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The Ajanta of the Himalayas


For centuries the trans Himalayan tracts of Spiti, Lahaul and Ladakh have been enveloped by a grand mystic aura. Behind this veil of geographical isolation and mystery lay wonders, that are unfathomable even today.

In the insurmountable heights of Spiti, lies the Buddhist gompa, monastery of Tabo, established in 996 A.D. It was the Tibetan year of the Fire Ape and the founder was the great teacher Rinchensang Po, also known as Mahaguru Ratnabhadra. With its exquisite murals and stucco images, Tabo is often called 'The Ajanta of the Himalayas'.

Tabo village - a panoramic view Spiti (locally pronounced 'Piti') or the 'middle country', has its sub divisional headquarters at Kaza. The river Spiti originates at the base of the Kunzam range and flows eastward to join the Sutlej at Khab in Kinnaur. In practical isolation for centuries, Spiti has an intensely introvertive culture centred around its several monasteries- Dhankar, Ki, Tabo, Mud, Gungri, Lidang, Hikim, Sagnam, Mane Gogma and Giu to name a few. Spiti was loosely ruled for many centuries by a hereditary wazir, styled Nono. The majority of the people are Buddhists, followers of the Geluk-pa sect. The repetition of the mantra "Om mani padme hum" (literally, 'Behold, the jewel is in the lotus'), is constant; it is believed to bring good fortune and wash away all sins. For all the seeming bleakness, Spiti possesses a haunting beauty. The wildlife in the region includes the elusive snow leopard and ibex, found in the Pin valley.

Tabo Monastery

Important heights at a glance

Kaza - 3660 mts

Rohtang Pass - 3980 mts

Kunzam Pass - 4590 mts

Shimla - 2200 mts

Manali - 2050 mts


Upto Shimla by air, rail or road. By road from Shimla to Tabo the distance is 365 kms. This is via Narkanda, Rampur, Jeori, Wnagtu, Karcham, Powari, Jangi, Puh, Khab, Chango and Hurling.

Upto Kullu by air or road. By road from Kullu to Tabo the distance is 295 km via rohtang Pass, Gramphoo, Batal, Kunzam Pass and Kaza. This happens to be a more demanding route.


Tabo has a couple of small hotels, a PWD and a Forest Rest House. The best time to visit is between April and October.


The Director,
Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation
Himachal Pradesh,
Shimla - 171 001
Tel: 0177-211443/5920/3517
Fax: 0177-203346

The Deputy Commissioner
Lahaul and Spiti,
Himachal Pradesh - 175132.
Tel: 019002-2222

Himachal Pradesh

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