Into the Land of Lamas, adventures and mysteries - SPITI VALLEY
Have you heard about a 600-year-old mummy preserved and with teeth and hair on its head, in the coldest and one of the remote, isolated village in the Indian Himalayas? The valley with some hidden treasures of Indian history & spiritualism? Let's take a walk into the Land of Lamas, adventures, and mystery!
Spiti means "The middle land". The land between Tibet and India. Spiti valley possesses a distinctive Tibetan Buddhist culture similar to that found in Tibet and Ladakh region of India. The valley is summer home to hundreds of semi-nomadic Gaddi sheep and goat herders and it is the 4th least populous district in India.
This valley is home to some of the oldest monasteries (Tabo, Sherkhang, and Dhankar- all around 1000 years old), highest motorable villages in Asia (Langza and Komic), the highest post office in the world (Hikkim), ancient and intact culture and simple people.
ABOUT OUR TRIP WITH PHOTOGRAPHERS OF INDIA. :
It is not every day that you make a decision to visit a place where the temperature is dropping by -15 to -20 degrees. With 20 different travelers, you have never met before. I always wanted to visit Spiti Valley but I didn't know that this trip will leave me so ecstatic. So last month we finally tagged along 'Photographers of India' for their trip to Frozen Spiti.
It was a 7 days long trip and we covered some remarkable places traveling through some really astounding views.
OUR ITINERARY OF 7 DAYS:
Day 1: Delhi - Shimla - Rampur
Rampur is 460km from Delhi. It is a transit destination on the Shimla - Sangla - Kinnaur - Spiti Valley Route and it lies on NH-22 (Hindustan Tibet Road). So it was a good decision to take our first-day break here. There is not much to see in Rampur except the beautiful Satluj river that flows right across the village.
Day 2: Rampur - Tabo
We started really early for Tabo as Tabo is 230 km from Rampur. Took a stop at GYU for lunch and by late afternoon we had reached Tabo. Tabo is a small town in the Lahaul and Spiti district. The town lies on the road between Rekong Peo and Kaza. It was our stay for the 2nd night. Tabo will always stay as the most special part of this trip. As we were about to reach Tabo, it started snowing and it snowed all night long. And we woke up to the most beautiful views of snow covered mountains!
DAY 3: TABO - DHANKAR VILLAGE - PIN VALLEY NATIONAL PARK - KAZA
We started from Tabo in the morning. We then visited Dhankar village and Pin Valley national park and finally came to our hotel where we stayed for next three days in Kaza.
Dhankar was the traditional capital of the Spiti Valley Kingdom during the 17th century and has some features dating back to the 12th century. Dhang means cliff, and kar means fort. Hence, Dhankar means fort on a cliff. It was the place of the early ruler of Spiti, the Nonos.
The last picture is with the kids we met at Dhankar village who were playing cricket and hence very gladly we joined their teams.
PIN VALLEY NATIONAL PARK:
With its sub-zero temperatures and semi-frozen rivers, Pin Valley is the only cold desert National Park located in Himachal Pradesh. The park lies in the valley of the Pin river, from where it derives its name.
DAY 4: LANGZA - HIKKIM - KOMIC
LANGZA: At the altitude of 4200 meters, Langza is on the highland meadows with snow-capped mountain ranges forming the backdrop. The village is adorned with a beautiful statue of Buddha and an ancient temple more aptly called ‘Lang’ said to be the Abode of the Deities of the region and over 1000 years old. The beautiful peak of Chau Chau Kang Nilda makes the view of this village even more beautiful.
KOMIC: One of the highest motorable villages in the world
In Komic, there are only about a dozen houses with the total population being between 50-60 people. Other than this, there are the Lamas staying at the monastery throughout the year. The most interesting part is to imagine people living at such an altitude where mobile phones don’t work, the climate is harsh, there is no source of basic amenities and the village is completely cut- off from the rest of the world during the winters due to snow from November to March.
The first image in above gallery is clicked by Abhijeet Bawaskar. You can follow him for some more amazing photography here.
HIKKIM: It is one of the highest year-round inhabited locations in India. A 40-minute uphill drive from the town of Kaza in Spiti valley for 14km and one will reach the village of Hikkim. This place houses the highest post office in the world.
DAY 5: KI MONASTERY, KIBBER, CHICHAM
Our last day in Kaza started with Ki Monastery. The place I was really excited for and the place from where I came back with few more questions!
Ki Monastery: Ki Monastery was established by a Buddha’s Disciple named Drompton in the 11th century. The Monastery specializes in certain specific subjects like sadhana, Buddha-hood, Cosmology, and Physiology and is the most frequent religious destinations for the Buddhists in the state along with the Tabo.
KIBBER: Kibber is a small and beautiful village few kilometers from the Ki Monastery. If you are lucky, you can spot Snow leopard here as it sightings have been known to happen in surrounding areas. We spotted Himalayan Ibex, Red Fox, and Lynx. There are few guesthouses too so you can also plan your overnight stay here.
These stunning images of Kibber are clicked by Pavneet Singh. You can check his work here.
CHICHAM: the Chicham Bridge is said to be the World's highest bridge from sea level at 4.037m. This new suspension stiffened steel truss bridge coming up over the 1000 feet gorge and connecting Kibber with Chicham village over Samba Lamba Nallah on Kiato Chicham Kibber road.
We returned to our hotel in Kaza by late afternoon. After having lunch, few of us went to Kaza market for shopping.
DAY 6: ALL OUR BAGS ARE PACKED AND WE ARE READY TO GO
After spending the most amazing 3 days in Spiti it was time to say Good Bye to those snow-clad mountains, to those skies full of stars. So we started from Spiti valley in morning and reached back to Rampur around Dinner time.
DAY 7: I AM GOING BACK TO THE START - REACHED SHIMLA AND THEN BACK TO DELHI!
My trip to Spiti ended and i was so full of emotions that even i didn't know what i was feeling in that moment. I was teary eyed for saying goodbye to my wonderful fellow travelers, I was anxious for coming back to city, I was numb while looking at the full moon from my bus to Delhi, I was happy deep inside that i did this! People often ask me why can't i stay at home and settle down for a bit? I do not have any answer for that. Is this the answer worth giving? Will they understand it?
We hope our blog will help you in planning your trip to Spiti Valley really soon. We love to read your comments on our pictures and your motivational messages in our inbox. If you would like to collaborate with us please drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
OM MANI PADME HUM.