Travellers Speak: Why Spiti is No Ordinary Travel Journey.

Compiled by Sifti Dhillon.


Each summer, India Untravelled invites travellers to journey through the majestic cold mountain desert of Spiti, in the trans-Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh. These surreal mountains are home to stark landscapes, Buddhist monasteries older than a thousand years, Snow Leopard and Himalayan Wolf habitats, some of the most rugged back-country trails, a culture and cuisine different from the rest of India, and locals whose kindness leaves an indelible mark on every traveller.


As the valley of Spiti opens up for another season, India Untravelled asks some of its past travellers why this is no ordinary travel journey.

***

"You’ll be taken out of your comfort zone and into a world so surreal and magnificent, that your perception about the diversity of the country will instantly change."

Sarita Santoshini, Spiti Safari trip, 2013.

Spiti valley, spiti pictures
Sarita in Spiti.
"I always look back at my day in Demul, when my fellow traveler Jyoti and I reached the village, worn-out after an afternoon trek. The host family was busy finishing their errands for the day, and a brief introduction later suggested that I take a quick nap. I did so, only to wake up to the sight of rain-drops on my window. The temperature had dropped sharply and the family sat huddled around the gas-stove in the living room. I remember stepping out for a few seconds and being taken aback by how cold it was. I spent the next few hours wrapped in a shawl, drinking Arak and listening to my guide Anjaan and the kids share stories about their lives in winter. It was the coldest night of my trip in Spiti but I remember it for the warmth and hospitality of the locals that I spent it with.

I would recommend Spiti to anyone who wants to discover and experience a unique side of India. From the very moment that the road trip to Spiti begins, you’ll be taken out of your comfort zone and into a world so surreal and magnificent, that your perception about the diversity of the country will instantly change. The locals and their unmatched kindness will only make your trip more worthwhile."

READ: Spiti - A Dustland Fairytale by Sarita Santoshini.

***

"Go for the soulful humming of om mani padme hum and the chance to discover your own soul"

Piyush Patni, Kinnaur and Spiti Jeep Safari, 2013

Piyush, soaking in the tranquility of Kaza.

My trip to Spiti is still fresh and vivid in my mind. Right from the beautiful hotel in Kalpa, with its mesmerizing views, to visiting the world’s highest post office in Hikkim. The whole journey was filled with moments of joy, excitement, thrill, curiosity, fun, bonding and craziness. The stay in Komik was my favorite part throughout the journey. The locals here were ever smiling and always wished us jullay (hello) on passing by. Our home stay owners went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and were so generous with the chang (locally brewed beer)!

Go to Spiti for its untouched beauty, spectacular valleys, monasteries and natural formations. For the butter tea, home made momos, sea buckthorn jams, wonderful people, soulful humming of "om mani padme hum", meeting new travelers, driving on the world's most treacherous roads, bathing under natural waterfalls,​ trying new cuisines, counting zillions of stars at night, and discovering your own soul.

***

"Surrounded by the Himalayas, you will find yourself seeing the varied beauty of the mountains while doing ordinary things like sipping tea, having lunch or just plain gazing."

Mansee Shah, Kinnaur and Spiti Safari, 2012.

Mansee, using the local mode of transport (yaks) in the high Himalayas!

The best and worst part about my trip was the journey. Worst, because the road from Manali to Kaza is quite rocky and is not for the faint hearted who are used to travelling smooth. But if you manage it, I can promise it's the most awesome journey ever. You will always be worried about dozing off because you don't want to miss a single moment of natural exquisite beauty. Cannot describe it in words. There are some moments when the entire body is smiling and you feel just happiness and quiet joy within.

The beauty of Spiti lay in the diversity of the place – hard rocky terrain, gushing water, snow capped mountains, greenery (though in bits and pieces) and the beautiful monasteries… all of it is just awesome. Surrounded by the Himalayas, you will find yourself seeing the varied beauty of the mountains while doing ordinary things like sipping tea, having lunch or just plain gazing.

READ: Surreal Spiti by Mansee Shah.

***

"Tucked away in the eastern corner of Himachal Pradesh, bordering Tibet, it is a world worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime."

Charu Babbar, Spiti Kaleidoscope trip, 2013

Charu, introspective in the mountains.

Though I cherish each and every day spent in Spiti, my favorites were the treks to Dhanker Lake, Balangiri Top, Komic village, the calm and peaceful setting of Dhankar village and the horse riding festival in Komic.

Tucked away in the eastern corner of Himachal Pradesh, bordering Tibet, it is a world worth experiencing at least once in your lifetime. Spiti is pleasantly quiet, distant and sparsely populated.

READ: Spiti - A World Within a World by Charu Babbar.

***

Join India Untravelled's upcoming group trips to Spiti, or find your own adventures on the independent Magical Spiti trail.

***

Have you been, or are you inspired to visit Spiti?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell us what you are thinking...