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Mystical Endless Beauty 

1st August 2002

It is still difficult to overcome the images we crossed yesterday on our way to Kaza . Such desert trail ever existed and people settle here with no means of communication , transport and being cut off from the world for nearly 8 months a year is hard to imagine . The sun is shining bright and without goggles pains the eyes , the terrain is just breathtaking . We departed to visit the areas nearby i.e the Kee Monastery , Dhankar Monaestery , Tabo Monastery which is over 1000 years old and what construction , how where what , all hard to imagine . I will leave you for a while to admire the lovely landscapes and sightings . I am sure that they will leave you imagining and wishing to come to this exotic mind boggling and adventures destination , but be sure to remember to carry your goggles and come in a 4 x4 vehicle which is very essential and life savings . After travellling the whole day we stayed at Tabo .

       Kee Monastery                                                    Dhankar Monaetery 


At Tabo in Spiti district (often called the valley of monasteries) it seems as if time has stood still for 1000 years. The sudden and unexpected change of terrain is sure to leave you breathless and speechless. For, here at heights of over 3000 m, is an arid, cold and rocky desert where the only string of continuity is the fury of the rivers that crash and tumble over the barren faces of the mountains. Spiti, with its rock-hard desert mountains, torrential rivers and howling, cold winds is where only the gods can live.

The few villages are sparsely populated and the people who live here are simple, god-fearing folk who brave the elements in this lunar-like, seemingly inhospitable land. The Tabo Gompa, or Buddhist monastery, is second in importance only to the
Tholing Gompa in Tibet in the entire Himalayan region. The Tabo monastery, built in 996 A.D. by Rinchen Jangpo, is a complex of nine temples, 23 chortens (stupas) and separate chambers for monks and nuns. The temples have life-size stucco images of the Buddha and other deities, besides sculptures, frescos, murals, thangkas and manuscripts. Influences of India, particularly the Kashmir school of Art are reflected in the works. Hence the title - The Ajanta of the Himalayas, as declared by the archeological survey of India. 

Mountains and cliffs protect the centuries-old, inward looking culture of the region. You get a pretty good idea of this insular world, when you journey from Tabo to Kibber. On the way to Kibber is another famous monastery, the Ki Gompa, located on top of a cliff...an absolute must-see !

 

2nd August  2002

We departed from Tabo early next day as we had to cross a difficult terrain of 200 kms in the cold desert to reach Rohtang pass before sunset . Our day started badly with a puncture which we got fixed at kaza and then through the breathtaking view of the Himalayas we gradually went back. We reached Rohtang pass late at 8.00 pm and were engulfed in the clouds . The last 50 kms to Manali we did in 4 hours and reached our hotel safe and sound at 12.00 pm.

3rd August 2002 

We rested and lazed through the day with visiting Solang valley and found a small trek of 2.5 kms to Anjani Mahadev , this is a place where water falls from the mountains and in winters a shivling is made . In the evening we had Italian food at Il Forno and really relaxed and joked around the whole evening .

4th August 2002

Departed Manali at 9.00 am , got the punctured fixed and reached Delhi via Chandigarh in late evening at 12.00 pm.My safari all rattled up and now ready to buy a new Jeep

 

                                                          Spiti Valley 
Spiti (locally pronounced 'Piti') or the 'middle country', has its sub divisional headquarters at Kaza. With mountains that form a part of the middle and greater Himalaya - several peaks cross 6000 mts - the mean elevation of the area is 4570 mts and the lowest parts of the valley are above 3350 mts. Spiti's people have divided it into four units - Sham, the lower region; Pin, which lies by the Pin river; Bhar, the middle tract and Tud, the high territories. The river Spiti that flows through the region, is formed at the base of the Kunzum range. It flows eastward to meet the Sutlej at Khab in Kinnaur. En route it is fed by several streams - Pin, Chiomo, Gyundi, Rahtang, Ulah, Lungze, Mane. In practical isolation for centuries, Spiti has an introvertive culture and life focussed around its several monasteries. It was loosely ruled for several centuries by a hereditary wazir, styled Nono. The people are largely Buddhists and followers of the Geluk-pa sect. They are warm and hospitable. Religion plays a major role in everyday life as piles of mani stones, prayer flags and strategically placed chortens testify. The repetition of the mantra "Om mani padme hum" (literally, 'Behold the jewel is in the lotus'), is constant; it is said to bring good fortune and wash away all sins. The area's valleys are narrow - except portions of the Spiti which, at places, has a width of up to 3 km. Cultivable land is marginal and there are no trees except for a few patches of poplar and willow. And for all this seeming bleakness, Spiti has a haunting and unforgettable beauty. There is a fair amount of wildlife in the region - including the snow leopard and ibex in the Pin valley.


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