After spending some time at Kunzum top we reached at Lossar, which is the first inhabited village on the Spiti. Sight of Lossar to a trekker coming down from Kunzom brings instant relief. There is a small gompa in the village. I heard that Ibex, blue sheep, etc. can be seen in the higher reaches around the village, though we did not see any. Most important input that we got is snow leopard sighting is not un-common in this area.
In evening we reached at Kaza, sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti. After getting a decent arrangement in a home stay I went for a walk in the town. This town is center of tourist activities in this valley as they converge here for permits, currency exchange, information, accommodation, and fuel etc. In night at the time of dinner I got to meet a lot of travelers from different countries in small restaurant managed by the owner, whose choice of music was great. After dinner a friendly heat of argument and discussions on a wide range of topics continued till late night.
Kibber village & Key Monastery
Next day early morning after breakfast we hired a cab for Kibber which is located at a height of about 14,200 ft. and is about 18 km from Kaza. Used to known as highest motor-able village in the world, now tag is with another nearby village Komik. There are only 80-90 houses in Kibber. The remarkable feature about the architecture is the use of stone instead of mud or adobe brick used extensively in the valley. Almost all the houses in this village have same architecture, and outlook. They look like replica of each other. We kept on walking in village streets for a long; people are talkative and greet you with Julley (means greeting in Tibetan language). There is a civil dispensary, a school and a post office in this village. The Spitians use a traditional trade route from Kibber to Ladakh through Parang La; and go there to barter their horses for yaks or to sell for cash. The treks to Ladakh take minimum 3 night halts and require permission. While on the way back we went to Key Monastery, overlooking Kaza from a height of about 13,500ft, the Kye monastery is the largest in the valley and holds a powerful sway over the most populous part of the valley around Kaza. The monastery is an irregular heap of low rooms and narrow corridors. The irregular prayer chambers are interconnected by dark passages, staircases and small doors. Hundreds of lamas receive their religious training in the monastery. It is also known for its beautiful murals, rare manuscripts, and stucco images. Thousands of devotees from all over the world attended the Kalachakra ceremony which was performed in August, 2000 by His Holiness Dalai Lama. It is not just an elaborate puja or a religious congregation. It is a workshop in a grand scale to make an earnest effort by both the teacher and disciples to awaken their Buddha nature by the combined forces of teaching, prayer, blessing, devotion, mantra, yoga and meditation. It is an effort by every participant to try to discover the true and permanent peace for the sake of all others. Buddhists believe mere presence during this elaborate initiation ceremony stretching over a few days liberates the participant from suffering and bestows on him the bliss of Enlightenment. The gompa is only 12 km by road from Kaza.