Last village on Indo-China border: Losar, Himachal Pradesh
Losar is a tiny Himalayan village located in the cold desert region of the Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh. Losar is situated at a towering altitude of around 13,400 feet above sea-level (4084 metres) and is the first inhabited village on the Manali-Kaza route crossing the famous Kunzum-La. It is also the last inhabited village on the Indian side of the Indo-China border.
Travellers have only two options of getting to Losar, the first is to hire a private taxi from Manali which is at a distance of 145 km. The taxi ride is costly but also a lot more comfortable and faster option, that gives travellers the liberty to stop and click pictures at every scenic spot along the way. The journey by taxi takes around six to eight hours covering some of the world’s most treacherous roads along the way.
The second option, travellers have is to board the government HRTC bus to Kaza which leaves from Manali in the morning at 5 am, it is advisable to cross check the bus timings a day or two prior to the journey. The bus is an excellent option for budget and solo travellers. The journey by bus takes around eight to ten hours.
Major part of the road from Manali to Losar is bumpy and has plenty of ditches along the way but at the same time, the scenic beauty of the road especially after one crosses the famous Rohtang Pass is something which words can’t really do justice to. From waterfalls and streams to wild horses grazing, travellers will be blown away by some extraordinary terrain.
Once in the village of Losar, the first thing travellers will notice is plenty of greenery and vegetation around. This is strikingly different in comparison to the barren brown trans-Himalayan mountain range. Potato, Barley and Green Peas are grown in this cold desert region, while the Peas are the only thing which are traded with the outside world.
The main attraction is the village monastery which is a short walk from the main road. The Gompa as it is known locally is similar to all the other monasteries in the valley. The houses are also built in typical Spitian style with white paint and prayer flags on the flat roof to emphasise the strong Buddhist culture in the village.
The other major attraction near Losar is the pristine high altitude Chandartal aka Moon lake which is around 42 km from the village. Travellers generally break their journey at Losar by spending a night in this unexplored village enroute to Chandartal.
Accommodation options in Losar are limited to a handful of guest houses and home stays most of which are located along the road. Being the first inhabited village from the Manali-side and the last from Kaza, the room rent in the village is not very light on the pocket. Bargaining generally does not work since the number of rooms are lesser than the travellers stopping at Losar every day during tourist season.
Food provisions in the village are again limited to a couple of dhabas which are makeshift cafes and homerun eateries in the guest houses. The food served is very basic and includes vegetarian thalia, aloo parathas, bread omlette and sandwiches.
The best time to visit Losar is during the summer months from the end of June to mid-October. Thick woollens are needed even during summers since the night temperature in Losar drops well below freezing point. Locals also claim that Losar is the coldest village in the valley and one can surely experience the Himalayan chill post 3 pm in the village when the weather drastically changes from sunny and warm to cold and breezy.
Losar is a must halt village for everyone who is on a road trip to Spiti Valley as the village offers travellers a good place to break journey, acclamation and get some much needed rest before heading off to Chandartal.
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