October 18, 2017

Hikkim- Home to the World’s Highest Post Office

There is a charm to things that are getting obsolete and redundant in the world. In the modern age where the biggest scares are weak network, low battery and no data, writing letters to your loved ones seem like walking back a few decades. While telephones over the years reduced the number of letters sent, mobile phones have made postal letters and post offices almost obsolete. Many post offices in India still function as they do provide other services apart from sending letters.

I love post offices and take a picture every time I find one. Many villages and small towns in India still have post offices and the most fascinating one I found is in Hikkim. Up in the mountains of Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, Hikkim has claims of being home to the highest post office in the world at 14,567 feet above sea level. Wedged between the villages of Langza and Komic which are known for their monasteries, Hikkim gets a few visitors who come here to send home a couple of postcards. Though it may sound touristy for some, I am glad that the concept of sending letters is still alive in such tiny villages in the country.


The village also has credits of being the highest polling station in the world. Apart from the post office that has made Hikkim popular among travellers, all that you can find here are a few houses, kids playing and people working in the fields.



Hikkim is about 16 Kms from Kaza and there is a bus which leaves from Kaza to Komic and Langza (and connects Hikkim) once or twice in a week.

October 12, 2017

Friends Forever!


Two young monks enjoying their camaraderie near Komic monastery in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. September 2017. 

October 11, 2017

A ride through Pin Valley National Park


Despite being located in Spiti, Pin Valley national park remains secluded from the main circuit of travellers and is a favourite with trekkers. Though the park is known for treks such as Pin Parvati and many others, what fascinated me were its mesmerizing landscapes. The scenery after I took the detour from Attargu bridge were breathtakingly beautiful with endless mountains, valleys and the gorgeous Pin river snaking its way through them. Mountains changed multiple shades as I rode ahead deep into Pin Valley. Known for a variety of rare creatures such as ibex, blue sheep, and snow leopard, the valley is best explored on foot with a trek. However, a ride through its tiny villages and uninhabited landscapes offered spectacular views of the beautiful valley.











From Guilling, a road spirals up to Kungri village known for its monastery which is more than 500 years old. While the roads were deserted all the way till Guilling, Kungri showed a stark difference with kids playing, monks scurrying around and a huge number of locals praying at the temple in the monastery. The colourful interior of the monastery also has lovely frescoes adorning its walls.



Large mountains and tiny villages at its base took me further deep into the valley and to Mudh village, probably the last inhabited place on this stretch. Near Mudh village, what left me speechless was the view of a mountain with multiple colours. I would love to call it Rainbow Mountain for the spread of colours. It was undoubtedly the best frame I saw in Pin Valley. A light drizzle on the way back from Mudh accentuated the charm of the valley.












Travel Tips:
  • There are home stays in Guilling, Sagnam and Mudh. The home stays in Mudh village organize treks into Pin Valley.
  • It is best advised to travel in your own vehicle to Pin Valley as there is only one bus from Kaza to Mudh village every day.
  • The treks are mostly organized in the summer months of April and May and after the monsoons from August to October.


Location:

Mudh village in Pin Valley is 50 kilometers from Kaza. Take a right at Attargu bridge while coming from Kaza.


October 9, 2017

Chandratal Lake

The crescent shaped Chandratal lake is nestled deep amidst the mountains of Spiti at a height of more than 14,000 feet above sea level. The road from Kunzum La takes a detour, a kilometer before Batal and turns into a mud track clinging onto the mountains with Chandra river accompanying all the way. The 12 Km ride is an adventurous one along with magnificent views of the mountains and the gorgeous river.



The camp site where the road ends has numerous tents on offer and is the only place where one can stay for the night. The camp site is two kilometers before the lake and a narrow mud track snakes its way up to Chandratal from here. The mud track leads to the parking area from where it is an easy 15 minute walk before you get a glimpse of the surreal lake. Surrounded by beautiful brown mountains, the turquoise lake with clear waters offer a picturesque frame. 






Considered to be a sacred lake, Chandratal is a favourite with trekkers and campers. The place also offers lovely night skies for photographers and star gazers.

Location: Lahaul and Spiti district, Himachal Pradesh.

October 7, 2017

Kunzum La

Located at a height of more than 15,000 feet (4590m) above sea level, Kunzum La or Kunzum pass connects Spiti with Lahaul in Himachal Pradesh. Fluttering prayer flags, snow capped mountains and cold winds are what greet you here.






October 6, 2017

September 14, 2017

Roojoom Backpackers Guesthouse- Review


Surrounded by mountains and glaciers, Sangla valley is probably the prettiest region in Kinnaur and is absolutely gorgeous after the monsoons when the valley spreads an array of colours, apples turn red and the climate is pleasant. Amidst all this landscape is Roojoom Backpackers Guesthouse, one of the best places to stay in Sangla. Located a kilometer away from Sangla bazaar on the way to Chitkul, the guest house is a lovely colourful place with fluttering prayer flags, apple orchards in its backyard, a rooftop café and spectacular views all around. They have five rooms, all with attached baths, basic amenities and face the mountains. What more can you ask for?.






What I loved:

Location: The views from the guest house are breathtakingly beautiful. It is surrounded by mountains on all sides with the Baspa river flowing way below.

Comfortable rooms: The rooms are spacious and well maintained with comfortable beds and quilts.

Clean baths: All rooms come with clean attached baths. They also provide hot water on request.

Café and common dining area: The roof top café might well be a place you wouldn’t want to leave as the views are surreal. The café is open to outsiders too. The common dining space on the ground floor is a nice place to meet likeminded people and share travel experiences.

Joey and his staff: Joey from USA runs the guest house and both he and his staff are very friendly and helpful.

Tariff: This is a good budget option in Sangla and is priced at INR 600 per night for single occupancy and INR 700 per night for double occupancy.


What I did not like:

Wifi: There is no wifi provided, however, most data networks function well here.

Payment: They accept only cash.


Verdict: Excellent

Address:
Sangla Chitkul road, Sangla, Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, India.
Ph: 9805897887 (Joey) 


P.S.- This is NOT a sponsored post.

September 13, 2017

Riding through the Mountains- A Photo Essay









All the above frames were captured during my ride from Solan till Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh. September 2017.

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