Stunning mountain shades, the graveled uneven roads, landscapes that looks unreal and sparkling Spiti river running parallel, the journey was something Isha and I will never forget. This morning when I knocked Isha’s door, I found her staring the perennial snow on those far away peaks from her window. She turned and said, “I was settled but restless until this morning. The silence of these mountains speak.” The lamas were praying at the monastery and we could hear them humming the sacred mantras. She got her answers staring at those dramatic mountain sceneries. We decided to visit the crowd-less monasteries and get closer to the vibrant Buddhist culture.
After our breakfast, we went to the taxi stand, and managed to get a Tata Sumo for 2700 bucks. We started, through the rustic, virgin, un-commercialized roads of beautiful Spiti to weave more stories and memories.
Lanza was our first stop. A small tranquil village with handful number of houses, each one with green peas farm in front of them. The first thing anybody notices in Lanza is the tall Buddha statue. For an ample time I was standing on the backside of this large statue, staring at the Buddha and enchanting mountains in its front. It was mystical, inspiring a sense of spiritual connection. We were at 4200m above sea level. At this altitude, the wind makes you feel chilly and the harsh sun rays burns your skin.
Our next stop was Komic, the highest motorable village in the world. The village has less than a dozen houses, Tangyud monastery and is blessed with serene surrounding. The monastery is the main attraction here, ageing some 800 years. According to one belief, this was one of the monsastries built by great translator Rinchen Zangpo. Women are not allowed inside the monastery, which kind of hurted feminist Isha but then just to make her feel good, I later told her that there was nothing worth seeing inside. We sat near the edge feeling the peaceful surrounding and clicked pictures near the PWD board that said “Highest motorable village”.
The village with highest post office in the world, highest polling station in the world, famous for finding fossils and one of the most beautiful village in barren Spiti Valley. Hikkim appeared in the Wanderlust photo of the year for the year 2009. Sending a post card from world’s highest post office was in my must-do-list ever since I came to know about this place. We got inside the post-office and spent more than an hour writing & sending post-cards (these little things count more than the big ones sometimes). We took a pic with Rinchen Chhering, who has been the postmaster at the Post office for 30 years and soon left for Key Monastery.
The biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for Lamas in rocky cliffs of Spiti. Key is 10km from Kaza (main market) and is one of the most charming reason why people visit the high-altitude desert of Spiti. The monastery looks like fort with temples built on top of one another and with box shaped mud houses in its neighbour. The walls of the monastery are covered with paintings and murals (an outstanding example of 14th century monastic architecture). There was total silence in the temple, as if we were on moon. It became my imagination of heaven. Isha and I sat near the stairs embracing the silence and beauty of the monastery, the landscape, the culture, the tradition and its people. Key has a guest house for visitors and in case you are planning to visit Spiti, you can stay here.
Our last destination for the day, a beautiful mesmerizing serene village encircled by picturesque mountains, desert landscape and green meadows. Here I felt at total peace with myself. Interestingly, we met Deshek and his mother, and we decided to stay at their home stay. Deshek was the cutest kid I had ever met. Isha was literally sold to the cuteness of this small kid. In Isha’s word he was another level of adorable. And Didi (Deshek’s mother) was one of the best and nicest host ever. Kibber is a paradise for photographers. We visited the monastery and the sacred chashma near the monastery. It was late and a cold wind blew across the valley and on our face. We decided to go back to our home-stay and collect more stories from Didi. We had enough for the day.
Happily tanned and Spiti-fied.