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World’s Highest Gas station: Kaza, Himachal Pradesh

The town of Kaza in Himachal Pradesh is at a height 11,990 feet above sea level (3,650 m). Kaza is the sub-divisional headquarters of the Spiti Valley. It is the largest town and a commercial centre in the valley.  Kaza has the Spiti River flowing all along with the town and the Trans Himalayas surround it.

A four-hour drive from Tabo along NH 21 leads one to Kaza. The road is flat and is a relief as compared to the bumpy Himalayan roads that one gets used to.

Kaza is generally the place where backpackers and tourists who arrive by bus hire vehicles to travel around Spiti Valley. Some travel agencies which are located in the market area of the town can arrange for wonderful yet economical tours and treks around the valley. They even have mountain bikes for hire so one can cycle all around this Trans Himalayan district.  Enormous stamina is needed to ride a mountain bike around the valley.

For the adventure junkies, there is white water rafting in the Spiti River with various levels of rafting options available here. Treks can also be organized ranging from easy to difficult.

The town also has a huge market which sells a verity of Tibetan and Buddhist handicrafts. Being the most developed town in the valley, Kaza has the only medical centre and also the only bank and ATM. It also lays claim to the world’s highest gas station at a height of 12,270 feet above sea level. This is also the only gas station in the valley.

Kaza is also the backpackers’ headquarters in the Spiti Valley. With numerous cafes, restaurants which serve a host of eatables from different cuisines mainly to cater to the foreign backpackers that make the trip there. Kaza is also the only place to get access to the internet in the valley. Accommodation in Kaza rangers from budget, mid-range to high end. Homestays are available but are not as common as compared to the rest of the valley.

Very few people in Kaza depend on agriculture. As most of the people work for different tour organizations and also in the many shops that are there in the market. Kaza also has the only high school in the valley so many children from all over the valley come there for education and stay in the hostels.  In the evenings’ plenty of children flood the lanes to play which is not a very common sight in the rest of the valley.

There are two monasteries one just opposite the gas station and one at the far end of the town. An annual Ladarch fair is held here with the monks performing and dancing during the celebration. This fair is held in the month of August.

Kaza is the ideal place to set up as a base to start off one’s adventure in the Trans Himalayas.

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