Ladakh Monastic Festivals
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Himachal is an abode of Gods and Goddesses, land of fairs and festivals, snow covered mountains, holy lakes, hot water spring, pilgrimages, picturesque beauty and virtual paradise for trekkers, skiers, heli skiers and hang gliding. Other attraction are golfing, angling, water sports, mountain climbing, jeep safari, tribal people and beautiful valleys.


The most charming and beautiful Kullu valley spread out its charm on either side of the river Beas. The valley runs north to south of this river and is 80 Kms long and about 2 Kms. At its broadest. The valley is also famous for its exquisitely woven colorful hand made shawls and Kulu caps.Kulu is a colorful region, every part of which has a charm of its own. In the spring, Kulu is at its most colorful shape. Early March, apricot and Plum trees, dotted among the fields, burst into pink blossoms and wild meddler are crowned with white flowers.


On the left bank of the Beas, Naggar is delightfully situated on a wooded slope and commands an extensive view. It was the capital of Kulu state for about 1400 years. There are large number of famous temples notably Vishnu, Tripura and Lord Krishna. Cars and jeeps can easily go upto Naggar castle. Roerich art gallery, which houses the painting of Nicholas Roerich as well as his sculpture is less than a Km from the castle. Naggar is also a base for undertaking treks to Chanderkhani pass and to the remote valley of Malana.


Manikaran 45 Kms from Kulu are just 3 Kms from Kasol, is famous for its hot springs. Thousands of people take their holy dip in its hot water. The water is so hot that dal, rice and vegetable etc. can be boiled in it. It is also a well know pilgrimage place both for Hindus and Sikhs.


Manali is 40 Kms from Kulu valley to the north, Manali is situated near the end of the valley on the National Highway leading to Leh. The landscape is breath taking as all around it is outlined against the horizon. One sees well defined snow capped peaks, the Beas river with its clear water meandering through between the town on the side and on other side are deodar and pine trees, tiny leveled fields and fruits orchards. It is an excellent place for a holiday, a favorite starting point for trekkers to Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur, Chamba Leh and Zanskar regions in Kashmir valley. It is know as the Switzerland of India.


Manali has many attraction but the chief center of interest, historically and archeologically is undoubtedly the Dhoongri Temple dedicated to the Goddess Hadima, the wife of Bhim of Mahabharat fame. It has a four tiered Pagoda shaped roof and the doorway is carved with legendary figures and symbols. This wooden temple in the dense forest of magnificent deodar is about 2.5 Kms from the city. It is a pleasant stroll to the temple which was built in 1553 A.D. There is major festival here in May.


Vashist, a little village located on the left bank of Beas river towards Rohtang pass is worth a visit. It is renowned for its hot springs and temples. Nearby is the pyramidal stone temple dedicated to Vashist Muni and Lord Ram temple is also there.  Natural hot sulphur springs with two separate bathing tanks for gents and ladies are always full with tourists.


13 Kms is a splendid valley between Solang village and Beas Kund. Solang valley offers the view of the glaciers and snow capped mountains and Peaks. It has some fine ski slopes and the Mountaineering institute has installed a small ski lift for training purpose.


Rohtang pass is 51 Kms from Manali on highway to Keylong/Leh. It affords a wide Panorama of mountain scenery which is very spectacular. The pass is open from June to October each year although trekkers ,can cross it earlier. It is the gateway to Lahaul Spiti, Pangi and Leh valley. There is a beautiful sight of glaciers, peaks and Chandra river down in the Lahaul valley


Lahaul is marked by a central mass of almost uniformly high mountains and massive glaciers. The two rivers Chandra and Bhaga which rise on either side of the Baralacha La, flow through the Chandra and Bhaga narrow valleys. Lahaul is also a facinating areas for Buddhist art and culture. The monasteries of Lahaul are rich repositories of ancient murals, thankas, wood carving and golden images of Padmasambhava. The valley lies at a height 2745 meters above sea level. Summer in this valley is cool and pleasant with green grass and alpine flowers. Lahaul is very difficult and mountainous areas which remains cut off  for 4-5 months from the rest of the world. Lahaul Spiti is enclosed by high mountain ranges from all sides which make the access a difficult and sometimes impossible.


Spiti is the e sub division of Lahaul and Spiti district with its headquarter at Kaza. It is called “ little Tibet” because it has almost the same terrain, vegetation and climate. Spiti also means “ middle country”. It lies between Tibet, Ladakh, Kinnaur, Lahu\aul and Kulu. The sight of mountains in Spiti is unique. The Spiti river is flowing fast through deep georges at some places. The valley is not wide but there are villages and some fields where people grow barley, buck wheat, peas and vegetables.


It is about 5 Kms from Keylong across Bhaga river. It is believed to be built in 12th century. Monastery has a big library of Kangyur and Tangyur volumes of Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti. Kardong village was once the capital of Lahaul.


It is situated 12 Ks north of Kaza and serving the western population of Spiti. It is the oldest and biggest monastery of the valley and located at 4116 M above . Houses are beautiful scriptures and painting of Budha and other Goddesses. Lamas practice dance, sing and play on pipes and horns. Many lamas get religious training here. It has murals and books of high value.



It is situated about 25 Kms east of Kaza and serving eastern part of central Spiti. Dhankar is a big village and erstwhile capital of Spiti king. On top of a hill there is a fort which used to be the prison in olden times. The monastery has about 100 Lamas and is in possession of Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti language. It has relics in the shape of paintings and sculptures.


It is another big gompa for serving the population of eastern side. It is 10th century old and is located 50 Kms from Kaza. It is a famous Gompa next to Tholing Gompa in Tibet. It has about 60 Lamas and big collection of scriptures, wall paintings etc. Murals of this Gompa have a great similarity to that of Ajanta paintings.


Kaza is sub divisional headquarter of Spiti valley. It is situated at the  foot of the steep ridges  on the left bank of Spiti river. Once it was the headquarter of the Nono, the chief of Spiti. It has all modern facilities and is connected by road with Manali and Shimla except in the winter months.


It is locally known as Khyipur, one of the highest villages in the world at an altitude of 4205 Mtrs. Above the sea level in a narrow valley surrounded by mountains from all sides.. Gette village, at a short distance away from Kaza, is the highest in the world with a height of 4270 Mtrs.


Dharamshal is the district headquarter of the Knagra District. It is a hill station lying on the spur of the Dhauladhar range about 18 Kms north east of Kangra town. The station is well wooded with oak and conifer trees and snow capped mountains enfold three sides of the town while the valley stretches in front. It is divided into two distinct parts. Lower Dharamshala has the civic and business area with courts and Kotwali Bazar and Upper Dharamshal composed of places with names which bear witness to its history like McLeod Ganj and Forsythe Ganje. Since 1960, when it became a temporary headquarter of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Dharamshala has risen to International fame as “ The Little Lhasa in India”.


The Kangra valley is one of the most picturesque of the lower Himalaya. The valley, sheltered by the  sublime Dhauladhar range, is green and luxuriant. It provides a tremendous contrast in nature of places to be visited. The history of Kangra valley dates back to Vedic times more than 3500 years ago. The area was exposed to successive invasions, the last being the British domination over the native princes of the hill states. Crafts like weaving of exquisitely designed shawls and the miniature paintings of this region are internationally appreciated.


Chamba is one of the most beautiful districts of Himachal Pradesh. From tourist point of view, it has many attraction for all type of visitors young, old and religious minded. It has hill station like Dalhousie, Kajjiar and Bharmaur, most sacred lake with ancient temple and Chamba Kailesh mountain in Manimahesh. It is home of Gaddi Tribe (shephards) who till this date maintain their age old customs and distinct identity. It is, therefor also know the valley of milk and honey.


Dalhousie as its name indicates, has been named after its founder the Viceroy of India Lord Dalhousie. Situated at 2039 M in the outer slopes of Dhauladhar range with its natural beauty and quit surroundings, is the best holiday resort. At the foot of the main spurs of the Dhauladhat it has been built upon and around five hills namely Balun, Kathlong, Potreyn, Tehra and Bakrota with their heights vary between 1525 M to 2378 M covered with a thick forest of oak, conifers and a large variety of other trees and shrubs.


Shimla is one of the most known and frequently visited hill station of India. It was the summer capital of India during the pre independence era and now is the capital of Himachal Pradesh. A place of tourist attraction, Shimla was born out of the storms and turmoils of the Gorkha wars in the early 19th century, as a result of which the British installed themselves in Shimla in 1891. Shimla still preserves the regal splendour of bygone days and people from all over India and abroad some here to experience a bit of its past, enjoy the beauty of its green slopes covered with firs, oaks, pines and take back with them more than a little of its present. The town is spread over a 12 Kms ridge. Shimla is perhaps one of its biggest hill station of the world at its height of 2205 Mtrs.

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Last Updated April 9, 2003