Return to Spiti : Experiencing the Magic Once Again

Discussion in 'Travelogues' started by Vargis Khan, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    So we started driving through Pin Valley and after a few kilometers, saw Khushboo coming in from the other direction. She had stayed at Tabo the previous night, then trekked to Dhankar lake in the morning, rode to Mud Village and was now returning to Kaza after exploring Pin. She covered so much in a few hours and all that we did was to drive lazily from Nako. I wanted her to come with us and stay at Mud for the day but she did not find the village too interesting. Her plan was rather to reach Kaza and explore towards Kibber and Komik. I told her to stay at Hotel Spiti Valley in Kaza and meet us there the next day.

    Her bags interestingly remained in my Thar and she still left those there. So here we were, met a stranger on the cirucit just 3 days ago. Now all her luggage was in our car and she was riding around freely with complete faith and trust on us. That is what I like about traveing the most. You meet new people and make interesting friends. This trip ended several months ago and Khushboo has gone back to her life in her home town. But we are stil in touch and we are still friends.

    While we were walking around on the banks of the river in the picture below, my friend tripped on a lose stone and ended up hurting her feet. It was bleeding a little as well but thankfully nothing too serious or deep. There was little we could do there so We just washed her feet and then started on our way towards Mud. Khushboo went in the other direction towards Kaza.


  2. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    We arrived at Gulling in an hour and I started looking for a Hotel Yellow Peaks, which I was told to stay at. Surprisingly, I passed through the village but there was no Hotel Yellow Peaks anywhere. I did notice a hotel by the name of Valley View but that was it. There was no other hotel anywhere. I still kept an eye out as we continued driving but there was no hotel by that name. We reached Sagnam after a while and that is when I gave up looking for Yellow Peaks and focused on reaching Mud Village and staying there.

    As I learnt later, the hotel that I was to arrive at was indeed Valley View; the one that we passed and the only one in Gulling. When Jamaica told me about this hotel, he mentioned another one called Yellow Peaks but in an entirely different reference. I in confusion assumed that the one he booked my stay is called Yellow Peaks and ignored Valley View completely.

    Nonetheless, in this confusion, I actually got what I wanted. We arrived at Mud Village and my first preference was Tara Guest House. Unfortunately, Tara at that time was completely booked and the only room he could offer me had a shared bathroom with two other rooms. This I was not comfortable with so I decided to talk at another hotel right in front of it, Hotel Ibex. They had rooms available and he quoted me a price of Rs. 700 per room which sounded very reasonable. We decided to check in and stay here for the night.

    After a quick lunch and freshening up, we decided to talk a walk through Mud village. I was surprised to see the number of new hotels here. The last time I visited Pin, Tara Home Stay was the only hotel here but now I counted at least 7. It looked like every house here was service as a hotel.

    After walking around for a while, we returned to our hotel and spent rest of the day just sitting in the balcony. My friend started to complain of pain in her ankle that she twisted earlier in the day. It got so bad that she could barely walk straight by evening. We had some painkillers but not a spray that could provide immediate relief. Thankfully, there was another biker group staying at the hotel and I asked them if they had a pain-relief spray. Luckily they did and we ended up borrowing it from them.

    After a while, dark settled in. It was dark all around and time for us to call it a day. My friend also started to feel better in a little while and retired to her room. I sat in the balcony for a little while longer, enjoying a full moon view of Mud Village before finally going to sleep.
  3. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    The awesome view from Mud Village

  4. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Some other pics that we clicked while walking around in the village.




    We actually walked through the fields and right down to the river.

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  5. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    The small Mud Village of Pin Valley. Apart from the number of hotels, I was also surprised by the number of tourists. Even though it was not too much but there were other tourists here too. The last time I visited Mud, I and another friend of mine were the only two tourists in the entire village.


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  6. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    For a short review of the hotel, the rooms were quite spacious and very clean. The bed was large enough to accommodate even three people on it. The mattress was comfortable enough to sleep on and the bed-sheets / blankets were clean enough. The washroom felt a little small but not to an extent where it may become a problem.

    The best thing about the hotel was the view in front. The view actually is same from anywhere in the entire village but it looked even better from the balcony or roof of a multi-storied building. They have a kitchen in the hotel that you can order from. The food was basic but very delicious. They have a central dining hall type area as well where you may sit down with friends to have a nice chat. I will post a picture.




    The rent they charged me was Rs. 700 for a day per room which makes this hotel a great place for anyone traveling on budget. Overall, I will highly recommend Ibex Home Stay to anyone traveling towards Pin Valley. They call it a Homestay but it is really not that.
  7. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Day 6 - Mud Village to Kaza

    Journey today was going to be the shortest of all; a drive of merely 50 kilometers to Kaza. This can easily be completed in 2 to 3 hours with sufficient breaks. At Kaza I was to stay at Hotel Spiti Valley and meet Jamaica. From there, we were to reach Chandratal with Jamaica and stay at his camps.

    So the plan was pretty much set. This was a day to relax completely. Jamaica and I had last seen each other several years ago so yes, in a way this was also a day to meet some old friends.

    I don't know why it is this way but no matter how tired I am or how late I sleep; I always end up waking up early during trips. Same thing happened on this day as well. Early morning, before even the sun came up, I was standing in the balcony in front of my room; waiting for the sun to come up which it did a little while later.



    My friend was still fast asleep and since we were anyways not going to be traveling for long today; I saw no point in waking her up early. I asked the hotel owner for a cup of tea and moved to the roof of the hotel to sit in the sun for a while.

    My friend woke up a little later and after a light breakfast, we were all packed up and ready to leave for Kaza.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
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  8. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    The 35 kilometer long stretch from Attargo till Mud Village is all a broken dirt trail mostly. For the first few kilometers as you cross over from Attargo, it will be good but then it will just be a narrow dirt road all the way. Good part however is that it is not too badly broken and won't bother much as long as you are driving slow.

    We started from Mud Village slightly past 8 AM, drove back to Attargo Bridge and arrived at Kaza at around 11 AM with plenty of breaks in between.



    A bridge in between.


    And that would be me, trying a different look with the beard and long hair, something I got rid of as soon we returned from this trip.

  9. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    The focus of my camera was out of place and I was too engrossed in the vistas around to even notice it. The pictures did not come out right and don't really do justice to the actual scenic beauty of Pin Valley. I did not notice that my camera was out off-focus until we actually reached Chandratal. So all the pics of the entire trip actually got a bit ruined.




  10. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    We reached Kaza at 11 AM and went straight to Hotel Spiti Valley. It is located right opposite Kaza Monastery, right there on the main road so we did not even have to drive in the Kaza town. I parked my car out of the hotel, went in and was hoping to meet Jamaica there. To my surprise though, I found out that Jamaica had left about an hour ago for Chandratal. Since we did not arrive at the hotel at Gulling the previous day, he was not sure where I was or when will I reach Kaza so he left for Chandratal alone.

    I spoke to him over the phone and told him that I will reach the camp site tomorrow. Khushboo was also staying at the same hotel and arrived at around 2 PM after visiting Kibber, Komik, Langza and Hikkim. Rest of the day was just spent in lazying around at the hotel and then we went for a short walk through the Kaza market.

    At the market, I noticed a hotel serving Israeli dish called Shakshuka. Actually, all along the route, I noticed this dish on the menu of several restaurants and was curious about what it was. So we went into the hotel and I decided to try Shakshuka. Much to my disappointment, it turned out to be nothing more than a half fried omlette, some roasted bread and a lot of vegetable salad on the side. I however made a huge mistake having this dish here; something I realized later that night.

    We returned to the hotel just before it was about to get dark; had dinner at the hotel restaurant and all three of us then retired to our rooms. A little bit of late night TV and before I even knew it, I was fast asleep.





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