Thursday, August 28, 2014

5 MUST-DOs on a trip to SPITI

Journey to SPITI is amazingly beautiful but a tough one. High rocky hills kissing the sky, muddy water streams cutting furiously through the hills and small villages popping-up their beautiful face every now and then. All this has a price to pay - bumpy ride, road blocks, no petrol pumps for kilometers and low oxygen levels. But if you are a true traveller you will enjoy every moment of the journey... "Journey is Destination" after-all. 

Journey through treacherous roads

Based on my travel experiences, here are some MUSTs on this trip: 

Lafarcha Fair, Kaza
Try and plan your trip around local festivals. There is no better way to experience their culture than to be a part of the festivities. Below is the calendar of fair and festivals in the region:

MonthPlaceFair/Festival Name
Jan/FebPattan ValleyKhogla
Jan/FebLahaul ValleyHalda
FebuaryBhaga Valley (Lahaul)Gothsi (Gochi)
June/JulyShashur, Kardang, Gemur, Kyi Gompas in Lahal & SpitiTsheshu Fair
AugustKaza (Spiti)Ladarcha Fair
AugustUdaipur (Lahaul)Pauri Fair
AugustKeylong (Lahaul)Tribal Fair

Stay at home-stays in villages like Langza and Kibber. This will give you an opportunity to support the locals and also to understand and feel the culture of the place. The home-stay will be a basic accommodation but hospitality is not about sterile environments, but welcoming ones. Home made traditional meals will be accompanied by great conversations and you will find out and learn about not only places but also people. 

You can comfortably chose to stay in Kaza (that have all the facilities and comforts) and do day trips to these villages but if you have made an effort to do this treacherous journey and reach these remote villages, as an aware citizen and a good human being you must live with them for a night to understand the life of high Himalayas and support the poor villagers in whatever possible way. The villagers have high self respect and will not accept any charity unless you take their services.

  • Post a letter/ post-card from the highest post office of the world, HIKKIM, elevation: 4440mt.;
Posting a letter from 
the highest post office of the world
World's highest post office

  • Take a small walk around LANGZA, you might stumble upon some sea fossils;
Picking up fossils while walking around Langza

  • Do stay overnight at Dhankar - the clear sky and countless starts will amaze you. And do trek to Dhankar lake... Its an easy trek of 2hrs worth doing. 
Trek to Dhankar lake, monastery and village in the background

  • Dhankar monastery dramatically located on a cliff overlooking the confluence of Spiti and Pin Rivers.
  • The ancient paintings and stucco images that date back to the 11th century at TABO. You are not allowed to click those paintings.

In TABO caves 
  • World's highest village COMIC 
World's Highest Village Comic

  • Ghur-ghur tea - It's salted tea with butter in it. Locals believe that you don't feel thirsty frequently if you drink this. 
  • Also don't miss masala tea that monks serve generously to visitors of KEE Monastery.  
  • Local wine made from apple and apricot. It's not easily available but if you have good PR skills and have made friends with locals, you might be lucky to be offered some.
  • The mountain water we get in those high hills is in its purest form. Make it a habit not to buy mineral water when in Himalayas.  

Since it's a tough journey I would suggest to plan it with experts and make the best of your experience. I suggest doing it with INDIAN TERRAINS, they have an itinerary that covers it all.


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