The Spiti Valley is a remote high-altitude dessert valley which lies on the Indo-Tibetan border. The traditional people of the area, the Spiti Bhotias, are so similar to Tibetans owing to them experiencing the same influences through history. The religion, language and lifestyle evident in Spiti has led the area to be dubbed ‘mini-Tibet’. The life of every Bhotia revolves around the Gelugpa order of Tibetan Buddhism and most inhabitants are involved in some capacity with the several monasteries, or ‘Gompas’, that are scattered along the length of the valley. Beneath each Gompa fields are tended for around 5 months of the year. Heavy snowfall for the rest of the year completely isolates the valley and so rice, wheat and vegetables must be stored for the winter.
This picture shows the view from the track between Kibber village (4,205m) and Ki village as it passes above paddy and grain fields. The people of Ki supply crops to the monks of Ki Gompa as part of almsgiving. The Gompa enjoys a spectacular location on a pinnacle of rock above the Spiti River. It has been a seat for Buddhist teachings and debate for more than 1,000 years and also fulfilled the role of a fort during the 17th Century when the Mongols invaded the valley.