Cliffhanger (Himachal Pradesh)
The Dhankar village and Gompa located in the Spiti valley between Kaza and Tabo is also known as Cliffhanger. For some people the Cliffhanger is the most beautiful village in India. This calm and peaceful destination is one of the must go destination of every traveller. As the traditional capital of Spiti in the 17th century Cliffhanger has maintained its majesty. The winters can be extremely harsh but the view is spectacular. This biker’s paradise is known to give you the extreme adrenaline rush and the mountain and river will leave you spell bound.
Climate: It is extremely cold in this place situated at high altitude, so carry warm winter clothes. September - October is the best time to visit.
By Air- nearest Bhuntar Airport (Kullu)
By Rail- Jogindernagar, Shimla & Chandigarh
By Road– You can travel to Dhankar from Delhi by travelling to Kaza via the Delhi-Shimla-Reckong Peo-Kaza route. Though open throughout the year, from Reckong Peo onwards, it is subject to weather and the road condition. You can cover this 755 km distance by your own car or take a bus. From Kaza, you have to travel to Schchling village, 24 km away. From here, there is a small motorable road to Dhankar which is 8 km away. Only small vehicles can go on this road, so if you have used public transport to reach Schchling, you have to hire a taxi or trek this 8 km route.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Location: Lahaul Spiti District
Spiti valley is situated in between Tibet and India. It attracts many adventurous motorcyclists as its harsh terrain is a challenge which they want to conquer in their lifetime. The place is full of scenic beauty with small mud brick homes clustered among the green fields over shadowed by the monasteries located on crags almost thousands of feet above. The Spiti River with its turquoise grey water travels along the valley before it turns into the steep gorges of Hangrang valley. Many travellers visit Spiti for its spiritual support in their journey of soul-searching. This extremely beautiful and calm place is one of the most dangerous places to drive.
Location: Above the monastery of Dhankar in Spiti.
Dhankar lake is located in Dhankar Village which is not yet popular among the tourists. It is nearly a one hour trek from the village. Its clear water welcomes you and breaches the silence of the journey when you hear its sound. This is a nice spot for picnic and camping. Hiking is tough on these trails and lack of oxygen also makes it hard to do anything, so every precaution should be made and one should come prepared for these types of obstacles. The view from the lake is mesmerizing and you can see the snow that covers the mountains far away. You can also see the Manirang Peak from here which is the highest peak of Himachal Pradesh.
Location: Dankar Village.
Located at an elevation of 3894 meters, this ancient Buddhist holy place will fill your soul with calmness and ultimate peace. Built on high mountainside, it overlooks the confluence of Pin and Spiti Rivers. Nearly thousand years old, it has a unique architecture and design with a statue of Dhyan Buddha or Vairochana, that has four figures of Buddha seated back to back. There is also a collection of thankas that are nearly centuries old. Although global warming, harsh terrain and air pollution has damaged this monastery over time, it still retains most of its charm and it is incredible how a structure made of ordinary material has withstood the test of time.
Location: Near Kunzum Pass, India
Chandar taal or the lake of the moon is a beautiful lake located at Samudra Tapu plateau in Spiti. Fed by the Chandra Glacier, the lake has deep blue water and looks amazing surrounded by arid mountain ranges. It is sacred to the Hindus and is accessible only from May-October after which it freezes like the rest of the surroundings. It attracts trekking enthusiasts and nature lovers from all over India with its mesmerizing beauty and tranquillity. This is a very nice site for camping and picnic, although extremely hard weather makes it difficult for many people who are not physically and mentally tough. It is becoming a famous site for photography because of the jaw dropping view it presents.
Location: Spiti valley
This 1000 year old monastery is one of the largest in the Spiti valley located at a height of 4166 meters above sea level. Sitting atop a picturesque hilltop, it is home to more than 300 Lamas who receive their religious training in this 11 the century monastery. This Buddhist holy prayer temple is a must visit for the travellers and it welcomes the visitors with open hearts offering food, shelter and love. The cold wind, beautiful scenery and traditional monk style food with herbal tea will refresh you from inside.