If you want to escape the maddening rush of the cities, one of the best places to head to in India is the Kibber Village in Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Kibber Village is rather unique; it is the highest motor-able village in world. Dotted with charming white coloured houses, the best time to visit here is during summer months.
Comprising of around 80 odd houses, the quaint village is best explored by immersing in slow travel. You get to stay with locals in home-stays by default; there aren’t any hotels or lodges for accommodation. The locals lead a simple and peaceful life, and are enthusiastic about their occupation, which is agriculture. If they don’t work in the fields, the villagers go to Kaza (18km/1 hour) for work.
The landscape of the cold desert region of Kibber resembles those of Ladakh and Tibet. The first thing you must set out to explore in Kibber is the Kye or Key Monastery – the biggest monastery in Spiti Valley. Key Monastery is known for its ancient murals, thangkas (paintings on cotton or silk), rare manuscripts, and wind instruments. It’s an absolute photogrpaher’s delight and makes for a great post-card picture.
Another great attraction is the Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, India’s only wildlife sanctuary in a cold desert. It is home to exotic animals such as the ibex, blue sheep, red fox, Tibetan woolly hare, Himalayan wolf, lynx, pika, Tibetan wild ass and the snow leopard.
Other places to bookmark in Kibber are the Spiti river, Kanamo Peak, Parang La (an ancient trade route where you’ll often see Kibber locals trading horses for yaks with the Ladakhis), Dandmachan Peak (popular among trekkers and mountaineers), and the villages of Tashigang and Gete. The high altitude and pollution free atmosphere of Kibber is the best for sky-gazers; watching the night sky from a camp in Kibber is highly recommended.