As the name is unique so does the place. Spiti Valley is a mesmerizing place for nomads and travel enthusiasts all across the globe. As unique as its name, a trip to Spiti Valley is an experience of the ultimate abandoned beauty! Separated from breeding Lahaul by the soaring 4551m Kunzum La, the Himalayan region of Spiti is another piece of Tibet marooned in India. While this region stays cut off from the rest of the world in October to February, you can visit Spiti from March to May to enjoy the snow-clad mountains of this sumptuous cold desert. That is precisely what this blog is about – Yes Winter Spiti- White Spiti. what our Winter Edition
Moonscapes to Marvels of Spiti Valley
Diverged villages in a saw-toothed moon land appear like mirages on the road to Spiti valley. Roads like these will make you overlook any other scenery you’ve ever seen. The whitewashed and snow-covered, mud-brick houses dwell into the local heritage. These houses look marvellous from the viewpoint of Key Monastery. And when they all covered with snow it is like a white wonderland.
Rediscovering The Ancient Spiti
Spiti Valley is the place to rejoice the love for long lost things. This could be sending a postcard from the highest post office in the World, or go fossil hunting in the villages of Spiti. One such fossil village-Langza embraces you with a life-size golden statue of Buddha. The sedimentary rocks of this village cover the remains of plants & marine life which are millions of years old. Go see for yourself if you’re lucky enough to spot one! I was lucky to have found one.
Variation in Beauty
Contrary to all shades of grey and white, a turquoise ribbon of the Spiti River will coincide you as your near-constant escort, speeding along a deep valley before turning south at Sumdo into the craggy gorges of the Hangrang Valley. Spiti fascinates many travellers, including a huge bunch of Indian motorcyclists, as a kind of ‘mini-Ladakh without tourist crowds’. This title is justified until its serene nature (a high-altitude desert) and culture (Tibetan Buddhist) are still intact. For this, we all need to be a responsible traveller and whoever visits Spiti Valley, please take care of littler, carbon footprints and strictly no plastics.
Things to Remember
Who all planning to travel Spiti Valley in winters, please have a look at the tips below and the temperature as certain areas can be nerve crunching.
It gets very cold here in winters i.e. December through February with temperatures hitting – 30C to -35C. You will need to be mentally and physically fit and must have done some high altitude travel to be able to manage travelling through this high altitude region.
Majorly you will get only homestays in winters and the hotels and guest houses will be shut. These homestays will have dry eco-friendly squatting toilets. You will need to equip with this system as due to water freezing and water lines freezing wet toilets are not available.
Because of the water lines freezing, the locals have a hard time carrying water for utilities from a close water source and therefore having a bath while you are in Spiti will not be possible.
In peak winter i.e. January and early February, all the places might not be open due to unfavourable weather conditions. Thus, whatever you are able to visit take it as an opportunity to explore the place.
Wintertime is actually not a season time to visit Spiti Valley thus you will not get a variety of activities and things to do in cold weather. at times you will not be able to move around much and will have to end up in the homestay. That is why I would recommend travellers to be prepared and make the most of the destination whilst enjoying snow everywhere.
Being in a homestay you can make most of the time talking to locals, knowing the Spitian culture, food and much more. You can be with the host and can understand the local food culture.
Be prepared to be empathetic and adaptable, as due to weather last minutes’ plan changes can happen or you can be forced to change your plans due to safety measures.
Things To Carry
Shirts / T-shirts, Trousers / Track Pants
Windproof jacket, Raincoat / Poncho
Thermal inner wear (upper and lower)
Woollen cap, Woolen gloves, Woolen socks along with extra pairs
This looks intriguing and exciting for all the traveller since ages who have been waiting for this chance from the government to happen. The Indian army had regularly carried out their operation and people used to go to these mysterious glaciers for expeditions until 1970. But later they stopped it in 1984 when war broke out between India and Pakistan over the Siachen Glacier.
We all know how precious this belt is for India as Pakistan and China are the countries with whom India has always struggled on borders. Numerous decades passed with wars and flirtation due to power interface over the glacier. Why such fascination and power game on the glacier. What is the mystery and charm of Siachen that has made even the Britishers lure over it? And now when the Siachen glaciers open for tourists.
The idea of tourism in this area is not de novo. Since 2007, trekking activities have been undertaken by teams from the NDA, IMA, NCC and Military School, Chail. There is no reason why others can’t be permitted to delve in such ventures. He quotes that, today, the adventure has become the buzzword, so why not add adrenaline to the aspirants’ dreams?
It will also motivate the youngsters to join the fauj. It will help them repose faith in the Indian Army and the Air Force and convince them that the forces are capable of maintaining our territorial integrity and that they can operate and sustain in extreme climate and very hostile terrain. It will be a capability demonstration for our countrymen.
Exploration of Siachen Or Rose Glacier
Why rose glacier and what is the history of Siachen. The Siachen Glacier is one of the most discussed and significant glacier in the Himalayan Karakoram region. A Glacier with all the reasons to be famous and esteemed, not just for the Political agendas but also for expeditions and explorations. I shall clear this with a brief note below that will make you all understand the importance of Siachen glacier. At the time of Partition and a bit before that when the people at those times knew the glacier as a wonderful land in the Wilderness of the Himalayan Karakoram Mountains.
It is one of the largest Glaciers outside the Polar Regions and for the early Explorers and movies it was next to impossible to conquer and explore such massive Glaciers. In fact, they could not believe that these huge glaciers could exist anywhere outside the Polar Regions.
The first-ever credit for Siachen exploration goes to Lady Fanny Bullock and her husband William Hunter Workman. They were a rich couple and travelled to India on cycle and once they got to know the Himalayas, they could not go back for long. They both fell in love with the Himalayas forever. During their trip, they discovered some unexpected mountains, snow peaks and unseen glaciers in the Himalayas. With the help of local potters, they explored the unseen of the glaciers in the valley. Due to limitations, they did not enter Karakorams and other range fields around.
“Ladakh has tremendous potential in Tourism. Better connectivity in Ladakh would certainly bring tourists in large numbers. The Siachen area is now open for tourists and Tourism. From Siachen Base Camp to Kumar Post, the entire area has been opened for tourism purposes.”
He was in Siachen recently for the inauguration of newly ‘Colonel Chewang Rinchen Bridge’ at Shyok River in Ladakh. It is when he announced about the potential which Ladakh tourism has. By making ways and doors open for the tourist it will have better avenues for the tourism industry and for travellers from across the world. The distillation of tourism in Siachen will act as a scalper to open innumerable opportunities. The time will tell, how the tourism industry will shape, but certainly, it is a piece of good news for travellers like me!
Who doesn’t love mountains – we all do, isn’t it – and if you don’t, I’m sure the moment you get a chance to visit them, travel through them, hike them – you would fall for them forever.
This international mountain day – here’s my view and some options or thoughts which I would like to share as a solo traveller.
Mountains are early gauges of climate change and as we witness a global climate change that continues to get warm, the mountain people and some of the world’s hungriest and poorest they face even more struggles to survive. The rising temperatures, of course, mean that mountain glaciers are melting at unmatched rates, heartrending freshwater supplies which are downstream for millions of people who live in mountains and otherwise.
Do you know that almost one billion people live in mountain areas, and over half the human population is dependent on mountains for food, water, and clean energy? Yet we humans are playing around them and our mountains are under threat from land degradation, climate change, natural disasters, and overexploitation, in fact, there some far-reaching and devastating consequences. On the other hand, the Mountain communities have an affluence of knowledge and approaches that are accumulated over generations, on how to acclimatise to this climate variability – yet the life is now tough.
Not going on the deeper threatening mode I would like to highlight India’s oldest and the youngest mountains.
To your surprise, India is the country who has the oldest and the youngest mountains in the entire world. Woah! On this international mountain day – have a look at some of the facts about the Himalayas….
The Himalayas is still growing at a speed of 20 millimetres per year. Due to which landslides and tremors are frequent in the region.
The Aravalli Ranges in India is considered to be the oldest in the old step category on mountains. These types of mountains are formed from continuous and longing natural erosion of steep mountains. Earlier the height of Aravalli was at par with the Himalayas.
The Aravalli ranges are the oldest mining fields as well in the world and the archaeologists have actually found traces of copper mining dating back to the 5th century BC.
The Himalayan mountain range has nine highest peaks in the world and the highest being is Mount Everest – 8848 meters.
The highest peak of Aravalli is Guru Shikhar which is 5650 feet at Mount Abu in Rajasthan. The peak is named after Lord Dattatreya, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
If you go north India – beyond this there lays the most hostile natural environment on earth – that is the Siberian winds. In fact, it is only because of the Himalayan range that the country does not face severe cold breeze and windy air from the north.
You should know that Himalayan mountains are the ones who are responsible to create one of the hardest deserts on earth to its north – that is Taklamakan Desert – China also called as Sea of Death.
The Himalayan holds the third largest ice mass in the world after the artic and Antarctica. The range of the Himalayan Mountains consists of over 15000 glaciers that store almost 12000 cubic kilometres of fresh water.
These are the facts about the Himalayas which show how rich they are and what all India is known for in the entire world. Other than this the exotic wildlife, flora and fauna are unbeatable. But all these are in danger too, thus, maybe we travellers can take a pledge to keep our Himalayas clean, safe and preserved by doing our bit in our own way so that our generations can witness the grandness of the Himalayas and our mountains.
Spiti Valley – the moment this name comes, a lot of people get amazed and ask ohh, is this in India and if yes where? This is a hidden isolated world in Himachal Pradesh which is a wonder in itself. This blog is close to my heart and you will get to read more such on Spiti valley as this place is a treasure chest for me and I’m sure many traveller enthusiasts would agree with me.
Treasure chest – just two words to say about a world that was forbidden to visitors for about 30 years. Travelling to Spiti Valley is like Time Travel, you tend to get a feeling of getting in a time machine and travel to a world and time unknown. Wow! Goosebumps.
This blog is based on my recent 10-day bike travel to Spiti valley with a rider me being a pillion on Royal Enfield 500 cc. In particular, this blog is about 6 reasons to visit Spiti Valley – the hidden treasure of Himachal Pradesh. So let’s start by knowing the place a bit.
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” – John Muir
This all belongs to Spiti that lies across the main range of Himalayas, called the Trans-Himalaya. But hey, wait, what are those things that come to your mind when we think about Himalaya. Spiti is 13,800 square kilometres of untamed land. Lush green meadows, misty mountains with dense pine forests, snowing ranges, and soaring high snow peaks. On the contrary, if I say you won’t get to see much of these in Spiti valleys then? What I wanted to say is – Spiti is the complete divergence of all that, but just as beautiful as the other side of Himalayas.
Spiti Valley is a cold desert mountain valley that is situated in the Himalayas – the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. It is the land of barren hills, gorgeous lakes, grey scree slopes, rubble rocks, muddy terrains, and some of the world’s highest inhabited villages that are secluded with the least of 30 humans, and as their population and not more than 100 people in one village at the max. it is a land of beautiful monasteries hovering histrionically over its landscape. The touch of desolateness and a sense of ancient civilisation are some add-ons. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India. Let’s find out reasons to visit this unadulterated and hidden treasure that has gradually getting transformed into an exotic tourist destination. Let’s see…
Spiti valley is also home to the highest motorable village in Asia – Komic it is a beautiful scenic village where the temperature dips to -30 degrees Celsius in winters. The landscapes are amazing that will leave you awe-struck.
This village has a population of around 50 to 60 people. The houses here, separated by swish lawns and green threads of the loom with wooden windows and doors, very Indo-Tibetan feel. This set up gives everyone enough room to bask in the winter sun. These houses are a welcome change from our congested city houses.
Spiti is the secluded terrain for many visitors yet there is a reason to visit because of plenty of homestays in this scarcely inhabited Spiti. My favourite is Solo Yolo – Kaza and for more on homestays in Spiti read next blog
This gives you a wonderful opportunity to the visitors to learn about their culture and stays with locals. Most of these homestays are in the middle of the villages and at a very high altitude giving you the perfect view of the entire valley.
It has a beautiful monastery amidst the mountains that dates back to 996 AD. Key Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,166 metres (13,668 ft) above sea level, close to the Spiti River. It is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for Lamas. It reportedly had 100 monks in 1855. You can stay in the monastery and pray in the praying room.
The monasteries are one such reason for not to miss visiting Spiti. There are many monasteries in Spiti that are considered to be the centre of Buddhism; you will get to unwind your soul in this perfect place. Come to stay in monasteries and have some soul-searching.
The glorious and stunning view of the Milky Way at Pin Valley, you get to have them at Tabo and Kaza as well. In fact, Chandra Tal shall not be missed for star gazing and this amazing view to fall in love.
Now that’s a sight we simply don’t get at too many places.
There are dozens of lakes in Spiti that are neatly tucked away in the valley for you to discover. One such major tourist destination known for some of the toughest and exciting motorable roads in India is a stop at Chandra Tal lake – the lake of the moon. It is on the Samudra Tapu plateau overlooking the Chandra River. It is at the altitude of 4,300 metres (14,100 ft) in the Himalayas. Camping by this lake under the starry skies is exactly the kind of life-changing experience you are looking for.
These are some of the reasons to visit Spiti – an offbeat travel destination in India. Here are many more offbeat destinations in India which you can choose for your next travel.
Keep reading, Keep travelling.. the world awaits you!
The Bliss of life is the soul which has shiv else it’s just a matter to put to fire !!!!!
Shiva is the gathering force! Shiva is the soul! Har Har Mahadev – means – Shiv is in every soul, every soul has GOD within! Do we know this? How many all you believe that Shiva is a GOD? Intrigued? I used to have this notion, until I read Shiva the Trilogy by Amish Tripathi …..Although it is long I have read the trilogy, still I’m embraced with the virtues and sequences portrayed by Amish in the book.
Here, my intentions are not to break the conception and faith of people who have a colossal love for -Lord Shiva, but today being MahaShivaratri, while doing my Puja in the morning realized to pen down some words for Shiva, to suffice my love for him since childhood.
The stories associated with Shiva the Lord has been fearless, epic and epitome of the dreadlock and archetypal era. Shiva was a human like any of us who loved his wife, who lived for his nation, who did all good for his community and who was fierce in all what he did. This takes me towards the path of few legendary stories about Shiva …..
Allow My God!
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva is the Destroyer in the Holy Trinity, the others being Brahma the Creator and Vishnu the Preserver. Shiva has always captivated his followers by his inimitable manifestation and outer shell – The Trimurthi, the third eye, the ash smeared all over his body, the weed and the wilderness of life away from all the social pretenses – Puts him to be one of the most proverbial Lord …
According to the grapevine, there are some rumors and untold stories about the birth of Shiva..But some say ….Shiva is regarded as an amorphous, infinite, transcendent and ageless absolute Brahman and the primal Atman (soul, self) of the universe. Shiva has many munificent and frightening depictions in the holy books of Hinduism. In compassionate aspects, he is depicted as a preeminent Yogi who lives an abstinent life on Mount Kailash.
He is the ultimate lover as well as a householder for his Parvati (Sati) and a lovely father for his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya. In his fierce facets he is often illustrated as slaying demons and taking the venom of the whole world to his neck, where it remained and since then he is known as Neelkanth. With so much about Shiva, he is also considered as the Yogi and the mediator who preached the message of being true to yourself and your soul.
I’m in love with Shiva since my childhood, no matter how much I write about him and talk about the untold stories which I heard from my grandparents and read in our mythological books, do not suffice the passion.
Thanks to Amish Tripathi, to bring out the whole new concept to understand Shiva more than a God with the Shiva Trilogy! The liberator, the savior, the dreadlock of evil…. Till infinity
By means of this blog, I wish everyone to divulge the soul within, applauding HAR HAR MAHADEV!
Leave a comment or contact me for more on Shiva the crafting lord of the nation!
#SoloTravel has always beguiled me! It was a beautiful morning, unadulterated and not to miss in life! The view from my cottage was stunningly perfect awe-struck my senses. I took my shades, got into my boots and headed down towards Dharamshala from Dharamkot passing by Mcloedganj. The destination was Norbulingka institute.
Wondering why I’m writing on an institute that has nothing much related to me, indeed the institute needs to be talked about. It lays 6 kms southwest to Dharamshala and as established in 1998 by Kelsang and Kim Yeshi Sidhpur. The name of the institute is derived from the traditional summer residence of the Dalai Lama which is in Lhasa (the capital of Tibet)
Getting around Norbulingka – I got enticed the moment I entered the institute by the gorgeous artifacts and colorful walls engraved and painted with traditionalTibetan art (thangka). The moment you step in you are enthralled by magnificent and gurgling streams that smoothly run through flawlessly maintained Japanese-styled gardens. You may get astonished to see or witness different species of Himalayan birds flocking and flittering among the treetops.
There lot to see and roam around in the institute which might take your hours to explore fully. Norbulingka institute’s main aim is to preserve the art and culture of Tibet in India. The institute comprises of a temple, stupa with deities who are worshiped in Tibetan culture, workshops for embroidery, paintings, statue making, wooden art, lush green gardens and hummingbird café for munching and chilling out!
Workshops – This institute will amaze you with the endurance and perseverance of the culture intact on safe hands. From, generations the artisans and craftsmen are working hard to conserve the traditional art form of paintings (thangka) and appliqué work.
Every year thousands of visitors come and explore the Norbulingka institute and take part in the workshops. The workshops give you vivid knowledge and understanding of intricate art form and culture of Tibet. You can take the workshop as per your choice of art form; there are workshops given on thangka sketching, wood painting, wood carving and appliqué workshops. Do not worry! you are always under the supervision of experts who would make you professional in the respective art form. After the completion of the workshop if you wish you can be offered to volunteer or work as well.
Shops –There is a shop inside the institute that sells the hand-made artifacts, paintings, and statues, which are made in-house at the workshop in the institute. The unique collection of appliqué, wood carvings, paintings are sold here. You can take any of the meticulously created thangka painting, statues or wall paintings for your home décor way back home. It is worth!
One of the best things you should not miss while visiting the institute is meeting the humans here. OMG! They are the wonderful people one can have all the pleasure knowing them. Every manager, artisan, craftsman, worker, tour guide has their own story to depict with the pain of being a refugee in India. The hard times they faced as refugees in India or caught hold by the military or stuck with kids and no food and no shelter. From my eyes out of many meet the two –
KALSANG KYPA – THE TOUR GUIDE– A great chap with sincerity towards whatever he does. He was a great help to me for all the time I was in the institute, exploring and learning new things about Tibetan culture. His journey was terrible but after being patient and having faith in oneself he found he is safe in Nepal and then he came to India. Wanted to say thank you!
DASAL – THANGKA PAINTER – He is a terrific thangka painter, since childhood he would draw mountains, valleys and hills. But as he learned more about Tibetan culture he now loves to paint only Buddha and thangkas.
Getting Here – Norbulingka is situated in Sidhpur, a suburb of Dharamsala, about 30 minutes from McLeod Ganj.
By Air – nearest airport is Gaggal, around 20 minutes from Norbulingka. Alternatively, you can take flight from Jammu or Amritsar, both are around 4 hours from Dharamsala.
By train – Pathankot is the nearest station. 2 hours from Dharamsala. Booking in advance is recommended.
By Bus – One of the most cost-effective and reliable way to reach is by bus. Volvo and Himachal Tourism buses ply on a timely basis; you can check the schedule online.
Not many hikers know about Kugti Pass in Himachal and on a serious note it is not surprising, though! You know why? Because it is virtually uncharted terrain and perhaps a pie in the sky in terms of beauty and landscapes! It is one of the mysterious and unheard treks of India, yet it manifests the grandness of any great Himalayan trek. If you adore trekking, then the Kugti Pass is a trek in Himachal that needs to be precedence in your treks for the future.
Kugti Pass is beautifully positioned near the scenic hamlet of Kugti which is at an altitude of around 5,050 m above sea level. This terrain is a part of Pir Panjal range of Central part of Himalayas, and certainly a faultless destination for trekkers. Uphill this pass, one can attain the Duggi Plain, a meadow land, and an idyllic camping ground. Putting oneself at the summit, one can view the extravagant Manimahesh Kailash Peak and Dhauladhar ranges. The snow-capped mountains ranges make you crazy that are beyond the Lahul valley.
The trek starts from Brahmaur of Chamba District. The nearest town is Brahmaur.
How to Reach – There are many ways to catch up here, one is via Banikhet and Chamba while the other route is via Khajjjiar and Chamba. From Dalhousie too it can be reached which is just 4 hour drive.
Via Air the Kullu Manali Airport at Bhuntar is the nearest. Pathankot is well linked with all the important cities in India.
<p><a target='_blank' href='https://spiritedbloggerblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/the-unassailable-triund-trek-an-expedition-to-breath/'><img src='https://spiritedbloggerblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/61f9a939-51e2-48ff-8deb-28a774f556da.jpg' class='alignleft' style='width:50%;' /></a></p><blockquote>The Dhauladhar is an unendingly interesting extent. This high, rough edge is sufficiently broad and sufficiently imperative both in its profile of rising and its relative closeness to the fields to be a noteworthy Himalayan range. It is a topographically dynamic district, set on a noteworthy push zone of the Indian plate. This is one…</blockquote><p>Sourced through Scoop.it from: <a target='_blank' href='https://spiritedbloggerblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/the-unassailable-triund-trek-an-expedition-to-breath/'>spiritedbloggerblog.wordpress.com</a></p>
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There is a piece in me that like to tenderly imagine my maverick and seditious soul. But, precisely, I love to have a picky and cosy relationship with my soul that can rub up against a little bit, putting me alive.