Nako – Tabo – Kaza – Journey Far from Maddening Crowd
It takes crossing unadulterated beauty of Himalayas, drives through narrow rickety roads, gorges that do not stop your heart beating and submitting to the spectacular vistas to reach high altitude village in Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh – Nako. The ever changing terrains unfold a mystery at every corner as darkness owns the moment but despite everything, all it takes is one moment to embrace the serenity of the place.
The secluded village of Nako is located along Indo-Tibetian Border. It is a piece of surreal landscape nestled amidst bliss of Himalayas. Parched at top of the mountain, Nako altitude is around 11, 893 ft in Hangrang Valley of Kinnaur District. Continuing my road trip on the forbidden roads towards Spiti Valley, I planned to retire for the night at Nako after camping under the stars in Chitkul the previous night.
This blog is all about experiencing Elysium in the high altitude village of Nako, exploring the 1000-year old Monastery in Tabo and driving through surreal landscapes as it wears its motley appearance stretching to Kaza. 🙂 🙂
Nako – Reaching there, accommodation and exploring the Serenity
Nako is a beautiful village significant for its parched landscape with flashes of greenery appearing amidst the barrenness. The calmness, warmth of people, dreamy breeze and balmy atmosphere play the right chords of sorcery.
How to Reach Nako
The drive time from Chitkul to Nako is around 7 to 8 hours depending on the number of stops you take in between. If you are on road trip to Spiti Valley, it definitely adds to the convenience of taking things at your own pace.
Reaching Nako by Public Transport – The Spiti Valley circuit is sparse in terms of public transportation that makes things difficult. If you are planning a trip using public conveyance, you need to be very careful about timings. You have to break the journey if you are starting from New Delhi.
New Delhi – Shimla – Reckong Peo – Nako is the route you need to follow. The buses ply daily from Reckong Peo to Kaza starting at 6.00am and reach Nako Village at around 12.00 to 1.00 pm.
Accommodation in Nako
Nako is a beautiful village attracting hundreds of tourists almost every month. There is no shortage of accommodation in Nako. If you want to enjoy the sight of wood carvings and stay at a cosy room, Reo Purgyal Hotel offers rooms at Rs 2500/-. If you are looking for something cheap and in the budget, opt for Galaxy Guest House at Rs 500/- per room. The view from the balcony is spectacular if you opt for Galaxy Guest House.
Exploring Nako Village
The village itself is extremely beautiful and scenic. Waking up to the view of mountains cannot be bartered for anything else. The fresh morning hues and magic in the air is extremely generous to our racing hearts and restless soul. Here, take a step, explore the little treasures of Nako Village.
The Monastery dates back to 11th century or 1025 AD and displays iconic artwork and exquisite designs. The walls and roof of the monastery is decorated with Mandalas. The Monastery is an epitome of serenity located overlooking the towering mountains. It is recommended to sit for a while and enjoy the solitary moment, it is divine.
It is a high altitude natural lake which is one of the major attractions of the village. The road to the lake passes through a small village with small lanes and stone houses. It is nearly 5 to 10 minutes walking distance from Nako Monastery. The lake is surrounded by trees that give an emerald green reflection.
If you are on a road trip, you have the privilege to stop anywhere and visit anything you want. Nako is located on the border of Kinnaur and Spiti. On moving towards Spiti Valley, Sumdo is the check point before entering Lahaul & Spiti district. If you want to visit Gue Mummy Monastery that holds mummified remains of a monk, keep a close eye post the check point on right. You will find an entrance gate towards an uphill road which is the route to Gue Mummy. It is around 6 km from Sumdo Check post.
Tabo – Reaching there, accommodation and exploring the place
As part of our road trip to Spiti Valley, after exploring Nako we headed off to Tabo that falls en route Kaza. It takes around 3 to 4 hours by road to Tabo depending on the number of times you stop on the way to Tabo. There are regular buses that ply from Nako to Tabo which finally leaves for Kaza.
Accommodation is not a problem as the village is slightly developed and organised with a number of guest houses and affordable homestays. We did not stop in Tabo but made it straight to Kaza.
It is around 1000-year-old Monastery and the speciality is its exquisite construction. It is famous for its Mud Monastery that has been erected over 1000 years ago and sought to be one of the oldest. The monastery has nine temples, four decorated stupas and cave shrines. The inside of the Monastery has become rickety. It houses a collection of wall murals, paintings and preserved artefacts. It stands strong with 1000 years of existence making it special.
We did not have much time to visit the Tabo Caves but if you are intending to stay back or have time, do not leave without visiting the caves of Tabo.
Kaza – Reaching there, accommodation and exploring Kaza
Kaza is the transit point for beautiful places in and around and was my 4th stop during my Spiti Valley road trip. Being the sub-divisional headquarter of Lahaul & Spiti, it is where you need to reach to explore nearby villages. The beauty of Kaza is ephemeral and far from accustomed rituals of conventional. The barren mountain surrounds the valley in its magical charm. The signature styled houses punctuated with green and yellow hues of cultivation makes the landscape a distinct deviation from regular. The journey from Tabo to Kaza is extremely scenic with glimpses of yellow valleys, green grasses laid a carpet, serpentine roads, mud pillars and landscapes that change within seconds.
How to Reach Kaza
Kaza being the transit point to Manali, Chandratal, Shimla, Reckong Peo etc. is something that every traveller needs to touch. It took us around 6 to 7 hours to reach Kaza from Nako with halt of one and half hour in Tabo. If you have your own vehicle, you definitely have less reason to rush making it a comfortable and peaceful journey.
Reaching Kaza by Public Transport – The public transportation option to Kaza is limited but you get regular buses plying on the route. The distance between Nako and Kaza is around 115 km and Tabo and Kaza is around 60 km.
Delhi – Shimla – Reckong Peo – Nako – Tabo – Kaza
This is how the route goes when you are using public transportation. Regular night buses ply between Delhi and Shimla. On reaching Shimla early morning, take the morning bus to Reckong Peo and retire for the night. The buses ply daily from Reckong Peo early morning to Kaza en route Nako and Tabo. You can directly leave for Kaza or break your journey into two legs. Nako Village is beautiful and highly recommended.
Kaza is the major town in Lahaul & Spiti has the number of accommodation options. Depending on what you prefer, you can choose the budget.
Osel Rooms – It is run by Spiti Ecosphere, an NGO responsible for developing Spiti. The rooms are pretty decent and range from Rs 1100 to 1500 per night.
Wanderer’s Den and Zostel are also a good option in Kaza. The price of accommodation in old Kaza is slightly higher. If you are looking for cheaper accommodation away from the hustle of the town, opt for New Kaza. There are some pretty decent guest houses located near Kaza Petrol Pump.
There is not much to explore in Kaza as it is only a transit point. It is the connecting point between different places in and around Spiti Valley. Specifically, in Kaza, there is not much apart from some cool cafes in Old Kaza. You can visit SOL Cafe which is considered one of the best in Kaza.
I love exploring a place on foot as much as I can because it brings to close to hidden offbeat gems. I went on a walking exploration in Kaza as well. Right behind Osel Rooms, there is a road that connects Old to New Kaza through a bridge. Exercise your leg and explore the surrounding on foot. The road behind Osel Rooms opens one to a spectacular view of the mountains. The landscape is mesmerising with gorgeous yellow flowers spread amidst the green grass and it is show stealer with the barren mountain backdrop.
Then, we have the Kaza Monastery that you can walk up to. It is located in New Kaza and away from the hustle of the town. Kaza as a town does not have much to offer but it is the neighbouring villages that make Spiti Valley so beautiful, unique and a never ending affair amongst travellers. In the next blog, I will write about all the place in and around Kaza that are must visit.