We were back on the road again at 5 AM on Day 6 only to get disappointed by the slight drizzling that was going on. But, the presence of the spirited Manoj Bhai behind the wheels meant that we had nothing to fear. In this geography, even a slight rain can bring the whole hill down. Localites said that rains like what were seen this season were never seen in these regions. As we rode on, the drizzle morphed into a threatening rain. We were retracing our journey to Keylong, as we had to take the deviation to Spiti valley just below Rohtang Pass. It was nightmare all over again. Small and big streams were crossing the road at several points. At one point, we had a full fledged waterfall to cross. We prayed for dear life. Yet again, Manoj Bhai calmly maneouvered the qualis over the violent waters.
On the road to spiti...barren lands...and not a soul to be seen for kilometres. This is one of the few vehicles we saw on the road..
Over the next 2 hours, we passed a number of big and small waterfalls, much more than we've seen in a lifetime. The Himalayas in the rain is a different ball game altogether. At one point, we had to cross a road half blocked by a freshly fallen big rock. One inch to the left and we would've been resting in a deep gorge. As the rain faded, we bid goodbye to Lahaul valley and entered spiti valley. The terrain began to change yet again. A more desert like appearance came into view. Mammoth mountains comprising of black sand were seen. The rugged look made it closer in appearance to Ladakh. Our next stop was Batal, a small place famous for camping. We walked into a hotel functioning inside a tent. Noodles, yet again. The only people in the whole place were us and few bikers.
alone with nature...those who still haven't seen the man sitting alone, look to the left corner at the bottom...
smoke and ponder...Inside the tent in batal...
Later, we proceeded to Chandrataal lake, a kind of compensation for missing the trip to Pangong lake near Ladakh. The vehicle goes only till a point 4 kms away from the lake. Then its a pretty tiring trek of about 3-4 Kms through oxygen deficient atmosphere. It was slow progress as we gasped and panted our way forward through a path parallel to the chandra river, originating from the lake. Rain made our progress slower. The sight of the green lake was one to behold. Its easily the cleanest lake I've ever seen, mainly because very few tourists come here. The cloudy atmosphere was a dampener though. Still the leg dip in the lake felt like heaven.
snow caps on barren mountains..
river meandering through the plains..
We had to reach the next village before nightfall. The first hurdle was the kunzum pass. It is the gateway to spiti valley. The deep blue skies, one of the characteristics of this part of the world, and which was conspicuously absent all these days, made its appearance. The Kunzum Devi temple(durga devi) looked splendid against the sky. Only an old caretaker was there at the temple. There's a bowl in the temple, on top of which you can try sticking coins. If it sticks the first time itself, its said to bring good luck. Mine stuck only the second time around :P Now it was a downhill journey to Lossar village, yet another picturesque village nestled between the Himalayas. It is the only inhabited village that we've seen on our journey today.
the temple at kunzum pass
a vehicle containing sacks which overturned into the river..
not an ad shot
What makes this village different is that there's been no power supply at this place for the last 35 days. And there's no phone too. Their dwindling food supplies depend on the traffic through Rohtang pass. Yet, the people were happy. I couldn't help but think about us all, who crib during those few hours of power cut here. We stayed in a small room just below a monastery. A stream was flowing next to our room. At night, I woke up with a dry throat and searched for water in the dark. I couldn't find anything. I spent the next 3 hours through a living nightmare before Raja woke up and searched out the bottle. By that time, I had almost died out of thirst, once even contemplating getting out in the dark and drinking from the stream. Thankfully, I lived on to wake up the next day... :)
your crusader Praveen