About Tabo Village
The Tabo Monastery is among the major attractions of Spiti Valley, which was established a long time ago around 996AD. Interestingly, it also turns out to be the year of Fire Ape according to the Tibetan Calendar.
Tabo Monastery is among the greatest preserves of the Tibetan Buddhism. So much so, it used to host scholars and monks; to date, it is an important center for preserving Buddhist literature and teachings in the Himalayan region. It hosts a load of ancient Buddhist Manuscripts, not only in Spiti but in the world. The Monastery itself can be divided into 9 Temples, and it boasts 23 Chortens with the walls of the monastery painted with pictures of Buddha in his different forms. Some of the paintings are painted in the Kashmiri style, showing the widespread Buddhist culture in the Kashmir region during their rule.
How to reach Tabo Village
There are two ways through which one can reach Tabo: One route is through Manali and is the shortest one but it gets closed by October in the winter season. Another route is through Shimla from Kinnaur side.
Shimla to Tabo Village
When coming to Tabo from the Shimla side, you’ll have to catch the Shimla to Kaza Bus from Shimla ISBT at 6:00 AM, which will drop you off at Reckong Peo by evening. The next day, you’ll have to catch the bus to Kaza from Reckong Peo at 7:00 AM. You can get down at Tabo from the bus or go to Kaza and then proceed towards Tabo.
Manali to Tabo Village
You can reach Tabo from Manali via the Manali to Kaza bus that runs in the morning at 5 AM and 5:30 AM, respectively. You will reach Kaza by 4:30 in the evening, giving you sufficient time to explore the village.The next day, you’ll have to catch the bus to Kaza from Reckong Peo at 7:00 AM. You can get down at Tabo from the bus or go to Kaza and then proceed towards Tabo.
Activities in Tabo Village
There is the Monastery which you can visit in Tabo, emanating high importance in Himalayan Buddhism, and then there are Caves in and around Tabo Village. The monks used to and sometimes still meditate in these caves to harden their resolve. These are a sight to see and imagine how it must have been several hundred years ago meditating in these caves.
Treks in Tabo Village
Like I said, the caves around Tabo serve as a very good spot for a day hike, as you can explore various caves and see their architecture, perhaps mediate in one. I saw the caves the first time when I was coming from Mudh towards Kaza. Man, there are so many caves all around, it just blows your mind to be in one of them.
Camping in Tabo Village
Like all the villages around Spiti, you can always camp near the village. Just make sure you are not polluting any water source because villagers drink water from those sources. Bury your biowaste deep in the ground and carry non-biodegradable waste along with you till Chandigarh.
You can also trek near the village if you ask the villagers for permission and pay the owner of the land a little sum of money. You can also talk about using the toilet and outsourcing food from them.