Kibber is one of the high-altitude villages in the Spiti Valley, surrounded by barren mountains, and it is around 19 km away from Kaza. Kibber has a lot of lone standing sections that are held together by limestone. First of all, when it come to the route to the Kaza-Key-Kibber-Tashigang-Gete circuit, you can either cover all of them in one go or you can take your time and cover it in two days or more.
Kibber attracts people with a plethora of available excursions all across the year. During the summer season, you will find trekkers doing the Parang La trek, which is an ancient trans-Himalayan route that connects Ladakh and Spiti. Kanamo Peak trek can also be done from Kibber, also known as the highest trekkable summit in India after Stok Kangri in Ladakh.
If you are not into trekking, you can ask around in the village and perhaps go on a fossil hunt around the village. Kibber has recently gained popularity due to the increased influx of tourists to the village. It even has a PWD Guest House in the village along with multiple homestays.
How to Reach Kibber Village
You can reach Kibber from both the Manali side and the Shimla (Kinnaur) side because to reach in Kibber you’ll have to reach in Kaza which is the administrative headquarters of Spiti Valley. From Kaza there are various ways and means to get to Kibber; if you are coming from the Manali side you can get down at Kiato and wait there for a ride to hitch hike to Kibber. By the time you reach Kiato, the sun might not be shining as brightly as you want, making it difficult to get a ride till Kibber. But then, if you’re feeling adventurous you can try.
Shimla to Kibber
When coming to Kibber, via the Shimla route, you have to catch the Shimla to Kaza bus from the Shimla ISBT at 6:00 AM. This bus drops you off at Reckong Peo in the evening.
Next day, catch the bus to Kaza from Reckong Peo that departs at 7 AM and upon reaching Kaza, take the bus to the Kibber Village.
Kaza to Kibber
One can reach Kibber from Kaza via the state bus that travels from Kaza to Kibber , everyday at 5 PM. This bus goes till Chicham and on the next day, it follows Chicham-Kibber-Kaza route and leaves Chicham Village at 8 AM.
The bus service however is not functional in the winter season, owing to excess snow and black ice formation. During this time, it is sensible to hitch a ride to Kibber if you are alone. It requires a bit of patience but it is doable.
Shared taxis are available readily during the summer months but they become an inaccessible commodity or a scarce resource in the winter months. Most taxi drivers want you to hire the entire taxi to yourself, which is fine if you are travelling in a group, but if you are alone it becomes a tad bit expensive. So, hitchhiking is the way forward, in the winters at least.
Things to Do in Kibber Village
There are many fun-oozing as well as adventurous activities you can do in Kibber.
During this time, you can visit the Monastery, go on nearby treks such as Parang La or Kanamo Peak, or maybe go fossil hunting (if you know a geologist).
Winters are Here
Upon winter arrival, you can barely see anything in the mist of snow but hiking during this time allows photographers to capture scenic setting of the Spiti Valley or maybe even the Phantom of the Himalayas.
Parang La Trek
Parang La Trek is an ancient route that was frequented by the people of Ladakh and Spiti. They used to trade and come for pilgrimages in various monasteries in Ladakh or Spiti. It is a moderately difficult trek, only for people who have prior experience in high altitude trekking and they can their load with them. Trekking agencies gather great revenue from this trek. Parang La has a good glacier section, so you need to learn how to navigate in these regions.
Kanamo Peak Trek
Kanamo is situated at a height of 5974 m from the sea level. It is just 26 meters short of being a 6000 m peak, putting it in an elite group of mountain peaks. Anyways, it is a beautiful yet challenging trek with no technical sections, that is, the risk of falling off are lower.
It is considered a substitute for the famous Stok Kangri trek in Ladakh, which is the highest trekkable summit in India. Kanamo is a better option for the first timers because during the Summer Season you can reach the summit and come back to the village before nightfall.
After all this hype, it is hard to accept that due to some irresponsible trekking agencies and people, the Panchayat of Kibber has closed the trek after they found that the water source of the village was being polluted by illegal tourist activities. Similar actions were also taken in the case with Stok Kangri in Ladakh.
Snow Leopard Spotting in Kibber
In the winter season, snow leopards come down to the lower heights in search of prey, which also moves down to lower altitudes in search of food. Typically, a snow leopard’s prey would comprise of Blue Sheep or Himalyan Ibex.
Go to Kibber in the winters and you’ll be surprised to see many people are staying in Kibber just to get a glimpse of the Phantom of the Himalayas. Snow leopard spotting has become a business in Spiti, many camera traps are laid and sometimes, dead cattle are kept at the right places to lure the mystical animal out in the open just so that people can get a few pictures.
For money, tourists find it amusing than disturbing, where people who are not native to that area try to manipulate the lifestyle of an animal just to post some pictures on social media. If you are not a part of the conservation effort, you do not belong in that ecosystem.