One of the most amazing temple dedicated to goddess Kali, this temple was used in the early era for tantric practices including human and animal sacrifices.
Continue on to Sangla valley for which we will leave the Satluj river and drive upwards with Baspa river.
For six months every year, the Himalayan valleys of Kinnaur and Spiti emerge from a thick cloak of snow to reveal a different, secret world to man. Your discovery of the lesser-known Himalayas can begin at the Sangla Valley. At a height of 2,700 Mts the valley is surrounded by towering mountains on all sides. Set on the banks of the Baspa River that surges through the valley. We will take walks to discover the amazing fauna and flora of the valley, to view snow covered Himalayan peaks and experiencing some of the local culture and traditions.
Overnight in a deluxe tented camp amidst mountains. Evening around a
bon-fire. Night stay in camp.
The sun filters through the trees and warms you while you take the post lunch siesta. It takes 45 minutes to reach Chitkul. The drive is one of the most fascinating one gets to do. Pine trees slowly giving way to ‘Bhojpatra’/Birch trees and then the tree line disappears and one reaches the meadowland. The valley opens up and you find yourself facing the snow capped Great Himalayas beyond which lies Tibet. Perched on the one side of the valley, below one of the ridges is the quaint Chitkul village. One look at it and image of ‘Shangri- La’ crosses the mind. Chitkul falls in what once used to be the ‘Silk Route’.
Nagasthi is the last border outpost and a short walk from Chitkul. Civilians are not allowed beyond this point. The walk is a level one and slightly going down the path through a pastureland and fields overlooking the freely flowing Baspa. A 1.5 hrs walk takes you to the outpost where the Jawans’ smiling faces greet you. Walk back and open your lunch hamper at an idyllic spot. Back in the camp by late afternoon to rest and relax and be ready for the evening tea.
Evening at leisure. Night stay at camp.
We will visit the villagers and monastery of this little town and explore the surroundings.
Nako was once a very important centre of Buddhism in the region. There are at least seven temples of different periods distributed all over the village, including a monastic complex on its western edge. Boasting four temples and a number of additional buildings, this complex preserves the earliest artistic heritage. The austere and unornamented exteriors of the buildings give little hint of the important artistic and religious legacy that lies within these walls.
Stay the night at our deluxe camp.
Faint traces of the paintings that once embellished the rock face can be discerned. Even today, Tabo holds the distinction of being the largest monastic complex in Spiti. Tabo was the brain-child of the great translator and teacher, Rinchensang Po and is famous for its exquisite murals and stucco sculptures which bear a striking resemblance with the paintings and sculpture in the Ajanta caves. This is why Tabo has acquired the title of ‘Himalayan Ajanta’. According to His Holiness Dalai Lama, “The most important Monastery is in Tabo, noted for its exquisite quality of paintings and stucco images that adorn its walls. These works of art delightfully express the vigour of the transmission of Buddhism from India to Tibet and the dynamic mingling of cultures”.
Reach Kaza in the evening. Check into your rooms. Rest of the evening at leisure.
Spiti, locally pronounced “Piti”, is bounded on its south and west by the valleys of Kulu and Lahaul; the region of Ladakh lies to the north and the Kalpa valley lies to the south-east. Geologically and archaeologically, Spiti is a living museum. The mountains are devoid of any vegetation and erosion by wind, sun and snow over thousands of years has laid bare the rocks. The rugged and rocky mountain slopes sweep down to the riverbeds giving the landscape a moon-like appearance.
Overlooking Kaza from a height of about 13,500 ft, the Kye monastery is the largest in the valley and holds a powerful sway over the most populous part of the valley around Kaza. The gompa is an irregular heap of low rooms and narrow corridors on a monolithic conical hill. From a distance is resembles the Thiksey monastery near Leh in Ladakh. The irregular prayer chambers are interconnected by dark passages, tortuous staircases and small doors.
Hundreds of lamas receive their religious training in the monastery. It is also known for its beautiful murals, thankas, rare manuscripts, stucco images and peculiar wind instruments that form part of the orchestra whenever Chham is enacted in the gompa in summer. Another interesting aspect of the gompa is its collection of weapons which may have been used to ward off marauders as also to maintain its control over people.
Overnight in Kaza.
The monastery consists of a number of multi-storeyed buildings perched together, giving a fortress like impression. There are five different halls including Kanjur, Lhakhang, and Dukhang where a life size silver statue of Vajradhara, the Diamond Being, is placed in a glass altar embellished with scarves and flowers.
Most interesting at the Lha-O-pa gompa is the small chapel on the uppermost peak above the main monastery – Lhakhang Gongma. The building is decorated with depictions of Shakyamuni, Tsongkhapa and Lama Chodrag on the central wall
Near Comic village is the renowned Tangyud gompa. Built around the early decades of the 14th c, the gompa belongs to the Sa-kya-pa sect and is of historical importance. It is recorded that a team of Buddhist scholars of the gompa accomplished the task of revision of Tang-rGyud – the Tantra treatises which in 87 volumes form one class of Tibetan scriptures. The lamas of this gompa are supposed to be proficient in tantra. This gompa was earlier near Hilkkim village which was brought down in the earthquake of 1975. The villagers then shifted this gompa to its present site.
Overnight in Kaza.
The curious looking buzhens perform a sword dance and are perhaps the only branch of Buddhism in which use of weapons is practised. Some of the buzhens live in Mud village on the right bank of the Pin river. It is a chance encounter with buzhens as these lamas are wandering friars. Most of the Pin valley has been demarcated as the Pin Valley National Park which is the natural habitat of the snow leopard and Himalayan ibex.
Overnight in Hotel.
Today’s stunning safari begins from Batal and continues for nearly 500 km across the high Himalayas to Leh, the capital of Ladakh. This road, used primarily for military purposes was opened to general public only recently. From the passes you can see the mountain ranges sweep into the far distance. The strong sunlight illuminates the yellow and red rocks. The snow capped peaks with a clear blue sky backdrop set beside gorges, canyons and desert, offer a wonderful and pure environment for the Kyang (wild horse), wolf, mountain hare, and the rare Himalayan Lynx. Hardy shrubs and brightly colored flowers carpet the plateau areas. Herds of Yak, goat and sheep wander high pastures in search of food accompanied by exotically dressed nomads sporting pigtails, the women folk wearing headdresses of Turquoise, Amber, Silver, Pearls and Gold. You will cross three high passes along the way – Baralacha Pass (16,000′), Lachalungla (16,616′) and Tanglang la (17,582′) before reaching Leh.