The capital of Spiti, Kaza sits on the eroded flood plain of the Spiti River and is the biggest settlement you’ll encounter in this empty corner of the state. Still, it’s relatively small, feeling like a frontier town with an easygoing pace. The setting is wonderfully rugged – jagged mountains rise on either side and the river coils across the valley floor like twisted locks of Medusa’s hair. The colourful new Sakya Gompa dominates the high road in New Kaza – where the town’s administrative centre is located – while the ramshackle bazaar and whitewashed buildings of Old Kaza spread out on the other side of the stream that divides the town.
Most people stay at least one night to arrange the inner line permit for travel beyond Tabo. Kaza is also the starting point for trips to Ki Gompa and Kibber and treks into the mountains. Spiti Holiday Adventure organises all-inclusive treks from two to nine days, as well as jeep safaris and monastery tours, and is a good place for travel information.
The bus and jeep stand is below the bazaar in the old village. The bazaar pretty much closes down on Sundays.
In August, villagers from across Spiti descend on Kaza for the Ladarcha Fair. All sorts of goods are bought and sold and traders wear their finest clothes.