By the evening of day 9, after being held up by the landslide, we reached the centre of Kinnaur. Winding up through the hills, we were welcomed by the evening rush in Recong Peo. So we thought why don't we drive further up. And so after many more rounds of winding up, we were in Kalpa. We stayed in a calm place away from the crowd. iI've no memories left of the night as we went almost straight to sleep at the hotel.
Day 10. One of the best opening scenes to a day, even better than the one I saw in Keylong. And this time too, it was thanks to Raja as he kicked me awake from deep sleep. Through the window, we saw the Kinner Kailash mountain towering over us. With clouds making it vanish and appear every other minute, it seemed like an illusion, something unreal. Fresh snow was glowing in the sun. We could feel the coldness and the freshness from our balcony. And as the blue skies came on view, it was a visual treat. The pine trees provided a nice silhouette as the clouds engulfed the valley and the mountains. The kinner Kailash is a mountain which is highly revered by Hindus. Its considered as a smaller version of the original mount Kailash.
Kinnaur is known to produce the best apples in India. How big the business here is evident from the huge number of orchards that can be seen all around. Breakfast was a funny affair with some local music videos being played in the tv, specially for us. It was supposed to be modern versions of traditional Kinnauri songs. But the guys have managed to spoil it to the max which in turn gave us lot of laughs. Another myth about the Kinnauris is that they are descendants of the Pandavas and are considered as a special being in between man and God. Our first destination for the day was Sangla valley. The journey through the sides of river sutlej and Baspa river provided some excellent view. A big area is owned by the Jaypee group with power projects and tunnels seen all around. We gave lift to an old man from Bihar who been working here for the past many decades. He regaled us with stories from his olden days. On the way upto Sangla, there's a small mandir where the baba will come down and bless each vehicle as it passes by. The old man gave us the not so colourful history of the 'baba' too.
Sangla is a beautiful valley located near the Tibetan border. Those who have enough time can take a trek to the chitkul village, which is almost near the border. We went straight up to the temple and monastery, which is located quite near to the centre of the small town. A short walk through narrow paths will take you to the temple. When we went there, only 3 children who were playing there were there. The wooden carvings were intricate and depicted various interesting figures. The children were having a gala time fighting with each other. The youngest of them was interested in posing for the camera too. We were surprised to see grass(not the ones that cows eat) growing freely, just outside the temple gates. As I was nearing our vehicle a group of little girls came running towards me asking to take snaps. Later I realised, it was Raja who pointed them to me, when he was attacked for carrying the camera bag. It was a few minutes of delightful clicking as the kids wanted a variety of poses. I just wish I could mail them these.
running before the click...in their eagerness to see the snap, they started running before the click...:D
the roads were filled with warning signs like this..a rock can fall on your head anytime...and this man seems to be protecting himself :D
Later it was another long drive to Rampur, where we stayed for the night. And on the way, we were joined by Sanju Bhai, our driver Manoj bhai's best friend. The short man with an ever smiling face was a source of info regarding anything and everything related to Himachal. This man would delight us for the last leg of our journey...
your crusader Praveen