Beautiful in its anonymity, Jispa is a village in Lahaul in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Frequented by travelers as a transit town, Jispa hasn’t earned its rightful reputation as an incredibly beautiful destination for a stay-over and relaxation.
Chances are you’ve skipped this destination in your past trips to Ladakh or just breezed past it. I don’t blame you. It’s a speck of a town and until my recent trip to Ladakh last month, I hadn’t seen it either. As luck would have it, this time an overnight stay at Jispa was in our itinerary. We could have pressed on the pedal and skipped it altogether but I am glad that we didn’t, it would have been a mistake. Here are my thoughts on why this little town should be on your map.
Incredible Scenic Beauty
Most travelers visit Ladakh in lure of its amazing landscape and virgin beauty. And rightfully so -Ladakh’s kaleidoscopic beauty is famed, a canvas of art where every turn on the road reveals a new sight, a new view and a new gasp of sigh. Jispa is the perfect point where every view meets – a picture perfect destination, nestled in the valley of lofty barren mountains, flanked by green trees and a gurgling Bhaga river flowing right besides the town. All the earth’s elements creating a beautiful symphony in this little destination – a perfect place for you to enjoy the beauty of nature and indulge in some long walks along the river.
Comfortable Stay Options
A key challenge with transit towns is that they don’t have good accommodations and are therefore skipped by travelers for lack of facilities. Jispa is lucky on that front and seems to have picked up a bit of attention from hotels & camping brands. The town offers decent to good options ranging from hotels to great camping sites. Hotel brands such as Ibex and Yak have 3 star properties located on the main Jispa road and are good stay options. We stayed at The Yak Hotel and found it clean, comfortable and efficient in service. Rooms were modern in amenities, including a TV (you won’t need it here) and hot water service. In case you prefer the ‘closer to nature’ approach, the town has quite a few camping sites. Some of the known tented accommodation names include Padma Lodge & Camp Jispa Journeys but that’s not all. There are also local camps for bikers and travelers who want to stay (on a budget) right next to the river, in their tents, gazing at the stars in the sky. We came across one such local camp, it was buzzing with bikers and they seem to be having a great time! The town has also small shops so getting any items of necessity isn’t an issue .
Yak Hotel and room picture:
Every traveler has a quest, a reason to travel. There isn’t a traveler that doesn’t have a reason for travel and if your reason is to explore different cultures and meet new people across the world, then a homestay is a good option to explore. Interestingly, for a town as little as this, Jispa does have quite a few homestay options and while we couldn’t stay in one, we saw many homestays and noticed how beautiful some of these homes were – their essence and beauty unaffected by the modern hotels standing right next to them. I did a bit of search and found a couple of them listed online – Riverview Homestay, Greenland Camp and Homestay and Padma Lodge but I recommend talking to a local friend or guide to check more local options. A definite tick for next year.
Overall, our time at Jispa flew and we wished we could stay longer to see the Jispa Rural Museum (where you can see how the people of Tod Valley lived years ago) and the local Monastery but we had to move on and I guess that’s okay because I knew I would be coming back to Jispa, next year, same time.
PS: Trivia on Jispa:
Jispa (elevation 3,200 m or 10,500 ft) is a village in Lahaul, in Himachal Pradesh. Jispa is located 20 km north of Keylong and 7 km south of Darcha, along the Manali-Leh Highway and the Bhaga river. There are approximately 20 villages between Jispa and Keylong. The village has a helipad, a post office, a monastery and a small folk museum. Jispa is a BSNL network area only which means you need to have a BSNL number to make & receive calls (Vodafone or Airtel don’t work here.)