Tucked away in the Trans-Himalayan belt of Himachal Pradesh, Spiti Valley calls for endless stargazing adventures.
I clearly remember the night I spent in Komic, the world’s highest village at road’s end — perched 4,587 metres above sea level in the Spiti Valley. I lay curled up in a battered bed, under a pile of thick blankets, trying my best to keep safe from the nail-biting cold. My tiny room at the only guesthouse in the village was devoid of any luxuries but was surprisingly cosy and somewhat dainty.
Outside, complete silence lingered in the air with only occasional whooshes of fierce, icy wind. Sub-zero temperatures made it seem impossible for me to step out, so I did the second best thing: I opened the dusty window next to my bed.
And there it was — the night sky illuminated with millions of twinkling stars that this endless, desolate moonscape is popular for. Spiti Valley, with its crystal clear views of the starry night sky, has long been a favourite spot for stargazers.
Mammoth mountains guarding rugged terrains, the turquoise-grey ribbon of the River Spiti, white-washed monasteries that hark back to Tibetan mores, and little villages scattered throughout the serrated valley make the stargazing in Spiti Valley all the more enchanting, especially from up top and with your significant other around. Other than the Komic village, Kibber, Tabo, Dhankar, and Losar are ideal locations, where one can truly witness the ineffable vastness of the cosmos that we share with the stars. Rediscover yourself and the love you both share as you gaze at the star-lit sky for hours.
Since I travelled without my partner, I also remember spending most of that night, just gawking at the same vastness, as millions of stars, still and shooting, kept me company. This was five years ago. Today, there are a number of hosts, hospitality groups, and trip organisers that offer the stargazing experience in Spiti Valley. Pitch your own tent or, like me, try out a traditional homestay at some of the highest villages in the valley. Plan your trip with Spiti Ecosphere to sleep under the stars on rooftops, or grab front-row seats to the Milky Way from the large windows at your room in a homestay.
Other than stargazing sessions, you two can spend your days in this cold desert region, driving through rugged terrains and exploring unique Trans-Himalayan experiences, including camping at the crescent-shaped Chandratal lake, making pitstops at Kunzum Pass and Key Monastery, river rafting in the Spiti and Pin rivers, visiting a mummy in Giu, and traversing like locals on the back of a yak! You can even enroll in a volunteer travel programme with Spiti Ecosphere if you wish to do some good and make your trip more meaningful.