Incredible Spiti - A photologue

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#16 Oct 7th, 2015, 22:52
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#16
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Originally Posted by life1style1 View Post It was sometime around the summer of 2012 when I learned that there is a place in the North Eastern part of Himachal Pradesh called Spiti which is very much off the beaten track and almost similar to the landscape of Ladakh..

I was kind of spellbound with the images of Spiti available on the internet.

I am grateful to all IMers for their valuable suggestions and feedback which has helped me to understand the place and realize the risks of being at higher altitudes and plan the trip accordingly..

Day 1 : Sealdah to New Delhi

On a not so bright and sunny afternoon of 23rd Sept we started our Spiti venture from Sealdah in SDAH-NDLS duronto.
Next day we realized that the train is late by almost 4 hrs,thanks to track maintainance work in Gaya.So we were offered an extra lunch(Khichdi) due to the delay.
We reached New Delhi at around 3.30 p.m..scheduled arrival was at 11.30 p.m.
We took the Metro to Mandi house for our HPTDC bus to Manali.We had some time in between,so had Rajma Chawal and took 3 autos to India Gate.

Day2:New Delhi to Manali in bus

The bus started for Manali from Mandi house at 6.00 p.m.The ride was very comfortable but I was bit annoyed since I found there are no curtains in the Windows.

Later I realized none of the Volvos had curtains in the windows..one of our co-passengers told us that the curtains were removed after an order from the Delhi high court after the Nirbhaya incident.

The bus stopped at Karnal for dinner at around 10.45 p.m for 30 mins.

Next day the bus reached Manali bus stand at around 9 a.m..
We didn't had any prior accomodation booking in Manali,so we ventured out to find one.

We managed to get a descent hotel(The Beas View) at the other side of river Beas at Rs 1000 for a night even though they demended 1500.
I called up our driver for the final confirmation and he had to take out the permit for Rohtang pass,it is given only a day in advance of the journey.
Next day we had to start at 5.30 a.m so we didn't had much plans for the day in Manali except for 2 pegs of Old Monk and an authentic Bengali dinner.

Day 3: Manali to Kaza

We had some nice warm sleep and eventually missed the target of 5.30 a.m..so we started at 6.15 a.m..We reached Marhi at around 7.30 a.m and had our breakfast.
After a cup of hot coffee and a few puffs of cigarette,we started again.We could feel the increase in chill as we neared Rohtang pass.It took another 30 mins to reach Rohtang pass from Marhi.
I didn't find Rohtang pass very interesting..as much it is being spoken about...maybe the absence of snow made it look ordinary..after a brief photo session we started again.
The pitch road gradually started to vanish as it neared Gramphoo..after crossing Gramphoo(the place where the Manali-Leh and the Manali-Kaza highways bifurcates) it was all boulders,stones,pebbles etc in the name of a road.
I was sitting on the last seat of the Sumo and I found myself tangling in the mid air more than in the seats.
Out of 205 k.m Manali-Kaza road,around 140 k.m are only boulders with no signs of pitch roads..
If there was an accurate calculation then I am quite sure that I had spent close to 90 k.m in mid air rather than in seats in the total 11 hour journey..

The scenery soon started to change,the green valley vanished and were replaced by tree less mountains..for the first time I could smell the essence of Spiti...

We reached Chatru at 11.15 a.m and had our lunch in the form of Rajma Chawal...clicked a few pictures and started again at 11.45..
There were some places were I got confused since I could'nt understand weather the river was flowing on the road or the road is being made to run in the river...

Next we reached Chota Dhara,our driver asked us to get down from the car and help him to cross the boulders..while crossing chota dhara,the silencer pipe hit a boulder and was damaged..
Our driver said that it was a small damage so he will get it repaired once we reach Kaza..

Rohtang La:

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Gramphoo:

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Chota Dhara in between Chatru and Batal:

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Machines also play their roles, if you are riding. Sometimes they refuse to move without take care of your morale. On 20 Sep whether also played his role. Travelogue is here: http://mainyayavar.blogspot.in/2015/...-to-losar.html
#17 Oct 8th, 2015, 01:16
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#17
Day 4: Kaza to Dhankar Via Tabo

We had earlier plans of starting early in the morning around 8 a.m..but coudn't since our sumo had to be taken to a garage for repairing the silencer pipe. .

We had some time before the car got repaired ...took a stroll around the city of Kaza..visited the monastery...

We started for Tabo at 11.00 p.m...stopped in between for clicking few images..

We reached Tabo around 2.00 p.m...again had Rajma Chawal in lunch...

Tabo is said to have the oldest Monastry in the Spiti region...almost 1019 yrs old....visited the old Monastry...

We met a bikers group from Bangalore..they were coming from Shimla side..

The owner of dhaba where we had lunch,offered us few fresh tree plucked apples..He said that the apples grown in Himachal are very expensive and most of them are exported...

We started for Dhankar at 4 p.m....

In between Tabo and Dhankar there is a place called Attargo where the road to Pin valley bifurcates...we had plans for Pin valley but had to drop it due to shortage of time..

We reached Dhankar at 5.30 p.m...we had prior bookings in the Dhankar Monastry guest house which I found is the best place to stay in Dhankar apart from 2-3 homestays,,..


Some images from the day:

Kaza Monastery:

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Kaza,the District Head Quarters of Spiti:

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Towards Tabo from Kaza:

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Only rules that matters are:What a man can do and what a man can not !!!!

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Some of my compilations in Flickr
#18 Oct 9th, 2015, 00:41
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#18
Tabo monastery :

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From a different angle:

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The lifeline of Spiti,a HRTC bus from Reckon Peo on the way to Kaza:

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Attargo,it is from here the road to Pin valley bifurcates:

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#19 Oct 9th, 2015, 07:20
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#19
Wow, worth every minute spent. Amazing pics
#20 Oct 9th, 2015, 07:35
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#20
Is Spiti the place where they have a village with Rastafarians?

And are they Buddhist Rastas?
#21 Oct 9th, 2015, 10:07
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#21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ananda2193 View Post Is Spiti the place where they have a village with Rastafarians?

And are they Buddhist Rastas?
No its not..
#22 Oct 9th, 2015, 10:40
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#22
very interesting and such colours !!! You have used an UWA a lot , which one?

Cheers
Somnath
#23 Oct 9th, 2015, 10:59
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#23
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamsomnath View Post very interesting and such colours !!! You have used an UWA a lot , which one?

Cheers
Somnath
Somnath Da,

I have used the Canon 10-18 in the entire trip...didn't get time to test with the 50mm..
#24 Oct 10th, 2015, 21:33
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#24
Mesmerizing photographs - refreshed my memories - not infringing into your blog, but to answer to @iamsomnath query, I am inserting a photograph shot in jpeg format using 18-55mm lens in Spiti - this is already published in a Calendar in 2012 -
#25 Oct 11th, 2015, 11:30
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#25
Wow..Spectacular shot...
Did you take this from the Kye Monastery?
#26 Oct 11th, 2015, 19:43
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#26
Yes, I shot it from Kye monastery
#27 Oct 11th, 2015, 21:51
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#27
Hi...great pictures!...enjoyed and thanks for sharing....looking forward to a trip to this area when we do come to India, next year. Will call for more details if that is not asking too much of your effort. Regards
#28 Oct 11th, 2015, 21:54
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#28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SinghAlongSA View Post Hi...great pictures!...enjoyed and thanks for sharing....looking forward to a trip to this area when we do come to India, next year. Will call for more details if that is not asking too much of your effort. Regards
Anytime.. no issues at all..
If you are willing to make a visit to this area then please make sure you plan it within the months of June end to Sept end...
#29 Oct 11th, 2015, 23:03
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#29
Day 5: Trek to Dhankar Lake

Earlier day I set my alarm at 6.00 a.m but eventually got up ahead of that...I found the water in the mountains gives a power-booster to the digestive system and you are compelled to get up very early in the morning...
This never happens when I am in my home in Kolkata..and I get late marks in my office..

The day was extremely bright and sunny...
Started for Dhankar Lake at 6.30...as we got outside the main gate of the Monastery GH,we found no one to ask for the trek route to the lake..after waiting for almost 35 mins,we met an Monastery monk whom we asked about the trek route..
We were told to follow the marked trails to the lake..

After walking for 15 mins along a defined trail,we found there are 2-3 trails diverging to different directions...tried one and was unlucky,had to return back to the same confusing point....waited for 15 mins if we find some one..no one appeared..

We saw a trail which had marking of tractor's tyres..quickly assumed that it cannot be the one we need to follow as there is no motor able road to the lake..

So we left that option out,even then we had two paths..we were getting late now..so decided to climb the hill as much as possible without following a fixed path..the lake will ultimately become visible if we reach the top of the hill...and so we did....

After climbing for another 30 mins we reached the lake....

It was a satisfying feeling reaching the lake after getting lost in the middle for quite some time..

While trekking up towards the Lake
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The Dhankar Lake..

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The confluence of Pin-Spiti rivers from Dhankar Monastery.Name:  phpg6IAH2AM.jpg
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#30 Oct 12th, 2015, 14:01
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#30
Day 5(Continued): Dhankar to Kibber,Kye Monastery in between:

The downhill trek to the Monastery GH was very easy and since now we know the proper short cut route,it took 20 mins to descend.

Next we visited the Dhankar monastery.
I found the Monastery very interesting,the 1000 years old monastery is build over a structure which is naturally created with the effects of wind erosion..locals and authorities are worried that any further erosion can bring the structure down....so they have started to gather funds to help renovate the Monastery..

The view from the Monastery was exhilarating...the silence of the place and then the sound made by the strong winds accompanied with the view of Pin-Spiti confluence is an experience on its own...

No one was willing to leave the place..and then a big group of around 20 people came in and demanded to see a big Buddha statue which according to them should have been just above the Monastery..their demands broke our trance and we were ready to depart..

While leaving I spoke to an elderly person from the group and said they might have confused Dhankar with Langza..since Langza has a big Buddha statue....not sure weather he was convinced by that..
So we left Dhankar at about 12.00 towards Kaza...

Reached Kaza and had our lunch(Rajma Chawal offcource )..
On the earlier day when we were in Kaza I found the aroma of a local Tibetian agarbatti very jovial..so ventured out to get a few packets of that..

Then I realized that I was calling for trouble..I entered the main market place of Kaza along with my wife....and eventually ended up shedding few hundred bucks which was not planned...'The Tale of a Married Man'...

Anyways, after absorbing the short shock wave we left for Kye Monastery...or Kee I should say..very confusing.. I found many spellings for the same..Kye/Kii/Key/Kee....even on the Monastery itself they have spelt in two different ways..

The Kye Monastery if one of the most photograpphed subjects in Spiti..people take pictures from different angles and it looks stunning too...the landscape around the Monastery is quite dramatic..you are bound to have good images...even a lesser mortal like me has managed to get some good clicks..better than the rest I must say..

The day was exceptionally bright and hot...the sun flare was too strong for photographs...since we would be going to Kibber for the day which is only 5-6 k.m from here,we deceided to spend the afternoon in the Monastery area so we can click some images when the sun settles down a bit...to our surprise even at 5.30 p.m the sun was very strong..our driver asked us to leave as it would be extremely cold as the sun sets down and he would be having trouble driving in the dark...so we left with heavy hearts as most of the images were washed off...

While on the way to Kibber I decided to stop in the Monastery area next day and take some photographs before proceeding to Langza...I thought if no one agrees on this plan then I will take the morning 7 a.m bus to Kaza alone and get down at Kee Monastry and ask my fellows to pick me up when they are coming down...

Fortunately I didn't had to do that..everyone agreed to stop at the Monastery for a brief photography session next day..

It was the first night in the trip that we would be spending at an altutude more than 14000 ft accompnaied with strong winds..we didn't have any trouble with the altitude but the winds were untolerable as it was dark..
Had an early dinner and went to bed at 9 p.m sharp..
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