Embracing the cold desert mountain valley

Part 1- Exploring the landscapes of Spiti

Tourism

November 22, 2019

/ By and / Himachal Pradesh

key-monastery

Key monastry

No guide or article can ever do justice to a journey through Spiti valley, which needs to be lived and experienced first-hand.  Here is the first part of an episodic account of our trip to the valley.

When we set out from Delhi to Himachal Pradesh, Spiti was a beautiful but uncharted land that bikers and extreme sports enthusiasts love to explore. The aura around the trip was that of exploring a part of the Himalayas that is well-known, yet not many dare to explore.

First stop: Shoghi

Our first stop on the trip was Shoghi, a small town about 330 km north-east of Delhi and just a few kilometres short of Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Yet, Shoghi seemed miles away from the noise that is associated with any Indian city.

By the time we arrived at Aamod’s Shoghi resort, our hosts for this trip, it had started to rain and the nature around us had come alive. While we adjusted to the nature around us, we were escorted to our rooms, almost at the edge of the mountains offering an amazing view of a setting sun. Fortunately, the rain had subsided and the clouds parted ways to give us one of the most beautiful sunsets I had ever seen.

The orange and red glow of the setting sun, complemented the shine that the fresh rain had left on the green mountains and as dusk settled in, we could see a sky full of stars, with a clear view of the Milky Way. I was left mesmerised by the sheer clarity of the skies as having lived in the city most of my life, I rarely got to admire the moon, let alone see millions of stars.

To make our experience even more special, our hosts had tied up with an observatory that had brought a telescope to the resort to bring those stars even closer. Over the next few hours, we could not only identify some of the famous stars, but also see various galaxies. The telescope was immediately surrounded by kids and adults alike, and the curiosity that the kids had for the stars was matched only by the knowledge of Atish Aman of the observatory, Stargate. His storytelling about various stars kept the audience hooked and soon even with people who had never heard about the North star, knew it is not the closest star to our planet.

stargates-moving-observatory

Stargate’s moving observatory

The discovery of galaxies and debates about the universe would have gone on all night had it not been for the call to dinner by the resort staff. The dinner comprised of few Himalayan delicacies like Siddu, a local bread made from ghee (clarified butter) and wheat flour, and greatly compliments local vegetables and pulses. We were also served rice, aktori (bread), which is made from different types of flours, chana paneer (a mix of split Bengal gram and cottage cheese) and chicken gosht (tender chicken dish) among many other delicacies.

Having had a sumptuous fill – of our curiosity about the stars as well as our stomachs – we headed to our rooms for an early night under the starlit skies. The next morning, we set out to Narkanda, a popular hill station about two hours’ drive away from Shoghi.

To be continued…

 

The Tribal Monastic Drive was organised by Aamod Nomads. Aamod Nomads offers adventure travel through self-drive and glamping expeditions. To know more about the company and their trips, please visit www.aamodnomads.com and/or write to info@aamodnomads.com. You can also call at +91 9899074083, 9899241743

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