Spiti-Heaven on earth
Travel was not always on my mind. As much I remember, I never wanted to explore and travel this much before. And it started one fine day and continuing till today.
So this time the place was Spiti- The Middle land, The land of lamas, Little Tibet. You call by any name but for me, it is and will be Spiti-The Heaven on earth. After seeing the hidden beauty of spiti, I wished if there was any word that could justify the beauty of this place. Beautiful, Magnificient, fascinating, or captivating were no more justifying my feelings.
So we started this way-
We started from Delhi and took overnight Volvo for Manali. From Manali, we started our journey for the Land of lamas.
Day 1: Manali to Kaza–
Journey to Kaza started early in the morning. Enroute this way you will come across a lot of beautiful mountain ranges. The journey is going to be 11 to 12 hours on road but believes me, you won’t regret sacrificing your sleep. Travel to spiti is more about the journey and not only the destination. The entire route passes through some of the most amazing landscapes. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the road.
So our first stop was at MARHI 11,400 feet for breakfast. The entire place is surrounded by snow-capped mountain ranges. We spotted a small stupa nearby and walked till there, to get this beautiful fog covered view of the valley.
We then crossed ROHTANG pass, mountain ranges were blanketed with clouds. The next halt at was CHATRU, it is a small village having a population of 120. There are few other shops as well for eating, however more than food your focus will always be on the surrounding landscapes.
For lunch, we stopped at the famous Chachi Chandra Dhaba at Batal. We had dal rice and kadhi rice here. It is must to be check-out place on this route.
The next halt was at KUNZUM PASS. The pass is a treat to the eyes, being surrounded with mighty snow-capped mountain ranges. People believe Kunzum Mata dwells in the temple and protect us from all evil forces. We stopped here for parikrama. One thing you cannot just miss on the entire trip is Buddhist prayer flags, flying high with the wind.
Further, on the route, we crossed some of the phenomenal landscapes. I had never seen anything such beautiful and believe me you will say the same. As rightly said don’t believe what they say, go and see it.
Entering Spiti, the first village we crossed was LOSAR 13,400 feet above sea level. Houses here are made up of mud to maintain warmth and are painted in white. The roof corners are covered with husk and tree leaves in order to prevent damage during the snow. Not to mention it is one of the chilliest villages in the spiti region and has a population of 242.
We reached Kaza by evening. It is the largest village in Spiti. We explored the market and tried authentic momos and thukpa. There was a monastery just behind our hotel ‘Sakya Abode’ where we could see young lamas in their red bottoms and jackets on the top. People here lead a very simple life and will welcome you with warm hearts.
Day 2: Tabo and Gue
Today we had two destinations to cover – Tabo monastery and Gue village. Gue village of spiti is known for the mummy of a lama, India’s only Natural Mummy. It is around 500 years old and still intact with teeth and skin. Villagers once in a year gather to cut the nails and hairs, yes they grow, though very little but yes.
Monastery adjacent to Mummy house-
Another village of spiti we entered was Tabo. Tabo monastery is around more than 1000 years old monastery and also has a newer version of it built adjacent to the old one. There is no artificial light allowed inside the monastery as it could damage the paintings drawn on the walls. Among all the Buddhas framed on the walls,6 had already received the enlightenment, and hence the circle around their images was huge than the other ones.
In front of each god image, we can see a few bowls of water kept. Monks change this water before sunrise and sunset. The reason being keeping the water is, rich can offer anything to god be it gold, money but a poor can offer water which is purest of them all. Read more about the famous monasteries of spiti.
Day 3:- Hikkim, Komic, Langza, Key and Kibber
Today we started visiting a few villages of spiti and trying to know more about the Spitian culture. The First village we reached was Langza altitude of 4400 meters. This place has a huge Lord Buddha structure overlooking the entire valley. Also down we can see the beautiful mud houses painted in white. We walked down to get a closer look at these typical langza homes.
Next, we head to Hikkim at an altitude of 4440 m, this place has the highest post office in the world. The post office is inside a small home. You can buy a postcard and post it to your loved ones. More I explored spiti passing through different villages, more I was falling in love with this heaven on earth.
Next stop was at komic-world’s highest village in spiti connected with motorable road .
We also visited Tangyud Monastery. The monastery was really good and had paintings all over the walls. They had red carpets put all over the place where monks sit and do chants and prayers. In the other monastery, girls were not allowed so we just stayed back till other people visited the place.
The entrance of this monastery welcomes you with the preserved body of snow leopard hanging. The leopard was killed by villagers as it entered their houses long back.
Front view of Monastery-
We then had lunch at world’s highest restaurant which served us tea, magi and momos, not all days you can have maggi at highest village in the world right !!!!
The next stop for us was Kibber village and key monastery. Kibber village is 4270 meters and is no less beautiful than any other village in spiti. The village has around 80 houses, unique, given that they are made of stone instead of mud or adobe brick used extensively elsewhere in the Spiti valley.
Kibber has a civil dispensary, a high school, a post office, a telegraph office, and a community TV set in the village, every house here is built in the same way and creates quite a picture-some landscape. Most of the houses here offer homestays and act as a source of income for them.
We further head to key monastery. We had to walk a lot uphill to reach the monastery which is the difficult task here due to altitude.
Interesting Facts—Prayer wheel is a cylindrical wheel and has chant books rolled and kept inside. When we move a wheel we say those many chants at a time which one cannot recall and say verbally. One who is literate or illiterate can in this way say the chants. So bigger the prayer wheel more number of the chants we are saying by moving them. The wheel is always moved in a clockwise direction.
Day 4:Kaza to chandratal-Lake of moon
Chandratal Lake, Spiti –It took us 6 to 7 hours to reach Moon lake or Chandra Taal. Enroute we halted at LOSSAR village for the lunch. From the parking area designated for the lake, one had to walk a km in order to reach the lake. We were tired but the view at the end made worth it.Can u just imagine surrounded with snow-capped mountains, is a greenish and bluish shade lake.
First view of lake seen:
The entire lake parikrama is around 4 km. The view from each and every part is just mesmerizing. Sun was casting its shadow on the mountains, making them look more beautiful. Mountains were calling and were already madly in love with them.
Campsites are 2 km from the lake, We stayed at Parasol camps,chandrataal. It was a deluxe tent with proper rooms, one double bed, and one single with proper washroom facilities. By the evening temperature started dropping and we were almost shivering, Camps had great arrangements from stay to food.
Next day we head back to Manali.
Leaving Spiti was not easy and still, when I close my eyes I see those lonely mountains, barren land, monasteries and can feel the peace bestowed upon me by nature’s magic. The only sound we could listen on the roads of spiti was of wind, prayer chants, and own heartbeats.
Sign board justifies the entire trip –Love Spiti <3 ….Alifetimetrip……
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