Kunzum pass or Kunzum La, in Tibetan, at an altitude of 15,000 ft is one of India’s highest motor able mountain passes, in Himachal Pradesh. A mountain pass is a path connecting two mountains. It connects Lahaul to Spiti valley and has a 360-degree spectacular view of the Bara-Sigri glacier (the second longest glacier in the world), Chandra-Bhaga mountains and Spiti valley.
There is a temple at the pass dedicated to Goddess Durga and it is considered auspicious to do parikrama of the temple and get blessings before going further in the journey. The Kunzum Devi temple looks more like a monastery with colorful Buddhist prayer flags and the stupas, similar to a Pagoda in East Asia, called a ‘Chorten’. Lahaul & Spiti are important centers for Buddhist culture similar to nearby Tibet and Ladakh regions, as some of the oldest monasteries in the world are here.
The landscape from Kunzum pass changes dramatically as we enter Spiti. Lahaul is a landscape of rugged mountains with massive glaciers where as Spiti is dry, eroded and brown barren mountains with the pristine Spiti river in turquoise. Like an oasis in a cold desert, against the mountains and the deep blue sky reflecting in its waters, it looks almost unreal! Chandratal, the moon lake is around 8km from Kunzum pass and is great for trekking & camping.
Small villages on the way to Kaza, with houses made of stones, apple orchards and smiling happy people 🙂
Kaza is the most developed town in Spiti and the administrative & transport hub. It is accessible from Kinnaur throughout the year and a base to visit other places in Spiti. Kibber, one of the highest villages in the world, is 18 km from Kaza. More information on the Himachal Tourism site here.