Spiti fairytale journey Blog
The fairytailvoyage: When I went to Spiti from Kinnaur for 25 days.
Spiti had been a dream place ever since I got introduced to this charming dessert in 2016. I googled up the various places in Spiti, the culture and was very much intrigued by it. On a fine Monday morning, I happened to text my friend to do a stunning crossover trek from Kinnaur–Spitivia the Pin Bhabha Pass. I knew that this trail and my coming days would be really enthralling and very adventurous because usually people end up in Spiti via car or go by bus. I started my journey from Delhi to Kafnu (Kinnaur) along with one of my friends.
So, it was only the two of us. Life happens when you come out of your comfort zone and I was ready to embrace the difficulties and challenges. I believe in destiny that is why I love to share this story with whoever I meet. Alone in the valley, it was just the two of us but after a while, we met 6 people from Himachal who were on their way to Spiti and were also crossing the Pin Bhabha Pass. Trust me the Pin Bhabha Pass trek is not for the faint-hearted; it is a very difficult trek. Only if had known before, I would have prepared myself properly but since the trek was about the stunning cross over from Kinnaur to Spiti, I couldn’t stop my excitement and had already had made up my mind to do it. The big day approached and I had to cross a steep gully which was nearly to 75-degree angle on an ice glacier.
It was a 4 hours treacherous climb to reach the summit. The trail was very slippery. The only thing that kept pushing me was the beautiful landscape around me. To my extreme right, I saw large chunks of boulders passing me by. I realized soil was getting eroded, and these were falling pieces of wet and lose ground. These were not good signs. Oxygen was minimal, I was panting as if my heart and lungs were about to burst. But after four hours of struggle and toil, I stood at the top of the pass.
Reaching Spiti was not at all pieces of cake but once I crossed the Pass and entered the valley, I got emotional and then I looked around! What I saw was spell-binding – a landscape that was pure white heaven. The feeling was surreal when my dream of reaching Spiti came true. The vast measureless mountains and barren landscapes of the land will remain etched in my heart forever.
For the next few days, I stayed in the capital city i.e. Kaza where I had pitched my tent and decided not to take up a room. After exploring Kaza, I went to Key Monastery by bus. Kaza is the district headquarters of Spiti. Kaza, situated along the Spiti River at an elevation of 3,650meteres (11,980ft)above mean sea level, is the largest township and commercial center of the Spiti valley. The majority of the people are Buddhists, followers of the Geluk-pa sect. The repetition of the mantra “Om mani Padme hum” (literally, ’Behold, the jewel is in the lotus’), is constant; it is believed to bring good fortune and
wash away all sins. The key monastery is 14km from Kaza, and 5 km from a small village called Chicham. Buddhist monks preach the notion of wisdom, peace, and other religious Buddhist chants. The Spiti river is easily visible from Key which gives one a captivating view. I spent almost the entire time watching the landscape, sitting in the monastery and interacting with travelers from other parts of India. Also known as the Key Gompa. ThisMonastery is located at the height of 4,166 meters in Lahaul and Spiti district. The view from this monastery is breathtaking. One will get to watch the stunning Spiti river and the confluence of many other rivers. The monastery was founded in the 11th Century. It is considered as of the sacred places of Spiti.. The Chicham bridge is the highest bridge in Asia. It is a mesmerizing and quiet village with the with an amazing backdrop of the Himalayas.
The next day was quite an adventure day for me , I went to Kibber and Chicham. From Key Monastery to Kibber (a small village in Spiti, 5km away from Key) I hiked, and beyond Kibber I went to explore more hidden places. Sunsets are amazing and eye-catching in Spiti. Kibber is situated at a height of 14,200ft in a narrow valley. It is only 16km from Kaza and buses are easy. The Lahaul and Spiti range can be seen from this village surrounded by the green lush pleasant meadows. After Kibber I headed towards Chicham: another village in Spiti and again, I had no place to stay. The Chicham bridge is the highest bridge in Asia. It is a mesmerizing and quiet village with the with an amazing backdrop of the Himalayas. While traveling on a bus, my friend asked an old aged Tibetan man if we could find accommodation at his place. He very kindly agreed. Spitians are very welcoming; you will see a smile on their face all the time, He fed me with delicious food (Yak and Goat meat) and hosted me for three days after that chance meeting of ours. All this while, I was just spending money on my commute. Not on my stay or my food, thanks to the hospitality of the kind folks of Spiti.
The next day, I took a bus from Kaza to Kunzum Pass to visit Chandratal Lake. On my 22 days of the expedition in the Himalayas, I have crossed three passes, several valleys and performed two treks, a total of 70 km. First was Pin Bhabha Pass and the second was the one to Chandratal Lake Trek, which starts from Kunzum Pass. (9km)
Himachal is known as Devbhoomi because of its purity and pristine environment. It is an extremely religious and holy place with a mixture of Hinduism and Buddhism. I was mesmerized by the beauty of Losar Village on the way to Kunzum Pass. It is a quaint village with refreshing environment that people across the world come to visit this place. The village has many scenic spots and relatively unexplored and has natural splendors. After Losar we will cross Kunzum Pass. Located at an average of 4,590 meters, Kunzum pass is one of the most famous high altitude passes of Himachal Pradesh. It is a hub for many trekkers and adventurers. From Kunzum pass, you will witness the gorgeous Chandrabhaga Range and Bara Shigri Glacier which is considered as the second largest glacier after Gangotri in the Himalayas. Camping was great fun in Chandratal.
About the Lake-
Chandratal is the most famous lake in Lahaul and Spiti Range, the turquoise blue lake is a hidden gem also situated in the Chandrabhaga Range. It’s a terrific attraction for all the tourist trekkers and adventurers.
The lake is accessible on foot from Batal as well as from the Kunzum Pass from May to late October. Witness the vast meadows on the banks of the lake. During springtime, these meadows are carpeted with hundreds of varieties of wildflowers. The lake is on the Samudra Tapu plateau, which overlooks Chandra river (a source river of the Chenab). The name of the lake originates from its crescent shape. It is an altitude of about 4,300metres (14,100ft) in the Himalayas. One can witness the some of the major peaks of Chandrabhaga Range like Chandrabhaga 14(CB14) or Chandrabhaga 13(CB13). Chandratal lake can be easily approached from Kunzum Pass via trekking which is Located at an average of 4,590 meters.
I hiked from Chandratal till Batal .The river Chandra was passing by me. Each time I could hear the reverberation of the water currents brimming with effervescence. I was the only one walking down this enigmatic valley. When cars overtook me, strangers would smile and giving me a thumbs up saying “Good going, keep on moving”. The sun was setting down; it was getting very dark. Hiking wasn’t easy for me to reach Batal within a short period. (15km). Good fortune has favored me throughout the entire expedition.
Seriously, I had no idea that I would come across a car which would give me a lift till a point which was my final destination. I prayed to God desperately so that I could feel safe and have someone spot me during this solitary trek towards Batal. (I am so sure he is out there in the universe watching over everyone. Well for me he did listen to me, to both my heart and my soul.) And here I was, bagging a lift to my destination!
I didn’t plan for this to happen, I committed to my travel plan but some things changed and the rest is history. I decided to head to back Kinnaur after accomplishing my dream trekking route and ended up in Spiti.
25 days flew by only to realize that they felt like years (so much had happened!). Spiti Valley is forever etched in my heart because of wonderful memories.
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Admin is the Chief Editor at Discoveryhike. She heads the content team and runs a video series called Trek With Admin. Before joining Discoveryhike, she worked as a reporter and sub-editor at Deccan Chronicle. She holds a Masters in Digital Journalism and continues to contribute to publications such as Deccan Herald.