Koksar is the gateway to Lahaul and is one of the coldest villages in the Lahaul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh. The entire Lahaul & Spiti valley is hidden between the peaks of the western Himalaya and the Pir Panjal mountain range. It’s remoteness from the outside world helped it to maintain the traditions of Tibet and Tibetan culture.
Located just 19 km from Rohtang Pass towards the Keylong-Leh route, Koksar has become a popular travel destination besides being just a tea-break point for those traveling towards Leh-Ladakh.
It’s a place idle for the adventurous yet suitable for someone looking for some solitude and who wants to be cut off from the rest of the world for a while. And by cut off, I mean really cut off, as there are no networks and the only BSNL network available is at Rohtang or further up at Tandi.
Cascading waterfalls, natural green slopes amidst scenic snow laden landscapes and friendly village life make Koksar a must-visit travel destination.
There are many trekking options from Koksar and you could connect with the local tour travel to arrange one depending on your interests. And if you are lucky you could spot yaks, dzos, fox and brown bears roaming in the wild lingti plains.
Do spend some time at the Monastery ‘Koksar Tholing Gumpa’ located right on top of a nearby hill. It’s the beautiful surrounding along the river and tiny houses spread over just a few kilometres makes Koksar and ideal place to be.
Koksar is also the checkpoint for those traveling towards Leh-Ladakh and you do need to stop for registrations and will be required and asked to show your identity proofs and vehicle documents at plenty of spots for security reasons.
The journey after Koksar gets even more beautiful as you come across scenic villages perched up on the mountains or located alongside the river banks.
Do stop by for a quick riverside picnic as Chandra River broadens and almost touches the road. Chenab, then flows through Jammu and Kashmir into the plains of the Punjab, forming the boundary between the Rechna and Jech interfluves. It is then joined by the Jhelum River at Trimmu followed by the Ravi River Ahmedpur Sial. It finally merges with the Sutlej River near Uch Sharif, Pakistan to form the Panjnad or the ‘Five Rivers’, the fifth being the Beas River which joins the Satluj near Ferozepur, India.
As you travel further on towards Sissu and then Tandi, you can see the confluence of Chandra and Bhaga rivers that make the mighty Chenab.
Food available locally includes hot momo’s, thukpa, egg omelette of your choice along with hot coffee. There is also a tiny wine shop! And for those staying the night, the rest house would offer you local cuisine made using fresh produce from the villages and the freshest and tastiest of chicken too.
Layul Dhaba: Recommended by Rocky & Mayur (Highway on my Plate) has been in the food business since 1975 offers good mutton curry and Kadhi chawal. Although a little hot & Spicy, it’s good to beat the chill!
Also keep a lookout for local villager vendors who sell masala bun, tea, and bhelpuri.
Sissu (13 Kms from Koksar) is an ideal place to spend a day out. Relax by the river side and enjoy the natural surroundings. If interested, do take a short trek to visit the Sissu Fall, which can be seen from afar and really breathtaking.
Tandi (40 Kms from Koksar) is popularly known as the sole petrol in the whole valley, as from here for the next 360 kms there are no other petrol pumps. So in case you are heading ahead towards Keylong, Leh do make sure to fill up the tanks. From Tandi, Keylong is just 8 kms away!!
If you do plan to visit Keylong, it is recommended to visit theThe Kardang Gompa, a 900 years old Buddhist Monastery of the Drukpa Kagyud order of Buddhism. It stands across the Bhaga River and is close by to the town of Keylong. Situated at an altitude of 3500 m above sea level, the monetary is located in the midst of scenic landscape with greenery and mountains. The monetary is known for its library which is known to be one of the largest Buddhist Library. The monetary is home to a large number of monks and nuns and is unique in the fact that the nuns and monks are considered equal and are allowed to get married and have a family.
Click here for more Lahaul & Spiti travel details
Biking Trip Blog to Read: http://kishusworld.blogspot.in/2014/07/part-2-adventurous-ride-from-koksar-to.html For those planning a road trip, please visit here to know how they planned the trip
It is interesting to know that Koksar was once the old trade route between India to West Asia. A visit to Koksar can also be made while you travel to Manali. Spend a day or two here to enjoy its serenity and you are sure to return back!
Please remember that the Manali-Leh road is closed for the most part of the year owing to snowfall and landslides. So plan your visit to this side only during the months between June and September because that’s when Lahaul area opens up to visitors.