A journey into Spiti will take you to timeless little villages, age old monasteries, stunning landscapes, mesmerizing lakes, treacherous roads, a different world! A world where life moves at its own sweet pace, where the kindest of people live in the harshest of conditions. ‘A place where the God lives’ as Rudyard Kipling had put it. Its a journey within as much as it is to another land. A journey you will never forget.
Hers’s a glimpse of this ‘world within a world’ through my lens:
Kicking off our road trip with a journey as beautiful as the destination.
Kalpa, an abode of nature’s untouched beauty. With its charming little market, lush apple orchards, stunning views of the Kinnaur Kailash range, chants from a Buddhist monastery and blessings from a Hindu Durga temple, it surely took my breath away!
A man from Hangrang valley waiting for his Rajma Chawal at a local Dhaba in Nako, while I sipped my honey lemon ginger tea and waited (without haste) for the roads to open up.
The owner (the little girl) of a food corner and her customer patiently watch television as they wait for the momos to steam. Love the laid-back life.
Four nuns sitting outside the monastery watching kids in the school across the road play kho kho and volleyball. And I just sit and marvel at the pace of life in the beautiful land that I am in.
The unspoiled, beautiful village of Nako, at an elevation of 3,625 meters, is the largest in Hangrang valley located at the border of the Kinnaur district with Spiti and Tibet. The prominent features are a lake and a monastery and like most villages in Spiti, it is small enough to be explored on foot.
The monastery of Giu or the background against which it is set. Can’t make up my mind about what was more stunning! The monastery was built to house a 500+ year old mummy of a monk believed to have meditated himself to death for the well being of the local people. A land of legends indeed!
Tibetan prayer wheels. Spinning such a wheel (always clockwise) is believed to have the same effect as orally reciting the prayers. Om mani padme hum.
The gorgeous Dhankar village. 3894 meters. Literally translating to fort (Kar) on a cliff (Dhang). The village was built more than a 1000 years ago and was the old capital of the valley.
“I never get tired of the blue sky”
The Key Monastery is the biggest centre of Buddhist learning in Spiti and is over a 1000 years old! It is among the three monasteries of the Gelugpa sect in Spiti valley.
Young monks on their way back from school.
A spectacular sunset at Kibber village, 4270 meters. Nothing short of magic!
The ropeway ride from Kibber to Chicham village. This precariously placed pulley system across the deepgorge is how everything, living and non living, makes its way out of the village of Chicham to the nearest settlement.
A Buddhist mani prayer wall. According to a Buddhist doctrine, one should circumvent these walls from the left side, in the clockwise direction in which the earth and the universe revolve.
Langza – A quanit village in Spiti, blue, green, brown and white, with an unassuming population of 148. Nature doesn’t need people afterall, its people who need nature!
A glorious statue of the Buddha overlooks Langza village.
Komic village. 4587 meters. On top of the world!
Sending out some love from the highest post office in the world! Hikkim Village. 4440 meters.
The turquoise grey Spiti river; our constant companion through the journey.
Chandra Tal – the lake of the moon, called so because of its crescent shape.
While there are several beliefs and stories around the stacking of stones, from marking trails to being the first stupas, this is the one I like most:
It is a simple and beautiful way to externalize our own spirituality. In your travels, when you encounter on the sides of roads, trails, or pathways, stacks of stones that look like random sculpture, add a stone blessed with a prayer to such a mound, and your intentions merge with those who have left stones before you, empowering you all.
Its journeys like this one that make you believe!