>> << Kaza Keylong
in Himachal Pradesh
About Kaza to Keylong -
From Kaza, the first main village is Losar, about 60 km away. It is a
beautiful place with a couple of cheap guesthouse. A little further on is
the Kunzum La (4551m). From the pass, a 9km trail goes to the lovely Chandratal
(Moon Lake), at about 4250m. Batal is the starting point for treks to nearby
Bara Shigri (Big Glacier), which is up to 10km. long and 1km wide - one of the
longest glaciers in the Himalaya. There are a couple of dhabas (Small Food
Corners) at Baal offering basic food. Get off at Gramphu (or Keylong) if
you want to continue on to Manali. Khoksar is desolate and regarded as the
coldest place in Himachal Pradesh. There's a police check point here and you
will need to get out and sign the register.
In the fertile Bhaga Valley,
Keylong the capital of Lahaul and Spiti, is a reasonable place to break up the
journey from Leh to Manali or to base yourself for day trips to nearby gompas.
The bus station is on the Main Manali to Leh road, from where it's a short walk
down a series of steps to the town itself. There's a telegraph office in the
north of town.
The 900-year-old gompa at
Khardong, formerly a capital of Lahaul, lies drectly across the Bhaga Valley
from Keylong. This Drukpa Kagyud monastery is the largest in the area with
about 30 Lamas and Chomos (nuns). There are excellent frescoes but you
will have to track down a nun to open the doors for you. To get to the
monastey, head through the bazaar, follow the stepped path down to the hospital,
continue to the bridge over the Bhaga River and then hike up to Khardong.
Three kilometres from Keylong
is the Shashu Gompa. Dedicated to a Zanskari lama,it was built in the 16th
century and s of the Gelukpa order. The 5m thangka is famous in the region. An
annual festival, held every June or July (depending on the Tibetan calendar) is
renowned for the mask dances performed by the lamas.
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