I Found solitude in Spiti

I Found solitude in Spiti

Spiti Valley - howiwander

There are many reasons for which one travels. I, for one, just want to get lost before I find myself. To know who I am, and why I have been put here? What am I to do, with this gift of youth and life itself? And what better place to find these answers to losing myself, and then finding myself again, than the lap of the Himalayas where the past, present and future, hold no distinction.

Sand, stones and the timeless view of mighty Himalayan peaks covered in snow, the fragrance of mountain winds, that caresses you like a lover you meet after a long while, and all of this drenched in the sound of my forever companion, my Royal Enfield, this recent trip to Spiti was like a treat to all the senses one brings to bike riding.

And let me not tell you that it is all, just breeze, snow and flowers. No, you must earn the respect of the spirits of the valley, before they reveal their magical abode to you. You must brave the occasional bad weather, the slippery slopes and the precarious trails; you must resist the funny self-doubts only a solo traveller knows when you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, riding to destinations unknown. But I have found that, once you have earned your way through to Spiti, through all the adrenaline rush, all the sore limbs and all the stiff muscles, the first view of the valley is nothing less than a surreal trophy that you can hold to your heart like a precious gem for the rest of your days. A balm that more than rewards you for the troubles of your quest.

I declare that I want to find a new destination every time I travel. It is just my way to know myself in different settings of space and time. “Why time” you ask? Well, because in some places, time does not work the way it does in our cities of offices, metro trains, credit cards and debit cards. Time in some places slows down almost to a standstill and trust me my dear reader, at such a place anything can look mythical because time has little meaning except for the turns taken by the sun and the re-appearance of the moon and the same rotation again.

After the long journey from Delhi, through all the spirals, twists and turns through the hills, I discovered this small village within Spiti Valley. Once the locals found out what I do, and the reason for travel to their pristine hamlet, they were happy to allow photography, but requested me not to reveal the name or the exact location of their slow and calm community. Sorry about that, dear reader, but you can either travel with me the next time, or be happy that you are reading about it.

I can assure you, it was not easy for me to win their trust either. While hospitable and civilly sweet throughout my stay, initially I could sense that they were curious, almost suspicious, that a lone biker, travelling all the way from Delhi, could be looking for “just experiences.” But I guess they do have a sense of pride about their beautiful way of life, and even if they did not understand my motives entirely, they were ready to accept me as a guest.

Once the pleasantries gave way to  banter, and the initial hesitation turned into frank greetings, I realized that the village had so much to explore. I invite you to feast your eyes on these beautiful pictures, that only partially do justice to the real.

I have made some excellent friends, and found some unforgettable experiences in the valley of Spiti, and with all humility, I guess I can imagine why my hosts may be a little suspicious of travellers from the city. We have after all, littered every place we have found, with garbage, and have shown little regard or love for their ancient forests, rivers and valleys. In our ways of modern life, we believe that money is worthy enough to buy anything we want and I have come to realize that this, no matter how normal for us, is still unacceptable, to these simple people who still believe in hospitality, friendship and harmony with their surroundings.

I have tried my utmost best to be like them, and would like to believe that they did accept me as well to some extent. I hope to visit Spiti again soon, and in the meanwhile, maybe I can find more people, who can win the trust of these dwellers of a place where time stands still.

Untouched and unspoiled, far away from the city lights and the Gateway to Solitude.

It had everything I ever look for on my solo trips; Solitude, Peace, Positive vibes, Great landscapes, lots to explore, and so much more, I came back only to go back again. I came back with the hope of living that place again and finding myself again!!!

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