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Full Spiti Circuit and Spiti Valley Road Map by Lekhak Pravin

Full Spiti Circuit (8N/9D Package) – Best Spiti Tour Itinerary with Spiti Circuit Road Map and Details

Spiti Valley- Heart Of The Spiti Circuit

Spiti is located in the north-eastern part of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is a high-altitude region of the Himalayas famous for its terrain and cold features. The environment here is that of a cold desert. Spiti and the area around it comes among one of the least populated regions of India

In Bhoti language, one of the regional languages of Himachal, Spiti is pronounced as Piti. The term “Spiti” means “the middle land”, and here, ‘middle’ refers to the land between Tibet and India. Spiti is situated in the valley of the Spiti River, and other rivers that empty into the Spiti River. 

Spiti Valley - Spiti Circuit Tour
Spiti Valley – Spiti Circuit Tour

Spiti is located around a few side-valleys. The Pin valley and the Lingti valley are a few of the side valleys near Spiti. On the East, Spiti is surrounded by Tibet. Ladakh is on the Northern side of Spiti. Lahaul covers the Western and the South Western part of Spiti. On the South, Spiti is surrounded by Kullu, and by Kinnaur on the South-East. 

Spiti is a remote area which is situated next to the border between India and Tibet. The Spiti Valley is well known for its few, yet kind and humble people, lots and lots of monasteries, and views of the tall mountains of the Himalayan Ranges. The people of Spiti are really nice, warm and welcoming.

People in Spiti speak the Bhoti language and follow Tibetan Buddhism.

What is the Spiti Circuit?

Spiti Circuit is the name given to the entire circuit of places to be visited on a road trip through the beautiful, cold roads of Shimla and Kinnaur into the Spiti Valley. The complete circuit includes some beautiful locations and passes that I am going to talk about further in this blog. 

lahaul spiti, leh, ladakh

There are two routes to complete the circuit that starts and ends at Chandigarh. The two said routes are different, but both the routes guarantee you an equal amount of fun and thrill. My personal choice here would be the second one via tha Atal Tunnel. The routes are:

1) Beginning from Chandigarh and continuing through Kinnaur to reach Manali

Chandigarh-Shimla-Narkanda-Rampur-Kinnaur-Nako-Tabo-Kaza-Kunzum Pass-Manali

2) Beginning from Chandigarh and continuing via Atal Tunnel to reach Kaza

Chandigarh-Manali-Atal Tunnel-Kunzum Pass-Kaza-Tabo-Nako-Kinnaur-Shimla

Spiti is known for its monasteries and large, open landscapes situated amidst the Greater Himalayas. Spiti has such amazing terrain, but it is entirely different from Lahaul which is another place best known and widely traveled in the Northern Circuit.

Know More About The Spiti Circuit

The Spiti Circuit Tour begins from Delhi or Chandigarh. It takes you through the beautiful Shivalik hills (the Lesser Himalayas) near Shimla, and the steep valleys of the Greater Himalayas and the Trans-Himalayan ranges.

Before you get to Kaza, which is the main town of Lahaul and Spiti district, the road through the Spiti Valley Circuit shows you lots of different landscapes and beautiful views of the mighty Himalayan Ranges.

Spiti Valley Capture by Daniel Burka
A Shepherd In Spiti Valley Captured by Daniel Burka

The Spiti Valley Circuit, which is about 1,100 kilometers long, has landscapes that look like they’re from another planet. These landscapes are very different from the rest of the nearby Himalayan mountains.

The road trip through Kinnaur, Spiti, and Kullu valleys now has a new tunnel called the Atal Tunnel. This tunnel makes it easier to travel between Manali and Kaza because it’s open all year and in all weather. Before the Atal Tunnel was built, the journey used to take 10-12 hours, but now it takes only 6-7 hours which saves travelers a lot of time.

Atal Tunnel In Rohtang
Atal Tunnel – Aditya Chache

The Spiti river is vital for the people living in the region as it provides water for drinking and agriculture. The river cuts the region into two parts. The Spiti river originates from the Kunzum Ranges and drains the region before its confluence with the Sutlej River at Khab.

This itinerary has been designed by me to make your trip to Spiti Valley an unforgettable one. The itinerary is based on a 8 Nights and 9 Days package of the entire circuit which will enable you to experience the circuit in the best possible manner. From tasting the delicious Spitian dishes, to exploring the local culture, my itinerary of the Spiti Circuit has got it all covered for you.

Important Note & Road Closure Announcements For Spiti Circuit: 

The road connecting Kaza and Manali remains closed until mid-June at Kunzum Pass due to heavy snow. Hence, Spiti Circuit is doable only during the months of late June, July and September.

If you’re planning a Spiti Circuit tour from April to early June, you can travel to Spiti through Shimla using National Highway 5 (NH05). You’ll pass through Shimla, Narkanda, Kinnaur, Kaza, and then move back through Kinnaur and Narkanda to Shimla.

Mountain Roads Closed

On the contrary, if you’re planning a Spiti Circuit tour in August and October, you can do a Spiti tour via Manali through the Atal Tunnel and go to Manali through Chandratal Lake and Kaza. (Manali – Atal Tunnel – Chandratal Lake – Kaza – Manali).

Spiti Circuit Map

Here, below, I have attached the entire map of the Spiti Circuit. Explore the entire Spiti Circuit Map and decide your perfect trip.

Map of The Spiti Circuit, The Complete Spiti Circuit Map by Lekhak Pravin
Spiti Circuit Map by Lekhak Pravin

Two Important Spiti Circuit Routes

There are two main ways to travel through the Spiti Valley Circuit from Delhi or Chandigarh. The two ways are:

1. Traveling Spiti Circuit Through Shimla

You’ll pass through places like Narkanda, Rampur Bushahr, and Nako before reaching Kaza.

Exploring The Spiti Circuit Route via Shimla

If you’re planning your Spiti Circuit tour from Shimla, there are two ways to enter into the Spiti Valley:

Route 1 – Via Mashobra, Naldehra, Suni and Luhri

The first route begins from Shimla and goes through Mashobra, Naldehra, Suni and Luhri to enter Rampur. The route is: Shimla – Mashobra – Naldehra – Suni – Luhri – Rampur Bushahr – Powari – Nako – Tabo – Kaza. This particular route is on the State Highway 13 and NH5.

Here’s a link to my custom Google Map, particularly made for this circuit tour using the route from Shimla:

Map Route 1: Spiti Circuit Map from Shimla To Kaza
Spiti Circuit Map From Shimla to Kaza (Route 1)
Route 2 – Via Narkanda

The other route is a shorter one and avoids Mashobra, Naldehra, Suni and Luhri and goes directly to Rampur Bushahr through Narkanda. The route looks like this: Shimla – Narkanda – Rampur Bushahr – Powari – Nako – Tabo – Kaza. This particular route is entirely on the National Highway 5 (NH5).

Below embedded in the image, is the Google Map link to the entire Route from Shimla to Gaza. You can use this as a reference for your trip as well.

Spiti Circuit Map From Shimla to Kaza (Route 2)
Spiti Circuit Map From Shimla to Kaza (Route 2)

2. Traveling Spiti Circuit Through Manali

If you choose the route of traveling the Spiti Circuit through Manali, you’ll go through the Atal Tunnel, then places like Grampu, Batal, and Kunzum Pass before reaching Kaza. Because the route has Atal Tunnel in it, it makes the journey easy and also accommodable in all seasons. However, to experience the best, I suggest the above routes.

Manali to Kaza Map
Road Map of Traveling Spiti Valley Circuit through Manali

Travel to Spiti from Shimla Side – Here’s Why!

When you’re planning to visit Spiti Valley, there are two main routes you can take: starting from Shimla and ending in Manali, or the other way around. Many people suggest going from Shimla because the sights along the way are arranged nicely, keeping you interested until you reach Manali which is a popular tourist spot.

Starting from Shimla also helps with adjusting to the high altitude and acclimatizing. As you travel through Shimla, Kinnaur, and into Spiti, you’ll slowly climb higher, which can help avoid feeling dizzy or breathless due to the thin air in Spiti Valley. To know more about how to avoid mountain sickness, you can refer to one of my previous blog.

shimla, himachal, india-555897.jpg

On the Shimla-Kinnaur-Kaza route, the elevation rises as you go from Shimla (at 2276 meters) to places like Narkanda (2700 meters), Kalpa (2960 meters), and finally Kaza (3800 meters). If you take the Manali-Kaza route, the altitude rises sharply. You start from around 2000 meters in Manali and quickly climb to about 4550 meters at Kunzum Pass in just 4-5 hours.

So, starting from Shimla and ascending can be easier on your body and make the journey more comfortable, especially for those not used to high altitudes. This is why I suggest taking the route from Shimla.

Spiti Circuit Tour Highlight

1. When on the Spiti Circuit Tour, you will get to drive upon one of the most dangerous roads in the world across Kinnaur and Spiti. The roads have great views of the high Himalayan Mountains and the valleys of Kinnaur and Spiti and are very scary to ride on.

2. At Chandratal (Chandra Tal), you can look at the sky and gaze at the stars on the night sky. You can camp in open spaces there in Chandra Taal and get some amazing pictures clicked there. Chandra Tal is famous for its camping, photography and stargazing experience.

Chandratal Image
Chandratal Image

3. In Tabo, you can find monasteries that are age old. You have got to visit the Tabo Monastery which is a 1000 year old. It is also called Ajanta of the Himalayas. Throughout the journey on the Spiti Circuit, you will be able to visit a lot of centuries-old Buddhist monasteries.

4. Do not forget to visit the Gue Monastery where Sangha Tenzin’s mummy is still preserved. Sangha Tenzin was a very renowned Buddhist monk. The mummy is still preserved there and is often called the “Mummy Of The Monk.

Sangha Tenzin Image at Gue Monastery Mummy Of The Monk
Mummy of The Monk – Sangha Tenzin

5. You’ll get to visit Komik. Komik has the title of being the world’s highest village. Yes, Komik is the world’s highest village and you cannot miss visiting it. Height (or altitude) of the village (Komik) is 4,587m above sea level.

World's Highest Village - Komic Village
Komic Village

6. If you thought you were done with the highest places, well you have got one more. Visit Hikkim when on your Spiti Circuit Tour. Hikkim is the world’s highest post office. Height of Hikkim Post Office is 4400 m above sea level. Do not forget to write a letter to yourself from Hikkim. Send a postcard to your loved ones.

Worlds Highest Post Office in Hikkim
Hikkim Post Office (World’s Highest P.O.)

7. Visit Khab. On your Spiti Circuit tour, you should visit Khab which is the confluence of Sutlej and Spiti River and I have to tell you that place will mesmerize you with its amazing views.

8. You can also take the route through Rohtang using the Atal Rohtang Tunnel. The Atal Tunnel is the longest tunnel in the world. The length of Atal tunnel is around 9 kilometers and it is situated at an height of 10,000 feet from sea-level.

Atal Tunnel in Rohtang
Atal Tunnel

9. Your entire Spiti Circuit Tour takes a minimum of 9 Days to experience it in the best possible manner.
Total Duration of Spiti Circuit Tour: 8 Nights/9 Days

Brief Spiti Circuit Tour Itinerary

Day 1:

The first day of Spiti Circuit Tour begins from Delhi. The route we will follow for our first day is Delhi to Kotgarh via Shimla/Narkanda. Total distance that you will cover on your first day is around 420 km. It will be a total of 9 hrs. drive.

Delhi To Kotgarh Road Map
Google Map from Delhi to Kotgarh Day 1 of Spiti Circuit Tour

Day 2:

On the second day, you have to travel from Kotgarh to Sangla. You are traveling through the Spiti Circuit on the second day for about 140 km and it will be a 5 hrs. drive

Day 2 Kotgarh to Sangla
Google Map from Kotgarh to Sangla Day 2 of Spiti Circuit Tour

Day 3:

The third day begins at Sangla. On the third day of the tour you will travel from Sangla to Chitkul and then to Kalpa. Your Journey for the third day will finally end at Kalpa. The total drive distance for the third day of Spiti Circuit tour is around 90 km and it is a 4 hrs. drive.

Day-3-Sangla-to-Chitkul-to-Kalpa
Google Map from Sangla to Chitkul to Kalpa Day 3 of Spiti Circuit Tour

Day 4:

Kalpa To Tabo (160 Km, 6 hrs journey including visiting the Tabo monastery). On the fourth day of your Spiti Circuit Tour, you’re going to drive for a distance of 150 km which would easily take you around 6 hours. Today, you’ll go from Kalpa to Tabo and stay in Tabo for the night.

Kalpa to Tabo road in Spiti Circuit
Google Map from Kalpa to Tabo Day 4 of Spiti Circuit Tour

Day 5:

The fifth day of the drive begins from Tabo. Today you go from Tabo to Kaza via the Dhankar Monastery. The total journey is of 60km and the total drive time is around 3 hours. More than the roads, you will explore the culture today.

Google Map from Tabo to Kaza via the Dhankar Monastery - Day 5 of Spiti Circuit Tour
Google Map from Tabo to Kaza via the Dhankar MonasteryDay 5 of Spiti Circuit Tour

Day 6:

The sixth day is a hectic one. Today you will be exploring a lot of places. The journey will begin in the morning from Kaza and it will end back at Kaza. The drive is of 120 km and is in total a 4 -5 hrs drive. The route for the drive begins at Kaza and then you go to Langza.

After having explored Langza, you go to Hikkim and then to Komic and then you visit the Key Monastery. From there you go to Kibber and then to Gete after which you return to Kaza. After the long journey, take rest at Kaza.

Kaza Tour Road Map explored Langza, you go to Hikkim and then to Komic and then you visit the Key Monastery. From there you go to Kibber and then to Gete after which you return to Kaza.
Google Map for Places Near KazaDay 6 of Spiti Circuit Tour

Day 7:

The seventh day’s drive begins from Kaza and ends at Chandra Taal Lake. The journey has to be made via the Kunzum Pass. The total journey is about 100 km and takes around 4 hours. Don’t forget to sit by the Chandratal Lake (Chandra Taal Lake) for a while and let your thoughts flow.

Google Map from Kaza to Chandra Taal - Day 7 of Spiti Circuit Tour
Google Map from Kaza to Chandra Taal Day 7 of Spiti Circuit Tour

Day 8:

The eighth day of your Sikkim Circuit Tour will take you from Chandra Taal to Manali via the Atal Tunnel. The total distance travelled on the eight day of the Circuit Tour will be around 60 km and will take around 4 hrs for the entire drive to get over.

Day 8 Chandra Taal to Manali via Atal Tunnel
Google Map from Chandra Taal to Manali via the Atal Tunnel Day 8 of Spiti Circuit Tour

Day 9:

The ninth day which is the last day of your trip starts from Manali and ends at Chandigarh. It is the final day of your Spiti Circuit Tour and you’ll return back to Chandigarh from Shimla and eventually go to Delhi if you want. The total drive is of 290 km, and it is a 7 hrs. drive.

Manali To Chandigarh Map and Route
Google Map from Manali to Chandigarh Day 9 of Spiti Circuit Tour

For in-depth (detailed) itinerary of the Spiti Valley Tour, or the Spiti Circuit, you can refer to my other blog in the Spiti Series: Full Spiti Circuit Itinerary- Best 8N, 9D Spiti Tour Package

Why Spiti Valley Circuit Tour?

Spiti Circuit has got one of the most amazing views of the Himalayan Valleys and Mountain Ranges. People who want to explore the culture of Lamas and the local Buddhists along with some pretty great lakes, should be doing the Spiti Valley Circuit. It offers a lot to the travelers and you will not regret coming here on the tour.

Best Time To Do Spiti Circuit Tour

If you want to explore the Spiti Valley Circuit, the best time to do it is from late June to September. During this time, the Kunzum Pass, which is a key route, is open for travel because the snow has been cleared by the Border Road Organisation (BRO).

The best time to do a Spiti Circuit Tour or Spiti Valley trip is from late June to September. I prefer July to be the perfect month to visit the place.

Kunzum Pass is closed due to heavy snowfall before mid-June and after September. In the lower and middle Himalayan ranges, there’s a lot of rain during the monsoon season, which can make the roads dangerous due to landslides and bad conditions caused by snow and rain.

Spiti Valley Weather For Spiti Circuit Tour

During the Spiti Circuit season, the weather in Spiti Valley is nice. On sunny days, the temperature can reach as high as 25-30°C during the day. However, at night, it can get quite chilly, with temperatures dropping to around 3-5°C on average.

FAQs About Spiti Circuit Tour

Q: What is Spiti Circuit?

The Spiti Circuit is a collective tour compilation of places near Spiti and Lahaul. It is a really cool trip from Chandigarh. You drive through nice places like Shimla and Kinnaur until you reach Spiti Valley. You can start and finish your trip in Chandigarh using these two ways:

1) Chandigarh-Shimla-Narkanda-Rampur-Kinnaur-Nako-Tabo-Kaza-Kunzum Pass-Manali
2) Chandigarh-Manali-Atal Tunnel-Kunzum Pass-Kaza-Tabo-Nako-Kinnaur-Shimla

Q: What is the best time for Spiti Valley Circuit Tour?

The ideal time to visit the Spiti Valley circuit is from late June to September. The route through Spiti Valley opens after the Border Road Organisation clears snow at Kunzum Pass in May. Kunzum Pass, standing at 14,931 feet, links Manali and Lahaul with Spiti Valley.

Sometimes, the clearing of snow at Kunzum Pass gets delayed due to long winters. As a result, the pass stays closed for vehicles until mid-June.

Q: When does the Spiti Circuit route open?

The Spiti Valley Circuit Route opens in late June. Though the route to Spiti Valley from Shimla remains open throughout the year, the Manali-Spiti-Manali route gets closed in October, November and stays so until mid-June as the road through the Kunzum Pass gets buried in deep snow during winter months.

Q: What is the weather in Spiti Valley during summers?

A: The weather remains pleasant in Spiti Valley in the summers. The summer arrives late (in June) – in Spiti Valley and winters arrive early. The average day temperature during summers hovers at around 15 degrees Celsius and the nights are cold (minimum temperature drops to 2-3 degrees Celsius).

The only mantra to enjoy this trip is to be well equipped. It’s perfectly fine to fill your bag with an extra pair of woolen socks, cap, and fleece.

Q: How to prepare for the Spiti Valley Circuit Trip?

A: If you’re from a low place and going to Spiti Valley up high, spend a day or two in Shimla or Manali first. It helps your body get used to the high place. It’s extra important if you’re not used to it. But if you feel good and healthy, you might be fine without it.

To protect your skin from the harsh sunshine of the Spiti, carry an SPF 40+ sunscreen lotion, lip balm, and good quality UV protection sunglasses. For added protection, carry a scarf or bandana. The scarf/muffler will also save you from the piercing winds of Spiti Valley.

Q: How to reach Spiti Valley from Delhi?

A: In order to reach Spiti Valley from Delhi, you should take National Highway 44 (NH 44) and Ambala-Chandigarh Express Highway to reach Chandigarh. From Chandigarh, there are two routes to choose from:

1) Chandigarh-Shimla-Narkanda-Rampur-Kinnaur-Nako-Tabo-Kaza-Kunzum Pass-Manali
2) Chandigarh-Manali-Atal Tunnel-Kunzum Pass-Kaza-Tabo-Nako-Kinnaur-Shimla

Q: How to reach Spiti Valley from Manali ?

A: The shortest way from Spiti to Manali is through Atal Tunnel. First, you drive from Spiti to Manali through the tunnel, which is about 9 kilometers long. Then, you head towards Palchan, passing through Solang Valley. After that, you continue on the road to reach Sissu in Lahaul Valley.

Once you’re out of the tunnel, you stay on the Manali-Leh highway. After driving about 6 kilometers past Koksar bridge, you turn right. Then, you drive on NH 505 for around 4 hours until you reach Kaza, the main town in Spiti Valley.

Q: How to reach Spiti Valley from Shimla?

A: In order to reach Kaza from Shimla, you’ll need to take a route that goes through places like Narkanda, Rampur Bushahr, and Tapri. This route follows National Highway 5 (NH 05) until you reach Khab. Then, you switch to NH 505 and continue through places like Nako, Tabo, and Kaza. It’s about 420 kilometers from Shimla to Kaza, and it usually takes around 12 hours to drive there.

The journey from Shimla to Kaza covers a distance of 420 kilometers and typically takes about 12 hours. You’ll travel through towns like Narkanda, Rampur Bushahr, and Tapri on National Highway 05 (NH 05), then switch to NH 505 passing through places like Khab, Nako, Tabo, before reaching Kaza.

Q: What are the major attractions of Spiti Valley Circuit?

A: When you’re traveling the Spiti circuit, there’s many cool places to see. You’ll come across Narkanda, Kotgarh known for its apples, and Sangla Valley. Then, there’s Chitkul, which is the last village you can drive to near the Indo-Tibetan border.

You’ll also find interesting spots like Kalpa in Kinnaur Valley, Nako Lake, Tabo Monastery, Pin Valley, Dhankar Monastery, Ki Monastery, and some remote villages like Kibber, Langza, Hikkim, Komic, and Gette. Don’t forget about Kunzum Pass, Chandra Taal Lake, and the Atal Tunnel. These are the major attractions of the Spiti Valley before reaching Manali, where your journey concludes.

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