Festivals

Festivals like Fagli and Gochi are celebrated. Hindus also celebrate their festivals like the harvest festival, festival of light. There are various fairs like Ladarcha fair, Pauri fair, etc.

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1 Response
  1. Pinky

    Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that its been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

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