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Spiti is mysterious; like a geological museum, felt almost like another world. Prior to India's independence, the domain of the Maharaja (king) of Kashmir; it formed part of Ladakh, and is, in fact, much like Ladakh- treeless, harsh, bitterly cold and peopled by  remarkably friendly, warm and hospitable.


This valley is connected to the southern part of Himachal Pradesh through the Rohtang Pass, which is inaccessible through almost three-quarters of the year. Other than the Rohtang Pass, the Kunzum La Pass, between Spiti and Lahaul, also has to be traversed if you have to get to Spiti, which makes things even more difficult- because Kunzum La stays choked with snow even longer than Rohtang. As a consequence, the only months when you can actually visit Spiti are August, September and October.


Spiti was opened to foreign tourists in 1992- and even till now, any foreigners heading for the area require to get permits. Entry permits can be obtained from the District Magistrate at Shimla or Kullu, or the Sub District Magistrate in Shimla. Foreigners travelling in a group of four or more can get a permit from the Additional Deputy Commissioner in Kaza. 


On the left bank of the river Spiti, the Ki gompa, is regarded as the largest in the sub-division. It is a collection of rooms and a labyrinth of corridors that do not follow any defined plan, but seem to have grown over the years. Portions of the structure are three stories high, while others are lower. No definite date can be ascribed to the construction of the gompa that acted both as a monastery and as fort. Some scholars believe this to have been built by Dromton (1008-64 AD). Others differ and place its origins in later centuries, but by and large, most agree that it was built before the fifteenth century.


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