Warming up in India (1) : Kinnaur and Spiti

We're back in Delhi after 5 weeks of travel in Northern India. Being back in Dehi also means... having a good Internet connection that allows us to share with you what happened in the last few weeks.

As soon as Marie-Laure joined me here, we took a night bus with our friend Richa that had some free days to travel with us. We ended up in Shimla, which is a small city in the Himalayans hills.
We were welcomed there by a nice family, friends of Richa.
The place was peaceful and we decided to spend one night there before taking another bus. It allowed us to take some rest and we went hiking around the city.

The next day, we were ready to look for a shared taxi at 5:30 AM. But there was none, so we opted for a bus. After 2 hours of ride, what a shock : oh yes, the bus is going to Sarahan... but not the right one ! Only one solution  take another bus back to Simla and meet the right bus there !

From Sarahan, we took another bus to go to Rakchham, in the beautiful Sangla Valley. I was there 20 years ago with my parents... but what a change in the valley !
Now, instead of wooden houses, many concrete buildings block the view on the mountains. Rakchham is still ok in comparison with Chhitkul, the last village, where tourism encouraged people to build big hotels.

On the good side, the old part of the villages are still pretty preserved. Our homestay at the top of the village was situated in a beautiful house and people are still very welcoming.

It was fun to find the people on the pictures taken many years ago and to see their faces when they recognized themselves, 20 years younger...

Ther nicest meeting of this kind was in Tashigang, a small village that we reached by walk. The whole family was still there, including the old grandmother. She laughed so much when she saw the pictures ! But she didn't allow me to take another one of her today, saying that she was too old and not beautiful anymore (which was not exactly true, thanks to her beautiful smile).

We spent a great evening there, and my only regret is that we had no time to spend another night there with them. Anyway, now we exchanged our Whatsapp numbers... technology will help us to keep contact !

Nako, the nearby village connected to the main road, was a beautiful small village near a  lake. Here also, concrete is everywhere now.
What I would remember from what we saw in Kinnaur and Spiti, is that it's a place where the development is fast and efficient. It might not please our tourist's eyes, but the people told me there that they were very happy of the changes. They do not regret the past and are looking confidently to the future. The national tourism there is huge and helps people to get some money and have a better life. They can send their children to better schools or offer them university studies.

We were then planning to go hiking for a few days, but people told us that the passes might close from one day to another. Richa needs to go back to Delhi and we have to cross very high passes in order to reach Ladakh.

We decided consequently to spend one night in Tabo, near the old monastery, one night in Kaza, which would allow us to visit Kibber (one of the highest villages in the world - 4270 m) and then find some transports to Delhi or to Ladakh.

What happened to us next ? That's what you'll read in my next post about Ladakh and Kashmir !


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