SPITI is a place which is revered by many, but explored by few. It is quite common to treat it as corridor while returning from or going to Ladakh as an extension of that tour or at times it is a halt over between the thrill of doing the circuit from Shimla to Manali via Rohtang La and Kunzum La. Yes the logs and travel stories of Kaza (the headquarters of Spiti) are available but are far and few considering the volumes of such logs of its more illustrious partner destination Leh.
Spiti has its own challenges equal to Leh or more, boasts of altitudes at places higher than any destination in the World and presents a life as secluded as any of the wildest destinations in the Globe.
Challenging my own limits is what I have always tried to in life, especially when the challenges lead to some beautiful vistas and opens up to nerve assaulting feelings. It was with this mindset that I have been scouting for the place to visit for the last one year. Spiti fitted in beautifully.
The time selected as per convenience was end May, so chances of Kunzum pass opening was not there. This was a deterrent for many, but a boon in disguise for me. I never intended to cross over and stand in the huge traffic jam of Rohtang. I never meant to reach Manali in its bustling touristy best. I never wanted to walk the streets of Kulu being mindful of who in the crowd is trampling on my shoes. I just wanted to BE in Spiti and feel it and not be a tourist out there.
Preparations on I was greatly helped by my friends in Kolkata from HVK East forum and Car Photography group. Thankful to HVK himself for sending me details of the route. And last but not the least was grateful to the Kolkata chapter of TAI
forum for the help, guidance and sincere wishes and a promise to travel with me as I gain those heights.
Before I get into the details here is how it went in a snapshot
The first tourist spot we halted was a tiny village called Neen 9 km downhill from Koti which is 6 km from Chail on the Chail Kufri Road.
Kalpa came in next and the magnificent Kinner Kailash was asusal a sight to behold.
Tabo was at its pristine best with the best of the monasteries.
Kaza the final destination was loaded with beauty on the roads.
We explored the highest motorable Village in the World Komic which had 114 people as population and this monastery.
We checked into Kibber the erstwhile highest motorable village at height of 14,000 ft plus
Key monasetry was visually the most pleasing
We never forgot to check on the rare naturally preserved mummy in Gue village while returning
A word about us. The group was the same which did the last year Gahrwal trip comprising of myself my wife and my 5 year old son along with my school chum Partha and his wife.
The charriot the same. My 6 year old trusted Xylo. Battered by rockfaces, shaken by the non existant roads, vertigoed by the heights, terrorised by the oxygen deficiency, swept by the winds, blown by the dust and plundered by hailstorms in different stages the Xylo and me never stopped talking to each other in the 5,000 km plus single/solo drive.
Read on for the entire story..