Spiti Diaries ( Day 5 ) Chicham-Key Gompa – Komik – Hikkim

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Farther the settlement, better the life.

In last post we reached Kibber and found a place to pitch our tents. Then we started trekking to a village called Chicham.

We could have travelled to chicham in our car, but it was only 4 o’clock so we thought trekking would be a better idea. We just knew it was 4-5kms away and we have to follow the only path laid out.

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A bend in the road is not the end of it unless you fail to make the turn.
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I don’t want much from life. Just the wildness in me should stay alive.

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We  first went through some houses of Kibber and after that, there was the road we had to follow. Throughout Spiti I couldn’t find a road so smooth. It looked much better than the roads of Delhi. Smooth curves of the road were ornamenting the beauty of a place so tranquil and silent. There were no humans or even animals in sight.
It was so isolated, and that was its beauty.
Far from us we could see a tiny settling amid mountains separated from the world with 500m (can be a wrong estimate) deep Parilungbi gorge.

Our trek wasn’t a tedious journey because of Driver bhaia so fun-loving. He made us take shortcuts, walk in some farmyards, climb some rocks, jump down the steep paths. He is a professional mountaineer and gave us a thrill of it.

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You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really go.

Despite all the beauty filling me with happiness, I kept thinking about how tough life here is. For those travelling from Chicham to Kibber to get their daily business done, it’s not easy.
They get to embrace nature with every breath they take, but what they go through is much more tough than we city dweller complain about.
Doing vegetation in this terrain, selling the output, arranging all the necessary items; it’s just not smooth as butter.

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Going to the mountains is going home.

Lesson learnt- Life isn’t easy for anyone, but those who aren’t afraid to go through the worst are the ones who get the best. (People here get to live in a place, people like me crave to get a glimpse of.)

With these thoughts surrounding my brain, I kept walking until a sight of grand canyon interrupted my thinking. Grand canyon? But that’s in USA!

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Only your eyes will reveal how beautiful it actually looks.

That’s what I said but my eyes revealed something else.

You’ll find doppelganger of Grand Canyon here in India when you go to Chicham village.
Those layered bands of red rocks with water flowing and glowing in its depths simply reminded me of nothing but Grand Canyon. We reached near a cable car with which you can ferry yourself across the deep gorge to Chicham.
Obviously we didn’t take the risk of pulling and pushing ourselves with that cable car as it was turning dark and neither of us had first-hand experience in this.

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Clicked this photo of Chicham Cable Car in the morning.

We walked back to Kibber as we had to pitch our tents, have dinner and get some rest.
Sky was turning from light blue to dark letting the stars play peek-a-boo with us.
Night made this place even more serene with silhouettes of mountains and no street light to show us the way. That’s exactly where I ever wanted to be. In the middle of nowhere, unknown to the fascinations of materialistic world and knowing nothing but silence. But staying here wasn’t an option because I wasn’t alone. 6 other people I went Spiti with were already making their way to Kibber and I had to catch up.

Anyhow we reached Kibber by 9pm. Home stays were turning out the lights and we urgently had to find a place to eat. Rainbow Guest House opened their doors for us. They served us with delicious Maggi, Dal-Chawal, Roti-Sabji and Ginger Tea. It helped me regain my energy to pitch our tents and once we were done with that, I stared into the sky; admiring different Galaxies.

This time, instead of capturing them in my camera, I captured them in my eyes.
It was a tough decision though, because we are in a habit of capturing everything in our camera and watching everything through our lens than eyes, but I know how to convince myself.

With thoughts of living in present I fell asleep and woke up with the hee-hawing of mules in the morning. We didn’t stay in Kibber for long then and left soon after breakfast.

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Believe it or not, this photo is 0% edited.

After travelling on rough yet soothing roads of Spiti for 8 kms, we reached Key Gompa in 1 hour only. If I give a description of roads, it will sound repetitive so I request you to  feel them in the video I will upload soon.

We reached Key by around 9 am. First thing I did there was interacting with soon-to-be monks and exchanging some smiles with them. Then we went down the Key Gompa lane to capture front of the Gompa. The view, as expected, was splendid and the bright Sun made it more glorious. After few minutes of ‘moment capturing’ activity, we went to the Gompa.

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A different perspective from the same point of view.
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Om Mani Padme Hum

Photography isn’t allowed there and I appreciate it. You should go there to see its pacific ambiance on your own. It is about 1000 years old, standing strong at a height of 13,668 ft, preserving its bygone relics and welcoming everyone with open arms.

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We lose ourselves in the things we love. We find ourselves there too.
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Heaven is here on earth only if you allow yourself to see it.

 

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For the first time, I felt humans have beautified nature.

We interacted with some monks, had lunch, attended a prayer, sat on its terrace and tanned ourselves, finally convincing ourselves to continue our journey and head to Komic Village.

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Never belittle your dreams, strive to make them real.

Leaving this place behind wasn’t easy but the excitement of reaching the highest motorable village in the world subdued the grief.

We first went to Kaza to get fuel but had to wait for 5 hrs as the fuel tanker was yet to arrive. We utilized our time by going to Rangrik and dipping ourselves in Spiti River. It wasn’t in my itinerary but idea of bathing in fresh, cold water lured me. After drenching ourselves with reinvigorating chill of this river, we took the way heading to Komik.

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All good things are wild and free.

I was so relaxed that I fell asleep and missed most of the amazing sights my friends later told me about. Curvy roads and lullabies sung by the wind can take half the share of making me fall asleep. I rather not complain because when I opened my eyes, I could see various snow-capped peaks all around me. Touch of last sun rays making them glitter and leaving me in awe, drowning me further into the mysteries of its glory.

Komic is at a height of 15,027 ft and it takes about 2 hrs to reach here from Kaza covering 18 km long Himalayan Roads.  It was extremely cold and as the sun was setting, little warmth in the air was also fading away. To protect ourselves from the cold breeze, we entered in Lundup Tsemo Gompa. It is the highest motorable Buddhist Monastery in the world, lying as a small world of lamas betwixt mountains since 14th century.

As you enter this monastery, you’ll find a hay stuffed Snow Leopard staring at you. If you enter here unconsciously, you’ll surely take a step back for it appears so real. There’s another door inside it that takes you to monastery but girls weren’t allowed there so I had nothing to do but click photograph of this astounding panorama.

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These peaks were so close yet so far.
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Find happiness in smallest things, all worldly possessions won’t matter anymore. 

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After a while when my friends came out, we went to another monastery of komic. It was different from every other monastery I have been to. Specks of last sun rays were giving this place an archaic look.
There were colors splattered all around with some traditional hangings and rangoli-like decoration on a circular table. It wasn’t a huge monastery so everything was kept close, giving us warmth. It felt like coming close to some undefined power because of the aura that was created here.

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Love is the absence of judgement. 

After breathing in the mystery of religions and the utmost power, we came out and started making our way to Hikkim, because we were eager to see the Highest Post Office in the world.

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Optimist sees the light, pessimist complaints about the darkness.

Hikkim is just 3 kms from Komik and we reached within 20 minutes. The clouds which looked like cotton candy till now started looking like tornadoes, filling me with amazement. 

Unable to believe I was so close to nature I finally found myself standing in front of Hikkim post office-The World’s Highest Post Office at a height of 14567ft (4440m).
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Make your way, come what may!

Lanes of Hikkim Village take you to the post office. I beforehand purchased picture postcards from Tabo Monastery and here I wrote a heart-felt message for my parents and posted it. I am still waiting patiently to receive it. 

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What mouth fails to speak, pen writes well.

 

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Kids of Hikkim will treat you with the word ‘Chocolate’ than ‘Juley’.

Evening had morphed into night by the time we were on road to Langza and we still had to cover 8 kms. With the grace of god, skills of our Driver Bhaia worked like magic and we smoothly reached Langza in an hour. When lights were turning out out of every home, Phan Dey Home Stay opened their doors and welcomed us with palatable food. They gave us such a warm welcome, words fail to express my gratitude for them.

Read about our experience of watching dancing lights in the sky at night in Langza Village and about Chandartal lake in next post.
Til then, keep wandering!

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How often do you feel alive?

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