Pip #5 | KAZA

Places in Pictures

Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India

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Getting to Kaza involves riding through one of the most dangerous roads on the planet. Constant landslides lay waste to any attempt at feeble human infrastructure, after driving through what feels like two thousand kilometers on a rocky un-paved surface one reaches this place smack in the center of Spiti valley. The town is situated on the higher banks of River Spiti, an area where only a couple of hardy crops have the ability to grow during summer months.

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The floor of the valley still perched at a dizzy height of almost twelve thousand feet above sea level is as marvelous as the trouble you took to get here. The delicate designs that centuries of natural forces like water and wind create are in no small regard, masterpieces.

Kaza exists amidst these pieces of natural art, a central town to a dozen satellite settlements around with population pockets barely reaching three digits. Equipped with a fuel station and more than half a dozen hitherto hotels, it proves to be a good base for further exploration whilst serving you with whatever a little town like this can muster from around.

In Kaza it also never rains for more than a day, after hours of constant rain, temperatures drop enough to make it pelt ice and snow for the rest of the cloud withering duration. So be doubly warned and planned for any winters you plan to spend here.

People here are very kind and hardworking, it’ll surprise the hats off your head to witness the amount of work done by local women. Like I said, hats off!

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Hotels are well positioned to offer you a basic rooms with lots of caring warm food delivered in their tastefully decorated common room. Expect to see plenty of expedition stickers on room doors, mementos left behind by travelers to remind you of the many folk who’ve ‘been ere and donnit’.

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Beside Kaza flows one of the valley’s principal water givers, River Spiti, this clear, bubbling, pretty river splits herself into a dozen streams capturing a broad valley surrounded by towering peaks of brown and white.

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The town still retains that old world charm as most old architecture is still being actively used by locals. Walking into small pathways around town are rather educating as they provide a glimpse at their ways of life in this harsh landscape, apart from being a visual extravaganza that this town already is.

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Kaza is an ideal place to stay over if you intend to check the numerous monasteries in and around which have been expertly crafted into this dangerous yet beautiful landscapes by masons of old. The history that these monasteries encompass is breath taking and dates back to almost the 12th century, even such a hard and unforgiving landscape has been fought for since longer than anyone today can even imagine.

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That about sums up this expression of a post about Kaza, a pip that I just couldn’t stop myself from doing.

Cheers to all my fellow travel bugged souls and happy exploring indeed. 

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Pip #4 | World’s Highest Post Office

Places in Pictures

Hikkim, Himachal Pradesh, India

                                 Hikkim a small settlement nestled deep inside eastern Himachal Pradesh in Spiti Valley, situated at the height of over four thousand four hundred meters above sea level this has to be one of my posted pips. Forget internet, this place has no mobile network coverage or for that matter doesn’t even have a traditional telephone line anywhere in town or around…

… Which is exactly why I like it, where one gets to taste a concentrated shot of life preserved in the past with experiences such as meeting the postmaster over a cup of hot local tea whilst posting the ‘oh so important postcard’ back home as memento. The world’s highest post office ladies and gentlemen :

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But its not just this little settlement that captures one’s imagination; the views get exponentially engaging as you leave the river valley below to start ascending towards much rarer air. The road in many places would make you bet your arm that it wont hold up from crumbling down, but apparently it does, albeit barely.

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Every turn of this dangerous road however, greets you with grand canyon like views of this massive mountain dessert, landscapes I have never experienced anywhere else in India. Funnily its also the only place in the country where one finds signboards indicating town populations as low as ‘thirty’.

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There’s also a brilliant campsite for folks willing to brave this unforgiving yet utterly beautiful mountain-dessert scape. Walking up a gradual slope here can get you gasping for air, so I suggest acclimatization before heading up here in a hurry.

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Overall, its an experience to be had in life as far as i’m concerned, hence this pip.

Happy travels guys like always and deep gratitude for people reading, liking and following the blog.

Cheers.

Pip #3 | Kalpa, Himachal Pradesh

                                       Have any of you avid / ardent travelers happen to bypass ‘Kalpa’ on the road to Spiti, whilst passing through Kinnaur on one of the world’s most dangerous roads? Maybe you were on a tight schedule, or happened to miss that little road going off the beaten path or maybe just not in the mood to take that detour. Whatever the case, i’m here to pop an update (read as rub it in) as to what you missed as the sun went down on Kalpa.

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Yeah, sat there having a warm cup of tea while nature played its own eloquent orchestra right in front of my very stunned eyes.

This is a place where you’d want to pull up an armchair and rest your legs on the balcony parapet; as you gaze the crimson orange hues of sunset while soaking in the diverse cacophony of myriad birds tweeting around.

Until next time…

Cheers and happy traveling people