Surreal Spiti - Travel guide to Langza and Buddha statue
Langza is one of the remotest villages of India in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Close to headquarters of Spiti Valley - Kaza, Langza is a high-altitude village is known for ancient marine fossils, for spotting endangered animals, for the warmth of the people, and for its gigantic Buddha statue overlooking the Spiti Valley. The landscapes of Langza village can leave anyone spellbound. In fact, we rate Langza as the most beautiful village we have visited in Spiti Valley. In Langza, we got a first-hand experience on how people live and co-exist harmoniously with nature. Their way of living is totally in sync with the terrain’s rough geography and unforgiving weather. This blog will serve as a travel guide for you to visit Langza village.
Read our previous blogs on Spiti Valley and Kinnaur Valley by clicking on the below-mentioned links/ images:
8. Travel guide to Langza and Buddha statue (This blog)
Langza village is located in the western part of Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 14,500 feet from the sea level. As a backdrop to the village stands a majestic snow-covered mountain called as Chau Chau Kang Nilda (CCKN), almost like a stage curtain erected in the background. The CCKN peak, which apparently means ‘blue moon in the sky’, appears prominent on the skyline against the deep blue sky. Some people rightly refer to Langza as the ‘Switzerland of Spiti’ though it is more brown than green. Patches of bright green fields spread on brown hills makes Langza a little paradise. The uneven slopy elevation of the landscape adds to its picturesqueness. The small village houses 150 residents who work hard to retain their ancient traditions and customs.
Location of Langza Village:
Langza village is a high-altitude village situated in the westernmost remote corner of Himachal Pradesh, India. Barely 16 kilometres away from Kaza, the headquarters of Spiti Valley, Langza village is still unexplored, untouched and offbeat. From Kaza, the road climbs rapidly through the wavering bends and end up in a plateau after gaining thousands of feet in a short time. For the brown barren surroundings, the plateau seems strangely green. The entire landscape looks like a gigantic garden carpeted with grass. And beyond the landscape stands the tallest peak in the region, the Chau Chau Kang Nilda peak towering at 20,000 feet.
History of Langza Village:
As we mentioned in one of our previous blogs – ‘Introduction to Spiti Valley’, most villages of Spiti were submerged under the ancient Tethys Sea millions of years ago. When the Himalayan range emerged, the Tethys Sea disappeared. The fossils of the marine animals inhabiting the Tethys Sea are still found in the villages of Spiti Valley, mainly Langza village. If you have proper tools to dig and time to search, you can definitely unearth the fossils in Langza.
Things to do in Langza Village:
1. Visit the Langza Buddha statue – A gigantic statue of Buddha guards the little hamlet of Langza. It is the tallest structure in the village and is located atop a hill. The most popular picture of Langza or even that Spiti valley that you may find on the internet is that of the Langza Buddha statue. You can reach the statue after a 10-minute short hike from the parking area.
When we visited the Langza Buddha statue, cold wind was blowing fiercely making us shiver. Still, all we could do was stare in awe at the colourful statue standing alone and facing the beautiful valley surrounded by snow-peaked mountains. Every nook and corner from above the hill was worth capturing. The villagers believe that the Buddha idol protects them from evil spirits and thus revere the statue with the utmost respect.
2. Tread around to spot some endangered species – Langza village, being located at a high-altitude, is home to several endangered species like snow-leopards, Himalayan wolf, red fox and Ibex. These animals can be seen roaming around the village in the winter months (Dec-Jan). Many travellers stay in Langza village to get a glimpse of the big cat in the landscape covered with thick white snow. Here again, you will need the help of a local guide in identifying the trails these animals move in. Also having a local guide would ensure you are safe.
3. Photograph the incredible landscape – Langza village is a heaven for photography enthusiasts. The landscapes in Langza are unlike anything you will find in other places. You can even spot the Milky Way with naked eyes during the night-time. Several constellations can be easily spotted in the absence of bright lights, which can give you brilliant photography opportunities. The snow on CCKN peak shines gently due to moonlight and glittering stars which again is a great opportunity to click star trails.
Tip: If you want to capture milkyway, Buddha statue at Langza is the perfect location. However ensure you visit Langza on a cloudless and moonless night. It gets really cold and windy near Buddha statue in night so ensure you have enough protective gear.
You can also go around and see the Langza village along with Buddha statue from different angles. It is beautiful no matter where you capture it from. Because of the high-altitude of the village, the light is bright and crisp and the sky is deep blue during the daytime. The Buddha statue adds a unique magical feel to the area. Buddha statue is also a great sunset point and you must see the golden hour here.
4. Go fossil hunting – Langza is popularly referred to as the ‘fossil village’ of Spiti valley. Ammonites – a type of spiral-shaped fossil can be easily discovered in and around the village in high concentrations. Young kids of the village dig up these fossils and sell them to the tourists as souvenirs. However, tourists must understand that these fossils are archaeologically significant and if taken away, could destroy the geological heritage of the region. The locals of Langza village make mud replicas of the fossils which can be bought as souvenirs in place of the actual fossil collection.
5. Stay with the locals in a homestay – Most travellers visit Langza village as a day trip from Kaza, the nearest town with comfortable stay options. However, if you want to experience the life of a Spitian for real and understand their culture and tradition, you should stay in a local homestay with the villagers. There are no accommodation options other than the simple homestays in Langza village. The houses in the village are made of mud, wood and bricks that help keep the interiors warm even if it's snowing outside. All the houses are uniform in architecture, look symmetrical and are painted white. We stayed at a homestay recommended by our travel agency. It was furnished traditionally but had basic modern amenities like comfortable beds, western toilet, separate but clean bathroom and hot water. Our hosts were happy to share a slice of their lives with us. They welcomed us with such warm hospitality and precious smiles that it was difficult leaving them by the end of our short stay.
6. Talk to the locals and understand their culture – Changing seasons in Langza village brings about major changes in the lives of the locals. We got to understand Spiti a lot more from our hosts at the homestay. Each family in the village owns some part of the land in or around the village. In summers, all the villagers concentrate on work. They work on their fields for crops like barley, potatoes and peas or rear their animal livestock or stock up dried food for winter months. Winter is a time to reap the awards of the hard work done in summer. It is a season to relax, drink, celebrate, dance and party. Some youngsters work as tour guides, tour operators, porters or cooks for trekkers. We found the locals to be very friendly, humble, honest and hard-working.
7. Try some lip-smacking Spitian food – Meal times allowed us to mingle with the family of the host at the homestays. Our hosts treated us with some delicious home-cooked local delicacies like Spiti bread, home-made butter, tomato chutney, farm potato and peas vegetable, and rice. Black tea and milk tea were served at all times of the day which gave us comfort in the cold Langza weather. We had some of our favourite times at Langza while having meals.
8. Climb the Chau Chau Kang Nilda (CCKN) peak – This could only be done by travellers who have a good experience in high-altitude trekking. Due to its proximity to the village of Langza, which is now linked by a motorable road with Kaza, CCKN has become the most popular and most-often climbed peak in Spiti, receiving many climbers. You would need help from professional guides and porters to climb CCKN peak. It isn’t a one-day trek and would require several days of camping in harsh climatic conditions. If you are not a professional trekker or are short on time, you can enjoy the view of the majestic CCKN peak down from Langza village.
9. Visit the local temple – It is believed that all the deities of Spiti Valley reside in the local temple called as ‘Lang’ and protect the village from evil powers. The temple is also called as Langza Gompa.
10. Hike up to Tsonyeti and Chumo Lakes – Tsonyeti lake, located at an altitude of 14,850 feet, is about an hour and a half hike away from the Langza village. It is like a small pond that is visited by migratory birds in July and August. Chumo lake, located at an altitude of 15,150 feet, is larger than the Tsonyeti lake. It takes around 2-3 hours of steep hike to reach Chumo lake. The site of the Chumo lake offers a spectacular view of the Chau Chau Kang Nilda peak.
Spiti Valley Tours: We are highly indebted to Mr. Lara of Spiti Valley Tours to include stay in Langza in our itinerary. While he has his own homestay in Langza, it was completely booked on our dates. Hence he organised and booked our stay in another homestay. Our hosts were excellent and we would never forget their wonderful hospitality. We highly recommend booking a trip with Spiti Valley Tours either directly from their office at Kaza or through their official website.
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There aren’t many sight-seeing places to visit in Langza village. It is a great place to just relax, enjoy the spellbinding landscapes, and chat with locals. If we had enough time, we would have loved to stay in Langza for a week that too in different seasons of the year. Do not miss out on spending a night here. Langza is one place that we can visit again and again. And do let us know your thoughts on our blog about Langza village and Buddha statue.