Spiti - Three amateurs' ride to the land of the Buddha; of amazing landscape and great people!

supriyfale

RiderByChance
24 May Peo to Nako

We got up early and were ready to leave by 9 AM. We had slept well and were refreshed after a good breakfast.

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Since the next filling station was at Kaza, we had to carry extra fuel. I had carried one empty 2 ltr. coke bottle but forgot to get another last night when we went to market. So, as I and Veena waited at the petrol pump, Sushil went to the market to get a 2 ltr. coke bottle. Since we do not drink cold drinks, we drank little and gave the remaining to the people at the petrol pump. After filling our tanks and the two coke bottles, we left around 10 AM. Shortly afterward we reached a small town of Spillow where we stopped for a hot cup of tea since it had started raining.

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After Spillow, the roads were good in patches and it we could not accelerate much. After a while it started raining heavily and so we stopped at one of the numerous road construction sites to put on our rain gear. The rain continued. The road was continuously climbing, and it was getting windier and colder.

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Just after Puh, another beautiful town on this stretch, we stopped for lunch. It was around 1:30 PM. There were not many restaurants and when we saw a small restaurant on the other side of the road, we decided to stop. It was nice and clean, and the vista opposite was awesome. We ordered mutton soup and some noodles which was good. Later we went across the street to view the river streams were and the adjacent magnificent rock.

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We left the place at 2 o clock. The rain was continuous, and the gradient started to climb. I was feeling numbness on my hands as my gloves were wet. Tabo was looking more and more difficult.

As we continued to climb the rocky terrain and the unpaved roads, our speed became lesser and lesser. The wet mud was making the ride treacherous.

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So, we decided to stop at Nako. Earlier we had planned to skip Nako due to its altitude and cold weather. But now in our condition that seemed a better option.

After climbing numerous bends on unpaved roads, close to Nako we spotted a café. We were wet and tired and wanted to have a hot cup of tea before proceeding. It was around 3:30 PM and Nako was near, so we were not in a hurry now. The café was nice, and we had hot cup of coffee. The owner and his wife were having a friendly banter. In this region men and women behave equally which we got to experience in many places here. We also bought some dry apple slices, grown in their own farm.

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Around 4 PM we entered the Nako town. Since we had to find a room, I started looking for hotel boards as we zig zagged through the town. On one such turn I saw a newly painted house with a home stay sign. I planned to stop and applied brakes. But by the time the bike stopped we were in front of the adjacent house which also had a homestay sign. So, we planned gave it a try. First, no one came out when I called in. I went inside the channel gate to look. Still no one.

I was about to leave and go to the other one when a passerby woman asked me to go up and check. I went up and found a young guy. He said a room was available, yes it will accommodate all three and yes, he will provide a room heater. The deal done, I and Sushil came back to unload our bikes while Veena went to the room. He also offered us a tea in his warm kitchen which we needed badly. Overall it seemed a nice package.

The room was new and clean. After unloading our bikes and dumping the luggage in the room, I went in the kitchen and asked the young man, Rahul, whether I can hang it in the kitchen to dry. He readily agreed and hung it himself. We all then changed our clothes and went to the kitchen to get warmth and have our teas. It was so cozy after a very cold ride, we sat in the kitchen warming ourselves.

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Apart from us, there were a foreign couple and a foreign monk. He was praying. We talked to them for a while and learned that they were from France the monk was from UK. The monk was here for some time and had just been on a long trek. We had a long conversation with him and the couple from France.

The hostess served us dried apricots that they grew in their farms. They were delicious. We were then served hot cups of tea and we continued our conversations.

Since the evening was still on, we went for a walk around the lake. The monk had also told us about a stone which was supposed to be used by the wife of Padmasambhava as a cooking pot. We promised to look.

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The evening was beautiful and as we were now warm with tea it energized us further. We took a stroll around the lake which was small but beautiful. We also located the stone supposedly used by the wife of Padmasambhava which was distinctive with its three holes.

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From the lake we saw a prayer wheel at the top of a hillock and decided to go there. We reached there easily and could see the small and beautiful Nako village. The prayer wheel was huge and the bell rang serenely when a rotation was complete. We spent some time there as the evening passed. When it started to get dark and the chill in the air increased, we descended the hill.

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We reached our home stay and headed straight to the kitchen after washing our hands and feet.
The couple’s friends from Netherlands joined us for dinner. We were to meet them quite often during our trip as they were doing the same places as we were. They had bought a Maruti van and converted it to have two beds so that they can sleep in it. We had seen a similar setup in Manali a few years ago during our ride to Leh.

The dinner was good, and our hostess was a very nice person. She treated us like her family and insisted on more portions. Our stomachs were filled to the brim till the time we washed our hands. Like we have seen many villages, a young teacher, who had stayed with our hosts earlier, came to help them to make dinner.

We had also seen here that both our host and hostess were preparing dinner. While our host rolled rotis our hostess baked them. Later in the evening, they would both go to the fields to water them.

We heard an interesting story from our host about the horse the villagers keep. In the winters the villagers take their horse to forest and leave him there so that he can roam and have his food as there is not enough food for him in the house. Also, they may get sick staying indoors. The villagers bring the horse back in summer. Sometimes however a leopard may kill the horse so a risk of losing him is always there. These villagers live a very difficult life, but they always smile and have a place in their house and heart for strangers.
 

sajalsheth

Still Learning ©
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Nice Ride @supriyfale ji

I feel that you have done good thing to carry bike in train first, then start journey from Nearest point.
I also did the same in my Spiti Valley & Ladakh Ride.

Waiting for next update
 

jitenderpathania

Globetrekker
24 May Peo to Nako

We got up early and were ready to leave by 9 AM. We had slept well and were refreshed after a good breakfast.

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Since the next filling station was at Kaza, we had to carry extra fuel. I had carried one empty 2 ltr. coke bottle but forgot to get another last night when we went to market. So, as I and Veena waited at the petrol pump, Sushil went to the market to get a 2 ltr. coke bottle. Since we do not drink cold drinks, we drank little and gave the remaining to the people at the petrol pump. After filling our tanks and the two coke bottles, we left around 10 AM. Shortly afterward we reached a small town of Spillow where we stopped for a hot cup of tea since it had started raining.

View attachment 773958

After Spillow, the roads were good in patches and it we could not accelerate much. After a while it started raining heavily and so we stopped at one of the numerous road construction sites to put on our rain gear. The rain continued. The road was continuously climbing, and it was getting windier and colder.

View attachment 773959

Just after Puh, another beautiful town on this stretch, we stopped for lunch. It was around 1:30 PM. There were not many restaurants and when we saw a small restaurant on the other side of the road, we decided to stop. It was nice and clean, and the vista opposite was awesome. We ordered mutton soup and some noodles which was good. Later we went across the street to view the river streams were and the adjacent magnificent rock.

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We left the place at 2 o clock. The rain was continuous, and the gradient started to climb. I was feeling numbness on my hands as my gloves were wet. Tabo was looking more and more difficult.

As we continued to climb the rocky terrain and the unpaved roads, our speed became lesser and lesser. The wet mud was making the ride treacherous.

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So, we decided to stop at Nako. Earlier we had planned to skip Nako due to its altitude and cold weather. But now in our condition that seemed a better option.

After climbing numerous bends on unpaved roads, close to Nako we spotted a café. We were wet and tired and wanted to have a hot cup of tea before proceeding. It was around 3:30 PM and Nako was near, so we were not in a hurry now. The café was nice, and we had hot cup of coffee. The owner and his wife were having a friendly banter. In this region men and women behave equally which we got to experience in many places here. We also bought some dry apple slices, grown in their own farm.

View attachment 773972


Around 4 PM we entered the Nako town. Since we had to find a room, I started looking for hotel boards as we zig zagged through the town. On one such turn I saw a newly painted house with a home stay sign. I planned to stop and applied brakes. But by the time the bike stopped we were in front of the adjacent house which also had a homestay sign. So, we planned gave it a try. First, no one came out when I called in. I went inside the channel gate to look. Still no one.

I was about to leave and go to the other one when a passerby woman asked me to go up and check. I went up and found a young guy. He said a room was available, yes it will accommodate all three and yes, he will provide a room heater. The deal done, I and Sushil came back to unload our bikes while Veena went to the room. He also offered us a tea in his warm kitchen which we needed badly. Overall it seemed a nice package.

The room was new and clean. After unloading our bikes and dumping the luggage in the room, I went in the kitchen and asked the young man, Rahul, whether I can hang it in the kitchen to dry. He readily agreed and hung it himself. We all then changed our clothes and went to the kitchen to get warmth and have our teas. It was so cozy after a very cold ride, we sat in the kitchen warming ourselves.

View attachment 773978


Apart from us, there were a foreign couple and a foreign monk. He was praying. We talked to them for a while and learned that they were from France the monk was from UK. The monk was here for some time and had just been on a long trek. We had a long conversation with him and the couple from France.

The hostess served us dried apricots that they grew in their farms. They were delicious. We were then served hot cups of tea and we continued our conversations.

Since the evening was still on, we went for a walk around the lake. The monk had also told us about a stone which was supposed to be used by the wife of Padmasambhava as a cooking pot. We promised to look.

View attachment 773973

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The evening was beautiful and as we were now warm with tea it energized us further. We took a stroll around the lake which was small but beautiful. We also located the stone supposedly used by the wife of Padmasambhava which was distinctive with its three holes.

View attachment 773975

From the lake we saw a prayer wheel at the top of a hillock and decided to go there. We reached there easily and could see the small and beautiful Nako village. The prayer wheel was huge and the bell rang serenely when a rotation was complete. We spent some time there as the evening passed. When it started to get dark and the chill in the air increased, we descended the hill.

View attachment 773977

We reached our home stay and headed straight to the kitchen after washing our hands and feet.
The couple’s friends from Netherlands joined us for dinner. We were to meet them quite often during our trip as they were doing the same places as we were. They had bought a Maruti van and converted it to have two beds so that they can sleep in it. We had seen a similar setup in Manali a few years ago during our ride to Leh.

The dinner was good, and our hostess was a very nice person. She treated us like her family and insisted on more portions. Our stomachs were filled to the brim till the time we washed our hands. Like we have seen many villages, a young teacher, who had stayed with our hosts earlier, came to help them to make dinner.

We had also seen here that both our host and hostess were preparing dinner. While our host rolled rotis our hostess baked them. Later in the evening, they would both go to the fields to water them.

We heard an interesting story from our host about the horse the villagers keep. In the winters the villagers take their horse to forest and leave him there so that he can roam and have his food as there is not enough food for him in the house. Also, they may get sick staying indoors. The villagers bring the horse back in summer. Sometimes however a leopard may kill the horse so a risk of losing him is always there. These villagers live a very difficult life, but they always smile and have a place in their house and heart for strangers.
Long time, No see Sir...........

Waiting for the next part :-({|=
 

supriyfale

RiderByChance
25 May - Nako to Tabo

We got up early the next morning and after having a cup of tea, went to the Nako monastery. The monk had told us that lamaji will help us in showing the oldest part which is generally locked. We were searching for the lama when an old woman met us. She guided us to the area where lamaji was and called him for us. We were really grateful to her as it would have taken us much longer to locate him. Finally lamaji came out and took us to the old monastery which was more than 800 years old. It was of the same period as the monastery at Tabo, though the Tabo one is considered as the oldest in the Spiti region and is much revered.

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The monastery was really beautiful with the remains of very old paintings visible from the wall and the ceiling. After spending some time there, we came out with lamaji on the ground adjacent to the monastery and clicked a couple of photos. The morning and the landscape were beautiful.

We returned to our homestay at around 8:30 am. After having our breakfast and packing our stuff, we left at 10:30 for Tabo.

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The monk had asked us to visit the 500yr. old mummy at Giu as it was on the way. He told us that the entrance to the village is quite visible and the right side of the road while going to Tabo. We found it easily and took the road to the village. The road was unpaved but fine and we only had to go some 11 odd kms to the village. At around 11:30 we reached the place where the mummy was preserved. As one enters the village there are clear indicators which guide to the location which is on a hill.

We went inside the place and saw a statue around 3 feet whose facial feature were still visible. I do not what it would be thing of all the visitors that has visited it for the last hundred of years, especially now where the focus is now on clicking a photo and moving on and showing very little interest in the history behind this. We were no different.



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Spending some time at the place we came down. At the base, we saw a cobbler mending shoes. We were amazed to find a cobbler at such a sparsely populated place. We stopped as we had to mend Veena's riding boot as one of the plastic parts has fallen exposing the cushion. We showed him the boot and he said he could fix it. He said he was from Punjab and moves across with his wares to fix shoes. He was a young guy in his 20s and seemed to be quite industrious for his age.

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He really fixed the boots well and after paying him we started on our way to Tabo. We were feeling hungry by now and started to look around for a decent restaurant in a small town of Hurling. After a while, we found one which seemed good enough. It was around 2 PM and we were quite near to Tabo.

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We had our lunch and stopped on the way at a place to take some snaps as the surrounding was beautiful.

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We reached Tabo by 3:30 PM and took left to enter the town. The monk had suggested that we stay with Rahul's sister who also has a good homestay. However when we inquired about the homestay we were told that it is at the end of the village and has a steep road which is difficult to take motorcycles. So we went up straight ahead and stopped at the monastery. We were told that the monastery has rooms and takes guests. So Sushil went to inquire and we got two rooms.

Veena went up with the tank bag and other stuff, while it untied the other luggage. We refreshed and came down. The nearby monastery's closing time was 5 PM and we still had some time so we decided to visit it. This was the oldest monastery in the region and well preserved. The atmosphere inside was serene. We had been given the torch to watch the wall and ceiling paintings. They were really magnificent. The monastery had some postcards and other stuff on sale and bought a few things for folks back home.

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The inside was so dark that when we came out the sun literally hit our eyes. We went around the monastery and saw the old chortens now restored. The overall condition of this monastery was much better than a few others we saw.

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Later in the evening we took a walk around the place and had tea at a decent restaurant. We decided to come back for dinner as we had not seen many places offering food.

When we came out at around 8 PM the lights were out and the whole village was closed. The caretaker at the monastery had told us that they offer dinner at the monastery so we decided to go there.

We heard some sound as we entered the dining hall and found that a group of women had occupied the entire place and were singing a delightful song. We occupied the remaining places and enjoyed their song. When asked they told is that it was a preparation for a festival a few days later and invited us to a nearby place where they were going to practice.

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We told them that we would surely visit after dinner.

So after dinner we went in the dark to the place they had mentioned. We traced our way to the place by the sound of voices coming from nearby. We pushed the small door and stood against the wall watching women, old and young dancing to a rhythm. They were being tutored by a young man in his 40s and there was laughter, fun and camaraderie. It was 11 PM in the night and the women were freely out of their house being coached by a man in a completely natural way.

This little village was showing us the way how we should behave toward our women and fellow beings in all our villages and cities. If we can only take this lesson from this remote place of India across it would be so much good for our society.

We left the place with high regards for these simple men and women from this remote town. They were doing something effortlessly that we strive hard to attain.

That was a most lovely end for our day. We went back to our rooms and retired for the day. Tomorrow we go to Dhankar, another place suggested by the monk in Nako.
 
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supriyfale

RiderByChance
26 May - Tabo to Dhankar

We were told by the monk at Nako that the Dhankar lake was definitely a place to visit, so we planned one day at Dhankar. We got up early in the morning and after having our morning tea we set out to explore the nearby caves.

The caves were at a height and it needed quite efforts in this altitude to reach these. We visited a few caves, some of which were still being used by monks.

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From the caves, I decided to hike to the big sign of Om-ma-ni-padme-hum written by arranging big rocks. Veena and Sushil decided to stay and I climbed alone. As I reached higher I realized that the hike is not easy as it looked due to the small rocks which made the climb difficult. The gradient also increased as I went higher. So I decided to go just to the bottom of the sign and not to the flag as I had planned earlier.

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The way down was more of a slide over loose rocks and reached the place where Veena and Sushil were waiting for me. I was exhausted and rested for a while.

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Around 9:30 we came down and went in a restaurant along the road for breakfast. It was a nice looking place and the owner was quite a knowledgeable person who knew much about Buddhist history.

We chatted with him while having our breakfast of coffee and bread-butter. After finishing our breakfast we bade him good bye and reached the monastery at around 10:30.

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We packed our stuff and hit the road around 11:30. Soon after we saw the climb toward Dhankar on our right and entered the road. It was a steep climb but the road was good.

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We reached the Dhankar monastery around 2 PM. We inquired about the room and got one. As it was lunch time, we ordered lunch in the adjacent restaurant. Here we met a group of riders who had come riding from Mumbai. One of the guys was riding a GS 1200 and they were planning to do a full circuit by going to Manali via Kinzum pass. One of them was a first time rider and we asked him to ride safe as Kunzum was a difficult pass at this time of the year.

After lunch we decided to go to the local monastery and then to the lake, however the monk there suggested that we do the lake first at would be a difficult climb. It is good that we took his advice as we needed all the time that we had to go to the lake and return before dark.

As we came out of our rooms to go to the lake, we again met the couple from Netherlands. They had just came back from the lake as they had left Tabo in the morning. They had done a whole round of the lake and told us that it was beautiful. We could not wait to go there ourselves so we started the climb.

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It was really a steep climb and we had to stop intermittently to take some rest. On our way we saw school children returning from a picnic at the lake and running down the path merrily. The teachers were behind them coming down slowly.

As we were climbing, we saw a storm approaching from the mountain and we knew it would hit us soon. Moreover, we were the last persons going up. A couple of locals had gone up overtaking us and we saw them return on our way. They told us to hurry as it may rain soon. So we increased our speed as much as possible.

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Veena suggested that we go back as the lake could not be seen though we had looped around a few times. However I wanted to have a look at the lake as we come so close. So I went ahead just to see how far the lake was. I reached the lake in sometime and it was a beautiful sight. A serene water body embedded in the mountains. The water was almost green in color. After a while I saw Veena and Sushil. We spent some time at the lake and clicked some photos. Unfortunately we could not stay longer as the storm has reached the lake and high winds were flowing. So we retraced our steps.

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As we started the descent, we were being pushed by a tail wind so fast that at time it felt that it would lift us off. We had to be careful in negotiating the steps downwards.

At last we reached the monastery gate around 6 PM and heaved a sigh of relief. It was a fascinating hike; exhausting but worth the efforts. We spent rest of the day by having tea and later dinner before going to bed.

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Tomorrow's destination is Key monastery, but before that we will complete the whole circuit of Langza-Hikkim-Komik.
 
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