Dr. Aparna joined us for a Photo-tour to Lahaul and Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh in September 2015. Read about her experience of the journey here.
My trip to Spiti started on 27 September . I boarded at 7.30 reached Delhi. During travel towards Delhi had lot of thoughts but they were positive. I had a talk with Saurabh earlier about group because I didn’t know anyone but he said no problem. So I was positive and was not at all predetermined about anything. That was the thing which was going to make my trip successful I thought.
Day 1 Delhi to Chail
I reached Delhi and met Saurabh Shravan and Sahiti. It was nice to meet them here. We went to ISBT and met Sara over there. It was tough time for Sudhakar and Shruthi because of their loss and I felt bad for them but it was their positive spirit due to which they came to ISBT and joined for trip and of course Saurabh’s positive counseling which made them positive to travel to Spiti. We took a Volvo to Chandigarh and reached there and met Swati there.
Journey for Spiti started from this time at 5.30. all the group met and started interacting so well as if all knew everyone earlier. Swati and I started to talk in Marathi because both of us felt something about each other. Everyone interacted nicely and then Sudhakar and Shruthi’s mood changed and they started interacting with all well , till then they were so quiet. Sara our princess also was quiet till we reached Chail. But when myself Swati and princess went to bed then she started to talk with us . We reached Chail at 11pm. Travelling to Chail was nice it was night journey so couldn’t see many things except moon which looked beautiful. It was nice to have dinner with everybody and then went to sleep observing beautiful moon right from bed. It was hectic travel that day and tiring also because that day I got up at 3.30 and didn’t sleep at all whole day so went to sleep at 12.15.
Day 2 – Chail to Chitkul
Morning was beautiful at Chail. It is said all mornings are like paintings one should have view to observe and it was like that . when I woke up I saw the setting moon which looked beautiful and I came out to see it and clicked it. Everyone was fast asleep but there was silence till 5.15 and then I heard sound of bird mountain bulbul which was sweet and this reminded me of my morning in Pelling where same voice was there only the difference was of Kanchenjunga which was in front of us and here there was setting moon. Himalayas are simply beautiful. No words to describe them , they are divine and one feels spiritual here , that’s the feeling in all ranges of Himalayas. The lovely bird had come to say good morning I felt. Only I couldn’t click it because every time wishes are not completed and it was early morning so no sufficient light. But at least could hear sound. Just before sunrise I could see one bird, which had different shades of blue colour from Prussian blue, mixed with cerulean and sky blue and it looked lovely don’t know its name but will find in book when I go back. This was morning at Chail. Also could click one white bird Himalayan tit which I had seen on way to valley of flowers and lovely butterfly tortoise shell.
We had breakfast of tasty alu parathas. We left Chail and proceeded towards Chitkul. On way saw many flowers like Himalayan thimble small asters on way. road was beautiful we had stop at Kufri for sometime and had lemon tea . Clicked pictures of scenes and roads. At this place Saurabh told few things about clicks here I could make out actual learning when clicking is different than theoretical.
There were beautiful apple gardens on way and we reached Narkanda village on way saw vulture but couldn’t click it. Road was scenic. We stopped at one place to click fields which had different shades of green and Sutlej river flowing on side where we got curry leaves plant and everyone thought of having sambar J then we had lunch at place Rampur and stared toward Chitkul it was late but evening travel was nice with sunlight falling nicely on mountains and different colours of evening sky, couldn’t resist to stop and click so we all got down and had nice clicks of the evening beauties in this region. And on way saw sheep going to their home. It was wonderful. It became dark and it started getting cold also. We reached one village stopped there for tea where Shruthi went in shop to see typical traditional jewellery of this region, which is worn in marriage ceremony here.
Moon had just started rising and it was looking nice and it lit the snow mountains. I couldn’t make out the snow peaks first but Saurabh told to see few points during travel and could get make the snow clad peaks lit by moonlight. It was my first experience to travel sitting adjacent to driver in bus but this experience was nice because sitting here I got to see the river, streams on way with moonlit roads and snow clad peaks this was till Chitkul.
We reached Chitkul. It was very very very cold. We had dinner. I felt very cold but still went out with Saurabh Swati Sara and Sudhakar to get sky pictures and of moon but was not able to tolerate cold at all and came back. Whole night was not able to sleep because of headache and was not able to breathe lying down. But somehow slept and got up at 4am and did deep breathing and practiced pranayama.
Day 3 Chitkul to Kalpa
Saurabh Shravan and Sudhakar went out early morning to get pictures of sunrise and setting moon. They got simply wonderful pictures, which I missed because my will power was not strong enough to go out,L and was unwell totally I missed those nice early morning moments in Chitkul Swati also missed and Sara was unaware about this. But because I missed this was self motivated and also motivated a lot by Saurabh otherwise I couldn’t have got pictures of fall colours, sheep school children and teacher and farmers and mountains specially lollipop which was nice. Also first picture of Chitkul was of yellow flower, which I clicked, and then Saurabh told to click in different way to get nice photo. This is again learning when clicking. So this was nice lesson for me. So my photos in Chitkul started with yellow flowers. We had breakfast and went in village to see places temple and small kids to get pictures but still I was feeling sluggish. But got pictures and temple dragon picture also.
We all left Chitkul and proceeded for Kalpa . the road was beautiful with different colours and nice valleys rivers and apple gardens but was not feeling well so slept in the bus and was not able to enjoy till Reckong Peo. We stopped at one place to have something as all were hungry but not me . I just had tea and then I started feeling much better and had nice mood to click the sunset pictures here . sunset at this place was wonderful with nice colours and nice light also. That night we slept early because wanted to get up at 4am to get clicks.
Parbat pe yunh utre badal jaise achal chalke
Day 4 Kalpa – Nako – Nako Lake – Tabo
Early morning went upstairs to get pictures and see the view also. Moon was setting and it was refreshing . it was very windy and cold also. But still tolerated this and tried to get the snow lit mountain peaks. Kalpa was beautiful because I saw madev swayambhu. Usually Shiva and Shakti are seen together in mandir but here it was only mahadev . Saurabh said Kinnaur Kailash trek starts from here. Hope I will go for this once in life. This early morning sunrise pictures were able to get because of motivation and inspiration from Saurabh. Morning was wonderful here because I got snow peak lit by orange colour of sun.
Many more flowers. We had breakfast and left Kalpa.
Our journey started on the treacherous road where the bus seat screw broke and I fell down. Treacherous road was nice with no vehicles only our bus, mountains and river flowing by. On way to Pooh I met this cute babe.
Here I got juicy apples to eat . then we proceeded to Nako village . the roads were colorful, beautiful fall colors, crystal-clear Spiti River and also confluence of Spiti and Sutlej River. We were lucky to see wedding ceremony in Nako village. We went to Nako Lake . it was beautiful with nice colors prominent yellow with blue sky and snow mountain behind . simple but beautiful .
If one sits here just with no thought one may go in meditative state. But we had less time to sit and meditate. Could see babes who were sweet, specially Ankit . here I saw Saurabh’s love for dogs and just clicked this.
We left Nako because it was getting late and proceeded to Tabo. Reached Tabo and went upstairs to get clicks of mountains but it was too cold so came back. Had dinner and slept .It was not cold here at night and could sleep well but early morning it became cold again.
Day 5 – Tabo – Dhankar – Pin Valley (Mud Village) – Kaza
Swati and me went in kitchen to make tea . This kitchen was well kept kitchen like our home. We couldn’t find things to make tea but could manage and get and made it. Here I got nice floral pictures . had breakfast and went to Tabo monastery. On way met sweetest baby Namshal.
On way to monastery there was apple garden where picked apples . This was the most memorable moment here in Tabo.
We saw Tabo monastery which was nice and had paintings of Buddha which were very old at the time of Ajanta caves. We left Tabo and proceeded to Kaza. On way saw mud village pin valley which had mountains with mauve colour red colour and valley looked beautiful because of these colours.
We reached Kaza at 7.30 went upstairs to see Milky Way . but I came down after sometime because of cold. Sara and me cooked vegetable dal and jeera rice here. I got call from Keyur because he was not well so mother in me got disturbed and became emotional. But still controlled myself. We all had dinner and slept though I couldn’t sleep because of Keyur’s illness.
Day 6 – Kaza – Ki – Kibber – Kaza
We had nice breakfast of puri sabji and lichi juice. Sara and me went backside of hotel and met one woman who was knitting socks and purchased from her. Here we saw small mountain lizards colony but camera was not with me so couldn’t click .
That day we shifted to other hotel . this was nice one with view of yellow trees and road in front. Mornings were like paintings in Kaza. We went to Dhankar monastery this day . Met monks there. This was spiritual part of trip. This monastery situated high , had a thought how this could have been built in those days wen everything was difficult. Returning from this place we stopped at Lingti village where I got sheep clicks birds.
One cow with Saurabh. This cow ate chowmen. We reached Kaza late evening .
Next day visited Key (Ki) monastery. Here we saw small monks playing with car as if they were giving message materialistic things have no value here. These small children study here in all adverse conditions they are great and this is real spirituality I felt.
After having lunch we went to Kibber village where we saw harvesting which was nice part again.
To get such moments to see is rare. But in Spiti our luck was at highest point . we came back again to Key (Ki) monastery to get the pictures in evening because it looked beautiful in evening. Returned to hotel had dinner and then Swati and me were talking on many things on many topics. we talked in Marathi so Sara couldn’t get what we talked and again we explained all to her and slept at 12.45.
Day 7 – Kaza – Langza – Hikkim – Komik – Kaza
I got up at 3.30. This was my daily time to get up here . I don’t know why but here I got up at this time . Similar experience at Hemkund . I practiced meditation and could perceive lot of things .
Today we went to Langza . On the way we saw fox , falcon bird and eagle also. We went to see the Buddha statue.
This is Saurabh’s and Sudhakar’s walk towards spirituality.
From Langza went to Komik highest monastery 4560 meters. Here there were positive waves a lot and I felt something unusual and different kind of feeling .
I prayed here for few minutes when all went down and had some feeling where tears rolled down cheeks and this monk just blessed and said pure soul spiritual woman that was the best part when he said this and I thought I got something here. Here I thought Spiti valley trip was successful.
On way back, we stopped at Hikkim world’s highest post office. Played with Tenzin babe here till all came and Saurabh forced me and Sara to go down and we posted the letter. This motivation was nice part of Saurabh.
Shruthi was unwell here she was totally pulseless and had tremendous oxygen insufficiency and we had to shift her quickly to hospital. I was worried because her carotid pulse was also feeble and I couldn’t do anything at that moment. But quickly we took her to hospital and till evening she was fine.
That evening in Kaza was nice it was cold but weather was different on other side where we had been so here also luck was high. Swati and me went in terrace to click pictures and came back quickly as it was very cold. It was rainy weather. We had dinner when Shruthi came back and slept early because morning had to leave early for Chandratal. That night temp was -2 at Kaza
Day 8 – Kaza – Kunzum Pass – Chandratal
We left for Chandratal at 9 had breakfast on way before Losar where bus got punctured. We proceeded to Chandratal via Losar, Kunzum pass where weather was not so good. Still we got down to see this and clicked quickly and got back in bus.
We reached Chandratal at around 4 . road towards Chandrataal was so nice . it was very cold wen we reached here. Had tea twice and went to lake . it was awesome. Though it was too cold I walked down to lake and tasted water, again motivation by Saurabh not to try but do it. This was his constant thought due to which I could manage all things here. We came back and sat in tent to get warm had tea and just all sat together chatted . at 7.30 had dinner . then Sudhakar Saurabh went out for Milky Way photos . it was too cold out and in tent also. They came back shivering . then we went to sleep in our tent Swati Sara Saurabh and me. It was very cold inside and no one was able to sleep . at 2.30 I was not able to breathe and could not cry also and was freezed but did some deep breathing and slept for some time and got up again at 3.45 because was hungry. Even Saurabh was hungry so we ate bourbon biscuits, which was the only thing, which I had in my bag to eat. Still we were hungry. Sara and Swati got up because they also wanted to eat . so we ate almond chocolate, which Swati had . this was memorable early morning party of Chandratal.
Day 9 – Chandratal – Kunzum Pass – Rohtang Pass – Manali
We got up at 6.30. was not feeling to get up at all. So again I slept and got up at 7.15 still Sara and Swati were lying down . so again l also got lying down position and Saurabh came from outside shivering. He sat inside tent for a while and then we all got up at last. We had breakfast of parathas and we went to lake to get pictures and could get nice pictures. Even I got a bird picture here. That was nicest part. Getting the bird coming out of lake simply nice. And reflections of mountains and especially mauve colour reflection. . we returned back and left Chandratal at 10 am and proceeded to Manali.
On way we stopped at Batal for tea and then for lunch at Chatru village. The road from here to Manali was through river it seemed ,terrific road but experience was nice. As we approached Manali flora started changing. Snow desert went back and green mountains started sheep everything and when we reached Manali I felt artificial. But our hotel was on one side and it was silent here and in front of our room there was apple tree full of apples. In morning had breakfast of these apples and nice breakfast in garden with Saurabh and Swati as all went for rafting and we were relaxing in garden clicking pictures of flowers. And I got pink rose picture .
Spiti valley started in Chitkul with yellow flowers and ended in Manali with pink roses. Thanks a lot to you Saurabh for making this trip where I found myself once again. You taught lot of things and motivated a lot for taking nice photos . learning from you when clicking was nice part practical part . You are nice photography teacher who motivates and teaches also . thanks to you for teaching not to try but do it. Pink rose for you which you clicked .
Professionally I am Ayurvedic Doctor and Professor in Ayurvedic medical college.
In spite my profession is this I am a true nature lover who likes to explore nature and wildlife.
Due to this I developed interest in photography and was lucky to get a photography teacher like saurabh who made my interest more wide in this field of photography .