The Roads of Spiti

Roads of Spiti 

One of the most beautiful, most treacherous and much feared roads of Spiti... on the way to Chandratal Lake.

I walk in a land

so dry , so bare.

I wonder where I Iead,

I wonder what it held.

The land unfolded in a maze,

of dust and dunes.

The river unfathomable,

to the valleys juxtaposed.

The mountains loomed high,

the cold biting me even in the summer high.

The warmth of the sunlight,

busy somewhere playing peek-a-boo with the clouds unaware.

The rains came in sheets,

basked in the sun's limelight.

The azure real skies,

ironical to the seldom mirage ...

The oasis such a relief,

like the lamas who rule the land.

The prayer wheels turning,

and the saintly flying prayer flags.

I now knew where I lead ...

I now knew what lay ahead...

As the locals warmly welcomed me

to their home & land.

Let the destinations not come easy, as the roads which transport you there, might be just roads then.

Spiti is a district in Himachal Pradesh, India.

Spiti gave me reasons to sigh and gasp. The dusted mountains, deep ravines and charged up rivers were the elements of the landscapes but the highlights of this trip were the roads.
The roads that carried me, the roads that transported me , the roads that lead me, the roads that became my journey. 

This photoblog is an account of the roads which took me and brought me safe home. The several inhibitions and warnings prior to visiting Spiti were heard, yet on deaf ears. As what is planned and what is meant has to go on...

How about some Ride!!
At Trunda Dham on the way to Sangla Valley

And that's how they do it!!
Though road formations were encountered at many places during the Spiti Trip, a discipline is followed. The vehicles are made to wait not more than 15 mins. The work is halted, traffic dispersed and work resumes.

Roads that shared such beautiful sites.

Ever caught in an animal jamm!!

On the way to Chandratal 

On the way to Langza

On the way to Chandratal

This is a beautiful loop on the way to Chandratal, the natural formations are spellbounding and so are the vistas this place offers..

   View from Key Monastery. The pea fields, azure sky and the snaking roads break the monotony of this barren land.

A Himachal State Transport bus attempting to cross the narrow road.

A flat tyre gave ample time to enjoy this landscape on the way to Chandratal

The way to Chandratal  is known for the most treacherous and narrow roads. This himalayan traffic jam on the way to Chandratal left many stranded as the riders and drivers were contemplating and analysing every forward and reverse 

The seasoned local drivers too remain highly cautious on this road.

What's like having rolling landscapes with feral horses running crazy in the frame. I had my share... not in "Zindagi na milegi doobara" movie song, but my very own at Chandratal.

Road or Nala, stop contemplating and cross it before the noon comes and swells the nala further. These nalas are ubiquitous and alarming. 

My driver made me start journeys as early as 4 -5 am to avoid swollen nalas. The sunlight melts the glaciers and the nalas swell post 7 - 8 am.

The cliff hanger or Trunda Dham is one arduous road on the way to Sangla Valley.

Lahaul District

On the way to Rohtang Pass

The greens of Rohtang pass

At Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass

A tunnel on the way to Sangla Valley

Cliff Hangar or Trunda Dham on the way to Sangla Valley


                             Pagal Nala ( an unstoppable Waterfall)

      A Himachal State Transport Bus

At Pooh on the way to Nako - Confluence of Sutlej and Spiti Rivers.

Bridge at Pooh - on the way to Nako

 Colorful prayer flags at Kunzum Pass

Some tussle here. Two vehicles stranded on the way to Nako.

 Bikers on the way to Kaza

Desert roses and serpentine ways on the way to Langza

An ariel view of Kaza

On the way to Kaza

Pea fields and the wavy roads against a backdrop of rugged mountains at Kibber 

A few kilometers from Tabo on the way to Dhankar is marked by albino rock formations which stand out strikingly in the landscape and make you awe.

The serpentine roads on the way to Nako make you wonder how these roads were built in such remoteness. At the same time, you will wonder on the quality of these roads... which our metro cities  lack.

Cliff Hangar or Trunda Dham 

Cliff Hangar or Trunda Dham 

Himachal Pradesh has a beautiful network of roads and the remotest villages are well connected by tar roads. Nature being furious to this land, the slowdowns are the unscheduled road blocks, but that's part of the travel. I was but cautioned and was well prepared to stay put on the road whole night, if such emergency arises. But guess being prepared to handle situations and your power of positive thoughts, as my friend Pranali Wadaskar says, makes you sail through calm.
 Pranali Wadaskar was  my companion on the Spiti trip.

Remember, travel experiences are not good or bad, they are merely circumstances .. and being a true traveller is facing the odds and saying.. Where Next!!

Text & Images by - Jyoti Rane
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