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The district of Lahaul- Spiti
Spiti
in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh consists of the two formerly separate districts of Lahaul
Lahaul
and Spiti. The present administrative centre is Keylong
Keylong
in Lahaul. Before the two districts were merged, Kardang
Kardang
was the capital of Lahaul, and Dhankar the capital of Spiti. The district was formed in 1960, and is the fourth least populous district in India
India
(out of 640).[1] Kunzum la or the Kunzum Pass
Kunzum Pass
(altitude 4,551 m (14,931 ft)) is the entrance pass to the Spiti Valley
Spiti Valley
from Lahaul. It is 21 km (13 mi) from Chandra Tal.[2] This district is connected to Manali through the Rohtang Pass. To the south, Spiti
Spiti
ends 24 km (15 mi) from Tabo, at the Sumdo where the road enters Kinnaur
Kinnaur
and joins with National Highway No. 22.[3] The two valleys are quite different in character. Spiti
Spiti
is more barren and difficult to cross, with an average elevation of the valley floor of 4,270 m (14,010 ft). It is enclosed between lofty ranges, with the Spiti
Spiti
river rushing out of a gorge in the southeast to meet the Sutlej
Sutlej
River. It is a typical mountain desert area with an average annual rainfall of only 170 mm (6.7 in).[4]

Contents

1 Flora and fauna 2 People

2.1 Lifestyle 2.2 Religion

3 Tourism

3.1 Buddhist Monasteries 3.2 Adventure activities 3.3 Places to stay

4 Gallery 5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links

Flora and fauna[edit]

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The harsh conditions of Lahaul
Lahaul
permit only scattered tufts of hardy grasses and shrubs to grow, even below 4 km (13,000 ft). Glacier lines are usually found at 5 km (16,000 ft). Due to certain changes in climate, nowdays people are being able to grow some vegetables in the Lahaul
Lahaul
valley e.g. cabbage, potato, green peas, radish, tomato, carrot and all types of leafy vegetables. The main cash crops are potatoes, cabbage and green peas. The valley has snow leopards, foxes ibex, Himalayan brown bear, Musk Deer, and Himalayan blue sheep. There are two important protected areas in the region that are a home to snow leopard and its prey including the Pin Valley National Park and Kibber
Kibber
Wildlife Sanctuary. Animals such as yaks and dzos roam across the wild Lingti plains. However, over-hunting and a decrease in food supplies has led to a large decrease in the population of the Tibetan antelope, argali, kiangs, musk deer, and snow leopards in these regions, reducing them to the status of endangered species. Surprisingly, due to ardent religious beliefs, the locals of Spiti
Spiti
do not hunt these wild animals. Apart from the exotic wildlife, the Valley of Spiti
Spiti
is also known for its wealth of flora and the profusion of wild flowers. Some of the most common species found here include Causinia thomsonii, Seseli trilobum, Crepis flexuosa, Caragana brevifolia and Krascheninikovia ceratoides. Then there are more than 62 species of medicinal plants found here. People[edit]

Mother and child near Gandhola Monastery, 2004

According to the 2011 census Lahaul
Lahaul
and Spiti
Spiti
district has a population of 31,528,[1] roughly equal to the nation of San Marino.[5] This gives it a ranking of 638th in India
India
(out of a total of 640).[1] The district has a population density of 2 inhabitants per square kilometre (5.2/sq mi).[1] Its population growth rate over the decade 2001-2011 was -5.1%.[1] Lahul and Spiti
Spiti
has a sex ratio of 916 females for every 1000 males,[1] and a literacy rate of 77.24%.[1]

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The language, culture, and populations of Lahaul
Lahaul
and Spiti
Spiti
are closely related. Generally the Lahaulis are of Tibetan and Indo-Aryan, while the Spiti
Spiti
Bhot
Bhot
are more similar to the Tibetans, owing to their proximity to Tibet. The district has a H.P. state legislative law in place to curb antique loot, by suspecting travellers given past incidences. In pre-independence era, the ethnic tribal belt was into the British lahaul and the chamba lahaul, which was merged with Punjab post 1947. This is second largest district in Indian union. The languages of both the Lahauli and Spiti
Spiti
is Bhoti, Spiti
Spiti
Bhoti, it belongs to the Tibetan family. They are very similar to the Ladakhi and Tibetans culturally, as they had been placed under the rule of the Guge
Guge
and Ladakh
Ladakh
kingdoms at occasional intervals. Among the Lahaulis, the family acts as the basic unit of kinship. The extended family system is common, evolved from the polyandric system of the past. The family is headed by a senior male member, known as the Yunda, while his wife, known as the Yundamo, attains authority by being the oldest member in the generation. The clan system, also known as Rhus, plays another major role in the Lahauli society. The Spiti
Spiti
Bhot
Bhot
community has an inheritance system that is otherwise unique to the Tibetans. Upon the death of both parents, only the eldest son will inherit the family property, while the eldest daughter inherits the mother's jewellery, and the younger siblings inherit nothing. Men usually fall back on the social security system of the Trans-Himalayan Gompas. Lifestyle[edit]

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The lifestyles of the Lahauli and Spiti
Spiti
Bhot
Bhot
are similar, owing to their proximity. Polyandry
Polyandry
was widely practiced by the Lahaulis in the past, although this practice has been dying out. The Spiti
Spiti
Bhot
Bhot
do not generally practice polyandry any more, although it is accepted in a few isolated regions. Divorces are accomplished by a simple ceremony performed in the presence of village elders. Divorce can be sought by either partner. The husband has to pay compensation to his ex-wife if she does not remarry. However, this is uncommon among the Lahaulis. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood. Potato farming is common. Occupations include animal husbandry, working in government programs, government services, and other businesses and crafts that include weaving. Houses are constructed in the Tibetan architectural style, as the land in Lahul and Spiti
Spiti
is mountainous and quite prone to earthquakes. Religion[edit]

Ki-Gompa, Spiti

Most of the Lahaulis follow a combination of Hinduism
Hinduism
and Tibetan Buddhism
Buddhism
of the Drukpa Kagyu
Drukpa Kagyu
order, while the Spiti
Spiti
Bhotia follow Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism
of the Gelugpa
Gelugpa
order. Within Lahoul, the Todh-Gahr (upper region of lahaul towards Ladhakh) region had the strongest Buddhist influence, owing to its close proximity to Spiti. Lahoul has temples such as Trilokinath temple, where pilgrims worship a certain god in different manifestations, notably in the form of Shiva
Shiva
and Avalokiteshvara
Avalokiteshvara
where [Udaipur] is a puritan temple. This bas-relief, of marble, depicts the Buddhist deity Avalokiteshvara
Avalokiteshvara
(the embodiment of the Buddha's compassion) in a stylized seated position; Hindu devotees take it to be Shiva
Shiva
Nataraj, Shiva
Shiva
dancing. This image appears to be of sixteenth century Chamba craftsmanship. It was created to replace the original black stone image of the deity, which became damaged by art looters. This original image is kept beneath the plinth of the shrine. It appears to be of 12th century Kashmiri provenance . Much of the art thieves are active in this remote belt because of neglected gompas and temples. Raja Ghepan, one of the major deities is greatly workshipped by almost all Lahauli.

Religions in Lahaul
Lahaul
and Spiti

Religion

Percent

Buddhism

62.01%

Hinduism

36.91%

Christian

0.67%

Others

0.41%

Distribution of religions †Includes Muslims (0.23%).[6]

Before the spread of Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism
and Hinduism, the people were adherents of the religion 'Lung Pe Chhoi', an animistic religion that had some affinities with the Bön
Bön
religion of Tibet. While the religion flourished, animal and human sacrifices were regularly offered up to the 'Iha', a term that refers to evil spirits residing in the natural world, notably in the old pencil-cedar trees, rocks and caves. Vestiges of the Lung Pe Chhoi religion can be seen in the behaviour of the Lamas, who are believed to possess certain supernatural powers. The Losar
Losar
festival (also known as Halda in Lahauli) is celebrated between the months of January and February. The date of celebration is decided by the Lamas. It has the same significance as the Diwali festival of Hinduism, but is celebrated in a Tibetan fashion. At the start of the festival, two or three persons from every household will come holding burning incense. The burning sticks are then piled into a bonfire. The people will then pray to Shiskar Apa, the goddess of wealth (other name Vasudhara) in the Buddhist religion. In the Pattan belt of the valley in Lahoul, most population follows Hinduism
Hinduism
and they are called swanglas. The fagli festival is celebrated between February and March all over the valley. This festival is a new year festival and closely precedes beginning of Tibet
Tibet
and Chinese calendar. Notable is the Pattan people are the late settlers in the valley around 1500 A.D. and have broad highlights and have distinct language on the likes the central Asians, chamba, pangi, pashtoons and uyghurs. This belt is known for the convergence for chandra and bhaga rivers to form Chenab. Lahaul
Lahaul
has three major valley like kinnaur, which is Tinan Valley (Koksar-Dalang), Pattan Valley (Mooling-Uadaipur region), Punan or Todh/Gahr(Keylong-Zanskar). People of Pattan Valley are largely Hindu and each village has its presiding deity. The inhabitant of Tinan Valley is influenced by both Hinduism
Hinduism
and Buddhism. The people of Punan (Todh/Gahr) is mostly influenced by Buddhism. Tourism[edit]

Ki Gompa

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The natural scenery and Buddhist monasteries, such as Kye, Dhankar, Shashur, Guru Ghantal, Khungri Monastery in Pin Valley, Tnagyud Gompa of the Sakya Sect in Komic, Sherkhang Gompa in Lahlung (believed to be older than Tabo Monastery), the only Buddhist Mummy of a Monk in Gue around 550 years old and Chandra Taal
Chandra Taal
Lake are the main tourist attractions of the region. One of the most interesting places is the Tabo Monastery, located 45 km from Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, the capital of the Spiti region. This monastery rose to prominence when it celebrated its thousandth year of existence in 1996. It houses a collection of Buddhist scriptures, Buddhist statues and Thangkas. The ancient gompa is finished with mud plaster, and contains several scriptures and documents. Lama
Lama
Dzangpo heads the gompa here. There is a modern guest house with a dining hall and all facilities are available. Another famous gompa, Kardang
Kardang
Monastery, is located at an elevation of 3,500 metres across the river, about 8 km from Keylong. Kardang is well connected by the road via the Tandi bridge which is about 14 km from Keylong. Built in the 12th century, this monastery houses a large library of Buddhist literature including the main Kangyur
Kangyur
and Tangyur
Tangyur
scriptures. The treacherous weather in Lahaul
Lahaul
and Spiti
Spiti
permits visitors to tour only between the months of June to October, when the roads and villages are free of snow and the high passes (Rothang La and Kunzum La) are open. It is possible to access Spiti
Spiti
from Kinnaur
Kinnaur
(along the Sutlej) all through the year, although the road is sometimes temporarily closed by landslides or avalanches. Buddhist Monasteries[edit] Spiti
Spiti
is one of the important centers of Buddhism
Buddhism
in Himachal Pradesh. It is popularly known as the 'land of lamas'. The valley is dotted by numerous Buddhist Monasteries or Gompas that are famous throughout the world and are a favorite of Dalai Lama. Kye Monastery: Kye Monastery
Kye Monastery
is one of the main learning centres of Buddhist studies in Spiti. The monastery is house to some 100 odd monks who receive education here. It is oldest and biggest monastery in Spiti. It houses the rare painting and beautiful scriptures of Buddha and other gods and goddess. You may also find rare 'Thangka' paintings and ancient musical instruments 'trumpets, cymbals, and drums in the monastery. Tabo Monastery: Perched at an amazing altitude of 3050 meters, Tabo Monastery is often referred to as the 'Ajanta of the Himalayas'. The 10th century Tabo Monastery
Tabo Monastery
was founded by the great scholar, Richen Zangpo, and has been declared as the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The monastery houses more than 60 lamas and contains the rare collection of scriptures, pieces of art, wall paintings -Thankas and Stucco. Adventure activities[edit] To-do-Trails: For trekkers, the Spiti Valley
Spiti Valley
is a paradise, offering challenging treks to explore the new heights of the Himalayas. The treks takes you to the most remote areas including the rugged villages and old Gompas followed by the exotic wildlife trails. Some of the popular trekking routes in the area includes Kaza-Langza-Hikim-Komic-Kaza, Kaza-Ki-Kibber-Gete-Kaza, Kaza-Losar-Kunzum La and Kaza-Tabo-Sumdo-Nako. There are some very high altitude treks also where you have to cross passes- like Parangla Pass (connecting Ladakh
Ladakh
with Spiti
Spiti
Valley), Pin Parvati Pass, Baba Pass, Hampta Pass treks, Spiti
Spiti
Left Bank Trek are few to name. Please note that you carry all the necessary things before you head out for a trekking tour to Spiti. Tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, heavy wooolens, sunscreen and sunglasses are a must. Skiing: Skiing is the popular adventure sports in Spiti
Spiti
and has been popular in India
India
from the past few years. The amazing snow clad mountains with the added advantage of inspiring heights are enough to allure the adventure spirits of the avid skier, providing all the thrill and fun attracted to the sport. People from all around the globe come to experience this enthralling adventure activity. Yak
Yak
Safari: The most exciting of all adventure activities in Spiti
Spiti
is the Yak
Yak
safari. You can hire the Yak
Yak
to see the flora and fauna of trans-Himalayan desert. It is, in fact, the lifetime opportunity that you won't find anywhere else so easily. Apart from this, horse safaris are also conducted in this area. Places to stay[edit] In the heart of Kaza one can find many luxurious hotels. Some of them are Sakya Abode, Snow Lion, Kunphen Guesthouse. There is also Sakya Homestay and Deyzor Guesthouse. Keylong
Keylong
is most visited place In lahaul valley because of its wide range of hotels. In the heart of Udaipur Town one can find good hotels including HPPWD Rest House Udaipur, VIP Rest House Udaipur, Forest Rest House Udaipur, HP Agricultural University Rest House Udaipur, Yungfa Guest House, Amandeep Guest House, Mirkula Guest House, Thakur Guest House. Anyone can find get best hotels in less cost here. Gallery[edit]

Lahaul
Lahaul
Valley in winter

Image of waterfall near Udaipur town in Lahaul
Lahaul
Valley

Mountain peak

Kunzum Pass
Kunzum Pass
between Lahul and Spiti

See also[edit]

List of highest towns by country

References[edit]

^ a b c d e f g "District Census 2011". Census2011.co.in. 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-30.  ^ "Kunzum Pass". india9.com.  ^ Kapadia (1999), pp. 215-216. ^ Kapadia (1999), pp. 26-27. ^ US Directorate of Intelligence. "Country Comparison:Population". Retrieved 2011-10-01. San Marino
San Marino
31,817 July 2011 est.  ^ "Census of India: District Profile". Censusindia.gov.in. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 

Ciliberto, Jonathan. (2013). "Six Weeks in the Spiti
Spiti
Valley". Circle B Press. 2013. Atlanta. ISBN 978-0-9659336-6-7 Handa, O. C. (1987). Buddhist Monasteries in Himachal Pradesh. Indus Publishing Company, New Delhi. ISBN 81-85182-03-5. Kapadia, Harish. (1999). Spiti: Adventures in the Trans-Himalaya. 2nd Edition. Indus Publishing Company, New Delhi. ISBN 81-7387-093-4. Janet Rizvi. (1996). Ladakh: Crossroads of High Asia. Second Edition. Oxford University Press, Delhi. ISBN 0-19-564546-4. Cunningham, Alexander. (1854). LADĀK: Physical, Statistical, and Historical with Notices of the Surrounding Countries. London. Reprint: Sagar Publications (1977). Francke, A. H. (1977). A History of Ladakh. (Originally published as, A History of Western Tibet, (1907). 1977 Edition with critical introduction and annotations by S. S. Gergan & F. M. Hassnain. Sterling Publishers, New Delhi. Francke, A. H. (1914). Antiquities of Indian Tibet. Two Volumes. Calcutta. 1972 reprint: S. Chand, New Delhi. Banach, Benti (2010). 'A Village Called Self-Awareness, life and times in Spiti
Spiti
Valley'. Vajra Publications, Kathmandu ISBN 9937506441.

Further reading[edit]

Hutchinson, J. & J. PH Vogel (1933). History of the Panjab Hill States, Vol. II. 1st edition: Govt. Printing, Pujab, Lahore, 1933. Reprint 2000. Department of Language and Culture, Himachal Pradesh. Chapter X Lahaul, pp. 474–483; Spiti, pp. 484–488.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lahul and Spiti
Spiti
district.

Lahaul
Lahaul
and Spiti
Spiti
travel guide from Wikivoyage Official Website of the district

Places adjacent to Lahaul
Lahaul
and Spiti
Spiti
district

Kishtwar district, Jammu and Kashmir Kargil district, Jammu and Kashmir Leh district, Jammu and Kashmir

Chamba district

Lahaul
Lahaul
and Spiti
Spiti
district

China

Kangra district Kullu
Kullu
district Kinnaur
Kinnaur
district

v t e

Lahaul
Lahaul
and Spiti
Spiti
district

Passes

Rohtang La Baralacha La Kunzum La

Valleys

Lahaul Spiti

Cities and towns

Keylong Zingzingbar Sarchu Darcha Jispa Sissu Tinno Kaza Tabo

Monasteries

Dhankar Gandhola Gemur Gozzangwa Guru Ghantal Kardang Key Kibber Kungri Lhalung Shashur Tabo Tangyud Tayul Gyuto Tantric Monastic University

See also

Ladakh Leh–Manali Highway Manali, Himachal Pradesh Chandra Taal Suraj Tal

v t e

Geography of Himachal Pradesh

Lakes

Renuka Lake Maharana Pratap Sagar Gobind Sagar more...

Rivers

Beas Chenab Ravi Sutlej Yamuna

Districts

Bilaspur Chamba Hamirpur Kangra Kinnaur Kullu Lahaul
Lahaul
and Spiti Mandi Sirmaur Shimla Solan Una

Other

Climate of Himachal Pradesh Protected areas of Himachal Pradesh List of peaks in Himachal Pradesh

v t e

State of Himachal Pradesh

Capital: Shimla

Topics

Education

History

Prehistory and protohistory Early history Mughal rule British rule Freedom struggle Kangra-Lambagraon Punjab Hill States agency Guge

Culture

Arts and crafts Languages Music Traditional dances

Jurisdiction

Chief Ministers Governors High Court Government Vidhan Sabha High Court Raj Bhavan Police

Districts and divisions

Kangra division

Chamba Kangra Una

Mandi division

Bilaspur Hamirpur Kullu Lahul and Spiti Mandi

Shimla
Shimla
division

Kinnaur Shimla Sirmaur Solan

Major cities

Shimla Solan Nahan Mandi Sundar Nagar Dharamsala

Economy

Agriculture Animal husbandry Industry Social services Transport

Geography

Lakes Rivers Climate Protected areas Highest point

People

The Great Khali 14th Dalai Lama Mohit Chauhan Prem Kumar Dhumal Anupam Kher Kangana Ranaut Preity Zinta Sukh Ram Anurag Thakur James Quinton Norah Richards Anuj Sharma Ruskin Bond Pratibha Singh Kaul Singh Thakur Virbhadra Singh Kaul Singh Thakur Shanta Kumar more

Images

Picture gallery Image gallery at Wikimedia Commons

Others

Bilaspur–Manali–Leh line Rohtang Tunnel Tourism

v t e

Kullu
Kullu
Manali Circuit

Sutlej
Sutlej
Trail

Swarghat Bilaspur Deothsidh

Beas Trail

Mandi Rewalsar Jogindernagar

Kullu
Kullu
Valley Trail

Kullu Raison Naggar Manali

Across The Rohtang Pass

Keylong Lahaul
Lahaul
and Spiti

Coordinates: 32°30′N 77°50′E / 32.500°N 77.833°E / 32.500; 77.833

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 130214682 LCCN: n82165

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