travel

A Trip To Spiti's Left Bank (Part 1)

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A river flows across it

Above the left bank of Spiti River, in the shadow of Himalaya’s rain, lies a beautiful and peaceful land. Covered with snow within 6 months, with temperature falling under -25 degrees Celsius, this highland becomes alive in such a short summer. The winter’s white blanket has melt to reveal a verdant green which slowly turns into orange then ochre of the autumn. Hardened hands are working on field full of green peas and wheat; yaks and dzopkyos (hybrids of cow and yak) are wandering on pastures spotted with primulas and anemones. In last September, we did walk along the riverside for 4 days and enjoy significant views as well as gorgeous colors that only nature can bring.

Day 1

My companions, Paula and Sisi, travelled from Lhangza to Komic on an autumn morning with Chau Chau Kang Nilda peak (6,303m) left behind. The mountain was first challenged by Jimmy Roberts in 1939 and again by Trevor Braham and Peter Holmes in 1955. Lhangza villagers believed that bad weather would go after a successful climbing – thus they didn’t encourage people to climb this mountain.

When we climbed down from the monastery, we came across donkeys carrying goods and returning to home from the center of Kaza district. Roof-tops were filled with hay for winter months.

Description: We came across donkeys carrying goods and returning to home from the center of Kaza district.

We came across donkeys carrying goods and returning to home from the center of Kaza district.

Praying people’s flags, stones and horns of ibexes or blue sheep beautified the trail (4,400m) above Hikim village. From there, the trail plunged down into the village then headed to Komic monastery situated on a sheer hill. This was the only visited monastery that didn’t let women in the main prayer hall.

At Komic’s entrance lay a stuff snow leopard which was confirmed by lamas to have been found dead around the village.

Description: At Komic’s entrance lays a stuff snow leopard.

At Komic’s entrance lays a stuff snow leopard.

Description: We unexpectedly saw an abandoned house’s interesting remnants in the late afternoon.

We unexpectedly saw an abandoned house’s interesting remnants in the late afternoon.

Day 2

Our morning started with that our guide, Kunga Chorden, served us breakfast in his kitchen at Komic village. Meanwhile, his parents were harnessing a donkey to visit a market at Kaza.

Description: His parents were harnessing a donkey to visit a market at Kaza.

His parents were harnessing a donkey to visit a market at Kaza.

On way down, we met a friendly herdsman riding his yak to Demul village. His sheep and goats were grazing in far pastures. Yaks, sheep and goats play an important role of villagers’ earning for living. Yak cheese, butter and milk are used daily for home cooking when yak meat is special food for festivals. Yak wool is used to make tents, blankets and carpets.

Description: We met a friendly herdsman riding his yak to Demul village.

We met a friendly herdsman riding his yak to Demul village.

Paula left the only path (4,700m) of Yang Lapzey and headed towards Demul village. Kamelang peak, in Lingti valley’s eastern side, emerged from the sky.

Approaching Chamay Lapzey’s only path, we passed a partly-frozen stream. Water was still a rare resource in grass land for cattle and there were every few streams to support villages.

Description: Water was still a rare resource in grass land for cattle.

Water was still a rare resource in grass land for cattle.

Day 3

Homestay at Demul was interesting. The village’s house are renovated and equipped with lights powered by solar energy.

Description: Homestay at Demul was interesting.

Homestay at Demul was interesting.

Description: Dolma and our guide Kunga prepared dinner in a cozy kitchen of Khabrick Homestay at Lhalung.

Dolma and our guide Kunga prepared dinner in a cozy kitchen of Khabrick Homestay at Lhalung.

After a long exhausting trip – because the bridge below Lhalung village had collapsed – the sunny village welcomed us. Viewing from Lhalung, on a sheer hill, we saw the gorgeous Sharkhang monastery.

Description: The gorgeous Sharkhang monastery

The gorgeous Sharkhang monastery

Day 4

Dhangkar monastery, around the last bend, showed itself dramatically, embraced by spiky peaks covered with snow. From its roof-top, we could see Spiti river’s blue veins winding through the valley.

Description: We could see Spiti river’s blue veins.

We could see Spiti river’s blue veins.

On way to Dhangkar, we met a herd of unruly ibexes. Ashamed and quite, they ran away when we, with our cameras, were approaching. Ibexes are main preys of snow leopards that are found around villages in winter months.

Description: Ibexes are main preys of snow leopards.

Ibexes are main preys of snow leopards.

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