Shopping in Kaza: Kaza Market in Spiti

 In Places To Visit, Shopping, Spiti, Travel

Spiti Valley is the most sought-after destination amongst backpackers, adventure seekers and people who love to go on road trips to offbeat and remote places. In recent times, Spiti Valley is witnessing tremendous growth in the tourism and hospitality sector which is helping the valley develop and prosper.

The valley of Spiti is cut off from the mainland for more than 6 months and is only accessible during the summer months between May and September. Tucked in between Tibet and India, Spiti Valley bears a stark similarity to Tibet in its way of life, food habits and culture. It is also to a great extent influenced by Hinduism. Hence we can say that Spiti Valley is a melting pot of cultures and has paved a unique Tibetan Hinduism which is an assimilation of both Tibet and India, just like its name Spiti, or Piti, which means ‘The middle land’.

It is quite astonishing that the cold desert that Spiti has so much to offer and the locals out here are one of the most hospitable indigenous people in the world! It is just amazing how much they face in their everyday lives and yet still they always carry a smile and open their doors and arms to everyone.

Kaza, situated at an altitude of 3650 m, is not only the largest town in Spiti Valley but also the sub-divisional headquarters. Known to be the last point where you will get access to a petrol pump and ATMs in Spiti Valley, it also has an array of hotels, luxurious stays, amazing restaurants and cafes and shopping markets!

Places for Shopping in Kaza

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The town of Kaza is divided into old which is known as Kaza Khas and new, known as Kaza Soma. The new Kaza has all the administrative buildings and Government offices, whereas the old Kaza town has all other tourist attractions and amenities. Kaza being the centre of the district, is the most convenient place to make your base while visiting Lahaul-Spiti Valley. Komik Village, Langza Village, Hikkim Village and Demul Village, these are all located within 20 km from Kaza and you can cover these villages in a day trip. 

Most tourists visit Spiti for the trekking routes that the district has to offer. Some of the popular treks are Spiti Valley Trek, Pin Valley National Park Trek, Chandratal Trek, Dhankar Lake Trek, Hampta Pass Trek, and Kanamo Trek to name a few. You might also visit the Sakya Tangyud Monastery and Key Monastery which are two of the most significant Monasteries in Spiti Valley.

Kaza is known for its colorful festivals and the ancient Sakya Tangyud Monastery, which is located 14km away from here. It is a popular destination amongst tourists and adventure seekers during the summer months because of its central location and connections to the rest of the valley and the mainland.

Shopping in Kaza Market is yet another exciting tourist attraction where you will find pure woolen shawls, fleece shawls, silver trinket jewelry, Buddhist prayer flags, statues, souvenirs, Buddhist thangka paintings and murals, a range of local handicrafts, bone china crockeries, etc. While Shopping in Kaza market you will also find some great options for food and local teas like Seabuckthorn, Apple, etc which are made from locally sourced ingredients.

One of the most unique things found in this place is the human thigh bones and skulls which are decorated out of gold and silver which are used for religious purposes. One of the best places for street shopping in Kaza.

Some of the popular places to find great food like momos, thukpa, noodles, etc in Kaza are

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  • Singey Food Corner– A roadside cafe run by some local women offers great food and service. Don’t go by its aesthetics and ambience, just try their food.
  • Cold Desert Cafe–  Amazing food options and some great hospitality. Definitely worth a try
  • Himalaya Cafe– The most popular and well known cafe in Spiti Valley, Himalayan Cafe is a one-stop destination for locals and tourists in Kaza. The cafe is the town’s local favourite. The staff is friendly, and the food is delicious. If you are in Kaza, this cafe is a must-visit.
  • Sol Cafe– A great initiative by Ecosphere Spiti, this cafe not only serves great food but also has an amazing warm ambience that you will absolutely love. They also sell souvenirs too.
  • Cafe Piti– The most amazing place to enjoy your dinner in Kaza. Friendly vibes, great food options and some stunning night views will sweep your feet away. 
  • Yak Cafe– This cafe in Kaza serves some of the most delicious food. The strategic location of the cafe allows tourists and locals to commute with ease. The place serves Continental, Tibetan and Chinese cuisines and has earned the title of the most renowned cafe in the area. 
  • Dragon Cafe– This cafe is situated right next to the Kaza Bus station. It serves Indian and Tibetan cuisines and is one of the most recommended places in town. The food is fantastic and the ambience is warm and welcoming. 
  • Taste of Spiti– One of the best Italian restaurants in Kaza, Taste of Spiti, is known for its pizzas. Vegetarians absolutely will love this place as there are a lot of options to choose from. The sandwiches and burgers are made from local bread and have a unique flavour. The staff is warm and interactive. Do try out their local pasta! 
  • Cafe Zomsa– Cafe Zomsa is a widely known cafe in Kaza that serves Indian and Italian cuisines. The quality of the food is great. The live music and the lively ambience is very welcoming and you will love the vibe out here.

Best time to shop in Kaza

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The summer months from June to September are the best time to visit Kaza as the temperatures are mild and comparatively bearable.Also the roads and routes to Kaza are accessible and clear. 

The market is open and everything around is pleasant during this time. However, since it is also the peak season, the market and its nearby areas do tend to get crowded during the evening hours when most tourists are generally back from their day trips exploring the Valley and are just hanging around to have dinner or shopping in Kaza market. 

Winter starts from the month of October in Spiti Valley and the temperatures in Kaza go very low and  there can be heavy snowfall too with some routes getting blocked while only the Shimla route remains open.

What are the popular items to buy in Kaza?

Some of the popular items for Shopping in Kaza are woollen shawls, clothes, silver jewelleries, bone china crockeries, Buddhist Thangkas and paintings, prayer flags, etc.

Where are the best shopping areas in Kaza?

Shopping in Kaza market is the best shopping area in Kaza.

Can I bargain while shopping in Kaza?

Prices are almost the same in most shops and regulated.

Are there any local specialties I should look out for?

You will find teas made out of locally sourced ingredients like sea buckthorn teas, apple teas, etc. Also, you will find buddhist thangkas, paintings and murals. 

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