After a memorable drive from Shimla to Jeori and then to Nako village, it was time to move ahead towards Kaza which is district headquarter for Spiti. So Spiti is not a district and it’s part of Lahaul & Spiti district. Interesting these are 2 regions of one district and their headquarters are located in Kaza and Keylong.
We took lot of halts on the way and reached Kaza when it was getting dark. The very first and most dangerous place on our way was Malling nala. This place is very scary and I wanted to cross this place as soon as possible. Very narrow with deep valley on the left & steel inclination. And on top of that rocks & stones keep coming down without any warning :). It was a huge relief for me, when we crossed Malling nala and a little longer stretch after Malling nala.
As we crossed Malling nala, we realized that scale of these landscapes just increased multi-fold. My camera was continuously in action as with every kilometer on road, we were coming across better landscapes. We crossed few villages on our way where we used to see some vegetation otherwise whole stretches are dry mountains and the shades change as per the movement of sun & clouds.
Above photograph was clicked during one of the breaks we took on our journey to Kaza through Malling Nala, Siluk, Tabo, Tipta, Lapcha, Sumdo & Chango.
After a while we reached a region when you hardly see plants or trees. Golden colored mountains all around. And at a stage, we could kilometers of zigzag road in the valley. We were on the top of a huge mountain and now we had to descend. The road looked brilliant from top, with awesome curves and slopes. You can see these terrains in the photographs shared in this Photo Journey.
On our way, we also took a detour of Gue Monastery. This is little away from the main road and this drive takes you to anther beautiful terrain with another river flowing on your right and then you hit Gue village with beautiful houses. One thing you need to do is to talk to someone in the village to check if the room with mummy is open or not. If its not open, you need to take someone with you who can open the room. The famous mummy is places in a separate room outside the monastery building.
It’s really difficult to locate Gue Monastery from a distance, because of the scale of mountains on which this monastery is located. Just look at above photograph and try to locate where the Monastery is.
The famous lama mummy of Samgha Tenzin is there in Gue Monastery. I found it pretty interesting because I had only heard of mummies and this is first time I saw one. And believe me, it’s very different experience to witness something like this. During my visit, I also got a chance to know about it from locals. And the guy shared that, it’s a practice in different parts of the world when a lama figures out or wants to lead towards death. In such case, they start following a specific diet and gradually there are other processes followed to preserve the body. Using candles to dry the skin is one of the processes. and after a time, this body is kept in basements with extreme temperatures & air conditions. Interesting this is a unique mummy in India and many such can be found in Japan. I will be sharing a separate post on this as I found it pretty interesting.
Gue village looks pretty modern and I should definitely praise the organization which takes care of roads in Spiti. Roads are very well maintained, by considering the fact that land-slides are pretty common in this region. Above photograph shows the road within Gue village which goes towards the Monastery. Monastery is 2 kilometers from the village and the road is pretty good here.
As we were returning back towards the main road, weather started changing and clouds were scaring us to the core. But these were the moments when we used to stop our car very frequently. Clouds bring life to these mountains. Above photograph was clicked somewhere around Pooh, I guess. Whole terrain exposes you to different landscapes and these clouds takes out the best from these.
As we move towards Kaza, width of the river starts increasing and that’s why we could see these tractors taking out sand from the beaches. At most of the places, river is narrow and flows pretty fast, so there is no such place where sand can be collected. The width just keep on increasing till Kaza and even beyond. We noticed this during our drive till Kibber village in Spiti valley.
After visiting Gue Monastery, we took our lunch break at a small village on our way. There are 2 shops to have meal and we randomly picked one and the food was good. Interestingly we had our lunch at that location while coming back as well.
Soon after we were crossing the region near Tabo and in above photograph you see Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya of Spiti region and I am not sure if kids from Lahual region also come to this school or there is a different one for them. This is beautifully located around these high mountains. I was trying to imagine the life of teachers who are doing job at such a beautiful location.
Tabo is an interesting place which comes on the way to Kaza from Nako/Shimla. There is one of the oldest monastery here and now new compound is also built. Above you see the new part of the monastery.
Here is the old Monastery of Tabo. Tabo is considered as oldest continuously operating buddhist enclave in and around Indian Himalayan ranges. This is a very unique monastery setup. You would have always imagines monasteries with colorful exteriors but this one is different. Photography was not allowed inside, so you won't find any photograph here.
Tabo Monastery has huge frescoes on the walls and it’s little hard to maintain all them. Having said that, these frescoes look beautiful after so many years.
These landscapes encourage you to do crazy stuff. Be it climbing smaller hills, to throwing stones over the wide river and challenging each other about doing something which sounds weird & stupid. At times, these childish things can help you compose better shots :).
Spiti is cold desert mountain valley in Himalayan ranges of Himachal Pradesh, India. It's interesting to see distantly places villages in the valley and those lovely house with prayer flags all around. This region looks more like a part of tibet than India and there is a silk route which can be observed at some places in Spiti valley.
If we talk about road condition, most of the places have rough road but it's pretty hard to maintain roads in this region. And in last 10 years the roads have improved a lot. Some of the patches are in good condition. Some of the stretches are very scary because of the narrow roads and the river on the other side.
As we moved ahead and we sensed that Kaza is not too far, the excitement level suddenly increased and soon after we hit this location with some amazing formations of sand. There are various formations all around the Spiti valley but this part of the valley was pretty interesting. It was the place from where Dhankar Monastery was also visible. Dhankar is 12 kilometers away from the main road and we planned to go there in our journey back to Shimla.
This view reminded me of Grand Canyon. Although I am yet to go down into the Grand Canyon and explore it well, but I am sure driving in the middle of the canyon would be a similar experience.
Finally we hit Kaza town and it was time to find a decent place to stay. After checking out few places we decided to stay in this small guest-house which was near to the market and not so close to the main road. But connecting road goes till this place and there was place to park our car. Again we cracked quite an interesting deal and booked 2 rooms for 400 rs each . This didn't include any meal or tea. Food was not an issue as market was close-by.
Overall this day was full of some interesting halts on the way and we reached in timely manner. We had enough time in the evening to roam around the market.
So keep following our Spiti Diaries and we shall be sharing more about the places we explored along with some very basic tips.
If you have missed our ongoing series on Spiti Trip, do check out -
If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -
1. Manage your waste well and don’t litter Use dustbins.
2. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
3. Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
4. Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
5. Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite