Snaking up to Spiti

Trip Start Jun 28, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of India  , Himachal Pradesh,
Friday, October 21, 2011

After a bone-shaking ride through the dodgiest roads known to man, we finally arrived in Tabo. From Kinnaur Valley to Spiti, the landscape and environment was dramatically different. We moved from green, snow-capped mountains to arid scrubland which almost appeared like a desert where mountains replaced dunes. At some points on the drive we were around 4000 metres above sea level, where the road in areas was small boulders 'leveled' out as the surface. We had to cross waterfalls running across the road, snake around the contours of caramel-coloured rock faces and dodge debris left from landslides in our mission to the next village.

Tabo was a gorgeous village which had a Buddhist Gompa dominating the centre. We visited the 1000 year old Gompa where inside we saw ancient Buddhist paintings kept in pristine condition. Whilst in Tabo we made a friend called Dipesh who was 19 from Calcutta. He was fascinated with us being from England and actually became a bit of a stalker (hunting us down whilst we were eating breakfast the next day)…he was desperate to meet us further on in our trip. Luckily I managed to find a pound coin in the bottom of my backpack which seemed to feed his obsession with England and he soon let us be!

From Tabo, we moved on to Kaza stopping at Dhankar on the way which had wonderful views of the mountainous landscape. Kaza was a larger village than the others we’d stayed at on the jeep trip, with a bit more choice of places to eat and a few shops. However, the surrounding scenery wasn’t as spectacular. On our second day here, we went to the tiny villages of Kibber at 4250m high and Key. Kibber was so cute with donkeys everywhere and traditional white-washed homes dotted around. From Key, the next village, we decided we’d walk back to Kaza which was around 16km and although it was mostly downhill we found it more difficult than we might normally because we were at such high altitude throughout (half the height that aeroplanes cruise at!) It was a lovely way to soak in the landscape around us. Partway through our walk, we came across a group of Tibetan workers having chai and rice on their lunchbreak, sat on the roadside. They insisted we drank some tea with them – we felt like locals!

From Kaza we had our longest journey in the jeep (around 11 hrs) out of the Himalaya, to Manali. It was soooo bumpy the whole way and we were growing tired at how slow the Raz had to drive because of the conditions of the roads. Alas! We survived the tour of the valleys and even though we were happy to get to a bigger town in the end, it was worth it all for the breath-taking views we saw!
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