Spiti is the sub division of Lahaul & Spiti district with its hqrs. at Kaza. It is called "Little Tibet" because it has almost the same terrain, vegetation & climate . Spiti also means "Middle Country". It lies between Tibet, Ladakh, Kinnaur, Lahaul & Kulu. From Shimla via Kinnaur there is a motorable road which remains open upto Kaza for 8 to 9 months. About 10kms. ahead of Pooh, satluj enters India near Shipki la & Spiti river joins it at Khab. The road then goes to Sumdo via Hangrang valley. From Sumdo Spiti valley starts. The Spiti river flows fast through deep gorges at some places. The valley is not wide but there are villages and some fields where people grow barley, buck- wheat, peas & vegetables. It has an area of 4800 sq. kms. Some inhabitants have adopted Budhism as there faith and Bhoti is the spoken language. The people are simple and honest. The main Spiti valley is split into eastern and western valleys. They are connected with Ladakh & Tibet on eastern side & Kinnaur and Kulu on western side through high passes.
There are a large number of gompas in this valley but it has also some important and famous monasteries, a brief description is given.
Kye Monasteries : It is situated 12 kms. north of Kaza and serves the western population of Spiti. It is the oldest and biggest monastery of the valley and located at (4116 m) above Kye village. It houses beautiful scriptures and paintings of Budha and other goddesses. Lamas practice dance, sing and play on pipes and horns. Many Lamas get religious training here. It has murals and books of high aesthetic value.
Thang Gompa : It is located 13kms. above kaza serving western part of central Spiti. Situated in a secluded place in the narrow gauge of Kaza Nallah, it generally has a Lama from Tibet. Above this there is a long plateau which leads to Shilla peak.
Kungri Gompa : It is situated in the Pin valley about 10 kms. from Attargo where Spiti river has to be crossed to enter Pin valley. It is serves the population of Pin valley.
Dhankar Monastery : It is situated about 25 kms. east of Kaza and serves eastern part of central Spiti. Dhankar is a big village and erstwhile capital of Spiti Kingdom. On top of a hill there is a fort which use to be the prison in olden times. The Monastery has about 100 Lamas and is in position of Budhist scriptures in Bhoti language. Principal figure is a Statue of " Vairochana" (Dhayan Budha) consisting of 4 complete figures seated back to back. It has relics in the shape of paintings and sculptures.
Tabo Monastery : It is another big gompa for serving the population of eastern side. It belongs to the tenth century and is located 50 kms. from kaza. It is a famous gompa next to Tholing Gompa in Tibet. It has about 60 Lamas and a large collection of Scriptures, wall paintings etc. Murals of this gompa have a great similarity to that of the Ajanta paintings.