The next morning, the sky was clear and we could see snow peaks surrounding us. However, we had to set off for Nako.
19th morning found us departing from Kalpa and heading towards Nako. The road between Kalpa and Nako is extremely dusty and it’s better to keep the nose and mouth covered or else you might face breathing problems. As we headed towards Nako, the sky gradually turned into a surreal blue and the world seemed to be changing it’s face to something I’d never seen before. Changing to such an extent that it made me think, was this all even real? Soon the region we entered, seemed like we had been cut off from the rest of the world, no people, no houses, no cars, miles and miles of barren mountains and far below, a turquoise river rippling along.
We visited the Nako Monastery and Nako Lake in the small village of Nako. The houses from here to everywhere along the Spiti region, started to have the same pattern of structure, white squares, with red and black borders at the roofs and windows, and sometimes a yellow tint. We had our lunch at Nako at around 1:30.
As we left Nako behind, and moved on, from the distance, we could see a beautiful Monastery, standing in the middle of nowhere; no village or human in sight. It’s a Restoration Project of the mummy of the Lama at Gue, by the H.P. Tourism Department. The mummy’s over 300 years old and the Monastery was built as a compliment to the tomb.
Further riding on, hardly any settlements or village came into sight. It seemed like a deserted cold-desert, and as for the 1 or 2 villages that did come in sight, the population at the entrances of each village were written as 30 or 20. At around 5 in the evening, we reached Tabo, a small clean and disciplined village at 10,761 ft altitude, surrounding the New and Old Tabo Gompa or Monastries.
From Tabo, we drove towards our last destination for the day, Dhankar. We were going to stay there for 2 nights, 19th and 20th. The sun set at around 7 to 7:30 in the evening and the sky was a playground for clouds and colours. We were approaching the barren snowy mountains now. Far away, in the partial darkness, we could see a huge cliff, studded with some white cubes. As the darkness grew, the lights were seen popping up at different parts of the cliff and altogether, it seemed like Hogwarts had come to life. Once we entered Dhankar, we were shown that the Monastery was located at the extreme edge of the cliff and just beside that was the Homestay we were going to put up at. On our 1st night, we were already too excited to see how Dhankar would look in the morning light. However, there was a power failure all night and I was worried my camera batteries would be drained of charge. I woke up at about 5 in the morning out of all the bundled up excitement because I couldn’t see what Dhankar actually looked like the previous night. What I saw when I woke up, words are too little to explain the beauty. It was the most unearthly and intrepid place I’ve ever spent days living in.