Story so far...
Day 7: Langza - Komic - Hikkim
Our first day in Kaza and we woke up to bad weather. Mountain peaks that were barren last day were now snow-covered. It was nice to see snow-covered peaks but clouds also hid distant peaks. Snowfall was sure to happen at higher altitudes.
We first had our breakfast in this awesome cafe called Hotel Deyzor. This is a must-try in Kaza. Their interior is so creative, the owner is a travel enthusiast and their food is the epitome of taste - especially Spiti cuisines.
After having breakfast, we headed to Langza. As we climbed the altitude on the way to Langza, the face mountains changed. Now there were almost flat plains for miles, only bordered by high peaks at distances. It was a sight to watch!
Soon, we reached Langza and the iconic buddha statue stood boldly looking into the clouds. The location of this statue is perfect - looks like it was meant to be here.
A couple of mannerless bikers had parked their bikes right beside the buddha statue, which any educated person would guess, would hurt sentiments of locals. A local argued with them to move their bikes away and park behind like everyone else, but the bikers tried to look some kind of studs and started shouting at the person instead. What a shame! They were from Delhi and I felt ashamed in front of them. People should learn to respect the feelings of the locals when they visit places.
Anyway, soon we left and headed for Hikkim - where lies India's highest post office. When we reached there, however, it was too crowded. So, we strolled around in search of fossils. If you do not know, this place was under an ocean millions of years ago when India and rest of Asia were two separate continents. So, you can still find fossils of sea creatures here. We, however, weren't that lucky.
When we returned to Hikkim, we came to know that stamps had finished and we could not post a postcard. Such is our luck! We went into the post office anyway and talked to Mr Rinchen Chhering who has been postmaster here ever since the establishment of the post office. It was so nice talking to him. He told that on some days Rs 10,000 - Rs 11,000 stamps get finished. One day Rs 21,000 stamps got finished. I had never thought so many people come here.
Returning from Hikkim, we headed to Komic. As soon as we reached there, snowfall started. And it was the first snowfall of our life! We were so happy to see it.
We ate some snacks at the local shop and then continued our journey. Normally, people trace their way back to Kaza from Komic. We, however, went further to a village called Demur. The owner of the cafe in the morning had told us that the road to the village is quite scenic. Unfortunately, as soon as we left Komic, heavy snowfall started and we were a bit scared. Being alone in that noman's land. However, on our way we found people of Spiti carrying on with their lives even in such weather. It instilled some courage in us.
We cancelled visiting Demul and headed straight to Kaza. And on the way, we saw another awesome view of Spiti which made this ride all worth in the end!!!
Day 8: Key Monastery - Tashigang - Kibber
Next day, we were so happy to see clear weather. Some clouds were still there but it was a beautiful morning. The first thing we did that morning was to go to Spiti River bed. We wanted to be in the middle of that grand valley and see the view around. After a bit of off-roading, we were finally there.
It was such an awesome view.
Returning from the river, we headed to the Kee Monastery. Built atop a hill, you can see it from far away. After a short scenic ride, we were there finally.
When we entered the monastery, prayers were going on and some monks were chanting mantras from ancient texts. Listening to them was a calming experience. We sat inside the prayer hall for some time just listening to them. We managed to record a part of that without disturbing their prayers, which I have put in the video.
As soon as we came out, a monk came to us and asked us if he could see us around the monastery. We said yes, of course. So, very patiently he showed us around and told stories behind all the ancient things in the monastery. It was a great learning experience.
Later on, he invited us to the monastery's kitchen where other monks were there. They all greeted us very warmly. They served us some prasad and some very nice tea. And they talked with us for some time - asked us from where we were and what all we have seen in the valley. We were quite impressed by their hospitality and coolness!
Soon, we left the monastery and headed to this small village called Tashigang. Not many people go there, so there was no one else on that route. That ride was a different experience. We were away from everything else - just the two of us in those mountains enjoying beautiful views around.
On our way, we got the first glimpse of wild animals of Spiti. We first saw Himalayan Horses and they were majestic creatures. They looked straight out of the Lord of the Rings movie. We also saw Yaks grazing on the plains. It is surprising to see that we have been so cut off from nature that even seeing these wild animals is such a majestic experience.
Soon, we reached Tashigang. It is a very small village with only 3-4 houses and only 15-20 people living there. It also has India's highest polling booth. When we were casually strolling around in the village, an old woman (let us call her granny) called us in their house. This was quite unexpected! We went in! There was also an aunty over there. They warmly greeted us Julley and started talking to us. They served us some tea and a very tasty curd made from milk of local cows. We talked to them for over an hour. Truly, the hospitality of Spiti people is a whole another level - we didn't ever felt they were strangers to us. If you are visiting Spiti, do meet people in one of the villages - it will be an awesome experience.
When we returned from Tashigang, we went to Kibber. There is nothing special to see here. Kibber Wildlife sanctuary is there but we could not go into it at that time of day. We could see Chichum village from there. We just spent some time enjoying views and returned to Kaza.
In Kaza, we went to Kaza market and bought a few Himachali things. We also bought dried Seabuckthorns to make its tea at home. We had been served that tea in our homestay in Tabo and ever since we had become a fan of it. We have made it quite a few times at our home now and it always brings back those sweet memories of Spiti.