The largest township in Lahaul Valley and Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Kaza boasts of high mountains with snowy crowns, crystal clear rivers, streams and barren splendor interspersed with patches of green. Kaza is known for its colorful festivals and the Sakya Tangyud Monastery.
Rudyard Kipling described the Lahaul and Spiti region as ‘a world within a world’. And situated about 11,980 feet above sea level, it really is just that. Strung along the Spiti River, Kaza and the Spiti Valley have strong geographical and cultural similarities with Tibet and Ladakh. Kaza is the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti Valley, making it an important administrative and commercial center.
Most hotels, market, main bus depot, hospitals and government offices are located here. Kaza can be divided into two sections, Kaza Soma is the new town while the older one is Kaza Khas. The government offices are located in Kaza Soma while Kaza Khas has the king’s palace, monasteries, gompas and other historical buildings.
Its mountainous terrain and pristine locales attract visitors who want to indulge in adventurous activities and spiritual well being alike. It is the base camp for trekking, mountaineering and other adventures. Pin-Parvati, Parang-La and Pin-Bhaba are some of the popular trails which start from Kaza. A gentle stroll to villages around Kaza can also be an interesting experience.
Monasteries and gompas are the repositories of the ancient culture and tradition of Kaza. Tabo Monastery, one of the oldest Buddhism centers in the western Himalaya, is located here. Murals of Tabo Monastery are quite similar to Ajanta paintings. It is also the best place to watch Lama dance and get insights into Tibetan Buddhism.
Kaza can be accessed from Kinnaur Valley and Lahaul Valley. Though the Kinnaur Valley route remains open throughout the year, the Lahaul Valley route remains open only during summers as the Kunzam Pass closes during winters. Winters in Kaza are severe with the temperature plunging to sub-zero levels. Locals remain within the confines of their households and venture out only if absolutely necessary. The locals stock food supplies to last the winter and utilize their time to produce handcrafts.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN KAZA
It is not difficult to find mid-range and budget accommodations in Kaza. Some are located near the river. PWD guest houses run by the Himchal Pradesh government are you other options but prior booking is must.
Homestays are recommended if you want to explore other cultures to the fullest.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN KAZA
Eating options are limited. Indian and Tibetan cuisines are available in and around Kaza and serve vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Kaza is as given below. The best time to visit Kaza is also specified.