"Maggi, Kazigs and Chandigarh"
After a good night’s sleep and resting the tired body I wake up to these enchanting views from my window. I and sandy discussed as to why people shoot movies in foreign locales, these scenes were as good as any.
The view from my window - Sangla
Had a quick breakfast, clicked some pics and started for Peo, our first stop. Peo was important because we had to search for a memory card for our camera. We ended up having just a 256MB card in our camera by mistake. Which meant just 70 pics before we had to find a computer to transfer pics? That was a screw up and we didn’t know whom to blame. Reached Peo and realized its Sunday. Still some guys there helped us to a shop and we got our hands on a 1 GB card (thank god). Started for Pooh, agreed upon as major stop on our way for lunch. But decided will stop for each and every good photo opp. The road is as good as any despite some landslide damages here and there. Crossed major villages of Akpa, Moorang and Spillo. Spillo had a International Police check post, got our bikes entered in the records.
Inner line starts here and foreign national are required to travel with a permit. We were already hungry when we reached Pooh, but since the village is a 4 kms detour from the NH, we decided to continue.
By now the scenery had dramatically changed from lush green to barren rocks.
Had lunch of Maggi at a small village of Dubling which had a dhaba.
Continued to Khab, it had a small Bailey Bridge which runs above the confluence of Spiti river and Sutlej, which comes to India from Pare chhu lake in Tibet. After Khab the road amazed us, the loopy ‘Kazigs’ were amazing.
We gained about 5000 ft of altitude in just 20 kms. Felt a heavy breath for the first time, even after walking a few paces. We were now continuously riding on top of the mountains, everything seemed dwarfed and we could look into the eyes of high mountain summits next to us. It had a surreal feel to it. Visited the Nako Lake which is just a Kilometer of detour from the NH, the lake and the meadow though not very beautiful is still not worth a miss. In typical himachali fashion the village had a restaurant catering to Israeli visitors.
Continued towards Sumdo and then to Tabo. Crossed the Notorious Malling Nullah on the way, which thankfully was behaving ok. Passed the Orchard rich village of Chango and reached Sumdo. Sumdo marks the end of NH 22, the Hindustan Tibet Marg, and also of district Kinnaur. The village also has a Police check post for passing vehicles, being a border area. NH continues to Kaurik, 17 kms from here. We started towards Tabo, entering Spiti Valley on SH 30, and following river Spiti from now on.
The first village in Spiti, Hurling scared me. The tea at a shop there was awful, seemed to have been made by anything but cow’s milk. Sandy jokingly asked the shop owner if it was Yak’s milk, but the guy insisted its Cow’s and I kept praying that the tea after this one in Spiti is bearable and also that people of the region don’t feed their cows with Tibetan delicacies.
Reached the darkish town of Tabo at 7 PM after passing orchard village of Lari. Tabo was dark because it was the second day of no electricity there. The caretaker at the HPPWD rest house, where we stayed, was so cool about it. Took a walk through the Tabo village and monastery, now closed, clicked some pictures, played some cricket with the Lama kids playing on the Helipad and retired for the day early. Still we were the only occupants of this rest house.
Cricket with the little monks