The legend of Narcissus follows that a beautiful man named Narcissus drowned himself into a sweet lake because his reflection was so beautiful he wanted to be one with it, but the story has a variation wherein the lake turns salty after the boy drowns himself in it.
The lake had cried so much that her waters had turned salty. And when asked why she mourned Narcissus’ loss so deeply, she replied, I weep not for the boy but for the reflection I saw in his eyes, I saw myself and I’m beautiful. With him gone I can no longer enjoy my beauty.
But what lake would’ve been so beautiful that it could completely ignore Narcissus’ beauty and be more captivated by her own beauty.
If the legend is true it must’ve been the lakes of Lahaul and Spiti. Lahaul and Spiti has beautiful and many other mesmerizing places, ranging from historical, religious, scenic and adventurous, Spiti Valley has it all.
Best Places to visit in Spiti Valley are –
Lahaul and Spiti houses beautiful freshwater lakes, all these lakes are surrounded by mighty snow-capped mountains and hold clear blue waters.
The water is untouched, unpolluted, pure enough to dishearten anyone who thinks about littering the surroundings. The surroundings are coloured in an earthy homogeneous pallet. The mountains are high and the snow on them a stark contrast to the colours of the terrain. The sky so blue and the air so fresh, a city wallflower may feel dazed by such untouched natural beauty. One has to trek up to these beautiful lakes.
The lakes are one of the great camping spots that Lahaul and Spiti offer, one can also camp at Kaza in Lahaul and Spiti.
- SURAJ TAL LAKE
This lake is not only a picturesque paradise for the tasteful admirers of nature but also a blissful treat for the divine souls It is a hotspot for trekking and motorcycling enthusiasts.
The almost polar temperatures of the place can be forgotten with the warmth of the beauty of the lake and its surroundings.
This magnificent lake has been entitled as the 21st highest lake across the world and 3rd highest lake in India.
It is also revered as the lake of Sun God, and it is believed that you can cleanse yourself from all the sins by taking a dip in this sacred lake.
- CHANDRATAL LAKE
Lahaul and Spiti is a heaven on Earth with lakes of Moon and the Sun.
Chandratal lake owes its name to its crescent moon-like shape.
Situated at an altitude of 4300 meters, Chandratal Lake offers the most splendid views of Spiti valley.
Chandratal lake attracts pilgrims, nature lovers and adrenaline junkies alike.
The story of the lake says that the God Indra landed in his Chariot at Chandratal Lake to take Yudhishtra, eldest of all the Pandavas, in the mortal state to heaven. Hence, making it a sacred site.
The site of the clear lake water and the beautiful peaks surrounding it is a great feast to the eyes.
The road to Chandratal lake takes you through treacherous trails of Batal which will set your adrenaline pumping.
- DHANKAR LAKE
Lahaul and Spiti is filled with stories of Hindu mythology, Dhankar Lake’s legend has it that Lord Shiva visited and stayed at this lake during his quest for lord Vishnu. Lord Shiva’s companion Nandi drank some water from the lake. As a reward for quenching the thirst of this beloved Nandi, Lord Shiva blessed the lake to be filled with plenty of water
Today, Dhankar Lake is a blissful and breathtaking retreat. It is just the place to rejuvenate your soul and mind — away from the hustle and bustle of city life, this is the place to be.
It is a place where you can sit for hours and just soak in the natural beauty.
Immerse your sight into the landscape of the place, your feet into the clear blue water and your body under the soft sunlight.
ITBP (Indo Tibetan Border Police) personnel found a body that had gotten buried beneath a glacier during an avalanche and remained there for hundreds of years till it during some road clearance project.
This discovery was made in a small hamlet called Giu.
Giu is an untouched little village on the route to Spiti. This is an almost isolated habitation with no other village in view. The body found here is believed to be of an over 500-years-old mummy of a Buddhist monk.
On a small hillock just on the outskirts of the village in a small room, inside a glass cabin, lies the mummy of an old monk. The nails, teeth and hair of the mummy appear as if of a living person. There are many theories about how this monk’s body has remained in this state without decay and without the use of any chemicals for preservation.
Founded in AD 996, and retaining five sub-temples dating back over 900 years, Tabo Gompa is reckoned to be the oldest continuously functioning Buddhist monastery in India.
The temples here are low-rise structures whose uncoloured mud exteriors are faintly reminiscent of ancient Malian mosques. Without artificial light, the half-dark intensifies the mystique of the interiors.
The old gompa’s unquestionable highlight is its Tsuglkang (main assembly hall), it dates back to the monastery’s first foundation, the main assembly hall is entered through a muralled 16th-century Zal-ma foyer.
Other sub-temples in the compound can be entered with the help of a temple assistant. One of the sub-temples has a 3m-high statue of the Maitreya (future Buddha) draped in golden cloth and holding up a reddened palm in a sign of meditation.
The old gompa still has chanting ceremonies at 6 am (one hour) and 4:40 pm (20 minutes). Visitors are not allowed in at these times but can enjoy the sounds from outside the building.
Yes, you read that right, Udaipur. Not the Rajasthani city of lakes, but another Udaipur in a beautiful desert.
The Udaipur in question is a picturesque town, located on the banks of the Chandrabhaga River in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.
Udaipur offers thick forested and green landscapes and an amazing view of the majestic mountains which surround it. It is not only Udaipur’s natural beauty that attracts a lot of tourists but also its unique temples, namely, Trilokinath and Markula Devi temples.
Pilgrims flock to Udaipur in Lahaul and Spiti to pay their respects at the Markula Mata and Trilokinath Temple.
Trilokinath Temple is a Shiva temple, which was transformed into a Buddhist shrine. The temple attracts both the Hindu and the Buddhist pilgrims. One can still see the statue of Nandi Bull of Lord Shiva in the centre of the compound and a drain which was probably built at the time of construction to drain out the water or milk, offered to Shiva.
Key Monastery is generally believed to have come into existence around 1100CE, although many believe the site is even older. Key Monastery sits in a mountain foothill, near the Indo-Tibetan border.
The peaceful Buddhist monks who stay far, far away from violence couldn’t save themselves and their monastery from the invasion of Mongol Barbarians and the destruction caused by the attack eventually created the erratic patchwork of rooms, tight hallways, and hidden courtyards that exist in Key Monastery today.
Key Monastery also has beautiful murals, thankas, rare manuscripts, stucco images and peculiar wind instruments that form part of the orchestra
The monastery was the site for a Kalachakra ceremony which was performed in August 2000 by His Holiness Dalai Lama.
PIN VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Pin Valley National Park is located in the district of Lahaul and Spiti. Pin Valley National Park has remained untouched by the onslaughts of time and the destruction brought on by it. Pin Valley National Park aims to protect and preserve the flora and fauna of Spiti Valley.
Pin Valley National Park is part of this beautiful land and showcases the best of floral species such as Dry Alpine and Dwarf Juniper scrub and faunal species such as Himalayan Marmot, Indian Porcupine and Snow Leopards that these high hills of Himalayas can offer.
The beautiful village of Kibber, which is located in Spiti Valley and at a height of 4205 meters above sea level, holds the distinction of being the highest Motorable village in the World. This scenic village is situated in a cold desert, surrounded by picturesque mountains, barren landscape, and green meadows.