After a memorable stay in Rakcham, it was time to head towards Kaza and Kibber in Spiti valley through a long drive of 225 kms. The roads are mostly good (as per mountain standards) and bad in some sections.
Fill up on gas when you see a petrol pump as they are very few on the way to Nako
The famous signpost. The irony is that after this signpost the roads were comparatively better. It was a little bad before this. Hats off to the BRO (Border Roads Organisation) army guys who keep this fragile road operational amidst constant landslides.
After two days of snow, it was nice to some dry and rugged landscapes on the way to Nako:
A frozen waterfall as we entered Tabo
Finally reached Kaza and we decided to stay at the Kaza Circuit House, which is usually only for government employees. But since there were no guests, the watchman had no qualms in allowing us to stay.
We spent the evening watching the India – Bangladesh T20 World Cup match in the guard’s room.
The meals were cooked by the guard, which were delicious. Aloo paratha or gobi paratha is the common breakfast dish at most of the places. They serve it with a big chunk of butter. Helps with the chilly weather.
Being a government guest house, the interiors look quite royal with spacious corridors and balconies. I was expecting the compound to filled with snow but this year the snowfall was comparatively less. The picturesque location of this place with the backdrop of mighty mountains is quite hard to beat. My luck with scenic accommodations during this trip continues.
The plan for today was to visit Kibber, Key Monastery, Koumik, and Hikkim. I was more exited about Hikkim as I was looking forward to send a postcard from the highest post office in the world.
Jaw-dropping scenery along the way to Kibber:
Couldn’t resist taking pictures against such stunning backdrop
Kibber is just 20 kms from Kaza but it took us around two hours to reach as we had such beautiful distractions along the way
Villagers here used to claim Kibber as the highest inhabitated village in the world. But I think that claim has passed on to some nearby village. There is always something highest in most of these villages in Spiti.
Key Monastery is the biggest monastery of Spiti valley and one of the iconic postcard images of Spiti. One of the monks told us that there are around 150 monks living here.
View of Key monastery from below
I can just stay hours here looking at this stunning landscape of Spiti. Key monastery is one of the best places to get a panoramic view of Spiti.
Inside Key Monastery
Some friendly monks who were happy to pose. Do ask their permission before clicking them (applies to everyone actually 😉 )
Road towards Rangrik, Chandratal and Rohtang pass. During March, the roads are usually open till Rangrik.
Finally towards Koumik and Hikkim:
As we started ascending, the roads were covered with more and more snow. There was hardly any gravel visible. At one point it became very slippery and Vinkal decided it was impossible to continue any further. I was disappointed about missing out on the experience of sending a postcard from the world’s highest post office in Hikkim but I can’t disagree with Vinkal’s judgement. We could only go up to Langza in another vehicle, which was not that bad either.
Useful tip: Tata Sumo is a better choice of vehicle than Innova in such conditions. We hitchhiked a Tata Sumo till Langza.
Langza village is quite popular here for its fossils. These fossils are believed to million years old from the times when these mountains were under the Tethys ocean. Our driver too had some to display. If you find any, please don’t take it with you. It looks better in its natural setting than your showcase.
I was more interested in the scenery than the fossils
Buddha Statue, Langza
Even with the disappointment of missing out Hikkim and Koumik, it was quite an amazing day. That’s the beauty of Spiti; the scenery and the landscapes will never let you down even if you miss out some places. Tomorrow, we will be heading to Pin valley, which I heard had some snowfall couple of days ago. I was already dreaming some crazy snow-filled landscapes.