Nako: The gateway to Spiti

Fateh Veer Singh Guram, Travel @ The Hush Post: Tucked away in a remote corner of the country, Nako village is full of spirituality and will surely rejuvenate your soul. An oasis situated amidst the barren hills of the high altitude mountains of the Himalayas, a visit to this village is a must for those seeking answers from within. Since the village lies extremely close to the Indo-China border, tourists need a permit to visit the village. Due to its proximity to Tibet, one can clearly see kind of influence Tibetan Buddhism has had on the region. In the eighth century, the great Buddhist teacher, Master Rinpoche introduced Buddhism to the people of Nako. Around 200 years later, the great translator, Rinchen Zangpo spent a considerable amount of time in Nako and built seven monasteries.

Things to do:

Visit Nako lake:

The Nako lake is a high altitude lake that surrounds the village and from far off, it seems as if the village is submerged in the lake. There are four Buddhist temples near the lake, and a footprint, believed to be that of Saint Padmasambhava can also be seen near the lake. There is a waterfall near the lake, and the water of the waterfall is milky white due to the presence of snow in it. This led to the locals calling the waterfall the abode of fairies.

Visit Nako Monastery:

Believed to have been constructed in 1025 AD, the monastery is almost 1000 years old. It contains four large halls, the largest of which is called ‘Dukhong’. The artwork in the monastery is related to Vajrayana Buddhism. There is a shrine within the monastery, dedicated to Purgyal, a local deity which is believed to be the spirit of the mountain. The sculptures of five ‘Dhyani Buddhas’ are placed in the main hall.

Visit Chango Gompa:

Located a few kilometres before Nako, in the village of Chango, lies the Chango Gompa. A gompa is a Buddhist place for learning, which is fortified. This gompa is almost 500 years old and has a giant prayer wheel, over 3.5 metres in diameter, and which is made of yak skin.

Best time to Vist:

Since Nako lies at a height of almost 11,900 feet, it is not possible to visit this village in the winters because of heavy snowfall. Thus, the summer season is the best time to visit the village, when the temperature hovers around 10-15 degrees.

How to Reach:

Nako is at a distance of 103 kilometres from the district headquarters of Kinnaur, Reckong Peo. It is at a distance of 315 kilometres from the state capital, Shimla. The nearest railway station and airport to Nako are also in Shimla.

Chandigarh and Delhi lie at a distance of 426 kilometres and 672 kilometres, respectively.

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