A traditional homestay in Langza Village in Lahaul-Spiti, Himachal Pradesh
Langza is one of the most scenic locales in the beautful and still relatively less touristy Lahaul-Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh. Poised at the base of the Chau Chau Kang Nalda (CCKN) Peak, this tiny village of under 150 people is one of the highest villages, at a height of 14,500ft, that can be reached by motarable road. It is also the location of one of the larger outdoor Buddha statues, which is believed to be 1,000 years old, and nearby is a fossil park where travellers can still spot fossils from the Triassic–Jurassic era!
Here, set amidst fields of barley and peas, is the Banjara Camps & Retreats supported Langza Homestay, which is the family home of Langza native and resident Lara.
Years ago Langza had a few basic homestays that were used by hardened mountain travellers. However, to offer more comfortable accommodation especially to families with kids Lara turned a part of his family home into a homestay in 1994. In 2017, the homestay was expanded and refurbished to make it a much more comfortable place to stay with modern amenities.
Lara’s family is among the oldest families to settle here. They are Spitian Bhots, a community with Tibetan ancestry that is indigenous to Spiti. Lara, his wife and their two daughters and a son live in the homestay.
The homestay offers five comfortable rooms for guests, along with common spaces like kitchen, traditional and modern dining areas and a meditation room. Guests can experience local village living and help the hosts in the kitchen (and learn some local cooking in the process) and in the fields, where traditional manual and animal-based farming is still practiced. The homestay is a good base for short explorations and excursions. Short hikes in the village and to nearby sights like the Buddha statue, the Fossil Park and the local temple are easily arranged as are longer hikes to the nearby Hikkim and Komic villages. Treks to the Chau Chau Kang Nalda (CCKN) Base Camp and Peak and to the high altitude lakes of Tso Nyeti and Chumo Tso are also organised. A few potters here still practice the traditional Zama pottery art and guests at the homestay can interact with them.
However, one of the most amazing experiences is star gazing here with the Milky Way clearly visible with the naked eye. For city dwellers living in smoke filled cities, the chance to see a pollution free night sky filled with twinking stars might just be the most moving experience here.
Price: Rs 2,450 per room per night; breakfast, lunch and dinner and morning and evening tea or coffee cost Rs 900 per person per night
The Langza Homestay is part of a large mud house built entirely in the traditional architectural style of Spiti. The owner and his family reside here and manage the homestay. Traditional everyday food cooked by the family in the household kitchen is shared with the guests in the traditional dining area of the home (a modern dining room is also available for those who cannot manage floor seating). Guests at the homestay are encouraged/allowed to help in the food preparation and learn recipes of the local dishes. The homestay uses solar panels to take care of lighting, charging sockets and water heating. All the rooms and the dining areas have traditional heating. All bio-waste is composted and drain water is channeled into the fields. The homestay tries to limit the use of disposable/single-use plastic and encourages guests to use RO purified drinking water.