Spiti Valley brings to our imagination a fascinating landscape of treacherous roads carved out of edges on the rocky cliffs surrounded by huge mountains. I had heard about this before and when I watched a few videos on YouTube I became sure of the adventure that was waiting for me. Spiti valley is as amazing a mountainous land as you can find on earth. No mobile/internet connectivity, no one to accompany and when you ride bicycle all the day talking to yourself or the bicycle or the mountains you slowly turn into a different person who understands the world around in a different way. On three consecutive days I had a different adventurous experience each day, I went through hunger and exhaustion on one day, the next I saw a landslide caused by a cloudburst also lost my phone while crossing a stream, and the final day treated me with rain and hailstorm while climbing the Rohtang pass.
In June, 2018 I started cycling from Shimla and in six days I reached Kaza. I was thrilled to ride on ‘one of the most treacherous roads in the world’ in Kinnaur. While climbing towards Nako I realized the infinite canvas of Nature. The Kinnaur roads were fascinating but the real challenge began after Kaza. Kaza to Losar was relatively good ride except for one day when I struggled to find food.
After Losar I started towards Kunzum Pass which was a very difficult stretch through a very bad conditioned road. After Kunzum there was a cloudburst that resulted in a huge landslide somewhere between Chhatru Nalla and Chacha-Chachi ka Dhaba. When I was going towards Chhatru on that stony path and met a Swiss man on bicycle sitting next to me, we somehow crossed the stream and the landslide area and by the evening both of us reached Chhatru where we saw many travelers from India and other countries were stuck there as they were on their way to Kaza.
There were only three dhabas for more than a hundred people, food was not a problem but the task was to survive through that cold night and to add to our problem it started raining at around eight, so we couldn’t sit outside. A large part of the night was spent in sitting and talking because there wasn’t enough space to sleep so some of the people took naps in shifts. I had lost my phone and all the pictures while crossing a stream that day.
This picture has 7 people from 6 different countries (Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, India, Switzerland, Israel ) and all solo travelers, and I can’t recall what exactly made us all that happy and laugh in those circumstances but I am glad someone captured that moment forever and ever. That was a two-day lockdown kinda situation but rather than panicking people spent time playing cards and other games or gossiping and sharing stories with strangers and all went back home with more memories.