Langza: The Himalayan Village that is known for Fossils of Marine Animals - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Langza: The Himalayan Village that is known for Fossils of Marine Animals

Langza village - of fossils, rich history, snow capped mountains and more

Imagine this. A high altitude village in the Western Himalayas of India that is made up of a small group of people living in Tibetan styled mud and stone houses and who are surrounded by snow capped mountains and the rolling hills of the mighty Himalayas. Now, imagine their mountainous land being the home to a rich array of fossils of marine animals and plants from millions of years ago. Sounds impossible right?

Well, such a village exists at an altitude of 4400 metres above MSL in the high Himalayas of Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh. This village called Langza is a picturesque village that lies at the base of the Chau Chau Kang Nilda peak and that is just made up of a few hundred people.

Bird's eye view of Langza village and the snow capped mountains

The interesting thing is that Langza and most of Spiti valley was under the ancient Tethys sea many millions of years ago and it was home to many ancient marine flora and fauna. The entire mountain landscape that we see today was all under a huge ocean before the tectonic plates shifted leading to the Indian subcontinent shifting itself from Africa and banging against the Eurasian continent. And which led to the birth of the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau.

Today, the Tethys ocean is no more, but the fossils of these ancient marine animals still exist in and around Langza and quite possibly other parts of Spiti valley too. All you need to have is a keen eye to spot these fossils or take the help of a knowledgeable local.

Road to Langza in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh

It doesn’t matter whether you are a trekker, a bicyclist, a motorcyclist, anthropology lover, mountain lover or just a good ‘ol tourist, this remote high altitude village of Himachal Pradesh is bound to bowl you over. It’s ancient monastery, its friendly citizens, its high altitude lakes (Chumo Tso and Tsonyeti) and other umpteen treks, its green pastures, its snow capped peaks, its rich wildlife including the elusive snow leopard and its many fossil trails are bound to keep you captivated. Do remember to pack for the sharp mountain sun and for cold nights to have a ball of a time at Langza.

Motorcycling in the high mountains of Spiti

How to get here:

The nearest airport would be Kullu international airport. From here, the route to Langza would be via Manali –> Rohtang pass –> Tandi –> Gramphoo –> Kunzum pass –> Kaza and –> Langza. Local buses, taxis or self drive vehicles are your best bets.

The other more popular airport would be Chandigarh. And the route to Langza from here would be Chandigarh –> Shimla –> Recong Peo –> Nako –> Tabo –> Dhankar –> Kaza –> Langza. This route takes you through the heart of Kinnaur and Spiti valley. The route can be long, but the experience will be remarkable.

Best season to go:

Langza is open all year round. Winters can be extremely cold. Summers are the best time to visit, but if you can handle the cold, try late autumn to early winter so that you enjoy the lack of crowds and the apple season.

Key things to keep in mind:

1) Most of these areas are high altitude places with low oxygen. Do plan for AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) and ascend gradually.

2) Some of the high mountain passes can be blocked due to bad roads. Do check the status of roads before starting on your journey.

3) Buying or possessing fossils is illegal in India.

Extremely scenic mountain village of Langza in Spiti, Western Himalayas

Other attractions nearby:

1) Komic – the highest village in the world connected by a motorable road at 4,587 metres

2) Kibber – a high altitude village known for its stone houses and easy access to snow leopards

3) Hikkim – home to the highest post office in the world at 14, 400 feet

4) Ki Monastery – located at 4,166 metres, it is the biggest monastery of Spiti valley

5) Kaza – the largest town and the headquarters of Spiti valley

6) Kunzum La – At 4, 551 m, it is a high mountain range in the eastern Kunzum range of the Himalayas

7) Chandra Taal Lake – A magical family camping destination in the Himalayas

8) Dhankar – the prettiest village of Spiti

9) Pin Valley National Park – A remote national park known for its high mountains, unique flora and fauna and medicinal plants

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