Langza Valley- The Fossil Village


Langza (14,500 ft) is probably the most picturesque village of Spiti Valley. The journey to this village is an adventure in itself.

We started from Kaza at a mere 11,000ft. The road to Langza climbed too fast and too high, ascending rapidly at a rate of maybe a thousand feet or more every 15 min. Along the way, I watched the valley getting deeper, slopes getting steeper and peaks, that once appeared sky high growing shorter. Our altitude began to match theirs.

And then when I thought we were high enough to hit the sky and vanish into it’s blue, we were on a plateau, absurdly green in contrast to the barren brown landscape we were riding through until now. A few more minutes up and down the wavering road, the grassland suddenly ended and made way to something unexpected.

At the edge of the green grass, the earth rose suddenly, dwarfing everything around her. She dominated the land. There was nothing nearby that matched her skyward reach and her majestic snow covered grandeur. She was the Chau Chau Kang Nilda, the tallest peak in the region, rising more than 20,000 ft. She was aptly called Princess Mountain.

Once you finally recover from Chau Chau’s majestic presence and turn around, a wave of calmness brushes over you as you notice a huge golden coloured Buddha idol. His back is turned to you. He is at ease, meditating, looking over His valley. Right now, I’m at a loss of words to express how serene and perfect He was. I’m gonna let my camera do it for me – Buddha

All the houses in the village are built below this statue. The houses are made of mud and painted in shades of white, red and black with prayer flags tied around them. As tourism in this region has increased in the past few years, more and more houses have turned into homestays providing travellers with accommodation and food.

However, the main attraction at Langza is to collect fossils and to visit the monastery. The Lang monastery is believed to be the “headquarters” of the deities of the Spiti Valley and is about 1000 years old. Fossils of marine creatures and plants are found in plenty under sedimentary rocks. This is because many epochs ago, the entire Himalayas was the Thethys Sea. These are the fossils of the animals that thrived in that sea and are around million years old. Although possession and collection of fossils are illegal in India, the children of the village sell these collectables to travellers visiting their village. The fossils are Cephalopods. If you are interested in archaeology then a visit to Langza is must as there are possibilities for endless excavations in the higher reaches of the mountain ranges.

I was told that Langza was called the Switzerland of Spiti. Maybe the Alps have to be called the Langza of Switzerland. Just saying.

This post was originally published on Travel Tales

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