SPITI- Painted out of a fairytale
Disclaimer- No photos, no words, no videos can capture the beauty of this perfectly sketched valley. Your eyes are your best camera in Spiti!
Curious to experience the beauty ,I decided to take my first community trip which was with a group of 20 people coming from different places.
Time of travel : June 2019
Our itinerary looked something like
Delhi to Jibhi is around 14 hours of Journey and the moment Himachal welcomes you with beautiful streams of water , you will forget all the fatigue of travel.
Our stay was arranged at Jibhi camps and cottages with a tasty and hot brunch.
The best part about mountains and valleys is that you just need to start walking to any part of it. Every sight is unique in itself. Ans so we started walking to the Jibhi waterfall and spent rest of the evening dipping our feet at the beautiful river front.
There are some hidden cafes when you keep walking along the river. Ask the locals for it.
Next destination was Chitkul where we stayed at Ibex Camps. And what a beautiful view this place had to offer us! The snow-clad peaks and the sky decorated with constellations was like scenery out of the childhood sketches. Believe me it is the perfect open sky to just star gaze the entire night with bonfire.
After an amazing night it was time to head to Nako which is almost 8 hours of journey. The places are far away in the valley but the beautiful and adventurous terrain will not let you get your eyes off. One moment it is the green fields, the other moment it is different shades of the desert.
Crossing the Sangla valley and after taking a lot of pit stops due to landslides, we reached Nako village at the perfect time of just before the sunset. We quickly headed out to take a stroll in the village and experience the sunset at Nako lake. If you are interested in experiencing the morning prayer at Nako Monastery, it starts sharp at 8 am. You can ask any questions to the monk and he will be happy to answer them.
We got on to our vehicles to reach Kaza after visitng the Tabo and Dhankar monasteries on the way.
Kaza is a town full of cafes and shopping centres. The cafes were surprisingly crowded with waiting time, so we found this small hidden gem called Shelying Food corner in the market. It is run by a humble couple and every dish on the menu is finger licking good. We liked it so much that it became our go to place for all the meals while we were in Kaza.
There are a lot of shops in Kaza if you want to buy anything , so get your bargaining skills in action.
Our next day was a typical tourist day which looked like
Keeh Monastery’s prayer hall is closed for the visitors post lunch, so take care of your arrival time. The monastery is definitely beautiful, but what stayed with me is the taste of herbal tea and the tasty biscuits served here. Do not miss them at all.
Many people do not know that there are statues of 3 chiefs just when you walk down the monastery. Do go there to get an amazing view of the monastery .
Lang Za is a perfect place to let the feeling of valley sink in . And Hikkim is another experience of going back to writing postcards to your loved ones.
Each postcard costs RS 35 as of June 2019 and stamps will be charged according to the destination of your cards. There is a book kept in case you want to dig out the PIN codes. Go ahead and buy some because the postman here actually walks all the way and this is the main source of earning for them.
And that brought us to the last destination- Kalpa. Such a pretty small village. Take a walk to the suicide point, sit at random spots and just absorb the experience of SPITI. It is a fact that no matter how many pictures you click or videos you record, only the FEELING of SPITI will stay with you.
The experience of sunrise of Kalpa Kinnaur range is sheer magic. It is an experience highly recommended. Do check the time of sunrise and experience the peaks lighting up one by one.
It is an experience no words can express truly, no photos can capture the absolute beauty of the surprises the desert has to offer, no videos can capture the happiness you will feel in the breeze of SPITI.
Some points to help you for the Trip:
- Mountain Sickness is real. Make sure you carry medicines and give your body enough time to acclimatize.
- Even in June good winter clothing was required. Be clad to enjoy your trip.
- Take your water bottles along and refill at the water streams.
- Restrooms are a disappointment. So make sure you utilize the facility wherever they are usable.
- Carrying dry snacks is a MUST. You will not find too many restaurants or dhabas. Snacks come handy.
- Always keep some buffer when planning the trip. Landslides are very common and you can never anticipate how much time will it take to reach your destination
- Do not be in a hurry to check off the points. SPITI is all about the rides and drives. Embrace the experience.
- Comfortable footwear is a MUST.
- Cafes / food points close early in the valley. So be mindful of the time.
- Respect the restrictions of monasteries and do not click pictures with the monks without permission.
- Collect the plastic waste and bring it back to the city to dispose off Waste disposal is a major challenge in the valley.
It is a magical experience and all the hype for SPITI is true to every word. You have to be there to experience it.
I hope some day I will go back to the valley to experience its majesty during winters.