Posts Tagged ‘Spiti’


My goodness. Today had so many elements. Beautiful monasteries, an absolutely spectacular descent into the Spiti Valley, and a 20km struggle into the wind on a bad road surface. I lie contented in my warm bed in Lossar, stomach full and body tingling after the exersion.

Spiti Valley

Spiti Valley

There is an alternative to the main road from Kaza to Lossar. It is hilly, passes some beautiful monasteries, and crosses a new bridge over a chasm. My cycling friend Mark crossed the chasm in a basket run by a pulley when he cycled here 2 years ago. Now there’s a bridge. Much less exciting but safer, I guess.

Chicham bridge

Chicham bridge

The monastery at Kee is on all the photos of Spiti Valley. Perched on a mound above the valley, it looks amazing from a distance.

Kee monastery

Kee monastery

Inside the monastery I was transported back to my cycle across the Tibetan Plateau. The smell of yak butter did it. I met all sorts of groups of people, and was able to speak Hindi, Indonesian and Chinese with them. Something else I love. All really lovely people.

View from the Kee monastery

View from the Kee monastery

Kibber was my lunch stop. I had a tea stop at a very unexpected place – at the top of a kind of mini pass – in flat green pastures full of cows.

The inconceivable cafe

The inconceivable cafe

The descent from there back to the Spiti Valley was incredible. The river was spread out over a silt plain, bordered by huge sandy sides rising up on both sides to plateaus high above the river. The weather looked threatening, making for a special experience.

Spiti Valley

Spiti Valley

Spiti Valley

Spiti Valley

The last 20km were a real slog. With a strong headwind, a bad road, undulating landscape, climbing on average, and a smattering of rain, I arrived exhausted in Lossar.

The road to Lossar

The road to Lossar

The road to Lossar

The road to Lossar

Tomorrow my first pass – Kunzum La.


I saw something moving in the dusk. A black shape about 50m away on the river bed. I switched on my torch and saw him. A fox. With a big bushy tail. He turned to me and I saw his yellow eyes shine brightly in the torch light. Two points of yellow light. He moved closer. He paused. Then he backed off and stayed staring at me – the two yellow dots were all I could see. I didn’t think I’d see much wildlife. I watched him and he watched me. hope I don’t see a snow leopard like this.

A room with a view

A room with a view

Today’s goal was to camp in the river valley and watch the stars. The best place to do this was only 30km away, so I went on the detour (a 400m climb) to the Dankhar monastery. Perched on a rocky outcrop high above the valley, the monastery looks amazing from the valley, and the views from up there a incredible.

Climbing to the Dhankar monastery

Climbing to the Dhankar monastery

View from the Dhankar monastery

View from the Dhankar monastery

View from the Dhankar monastery

View from the Dhankar monastery

View from the Dhankar monastery

View from the Dhankar monastery

It remains incredibly hot for being at 3500m. When at the monastery, I decided it was too hot to go and see the beautiful lake an hour’s walk away. Instead I chatted with some French backpackers and Barbara – a woman I met in Kalpa and Nako.

The setting up the tent and the cooking went well. I even have a foxy friend to keep me company tonight.


From the cool heights of Nako to the hot river bed. I never expected to be hot at over 3000m. The sun radiated its heat from above and from the rock faces all around. I cycled through this playground of rock, ending in the monastery village of Tabo.

Tabo

Tabo

Today was about cycling, but also about taking, and sharing stories. I crosses paths with the New Zealand cyclists at breakfast and several places during the day. We also spent most of the late afternoon and evening talking. That didn’t leave much time for the monastery. That’s for tomorrow morning at the prayer service at 6.

Thomas, Jessica and myself

Thomas, Jessica and myself

The valley

The valley


I sit in the sun, high above the mountain village of Nako. Next to me groans the prayer wheel as it is goaded into motion by the wind. The prayer flags flutter, highlighted by the sun. Over 1000m below in front of me is the Spiti Valley and behind me is Tibet. I am alone, with only the sound of the wind and the flags, in this beautiful place.

Nako

Nako

I didn’t think I’d stay in Nako. It’s too high, and I’m not acclimatised. I also thought I’d have to do the climb only nourished by the biscuits I bought last night. Well, there was a Bob Marley ‘restaurant/ hotel’ 7km down the road before the climb started. I had some dahl and chepatis, and again in Kah – a sudden patch of green in the middle of a barren red rock and sand landscape.

Bob Marley restaurant

Bob Marley restaurant

The rest of the time I spent spiralling up into the heavens, surrounded by a bleak, rocky landscape. The river I saw disappear to obscurity below.

The climb

The climb

The river below

The river below

Barren landscape

Barren landscape

The climb continues

The climb continues

I arrived in Nako and fell in love with the place. So peaceful and beautiful. I guess the food helped too. I sat down and proceded to have 4 main courses and 3 lassis.

Nako cow

Nako cow

Nako street

Nako street

The Nako prayer wheel

The Nako prayer wheel