The dreamland of Spiti.
Spiti Valley is a magical world of sights. Many have written extensively about Spiti Valley many times. Some of these writings brought Spiti to mind when I thought about Himalayan travel. As it is not possible to stay away from the office and home for a long time, the trip was planned in a very short time. My colleagues Nissamuddin and Anoop joined the journey from Thiruvananthapuram. Flight tickets from Thiruvananthapuram to Delhi and back were booked well in advance.
On 9th June 2018 at around 4 PM left Delhi Airport and took a taxi to Kashmiri Gate ISBT. went to The bus from Delhi to Shimla was not pre-booked. Most of the buses were full so I was worried about getting a ticket. Finally got a seat in a deluxe bus leaving at 9 pm. Reached Shimla at 6 am on the 10th and took a room that day and stayed there and toured the important places in Shimla. Reached the hotel and arranged the vehicle and rooms for the onward journey with the help of the travel desk. Landslides at the pass on the Kasa Manali route foiled the plan to reach Manali from Shimla via the Rothang pass via Kasa. So the trip was planned in such a way that starting from Shimla and going to Chandrathal via Kalpa, Nako, Tabo, and Kasa and returning to Shimla by seeing Sankla and Chitkul.
At 8 am on the 11th, a driver named Om Prakash Sharma arrived with the vehicle. At 8.30 we started our journey to our dream world. Kufri site-seeing was included in our plan but due to time constraints, we abandoned the horse ride up the hill and continued towards our first destination Kalpa. The driver drove quite fast. From Shimla down to the banks of the river Sutlej. Then the journey was along the banks of the Sutlej river. The Sutlej flows beneath the mighty hills on one side and deep gorges on the other. Each of the hills has a different nature, composed of slate stone, granite, limestone, and smooth pebbles and silt, in some places mounds reminiscent of various sizes of metal piled up from a metal crusher. Clearing of landslides and widening of roads is underway in many places.
Kalpa is a picturesque place surrounded by lush green plantations near Rekong Peo, the headquarters of Kinnavur district in Himachal Pradesh. From there you can see snow-capped hills and Kinder Kailash in the distance.
The hotel we stayed at in Kalpa is surrounded by apple orchards. It is full of unripe apples. Also, plants such as walnuts, apricots, and cherries are also grown. He wandered around that evening and the next morning. When I came out after drinking coffee in the morning, I saw TV standing next to the shop. A plant that has been seen in the news and so on has been noticed. He asked the young men who were there and confirmed that it was ganja. In the morning we traveled through the rugged paths of Kalpa and returned to the small town on the banks of the Sutlej where we saw the suicide point and continued our journey up the river bank.
Nako is our next target. As we went up, the greenery on both sides became less and less. Many landscapes were changing. While going further, he left the banks of the Sutlej River and continued his journey along the banks of the Spiti River. On both sides of the road, you can see rock fragments that have fallen off from the mountains. As we went up, the snow-capped mountains that we saw around us were coming closer and closer. One of the most difficult roads in the world is the route from Shimla to Kanavur via Kinavur. Reached a small village called Nako around half past two. Nako is a beautiful village. Adjacent to the village is the Nako lake and the shrine. In the evening I walked around and saw everything there.
Waking up at six o’clock in the morning and walking around, the sight I saw was a grandmother who looked more than 100 years old and was going to the field with tools. Later, after some time, they were seen working in the nearby field. One of the important things observed in Himalayan villages is that women are engaged in most of the work.
After breakfast, we continued our journey towards our main destination, Casa. Spiti river gets wider as it goes up. Spent some time in Tabo, a village midway to Casa. Most villages have primary health centers, schools, and veterinary hospitals. From the road to Kasa, travel uphill for 7 kms and reach Dhankar Fort. The fort and the village built between the rocks will leave anyone in awe. From there the journey continued and reached the Casa. The Casa is the headquarters of the Spiti district and all the necessary facilities are available in the Casa.
Spiti river flows very flat in Kasa. Tents are available for tourists in the river basin. After reaching the hotel, we went back to see Key Buddha Viharam and Kibar Village. Key Buddha Vihara, also known as Key Gompa, is the largest Buddhist temple in Spiti Valley. This Buddhist temple was built in the 11th century. It is also a learning center for lamas. It is located at an altitude of 4166 meters above sea level.
Kiber is a village situated at an altitude of 4270 meters above sea level. Like any village in the Spiti Valley, agriculture is the main source of income. Going up from there you will reach Chicham Bridge which is the highest vehicular bridge. This bridge is located more than a thousand feet above the river bed. This bridge connects the villages of Kibar Chicham with each other. We returned to the room late at night.
The next day at 6 o’clock in the morning we left to see Chandrathal Lake. went up along the banks of the river Spiti. Both sides of the road are very beautiful. On the way, we could see some beautiful villages. At an altitude of 4590 meters above sea level, one has to cross the Kunzum pass and descend to reach Chandrathal lake. From Kunsumpass, one has to travel 15 km through a narrow and rugged road to reach Chandra Tal Lake. Our vehicle reached the base camp three kilometers before the lake with great difficulty. From there he walked to see the Chandra Tal lake. A beautiful small green lake surrounded by snowy mountains. There are very beautiful scenery around the lake. After spending some time there, I went back to the vehicle. On the way back, some vehicles got stuck in a rocky stream and the journey was delayed for about two hours. So he returned to the hotel room at Casa around 11 pm.
On the 15th, the return journey started at seven o’clock in the morning. On our way back we stay at a place called Sangla. About 15 km from the banks of river Sutlej, Sangla is a village full of pine trees. We passed Sangla village and reached Chitkul village known as the last inhabited village on India China border. The traditional old buildings and other things that were seen there created many beautiful pictures in the mind. Couldn’t spend much time there because it was raining. Back to Sangla’s room.
We returned to Shimla around 7 am on the 16th. It was raining in Shimla. Spent some time there with Mallrod and Ridge. After seeing Jakku temple and giant statue of Hanuman in a taxi, came back to Shimla bus stand and left for Delhi.
Traveller – Shijukalluvila
Photo Credit : ShijuKalluvila