Lahaul and Spiti are two separate districts which were merged into one, in the state of Himachal Pradesh in the countrys north. The current administrative centre of the district lies at Lahaul as Keylong. Before the merger, the two districts had different capitals. While Dhankar was the capital of Spiti, Kardang headed Lahaul district.
Kunzum la aka Kunzum Pass is the entry way to Spiti valley through Lahaul. Located at a distance of 21 km from Chandra Tal, Rohtang Pass connects the district to the famous hill station Manali. The National Highway 22 or NH 22 joins Kinnaur where it meets Pare chu Gorge and the road that is located 24 km from Spiti.
The two valleys are very different in character. While Spiti at an average elevation of 4270 meters is a barren land too difficult to cross, Lahaul is totally opposite with its lush greenery. The Spiti Valley is surrounded by lofty mountain ranges and the Spiti River rushes through southeast of this valley in order to meet River Sutlej. The valleys are characteristic desert mountainous area and the average rainfall recorded here is 6.7 inches or 170 mm.
Buddhist monasteries and the magnificent natural beauty have given a unique distinct look to Lahaul and Spiti. The most famous tourist attractions in the area include monasteries like Guru Ghantal, Dhankar, Shashur, Ki and the Tavul Gompas.
Tabo Monastery is a renowned spot here that is located in the capital area Spiti. The monastery became a thousand years old in 1996. This is a home to many Buddhist statues, scriptures and Thangkas exclusive to the place. The central Gompas here is finished with mud plaster.
Another famous gompa is the Kardang Monastery which is located around 14 kilometres from Keylong. With its existence since 12th century, this monastery is a home to a library of relevant Buddhist literature.
The best time to visit Lahaul and Spiti is from June to October. This is the time when the roads are free from any snow and the weather is pleasant. Spiti can however be accessed from Kinnaur all round the year, which is rarely obstructed due to a sudden avalanche or landslide.
Other monasteries that are well renowned here include the Kye Monastery amongst others already mentioned above. The Lahaul and Spiti valley is blessed with a rich biodiversity that is easily visible in the many species of flora and fauna found here.