A Date With Stars: Chandratal

Photo of A Date With Stars: Chandratal 1/3 by rupankar chaliha
Mt CB13
Photo of A Date With Stars: Chandratal 2/3 by rupankar chaliha
Photo of A Date With Stars: Chandratal 3/3 by rupankar chaliha

"Spiti " literally means the middle land, i.e the land between India and Tibet.The Spiti Valley is a desert mountain valley located high in the Himalayan mountains in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. The valley and the surrounding region is one of the least populated regions in India and is the gateway to the northernmost reaches of the nation. It possesses a distinctive Buddhist culture similar to that found in the nearby Tibet Autonomous Region and Ladakh. The Ki and the Tabo monasteries of the region are one of the oldest monasteries in the world.

It is rightly said that "There are no foreign lands; it's only the traveller who is foreign. The quench to reconnoiter the Himalayas have always kept me wondering whether it could be attained in a life time or perhaps a rebirth is imperative to savor its untouched beauty. Looking back at the journey to the Spiti Valley it give an insight as to what survival is all about;always contemplating over the fact that life is very tough is actually a myth when you come cross life in this part of the Himalayas. The rocky terrain itself is a big challenge where vegetation is limited only to a few ones, where the temperature goes to -43degrees in winters, where the region is cut off from the mainstream for six months, where for miles humans become an elusive creature before you come across any village with a mere population of 120 people. Perhaps to envisage the fact that development will touch this part of the county in coming years is a distant dream. But then the fact is some places on earth should be kept as they are since its beauty is to be nurtured in that way. So for the time being the thirst for the Himalayan Reid remains an unvarnished dream as no matter how far we have travelled there is still further to go...to be lost, to be explored, to know your inner self. Till next time "Dream, Try, Fly.....Grow more....n keep exploring your inner self.....

Mt CB 13 or Mt Chandrabhaga 13 is a magnificent peak on the Dhaka glacier that is visible from Chandertal. Oh that night, I can still recall the quiver of that chilled and breezy night. The day started very early with a lot of zeal and exhilaration for the journey ahead. As we started from Manali a lot of conjectures were ripping up in our minds as to what the valley would unfold. But nature had other plans for us; the route to the Chandrataal base camp was perhaps one of the most bumpy ride I had ever undertaken. At one point of time I was pondering if it was better for me to get an helmet before boarding the Sumo we took for the jaunt(Arpan surely will agree to it) . At last after a gruesome drive of near about eight hours were at the camp site. It was gloomy by the time we landed there. Wearied by the elongated and strenuous journey there was no vigor left in us to do any kind of activity; all we wanted was a hot meal to suppress our hunger and our tents to respite. Well as they say that “what we expect is not what we get and what we get always comes out of the blue. The open sky above was what made our day; it seemed to have eased our hunger and fatigue. It literally reminded me of the rhyme “Twinkle Twinkle little star, like a diamond in the sky” but a million diamonds were in the sky. To be precise it was one of the unblemished skies I had ever seen, something untouched by what we call effluence. Sometimes I feel that some places on this earth should be kept as they are virgin; without roads, without easy accessibility as their beauty is to be fostered that way and we humans living in th concrete jungle have elapsed what nature and mother earth has to offer. Standing beneath that sky and with the Mt CB13 in front it was imperative for us to capture that beauty; and the rest as we say is history.
Photo of Chandra Taal, Lahaul And Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India by rupankar chaliha