Spiti Tales__ The Mountain Gods and Roads.

After enjoying the peace and solitude of the Goddess Temple, I went back to the hotel.On the way found this charming little cottage.

Ideal for a retreat

Exchanged pleasantries with a friendly village lady.  People in the small towns always impress me with their simplicity and kindness.

Always ready for a chat and a cup of tea.

A few backpackers and village folks were seen at the bus stop. The local men and women sport the traditional green cap known as “Thapang”.

The sullen looks could be due to the long wait for the bus Pc: Ajay

Today we are going to Kinnaur_ the winter home of Lord Shiva. Himachal Pradesh is also known as the ‘Abode of Gods”. There are more than 2000 temples and small shrines here. Each village has its own deity and festivals.

From Sarahan it takes 5 hours to reach Kinnaur and the drive is through the National Highway 22. Inspiring vistas unfolded and lively chats resumed.vista2

 

Our first stop was  Taranda Devi temple. She is the guardian deity of the mountain roads and this temple is maintained by the Indian Army. No vehicle passes by without stopping to take blessings from the Goddess. The views changed dramatically from this point.

Taranda Devi Temple. The brass bells are offerings from the devotees.

Taranda Dhank

Now we are going through one of the deadliest roads featured on the History Channel. Taranda Dhank is notorious for landslides, shooting stones and fatal accidents. The road is carved out of the massive rocks.

A cliff-hanging ride

The tension and excitement were palpable. But Deepak, our driver was cool. This young man was focussed on the road and negotiated the deadly curves and hairpin bends with remarkable ease. He wouldn’t talk much but could be quite stern if we tend to stay long for photo stops.

The iconic rock tunnel on NH22-Gateway to Kinnaur Pc: Ajay

Narrow roads, sharp turns, towering rocks, deep gorges Pc: Ajay

Rock art__ sculpted monkey. Pc: Ajay

 

Living on/off the edge Pc: Mangesh

Heart stopping moment

The rock umbrella

Driving on these roads is like being on a car rally minus the frills. One misstep could be fatal. Our drivers showed amazing skills, concentration, and attitude. They were always looking out for one another and also ready to help other drivers.  Road rage and risky stunts don’t exist in their rule book.  Deepak told us that the state road transport corporation has very strict criteria for selecting the drivers and rightly so. I can’t stop admiring our drivers and that tenacious bus and truck drivers who ply on this treacherous route every day.

Passed by the major hydroelectric project in Karcham and reached Reckong Peo__ the district headquarters of Kinnaur. Popularly called Peo, it is a bustling small town. The rocky terrains changed to lush green mountains with dense pine forests and orchards.

The Hydel plant on the Satluj Pc : Ajay

Reckong Peo town

From here the winding road climbed up and we reached the  Hotel Kinner Villa. After the hair-raising adrenalin packed drive,  it was like entering a magical world. The majestic Kinnaur Kailash was standing there in all its glory with the peaks hidden by the clouds.

The sacred mountain Kinnaur Kailash

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Light and shadow play

My room was on the second floor and from the balcony, I felt I could stretch out and touch the mountain.  I am going to put my camera away and soak in the views.

 

This post is dedicated to Deepak and his friends__ the unsung heroes of this odyssey.

May God be on your road every way you go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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32 thoughts on “Spiti Tales__ The Mountain Gods and Roads.

  1. Taranda Dhank!!! Woohoooo…… what an experience! Himachal is so blessed with nature’s bounty and I hope it remains so. Such awesome photography of the place….. i must have already seen them more than 4 times 🙂 The fact about the drivers is so true. They need to live as a close bonded community….. that’s the secret of their survival.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much. Himachal Pradesh has become one of my favorite destinations.
      I was lucky that there were 3 camera geeks in my group who captured most of the action and shared their pics generously.
      Himachali drivers are special.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. WHEW!!! That was so brave of you! However, now that you are safe at home, it must be a fantastic memory. The photos are stunning, and I adore that you include some history and local knowledge. Extremely well done, my fearless friend!
    I really like the shot of the drivers at the end. You’re right, they are deserving. They’re pretty cute, as well. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s an impressive, breathtaking and spectacular scenery! The mountains are the gods, supreme and frightening, just as the road is terrifying! I would not dare to take this road, even with the best driver in the world! So, I admire you, as also my admiration for the people who risk their lives everyday! Nevertheless, it is enviable that you have been able to enjoy this mighty landscape in its unspoiled and ruthless beauty. Thank you for sharing this with us and also to enjoy it as if we were there too … I also like the picture of the brave men! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for your kind words. Much appreciated. I feel that you are seeing it exactly the way I want to. Mountain Gods are omnipresent and munificent.Thanks for the special pat for the brave hearts.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I find mountains impressive and mighty! They are overwhelming and force to respect! As a child, I often traveled to Austria with my father and grandparents and loved being in the mountains! Surrounded by these giants and enjoying the beautiful view … As a human you feel small and insignificant!

    Liked by 1 person

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