All posts tagged: spiti

How Volunteering in Spiti Led Me to an Unexpected Friendship.

Curious about what volunteering in Spiti Valley is like? My stint with Spiti Ecosphere led me to some pretty unexpected friendships. My summer of volunteering in Spiti Valley leads me to a nunnery in Morang village. In the backdrop of snow-hooded Himalayas and on the shore of the Spiti River. To conceptualize a new volunteer program for Spiti Ecosphere, the organization I’m volunteering with, I’m spending an evening with a nun to learn about her life. I’m a little anxious. The closest I’ve been to a nunnery is in the wanderings of my curious mind. The last thing I want to do is cross the thin line into insensitivity. The head of the nunnery asks a young nun to be the victim of my questions and she heartily abides. Dressed in a traditional red and orange robe, with a pretty blue headscarf, I guess her age almost accurately as 22. We walk to the kitchen, making small talk about the weather, and warm up over tea. She tells me she came to the nunnery 6 years …

spiti travel

An Unexpected Introduction to Spiti Travel.

Spiti travel on your mind? A quick introduction to what awaits in this incredible part of the world. My first tryst with Spiti, Ladakh’s lesser-known cousin, was an act of online serendipity. I stumbled upon Spiti Ecosphere, a social enterprise pioneering sustainable tourism in the Trans-Himalayan region of India. As it called out to me, I impulsively decided to take a sabbatical from work to volunteer travel in this cold mountain desert. Nothing I read online could have prepared me for the 20-hour breathtaking, back-breaking journey from Shimla. We winded up along roads dug from the base of the mountains, with rocks hanging above our four-wheel drive, creating the illusion that the Himalayas were watching over us. Also read: I Love Spiti: A Campaign to Save Spiti Valley from Single Use Plastic First impressions of Spiti I’m fascinated as Tenzing describes a mystery mountain close to his hometown in Spiti. It changes color every time you go back, he says, convincingly. He’s my first local friend, and the expert driver who we’ve entrusted with our lives, …

Hitchhiking on my First Solo Trip to Spiti Valley.

My first solo trip to Spiti Valley was filled with many firsts, including hitchhiking in India for the first time! Come along? As I walk along the green fields of Pin Valley, I smile in delight at the pink, purple and yellow flowers in bloom. I haven’t seen greenery for the last 3 weeks in the mountain desert terrain of Spiti. I carefully walk across the fragile bridge across the Spiti River, to the village of Gulling. The goal is to hitchhike my way back to Kaza, Spiti’s capital, instead of waiting for a bus that may / may not show up the next morning. Also read: I Love Spiti – A Campaign to Save Spiti Valley from Single Use Plastic I have never hitch-hiked in India before. It would be a parent’s worst nightmare for their 23-year-old daughter in the northern cities of India. But my time in Spiti has convinced me that there isn’t a safer alternative to travel the region. The mountain people welcome you with big hearts, space or no space. …

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4 Offbeat Ecotourism Experiences in India.

In a country of 28 states, each with its signature culture, food, language, history & landscape, it’s not easy for a traveler to scratch the tourism surface of India beyond the golden triangle. The need of the hour, as recognized by Indian Tourism, UNDP and a string of social entrepreneurs, is to develop sustainable, responsible travel initiatives in high-potential regions of rural India. Shivya NathWelcome to my blog, The Shooting Star. I’ve been called a storyteller, writer, photographer, digital nomad, instagrammer, social entrepreneur, solo traveller, vegan and environmentalist. But in my heart, I’m just a girl who travels! Check out my: First book || Travel-inspired clothing collection || Instagram

Spiti photos

10 Offbeat Things to do in Spiti Valley.

Dreaming of the high Himalayas? Take my list of incredible experiences and lesser known things to do in Spiti Valley. Climb with me to the mountains on the roof of the world. I’ll walk you by gushing rivers. I’ll show you curious summits staring starry skies. I’ll float you to the depths of ancient seas. I’ll take you to the world’s highest inhabited villages. I’ll enchant you with blue streams in deep gorges. I spent a month volunteer travelling across Spiti Valley with social enterprise Spiti Ecosphere. Behold some unique experiences I discovered along the way: Try the mountain ropeway at Chichum (among the most unique things to do in Spiti Valley) This is literally breath-taking. As an alternative to the long uphill walk from the village of Kibber to Chichum, the locals built an ingenious ropeway between two mountain peaks, over a deep gorge. The small open box on the pulley is used to transport men, cattle and raw materials, has no weight limits, and can’t be kind to your shoulders, though if you’re …

Life in Spiti: A Chance Encounter With Kaza’s Garden Lady.

Over a month long trip, I realized that there’s more to life in Spiti than initially meets the eye. Slow down, and find out for yourself. I sit by a Stupa on an elevation above the shore of the Spiti River, shielding myself from the sun. It’ll be a good fifteen minutes before the ball of fire sinks behind the mountain range and relieves human skins. Such penetrating sun rays would make a great premise for a sunscreen advert, I muse. In the shade of my Stupa, the strong wind feels icy cold and forces me to wear the cowl of my sweatshirt. Life in Spiti is baffling that way. You can be melting under the sun and shivering in the shade, simultaneously. To distract myself from my hot-cold battle, I look towards the only part of Kaza (Spiti’s administrative capital) that is soothingly green. The only crops that can survive the harsh desert climate are barley and peas. Since it’s spring turning into summer, the shores are filled with green grass and yellow barley. Occasionally …

The Legend of Komic Monastery in Spiti.

While in Spiti, I discovered a fascinating legend about the spectacular Komic Monastery and why it is located in the village of Komic. Spiti is a land of legends. Every mountain peak and rock formation has a story lurking behind it, handed down by generations of Spitians. The most fascinating of them is one I heard from a local friend, of a mountain peak which changes colors a few times a day, reflecting the mood of the deity that inhabits it. It takes 3 days to walk to the base of this peak from his village in Linkti, camping at nightfall along the Spiti River… But I digress. The mystery mountain is a story for another day. I’m currently at 4587 metres at Komic, and literally high at what is said to be the highest inhabited village in the Himalayas. As I count the 13 houses in this small village, I try to imagine how people lead such isolated lives. Perhaps a consolation is the Buddhist Monastery at Komic, where lamas (monks) pray and meditate …

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An Incredible Journey from Shimla via Reckong Peo to Kaza.

The drive from Shimla to Reckong Peo to Kaza is exhilarating but not for the faint-hearted. A once-in-a-lifetime experience! I’m en route to Spiti and going through a “sometimes the journey is as beautiful as the destination” moment. The drive from Shimla to Reckong Peo to Kaza – with a stopover at Kalpa – easily claims Himachal Pradesh to be the most beautiful state in India for a mountain lover. I watch the mighty Himalayas blanketed in Cedar trees for the first quarter of the journey. The landscape transforms to pine trees, until the mountains gradually become bare. I catch a glimpse of the River Satluj flowing below in a stream of clear white water. It gradually reduces to a blue-green trickle in the mountains. Then it meets the dam under construction in the Rampur district and changes to a disheartening brown. The winding road from Rampur to Kinnaur has been dug from the base of the mountains, leaving their rocky protrusions untouched. I’m stunned as I drive under these protrusions. It’s as though the Himalayas …