Archive for September, 2007|Monthly archive page

Spiti decends into winter…

I spent around 10 days in Spiti. On the last day, took a jeep from Okaza to Chandra Tal (moon lake) and then spent the night in a Dhaba (cheap restaurant) in Chatru – arrived there after dark, surprisingly they let me spend the night there for free.
The next morning I woke to find that the whole place was covered in snow/ice that fell during the night. I took a bus back to Manali which was hellish – because I had to stand for 5 hours, but mostly because the snow triggered land and mud slides along the way. Whole sections of the road collapsed and Rohtang pass was full of snow.
Luckily I made it back to Manali.
I plan to leave Manali to Delhi tonight and hopefully fly to Mumbei tomorrow (hope a flight will be available). I decided that I saw enough of northern India, and want to see a bit of southern India, which I skipped in my former visits.
Here is a picture of harvest in Lossar (Spiti), in preparation for winter.

Dankhar and Key Gompas

Spiti has some nice temples (Gompas). Dankhar and Key gompas are quite old, Dankhar being around 1000 years old. The original architecture, paintings and wooden support beams are still there, floors creak as you walk on them – Dankhar gompa is at an imminent danger of collapse. The oldest temple I saw was at Tabo, where the current Dalai Lama is planning to retire to. It is around 1200 years old, wall paintings describing the life of Buddha going back to that time.

One more thing…

Just want to say that the internet in Spiti is really bad, so I probably won’t write individual mails or make calls for a while. From here I will either (probably) go back to Manali and then to Dharamsala, or maybe go via Kinnaur.
That’s all for now. Here’s another 2 pictures for you to ponder over…

Back (on) from trek

I planned to make a separate entry for each day in the trek, but since internet here is extremely slow I’ll be brief…
The trek eventually took 6 days. We started not far from Manali (Kulu valley) and made our way to Spiti valley via Hampta pass (~4300 m).
We had a guide, cook, horseman and eventually 2 porters with us. Most days started with nice weather and deteriorated into rain, hail and mud around 2pm. Nights were spent in tents, in beautiful locations which usually means places exposed to wind where you freeze at night 🙂
We eventually made our way through the pass to a small village on the Lahaul-Spiti road and took a jeep to Okaza, the ‘capital’ of Spiti, a part of India which is actually similar topographically and culturally (although it seems like Indian authorities are trying to change this) to Tibet. The ride was hard, 120km in 8 hours. Dan left on his way to Israel, for now I’m travelling with Eitan and Dror.
Attaching a picture from day 5 of the trek, of our kitchen tent and mountains at night.

Byebye Manali

Yesterday some gyus and I took a jeep to Rotang pass. It’s the place where I once took some great great pictures of enormous eagle-like birds – but now there are none. I hope it’s only the season and nothing else…

It’s been raining quite a lot in the past few days – monsoon season came late and is still here.
Tomorrow me and three other guys are starting a trek which will end in Spiti. It will take 5-6 days, with guide, horseman and a cook coming with us. Will start around 2500m and reach a top altitude of around 4300m in a mountain pass. Will also pass through a glaciar… Should provide some nice views, provided the rain stops. After that we plan to spend some time in Spiti, which should be similar to Tibet culturally and topographically. It’s a pretty backwards place so I may have a hard time getting online – which means I may not write again for another 2 weeks. It’s organized by Shambhala trekking company ( so if I don’t make it back – you’ll know whom to blame.


Spent a few days in Manali. This israeli town which happens to graciously host a hindi minority is a nice place, with good food, and the weather was nice. I managed to do a few short trails in the area and a TRAQTORON ride.

Vashisht and Gashol are other villages in the area, less noisy than Manali, with a larger minority of hindis, which were nice to visit.
Next I plan to go to Spiti, which is a remote area east of here, with a Buddhist majority – this area is topographically and culturally closer to Tibet than to India. I may take a jeep around there for five days starting tomorrow.
Here is a view around Manali. Enjoy..

Arrived at Manali

The flight to Bombai was ok, followed by a flight to Delhi which was pretty good. I arrived at Delhi around 14:00 and was instantly reminded of why I left. It took 30 minutes to haggle over the price of a taxi to Main Bazzar. The heat and heckling there was terrible, flies all around me kept trying to get me into their shop or hotel, and ‘nice’ people telling me that the govt travel agencies were closed (though of course they were not).
In a moment of clarity I took the first bus out of Delhi to Manali. The 16-hour bus ride would not have been so much fun if not for the indian music (single cassette played over and over) the driver put on to keep him awake. Luckily he stopped once, just as my bladder was starting to give way.
Manali however is pretty nice (the old city anyway). I’ve got a quiet room and plan to recuperate from my last 40-something hours of travel. I even got something to eat for the first time since the flight…
I think this will probably be my last time travelling in India – it’s all just too much.. I hope to find something to justify coming here.