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Your Travel Guide for Tabo Village- Places to visit in Tabo Village

Situated 3050 meters above sea level, Tabo Village is a quaint little town on the banks of the Spiti River, in Spiti Valley. The village has a rugged and rustic look and dates back in history when the first Buddhist monks established the famous monastery, Tabo Monastery, here. Surrounded by the mighty Himalayas, it is one of the most important towns after Kaza in Spiti. It lies on the road between Reckong Peo and Kaza (another important town in Spiti). The high mountains of Pin-Parvati and Ladakh surround this lush oasis where monsoon never skips to visit.

Spiti Valley is just the place you need to visit if you are looking to get away from city life to find your peace and restore some calm. Spiti Trip Packages can guide you to help plan your holiday and get, set, and go with your Spiti Valley Adventure.

Tabo Village often serves as a pit stop for tourists traveling to and from Kaza. It is famous for its 1000-year-old monastery and Tabo Caves. Travelers visit Tabo on their way to Kaza, Pin Valley, Dhankar Monastery, Gue Village, etc.

10 Top Places to Visit in Tabo Village

Tabo Village is often covered as a stop by tourists to acclimatize themselves before they head on to much higher altitudes to visit other nearby attractions in Spiti Valley such as Hikkim Village, Key Monastery, Kibber Village, and Tashigang Village. 

Some of the places to visit in Tabo Village include:

  • Tabo Monastery

Tabo Monastery is a significant Monastery and known to be one of the oldest operating Buddhist monasteries in India and the Himalayas. Said to be founded in 996 AD by the great scholar Richen Zangpo, it has been termed the ‘Ajanta of the Himalayas’ for its spectacular mural paintings and stucco images that adorn the wall. This serene heritage, surrounded by stark, rugged desert mountains, comprises of nine temples, twenty-three chortens, a monk’s chamber and an extension that the monks live in. Tabo Monastery is also known for its unique architecture that reflects the Indo-Tibetan culture, with its well-preserved ancient artworks, manuscripts and frescoes that represent tales from the Mahayana Buddhism era. It is not only a prominent center for Buddhist learning but also a pilgrimage site for followers from across the globe. The serene atmosphere of the Monastery offers an insight into the ancient traditions and cultural aspects of Buddhism in the Trans-Himalayan region.

After the earthquake of 1975 in Spiti Valley, the original Tabo monastery was damaged and a new modern monastery was built in the same complex. The new complex was visited by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, in 1996 to commemorate its millennium celebrations, and the Kalachakra festival was also held around the same time.

Tabo monastery is currently home to some 70 Buddhist monks and the monastery complex is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. 

  • Tabo Caves

One of nature’s marvels, The Tabo Caves, is situated just above the Tabo Monastery. Its exact history is not known but often it is said that it is around 1000 years old and they were used as assembly halls for monks. While some of these caves are still in use and even now monks use them to meditate others have been misused and not maintained properly. You will often see a flag outside some of the caves where monks meditate even now. These were also used as dwellings by the monks during the harsh winters of Spiti Valley. You can explore these caves on your own and just soak in the crisp blue skies and a sense of divinity and spirituality.

The Tabo Caves of Spiti Valley overlook the Spiti River, which flows amidst the most scenic and serene landscapes of Lahaul and Spiti Valley.

  • Tabo Monastery Museum

A museum next to the Tabo Monastery is being constructed to house the various artifacts inside of the monastery. Exquisite thankas and murals depicting jataka tales and scenes from Buddha’s are some of the rare treasures housed in this monastery and a museum is an appropriate move towards preserving these timeless classics and artifacts. One must visit these rugged mountain valleys to truly understand and appreciate their beauty.

  • Apple Orchards

Yes, you read it right. Apple orchards at an altitude of 3050 m. These are grown and maintained by Buddhist monks and if you visit Spiti Valley between September and October you will be mesmerised to discover delicious, crisp apples being grown in the midst of this cold desert! 

If this excites you then the best time for you to visit Tabo Village is between August and October to fully enjoy these Himalayan apples.

Suggested Read: Spiti Valley in August

  • Spiti River

The Spiti River is known as the lifeline of Spiti Valley. Flowing through the arid landscape of the valley from the Kunzum range to the Satluj River in Kinnaur, it is the source of irrigation and holds religious significance for locals. 

The river has shaped both the geography and the culture of this himalayan region,

creating deep gorges and fertile terrains where villages thrive and livelihoods of the

people are run.

The river flows seamlessly through the valley, with its pristine waters, creating picturesque landscapes that have drawn the world of adventurers and solace-seekers to this remote region. The fluttering prayer flags found everywhere around these rugged terrains add color to this cold desert. Lying at high altitudes with very little vegetation, the valley has a harsh climate but still supports a unique ecosystem with rare flora and fauna, including the amazing snow leopard found in Kibber Village.

  • Dhankar Monastery

The word ‘dhankar’ means fort in the local dialect. This place was known to be the castle of Nono once, the ruler of Spiti. This fort monastery was also used as a prison during the early days of its construction. One can find several Buddhist scriptures in the Bhoti script, along with a life-size silver statue of Vajradhara (supreme essence of all male Buddhas) that sits on a glass altar ornamented in scarves and flowers. Another highlight is the statue of Vairochana or Dhayan Buddha that will leave one in awe.  Around 150 lamas call this monastery home. Visitors can also go on a 2 km trek to the Dhankar Lake, which lies above the monastery.

  • Dhankar Lake

At an elevation of 4,140 m the Dhankar Lake lies above the Dhankar Monastery in the Lahaul-Spiti district and can be reached by trekking from the monastery. The lake has its source from a glacier and remains frozen for about eight months every year. The lake is surrounded by shrubs and changes colour from blue to green when looked from different angles. 

There are ancient legends narrating the lake’s link with the Hindu Gods.

The lake also offers breathtaking views of Manirang Peak, the highest peak of Himachal Pradesh located on the border of Kinnaur and Spiti district. This magnificent lake provides perfect opportunities to photographers to capture this alluring beauty.

One will need to trek for about 45 to 60 minutes from Dhankar Village to reach Dhankar Lake. Mid-way you will find a nice water spring. It is advised to carry high protein and carbohydrate rich energy bars, dried fruits and bananas to keep your energy levels high during the trek.

Suggested Read: Spiti Valley Trek

  • Pin Valley

Pin is a stunningly beautiful valley in Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, which is well-known for its famous wildlife reserve, Pin Valley National Park. 

Formed by River Pin, it will come as a surprise to you because its ecosystem is completely different from that of Spiti Valley. Its pristine natural beauty, snow-capped mountains in the backdrop, makes it definitely worth a visit. Beautiful flowers, sunny weather, miles of unexplored terrain with absolute silence, all come together to make this magical valley a destination that one can visit just to lose oneself into.

  • Mud Village

Mud (also known as Mudh and Muth) is another small village in the cold desert region of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, India. Located at an altitude of 3,810 m on the left bank of the Pin River, a right bank tributary of the Spiti River, this village is tucked away at the base of the Parbati range. 

Mud Village is near the boundary of the Pin Valley National Park and is a convenient base for trekkers and to the neighbouring districts of Kullu and Kinnaur. It is the last village on the Spiti side of the Pin Parbati trek to Kullu and the Pin Bhaba trek to Kinnaur.

Mud also became famous among geologists in the 1860s when the Moravian geologist Ferdinand Stoliczka discovered a major geological formation in the Himalayas that he named the Muth Succession, after Mud. This spurred many geologists to do fieldwork in the Pin Valley. The Muth Formation, as it is now known, has a thickness of 258–300m . Consisting of white quartz arenite, it is resistant to weathering and readily visible. With crisp blue skies, the mighty Himalayas as the backdrop, this village needs to be seen and explored to fully experience its ethereal beauty. 

  • Gue Village

Gue Village is yet another very small border village in the Spiti Valley of Lahaul & Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh. It is located deep in a valley at an altitude of around 3000 m above sea level. The Gue Village is a border-sensitive area with the India-China border just a few kilometers away. 

It was not a tourist place until recently when the discovery of the mummy of a monk called Sangha Tenzin in the 1975 Spiti Earthquake happened. It was discovered by the road construction workers when the Earthquake broke open its tomb and the road. But it was kept hidden from the world by locals and the ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) till the early 2000s. Today the Giu Mummy is placed inside a glass box in a small 10×10 feet room on a hilltop above Gue Village. The Indian Army still patrols the Gue Village, but today it is comparatively very easy to get into the village and visit the mummy. The Gue village is 82 km and 47 km from Kaza and Nako Lake respectively.

Best Time to Visit Tabo Village

The ideal time to plan a visit to Tabo Village is during the summer season, from May to October. During these months, the weather conditions are most favorable. The harsh winter subsides and temperatures become comfortable for travel and exploration. 

With clear blue skies and temperate climate, the majestic views of the surrounding landscapes are truly breathtaking. Roads are also accessible during this period making it easy for transports to ply in the valley

If you want to catch the vibrant hues of autumn, then the post-monsoon months of September and October are a spectacular time to explore the valley. During this time, the Spiti Valley showcases a palette of colors with its beautiful flora which contrasts against the stark mountainous terrain. Additionally, the post-monsoon period is when the tourist footfall decreases which means less crowd and more peaceful adventures. 

However, autumn months also see occasional snowfalls occurring in late October, so it is advisable to keep track of the weather updates before making plans.

Tips  For a Hassle-Free Visit To Tabo Village

  • The nearest petrol pump and mechanic shop is in Kaza when coming via Manali and in Reckong Peo from Shimla.
  • There is no available phone network in Tabo.
  • Always follow the dress code when visiting the Tabo monastery. Sleeveless shirts and tops, shorts, and short dresses are inappropriate.
  • Electricity is available in Tabo. But there are frequent power cuts. So carry power banks to charge your electronic devices.
  • Carry cash because cards don’t work here and many hotels don’t have internet, so online payment is unavailable.
  • Download offline maps or carry map books. BSNL and Jio might work sometimes but there is no guarantee. Therefore it is recommended to not rely solely on Google maps.
  • Pre-book hotels and homestays in Tabo. Visitors prefer staying here and visiting Dhankar and Gue on a day trip from here. So finding a room here is almost impossible during peak season.
  • Always carry your medicines. Pharmacies are far and few and most of them have limited supplies. The nearest hospital is in Shimla or Manali. So it is best to carry altitude sickness meds.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Q:What is the best time to visit Tabo Village?

Q:How can I reach Tabo village from the nearest town or city?

Q:What is the best time to visit Tabo Village?

Q:What is the best time to visit Tabo Village?

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