Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Magic Moment at Dhankar

We had already visited many monasteries in the region while on our Spiti sojourn and I expected something similar at Dhankar as well. But I was totally taken aback by the beauty of this place. The monastery is dramatically located on a cliff overlooking the confluence of Spiti and Pin Rivers. 

Dhankar Monastery dramatically located on a cliff

On the other side of the mountain lies Dhankar lake. A well defined steep trail of 5kms will take you there. It is something not to be missed. There are some spots on this trek from where you will get spectacular views of Dhankar. It took us around an hour and a half to reach the lake. Sun was about to set when we reached the place. It was a dark and cloudy day.

Dhankar Lake

I was taken aback by the magic that happened as soon as we were about to leave. I still have a clear picture of that magic moment in my mind - Dark sky with black clouds... cool breeze coming from north... that time of the day when slowly darkness takes over the day and suddenly when we were about to leave the place magic happened... Golden light trickling from behind the clouds lit up the lake turning it from dark grey to deep blue with golden spread all over the place... as if some fairy has waived her magic wand! 

A dash of gold!

Wish Nature's magic could be captured  as is!
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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Road Ends Here!

We were looking for the Kingyupa Temple in the village Chitkul when we met this middle aged well built pahari guy. He was intrigued to see two strangers roaming around in the lanes of this small village of population not more than 500. It was he who approached us.

Chitkul - The last inhabited village of India

Just a 5minutes talk with the man and we were climbing the wooden stairs of his house. "Watch your head" he said while directing us to low lit room of his house all made of wood. There were just three rooms in the house - one that he directed us to, it had a loom in it with lots of wool spread on the floor, second where his wife was sitting with his daughter and mother and the third where we were standing now... kind of corridor connecting the other two rooms.

On talking more to the guy we learnt that he is the person who runs well known "Hindustan ka akhiri dhaba". I knew Chitkul only by this shop before I came here... Had seen a few pics of some bikers group. The road abruptly ends at his dhaba. Thats the end of India. Chitkul is on the foot hills and across these hills is Tibet. Looking at the crowd that is attracted to this small village now, he wants to convert his small dhaba into a hotel and a nice restaurant for travelers. 

With Om Prakash and family
A little more time talking to him and his whole family joined us. On asking his wife described how the loom works. She was making a shawl for an upcoming marriage in the village. Now I was curious to know how they dress in marriages. They took no time in taking the whole costume out and dressing me in it. More than me, they were excited

The Kinnauri women dress in Dohru which comprises of Chhalni, Gachi (waist belt), Pattu (shawl), Topi (cap) and men wear Suthan, Choba, Gachi and Topi.

Me in traditional Kinnauri dress on loom
The warm family bade us goodbye with a promise of having a meal with them on our next visit.
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