1. Stargazing and spotting the galaxy:-
Now I know this isn’t a point to be done in the first place, but wait, I cannot keep it anymore in my epinephrine. My body is literally shivering while writing this. But let’s do this.
Well, if you ask me what’s one of the most memorable moments in my life? No doubt it has to be spotting the bizarre but beautiful Milky Way galaxy in Spiti valley. Yes, the one you studied in primary school! It was supernatural and extraterrestrial.
Now there is again a very special story behind it. Hear it-
My bucket list included spotting Milky Way galaxy as astrophotography always excited me. Days were there when I used to watch endless videos on stars and constellations, and how to capture them. When Spiti happened, I was confident to capture the galaxy with naked eyes as you can only spot it in a zero pollution rate area. In Kaza, on the fourth day, I among with few other fascinated ones planned to spot the Galaxy at 2 am at night.
Note- You can only spot the prominent Galaxy in a clear sky(no rains) around 1 am to 4 am.
Milky way and my fantasies:
Earlier that day we had dinner and went to our rooms respectively and slept at 10 pm. The clock ticked at 2 am and my best friend Avinash who accompanied me on the trip knocked on my door and asked” would you come to the terrace or would you rather sleep?” I picked up my setup/gear(camera and Tripod), rolled up another muffler around my face and answered him “I have been waiting for this! let’s go”
Was it an incredible timeless force in the sky?
I went to the terrace, looked to the south and what I saw next just took my breath away, I was watching the whole universe right above my head- millions of stars, a band of purple and warm tones stretched into a dark night.
As Earth rotates, we noticed the galaxy to move in the sky. Avinash in the frame- shot on one plus 7 by Ashok Kota, thank you! A salty drop of liquid tickled my cheek, which rolled out from my eye. I was so overwhelmed to have spotted that. It was my dream. Trust me guys, I am not even exaggerating, the feeling of visualizing the entire universe is something that I will cherish my whole life. Such an awe-inspiring sight it was. We spotted some major constellations like Orion, Ursa Major, and Scorpius as well.
How to capture the galaxy/Milky Way photography:
It was a view to die for, and we didn’t realize that we were actually dying of cold. Yes, it was somewhere around -4 degrees and we were freezing. Before my fingers would freeze, I quickly took out my camera and did some settings to capture that incredible vision.
I got a few shots and felt a sense of pride and accomplishment within myself to have captured this magnificent glimpse of wondrous mother nature. We came back to our rooms. That night I did not sleep but kept gazing at the pictures I took and felt fortunate.
Where to spot the Milky Way Galaxy?
If you are a travel enthusiast or are interested in astrophotography, I urge you to come to Spiti valley and make the most out of the Galaxy sightseeing and I am sure it will be imprinted in your memories forever. You can spot the Milky Way Galaxy in Dhankar, Kaza, Langza, and Chitkul.
2. Trek to Dhankar lake:-
A lake that tests your metabolism.
Now, this is for all the adrenaline junkies who love to take their trip a little overboard with a challenging trek for stamina check. Dhankar lake is situated at an elevation of 4,140 meters. To reach the lake, one must trek to it and the trek starts right above the Dhankar Monastery.
OMG!Let me tell you my story behind it. My struggle while trekking to the lake
When the trek started the curious me asked the Guide “Kitni door hai?’(How far it is) He smiled and pointed to on an anonymous mountain and said, “zyada door nahi, bas pas me hi hain”(it’s not too far).
How to reach Dhankar lake?
I among the group started the journey around 2 pm post-lunch. We were very pumped up to see the spectacular lake. But as we completed our first 30 minutes of trek, we realized it wasn’t an easy expedition. The serpentine(zig-zag) untrodden paths were covered with pebbles, dust, thorny bushes, and rocks. I started to feel fatigued as I trekked more because of the altitude sickness.
Spiti valley tourism-Bollywood in me never dies!
But the inner Kabir( from Yeh jawani hai deewani) in me said: “main thakta nahi hu” (i don’t get tired) which got me on. (hahaha) The trek got steeper and abrupt. As we reached halfway, we got a full panorama of the Himalayas lapping the Dhankar Monastry and oh my my what a view it was. After every 100 steps, I was like: “aur nahi hoga mujhse“(I can’t trek anymore) and Avinash would kick my back.
It took us 2.5 hours to reach the destination and till then we were all half-dead and exhausted as this trek really tests your stamina and for a girl who had never hit the gym, it was quite arduous.