Spiti Valley- A tour of a lifetime
When talking about Lahaul and spiti valley, an image of a treeless glacial landscape and Buddhist lamas in maroon jamas pops up in everyone’s mind.
Though these impressions are undoubtedly true there are lot more things that are peculiar to the valley and are capable of giving you an experience of a lifetime. This time we are not presenting you top ten list or best places in L&S but we will take you to a step by step journey to the valley of heavenly abode.
Crossing from earth to heaven
The Kullu valley is the valley of gods as you can feel the godly presence in everything and everywhere you go. And what happens when you want to go beyond the valley of gods? Yes, you will find yourself in the heaven itself. No, I’m not vaunting; it mentions in many ancient kinds of literature about the place after Kullut desh referring to as the path leading to ‘Swarg’ heaven. In the epic Mahabharata when the Pandavas headed for their last journey to the heaven they took the road through Lahaul itself.
The valley of Lahaul and Spiti is accessible only through a small link known to be as Rohtang Pass, a place from where you can see the valley of Lahaul and Kullu at the same time. The snow-capped mountains give a panoramic view and the chilling air flowing there will give you goosebumps. The place also has a small dome-shaped temple of sage Vyas, who meditated there, and from where the river Beas originates, the glacier is known as Beas Kund.
The love journey of Chandra-Bhaga
The rivers Chandra and Bhaga drains through the fallows of the district and the patches of fertile lands are created giving life to the life-saving vegetation and field crops. The Chandra river originates from the glacial lake Chandartal in the and Bhaga from the opposite side of the glacier through the lake Surajtal. Both the rivers meet at a place called Tandi which is located just on the path to the district headquarters. The meeting of the two rivers is very charismatic. Both being crystal clear merges into each other and forms main river Chandrabhaga. Commonly known as Chenab which flows through Kashmir to merging into Indus in Pakistan.
The district headquarters and the most populated town of Lahaul and Spiti is settled on hillslope over river Bhaga. Apart from the barren mountains and valleys peculiar to the district, this small patch of the mountain is lush green with trees like that of poplar, Salix, sea buckthorns etc. which are managed by the local women community. The popular and Salix trees are periodically lopped for fuel and fodder and the sea buckthorns are sold commercially to the juice and wine industries.In the small town of Keylong, one can find a small market for traditional clothing and jewellery. Also, there is a museum in the heart of the town which displays the archaeological findings and the ancient artefacts of the region.
From glaciers to the valleys
Though the whole region of the district is dominated by hundreds of glaciers, there also exists a green and wealthy valley inhabited by local people and their livestock, wild animals, pilgrims and tourists. This side of Lahaul is much different from other places as here you can see the amalgamation of Buddhism with Hindu religion.
There are two major Hindu temples here as Trilokinath being one of the most important shrines for the shiv pilgrims and the second is Mahishasurmardini or locally called Markula Devi temple shrine dedicated to goddess Durga. The trilokinath temple is located on a top of a hill on the way to Udaipur. Reaching there is not everyone’s cup of tea as the single lane road and a very old swinging bridge that need to be crossed to reach the temple usually gives goosebumps. The temple is an amalgamation of Buddhist monastery as its campus and a Hindu pagoda shaped main worship place having a shivling placed under it.
The lake of the moon
On the way to the Spiti valley, every vehicle has to stop in the Baralacha pass to bow in front of the spirits of the place. The place is created with thousands of colourful Buddhist luck flags. It is believed in Buddhism that wherever these flags go they bring positivity, luck and prosperity with them.There are two ways to reach the lake, a motorable road, that is easy and convenient for most of the tourists and another one is a trekking path, that is superb for adventure lovers. We preferred the trekking and hiked for 10 km to reach the lake of the moon.
The trek was lengthy yet peaceful with glaciers all around, many different wild animals and flora to explore, the view of a beautiful valley created by Chandra river was so appealing and a treat for the eyes. The lake of the moon or Chandratal is a magnificent work of nature. It is a glacier lake.The splendid view of treeless bronze mountains with a cerulean sky having a perfect reflection on the crystal clear cold waters of the lake is the moment of the lifetime. You would never want to go back from this heavenly nest believe me neither I wanted to. This place is a bonanza for photography lovers.
More glaciers and rocks
The Spiti valley is deeper in the district. This place is purely full of glaciers, flat valleys and treeless terrains For geologists, its a paradise as millions of ancient marine animal remains and the astounding geological formations can be observed here. The famous Key monastery is to be found in this valley.
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