Part two – Spiti Valley
Spiti valley has been on my bucket list for a long time, even before I visited Leh. This time, from Sangla we headed towards an adventurous road trip to Spiti. This is a very long drive from Sangla valley nearly 10 hours, and we were told the roads are not good, I wondered if they will be worse than what we already did till Sangla. We started quite early in the morning for our destination – Kaza in Spiti valley.
On the way to Kaza, I was spell bound to see some breathtaking views, the changing scenery every few minutes. Every time we saw these landscapes I kept thinking if it was real, they looked so perfectly painted except that they were so real. As we drove on those treacherous roads, we did not spot any civilization for miles and miles. That moment I was reminded again of the reason that makes me love these road trips, they give you so much time with yourself. In all those places I started to feel that we were the only ones on this planet, somehow gave me a sense of freedom and alienated me from the rest of the world. The landscape keeps changing and you never seem to be able to absorb the magnificence. I could not resist from stopping the car every few minutes to click some astonishing photographs.
Being in the rain shadow area and at such a high altitude the sun is very strong, with extremely chilly winds. The narrow roads scared me at so many places, felt like we were driving right at the edge surrounded by gigantic mountains.
We reached the cold mountain desert around evening and were amazed to see the scantily populated town of Kaza at 14,000feet. Due to the altitude, we faced some breathing issues and slight headache but was manageable with lot of water intake.
Kaza is a very small beautiful settlement amidst massive mountains. Standing right there soaking in the first view of the valley, it looked picture perfect. There are a lot of hotels around with basic amenities and home stays are also a very popular option here especially if you want to experience the local life. But, let me tell you and this is definitely worth a mention we booked ourselves at Hotel Deyzor. Did not expect, this warm wonderful treat nestled in the cold mountains. This hotel was such a pleasant surprise. Managed by a young guy called Karan Bedi, he proved to be a great help to make our stay memorable at Kaza. Extremely hospitable environment, mouth watering food, cosy rooms – all I can say is the place is done up very tastefully and has a certain charm to it. Good food and a great place to stay makes the travel much more enjoyable.
As we ventured out the next day to explore the market place and the nearby villages we observed how the raw beauty of Kaza is still untouched and non-commercialised. You will not see a lot of typical tourists in this area, only travellers/bikers seeking out for adventure and who enjoy such terrains. Interacting with the locals in the area made me realise the simple way they live their life. Kaza gets electricity only for a few hours during the day and is mostly run on solar power. There is a BSNL tower but no other mobile network works in this area. So, this place really takes you back in time which surely felt incredible. It seems like a very different world out there, as they say this is Himalayas best kept secret. Considering the valley is covered in snow for most part of the year, the locals are forced to the confines of their households and through the year in summer time prepare themselves as they stock up on all essentials such as food, water, groceries etc. in their houses. Imagine their wants and needs is still that basic in life.
It is truly a world within a world, disconnected from the world we live in and still connected with each other.
An attempt to capture the magnificence & beauty in my lens…Pictures and more!
Yes, this is the road to spiti!
On way to Spiti….
Finally, welcome to Kaza