Spiti valley

The Spiti Story: An affair to behold (Part 1)

The time and spacial coordinates of our existence keep on changing constantly. And the idea of turning those coordinates into an ever-evolving graph sounds like a worthy plan to me. A design worth checking out later on when you are old and tired enough to finally settle down, taking a sip of coffee in your home’s garden, doing a revision of the mighty life you have spent in all those long years.

And with the dreams of such a splendid old age, I try to create worthy moments each day. The plan of visiting Spiti was one such big moment’s result. Some approved vacations was all I needed.

Manali to spiti valley
Prayer flags near Manali

Kunal, as always, got cheerful when he heard we are going on another travel spree. And the next step was a Friday night bus to Manali from New Delhi at 10:30PM towards a long journey which I almost missed. Though, running after the bus and catching it finally made me feel like Kareena from “Jab We Met” that day. We were able to reach Manali the next day around 2PM. After having lunch at Mall road and talking to a few locals, the best option seemed to take a taxi and reach Battal that day only. Also, I was so keen on spending the maximum of time in Spiti which helped me in reaching the optimal decision considerably fast.

Around 6 hours journey from Manali to Battal turned our ride into an adventurous one. The chill of the breeze was continuously rising with the progressive turns. Soon we reached Rohtang pass and hugged happiness seeing the BRO milestone (Border Roads Organisation).

Rohtang pass manali spiti valley
Rohtang pass, Manali

The driver kept on telling us which places to cover, where to stay and which of his friend’s places were the best to eat and we kept on noting it all down as this would be the last information broadcast. After covering around 125kms, he stopped at a small hillside shop where we met the hero of our story, “The Tenzin”.

The background story goes somewhat like this, Chacha Chachi are a famous and brave couple who stay in Battal and had saved many lives during the adverse weather conditions in year 2010. The snowfall continued for around 5 days and many tourists got stuck. Chacha Chachi was the only ray of hope for all the tragedy struck visitors who took care of those people and gave them shelter and food. Every year they run the dhaba at Battal for around 4 months when the Spiti route is clear and open for tourists. The hero of our story and their son Tenzin sets his camps in Chandrataal, the moon lake which is around 10 kms from Battal.

Chacha chachi dhaba battal spiti valley
Chacha chachi at Chandra Dhaba, Battal

Tenzin was going through the same route towards his camps and hence he decided to take us further. With a friendly smile over his face, experience loaded attitude and lots of stories over his mind, we continued the rest of our journey with him.

Humming to the tunes of his favorite tracks which turned out to be our favorite tracks too and dancing to the bumpy ride of the rocky terrain, we had a wonderful in-cab party on our way to Chandrataal. I won’t say that an experienced driver is needed to drive those paths, because no matter how experienced one is, no one can make the ride as smooth as Tenzin. He knows each stepping stone, and how to make through with ease.

We stopped midway at a place to have dinner. Maggi, Rajma chawal, half cooked omelette’s, everything was a yum treat straight to our hunger buds. We reached sound and safe to our destination camps in Chandrataal at around 11:30PM.

Moon night Chandratal spiti valley
Moonlit night at Chandrataal

The temperature definitely was less than 0, the breeze was chilling enough to render the human body frozen but Kunal’s excitement kept him going to put up the camp he bought just before the trip. In the phone’s torchlight, we set it up but the lower drooping temperature hardly let us fall asleep through the night. We were neither thinking of sleeping that much, rather awaiting for a wonderful morning which would soothe our senses.

Read next part of the story here

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