“Julley” – Hello in Spiti!

It is the start of the journey that stays with you the most, probably because you are aware of every ticking second!

I remember the jitters the night before and how D had to calm me down. With a sprained ankle and a strained shoulder, the physical weakness had almost convinced me that I call it off. But then everything that could go wrong already had – so only good was remaining!

So there I was in Manali in the company of these two awesome people I met on the bus. There was also another girl I had met – all of 19, dropped out of college and now dedicated to teach at a school located in a remote village. I met another girl who was just back from Spiti (her second solo trip) with a story similar to mine. The difference was probably how spirited she had become through her experiences over the last few months. I am hoping I have started a similar transformation!

The ride to Spiti was interesting. We were a heterogeneous group with barely any overlaps if we had to plot ourselves into a venn diagram. So a trekking guide, investment banker turned teacher, architects, marketing professionals and a consultant (that’s me, unfortunately) made for crazy discussions. There was also a Croatian travel writer – the coolest, the oldest and the fittest of us all!

Breakdowns and bladder stops. Lunches and languid walks. Chocolates and changing landscapes. Every turn brought new sights. We had a rainbow following us for a while, flowing on the fields or up and down along the mountain ridges.

We made stops at Kunzum Pass (15000 feet), Losar (perhaps the first village in the valley) and then Hansa (a small village but for the welcoming ceremony of the lamas that we were very lucky to catch). We made it to Kaza (administrative HQ of Spiti) in good time to relax and catch the blazing sunset over sumptuous momos!

Kaza Rainbow
Rainbow at Kaza
Kunzum La
Prayer Flags at Kunzum
On the Way
After Rohtang

The first day was acclimatization amid breathtaking views of a landscape that I will never be tired of. I visited Kee Monastery, Kibber and Chicham Gorge. It started the series of so many firsts I was about to have – every time I thought it cannot get better than this, there was magic awaiting round the corner.

The second day, before starting the trek, there was a stop at Langza (famous for its fossils) where I had a session with the local potter. I managed to make a cup with a lot of help and a slightly sore right leg. The trek to Komic spans about 10 kilometers dotted with meadows and fields and the unyielding majestic spread of Spiti. Hikkim falls on the way which is the highest post office in the world where I gleefully posted three cards.

Chicham
Chicham Gorge
Kee Monastery
At Kee Monastery
Kibber
Kibber

Along the route, fresh peas were a constant snack. Every time there was a field, a smiling farmer handed freshly plucked peas – the sweetest I have ever had in my life. Maybe that is why even the locals are so kind and so giving. They spend their whole lives in that unforgiving land, putting long hours just to be able to survive and yet… Not a sour face or a bitter complaint. Always smiling, always sharing! They were happier than most of the people I have met in the city… Content in the simple life and truly immersed in the spirit of community living.

I headed straight to Komic Monastery on reaching. The valley at sunset was breathtaking – golden fingers caressing the green pastures. Rejuvenated with the view, the headache and exhaustion melted away with the sun. I was staying with a local family in Komic. Three noisy children and one mischievous baby did not deter the woman from making me feel at home and fussing over dinner and chai. Oh the chai! I have never had so many cups and varieties of chai as I had in those 10 days – lemon, mint and sea buckthorn were my favorite. That night – spent in the highest motorable village in the world – I slept deeply and peacefully.

It had been a wonderful start! Even better than I had imagined… And my imagination is wild πŸ˜€

Langza
Langza
Pottery
Pottery at Langza
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43 thoughts on ““Julley” – Hello in Spiti!

  1. sMiles Prajakta.. from the beautiful
    photos of your Tibetan Mountain
    trip into the wild and nice
    of your
    ancestral
    past.. i was
    struck by the
    awesome coolness
    of what i saw of your
    hiking boots.. and iT seems
    like it would be hard to sprain
    an ankle in what gives so much
    support to you.. feet.. feet.. feat
    of connecting to Mother Earth..
    Hands.. Hands.. Hands.. that
    hoLd each other WitH arms
    in places that have
    no central
    heat
    to separate
    us from the
    warmth of others
    that even a kind smile
    bRingS for what seems
    forevernow.. and porches..
    front porches of the Southern
    Wild of Panhandle Florida..
    always my ancestral
    home now
    from birth..
    and still in poor
    sections in what they
    term as across the railroad
    tracks of then.. neighbors hang
    on.. on porches young and old with
    smiles.. and lazy love that fills a yard
    with liGht.. beyond four walls of castle
    now in mirror neuron ways of Electronic
    Entertainment no different really than
    the pacifier and the rubber nipple
    that replaces a breast
    of human love..
    and when i
    hear you say
    how happy the poor
    who work hand in hand
    toGeTher for the subsistence
    and shelter in life are in your
    ancestral mountains there.. no
    surprise even to science now.. showing
    the most peaceful societies in the world
    that number twenty all of that in common
    of small.. and the giving and sharing way of
    life day by day.. of hands and arms and feet
    that Love all that is the same.. sure.. sure there
    are difficulties that only makes the Love that comes
    that much more iSreal.. when arms and hands and feet of
    human are connected once again to all that is.. mY FriEnd..
    i almost hate to call that God.. as that word has become so dirty
    and divisive and violent too.. away from Beauty.. Innocence
    and Love that even science shows that humans are
    born to be.. never fallen any place
    but cultures and religions
    that do divide..
    but it’s true too that
    even science shows that
    the human social connection
    is the number one source of human
    happiness in flesh and blood ways..
    and that folks who make over 50K a year
    who have met their basic subsistence needs
    met in a First World country are no more happy than
    the Billionaire Frowns of Trumps the same in grimace
    for a never ending rat wheel journey of more illusory status
    and power that never FeeLs uP the place of empathy and compassion
    and all we feel of Love.. it’s too easy my friEnd.. to work 10 years and more..
    30 and even 40 more to support a mortgage.. to support a boat loan and
    even a yacht loan and more.. that only sits in a harbor for garden
    parties that have no leaves.. of Love.. that are iSREaL iN
    the simple comfort of Being
    Love now with
    each other
    holding hands
    with arms that
    hug.. and that my
    friend in loving contact
    with the oxytocin receptors
    on literally feet that allow us
    to feel the love of Mother Earth
    iSREaL.. is yes.. why some folks
    who saw the animated paRt of the
    movie.. Avatar.. that showed in Avatar
    terms the death of our nature deficit disorder
    in terms of first world problems.. was so much
    to handle in the awakening to the slaves and prisons
    they live in now.. already a depth of depression vague
    that knows no home.. that yes.. some folks literally committed
    suicide.. as the truth of the hell they learned they were.. was too
    much to handle.. one more now.. there.. as there was no escape seen
    for them back to a FoRest of Life that is real as FeeLinG LoVinG Touch..
    sorry.. this is really long my friEnd.. but tHere IS A simple way out that is
    possible
    in Being
    LoVe aGaiN..
    it just requires shedding
    all these illusory clothes of
    culture.. that have blinded
    us to the liGht of what hUman
    even iS as and ISReaL Beauty of Love..
    the problems is there is nothing simple
    about the illusions now my friEnd.. they
    are we and we are they.. and the
    way back is
    worth
    iT noW..
    when found..
    beYond the
    Castle Walls
    of death as liFe..
    as i’M sure any Tibetan
    moNK would relate too iF
    and when they come down
    from the Mountain or Beach2..:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Waah!! Such a refreshing & positive read in the morning!! Thank You for sharing. Keep exploring; keep expressing!! :))

    P.S.: Not unfortunate to be a consultant; gives you many privileges (non-financial :D) such as these. πŸ™‚

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  3. Wow… How did you go about planning the trip? Is it normal for travelers to stay with the locals and interact with them? This seems like one of those trips that should definitely be undertaken alone, kind of to gain perspective in life. Thanks for sharing the photographs and your experience. I look forward to reading more about your trip. πŸ™‚

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    • Homestays are very much normal in Spiti. You can stay in Zostel or guesthouses in the major villages like Kaza and Tabo or even a monastery, but if you wish to stay in the inner villages instead of just driving, homestay is the only option. Just land up – the people will make sure you have a roof over your head πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  4. This is wonderful to read,you just reminds me my last trip to Leh Ladakh that was as special as unforgettable memories.We initiate with same way( Rohtang,Kaza…)i hope you’ve enjoyed the most.😊

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  5. Trip of a lifetime i would say. I have read so much on Spiti that i can’t wait to be there (after i am in India).

    I am sure i would love tea there, and those sweat peas too πŸ™‚
    Btw, is staying with locals the only option?

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  6. I just couldn’t get enough of this post. I read it twice and swooned over the pictures like a baby who hasn’t seen any of the world yet. The first picture with the rainbow is breathtaking, and so are the others! Plus your narration of the whole account was like cherry on top!

    Like

  7. I love your attitude and enjoy seeing the world through your eyes. The big, beautiful sky and the prayer flags flying help me imagine the feel of the breeze on my skin.

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  8. An unforgettable trip. Surely you have met a number of people, have made new friends and, have your memory full of exquisite experiences. the RAINBOW!! I’ve never seen anything like it…not even in pictures…!! You are so very lucky… πŸ™‚

    Like

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