This year has been very interesting for many reasons. We did our first photography workshop and also our first photo tour to Spiti. This was our first and we were excited and apprehensive at the same time. We travelled to Spiti last year with our daughter and realised that Spiti is not meant for everyone. Its nothing like Leh, its nothing like any other hill station, its nothing like any place you have been to before. Yet, it is one of the most treacherous and breath taking places in India that deserves at least one visit in a life time. For travel enthusiasts, for photographers and for nature lovers Spiti is a must do.
Our trip was scheduled for 6 nights. People joined from Bangalore, Delhi and Jodhpur. Our first stop was at Nala Garh where we spent one night before starting for Naggar. Day two, the group started early from Naggar because we wanted to avoid getting stuck in the water crossings. When you go to Spiti there are many water crossings and streams that you need to drive through. It is always advisable to start early and sleep early. The reason is that as the way progresses the glacier starts to melt faster increasing the water level in these streams. After almost 10 hours of driving on mud, grit, gravel, lose rocks, dry river beds, boulders and streams we reached Losar village in the evening. That night ended with barbequing fresh trout fish for dinner.
Day Two was filled with exploring Kaza, Langsa, Komic which is the highest village in the world and Hikkim which has the highest post office in the world. We can’t wrap our heads around the fact that someone comes all the way to Hikkim to collect letters to be delivered all over the world in todays day and age where everything is available at the touch of a button. These villages look like places from a different era and different world.
Day Three was a trip to the rolling plains of Takcha. Post which we came back to Losar and had a scrumptious lunch of local Spiti food at the quaint Singaling restaurant in the village. After lunch, we did a leisurely photo walk to document life and people of the village. It was a lovely walk across the golden barley fields with Tibetan chants wafting in from the small monastery on top of the hill. We walked all the way to our place of stay (Nomadic Cottages) at Losar. After dinner and many conversations over ginger-honey-lemon tea we woke up again at 4am for star gazing and to shoot the milky way. It must have been 7 degrees outside but we did not mind the cold and the strong winds. The shoot went on till the first rays of the sun started filtering in through the star spangled night sky.
On the fourth day we bid adieu to Losar and started our journey towards our camps at Chandra Taal (The Moon Lake). Chandra Taal is a crescent shaped lake at an altitude of 14,100 feet. It is very popular among trekkers and campers. We arrived at our camp site in the afternoon and were greeted with some hot cups of masala chai by Tawang, our camp co-ordinator from Nomadic Destinations. We quickly settled in our beautifully appointed swiss tents and filled our tummies with Maggie. We started our journey to Chandra Taal post lunch from the parking point. The entire afternoon was spent sitting by the lake and absorbing the atmosphere.
Day Five started early as we all wanted to go back to the lake to do a parikrama. The water was still but the sky was overcast. That day we walked with the shepherds and their sheep dogs to get a glimpse of their life. We walked with their flock and chatted with the shepherd about his life in such an inhospitable terrain. The day ended with delicious tingmo and egg curry.
Day Six with a very heavy heart we bade our farewell to Chandra taal, our little heaven for the last couple of days and started our journey back home.
We stopped at Naggar Castle to spend a night. Naggar Castle is a 500 years old heritage property managed by the government of Himachal Pradesh. It’s a decent place with rich history, a museum, good food and great service.
These are some of the pictures from the experiential photo tour.