Spiti Diaries III… (Home is where the heart is)

Honestly, I hate having to conclude this entire experience in this last post of  Spiti Diaries . There was so much of pondering and reasoning and understanding going on in the backdrop of this back-breaking routine. So many little instances and memories that, looking back, seem like the really memorable and important ones. I wish I could give all those big and small stories words, and yet I know I would never really be able to put exactly what it felt like, or feels like, aptly in words ever. But here goes…

The peaks – Lalna, Dharamsura, Papsura look spectacular as the last rays of the sun leave their face. I remember when we came here 15 days back. Sometimes the days feel like forever, and sometimes I don’t know how the time flew by. On our way back, we spend a night at the banks of Karcha Nala. My head spins even looking at the sheer fervour with which it flows. It is impossible to cross it by the evening. Even the next morning, we use the Tyrolean traverse to cross the nala. Next day we see the two shacks in the distance, the ridge between our refuge in the valley and civilization is finally closing.

Coming back to Batal now is so different from what it was when we forst came here. We were intimidated. Even taking a walk uphill made us feel out of breath. But we were so much more comfortable now. In the evening of course, we run the warmth of the two dhabas. I feel like wanting to feel every minute of these last days; and finding a way to store in all of it.

Peak CB XIV

Peak CB XIV

I seal the expedition with a trip to Chadratal, which is open to tourists from May to October. There are two ways to get there. We take the route of the vehicles over the one from Kunzum Pass. the lake is accessible on foot beyond Kumzum Pass. Beyond Chandra Taal lies Suraj Taal.

Reaching it after a 16km walk that takes us close to 5 hours, I see just a small part of it from behind a hill.  I go, ‘ok, nice lake’.  And then it comes into full view. And it catches me by surprise. And it leaves me stunned. It is MAGNIFICENT – The water crystal clear. And pristine. And pure. And beautiful… how could I ever find the perfect words to describe it! Every step shows a different shade of blue or green, and a different peak in its backdrop. The weather is perfect too, which is why we can see all these beautiful shades as the sunlight glints over the rippling water.

A small part of Chandrataal

A small part of Chandrataal

I finally find a quiet place to sit and reflect upon the month it’s been. And really, the time just never seems enough to take in the vastness and beauty of this place. Too soon it’s time to leave Chandrataal.

Another picturesque view en route Chandra taal

Another picturesque view en route Chandra taal

I know now that life is about these moments – moments that catch you unexpected and take your breath away; and stay with you forever. Once in a long while you’re blessed by these surprises – these spectacular views and inexpressible experiences. But there is another thing I can vouch for – the path leading to them is often a tough one. And worth it in the end

It is time to leave. After this continuous slog from Batal to Base Camp and back, do we finally get to sit on a journey!? Hah. What happiness. As our car drives past the little dhaba, we wave heartily to the woman running the place. She, cheerful as always, waves back at us. Further ahead, looking down, we see our base camp of Bara Shigri. We keep looking out until it grows smaller and smaller, reduced to a tiny speck and then disappearing into the endless stretch of moraine like our well-guarded secret.

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