Ever felt that strong urge to explore new places and discover the unknown? The excitement of packing your bags, embarking on a journey, and experiencing unfamiliar landscapes and cultures is thrilling. But beyond adventure, traveling holds deeper significance, teaching us about the world and ourselves.

Traveling opens our eyes to the diversity of the world around us. It takes us out of our comfort zones and exposes us to different ways of life, broadening our perspectives and challenging our preconceived notions. Whether it's wandering through bustling markets in a distant city, trekking through remote wilderness, or simply savoring the flavors of a new cuisine, every travel experience has the potential to teach us something new about ourselves and the world we inhabit. As I recount my own journey through the enchanting landscapes of Spiti Valley, I hope to share the unique insights and unforgettable moments that have shaped my understanding of the world.

Since this was a 7-day trip, we departed from Delhi towards Shimla, where we boarded our traveler van, which would be our mode of transportation throughout the journey. One thing that struck me was that the entire route wound its way through the mountains, with no single stretch over plain terrain. It was a challenging route, but the breathtaking scenery made every twist and turn worthwhile. Continuing our journey, we reached our first stop: Kinnaur Gate, a natural tunnel carved through the mountains. The sight of this majestic geological formation left us in awe, reminding us of the raw power of nature.

Kinnaur Gate

Moving ahead, we arrived at our first stay in Chitkul, the last remote village of Himachal Pradesh, situated at an altitude of 11,320 feet above sea level. The path to this village was covered with snow, marking my first encounter with natural snow. As evening approached, the village took on a serene charm, with the pure white snow giving everything a soft glow. The night view was especially captivating, with the moonlight reflecting off the snow-covered rooftops. It was a peaceful scene that left me feeling grateful for the chance to witness such beauty firsthand.

As we continued our journey, our next itinerary was to spend the afternoon in the Sangla valley to witness the Holi festival, which was an unforgettable experience.

Later, we proceeded to our next stay in Tabo, where historical roots run deep, making the Tabo Monastery the world's oldest running monastery. I couldn't help but notice that the homestays we stayed in were more comfortable than the hotels in urban and metro cities. Continuing our journey, we explored other monasteries like Dankar and Nako, each housing the majestic Maitreya Buddha. We then concluded our next stay in Kalpa, from where we departed to venture towards the cold desert of Kaza.

Being the coldest location among all our stays, we were fortunate to experience exceptional hospitality from the homestay owner who ensured we had running water despite freezing temperatures at night, reflecting their commitment to customer satisfaction. Continuing our itinerary, we headed towards Hikkim, renowned for its post office, the highest in the world.

Later, we visited Komik, known as the highest village in the world accessible by a motorable road. Finally, we journeyed to Langza, famed for being the fossil village, featuring a towering Gigantic Buddha statue overlooking the village a major tourist attraction. After exploring these unique locations, we returned to Kaza, making a stop at the local market before heading back to our homestay. Our next destination was Kalpa, where we would begin our journey back home.

As we wrapped our trip in Kalpa and got ready to leave the next morning, it started raining lightly. It seemed like snow might come next, and indeed, it did, just 30 minutes before we were supposed to leave, transforming the landscape into a winter wonderland. It was kind of exciting, but also a bit nerve-wracking because if the snow kept coming down, the roads could get blocked, and we might get stranded. But we decided to take our chances and keep going. After all, who would want to miss out on seeing snow on the last day of our adventure? So, with a mix of excitement and anticipation, we embarked on the final stretch of our journey, eager to see what other surprises the road had in store for us. As expected, we encountered a twist when we had to take a different route along the way.

As we concluded our journey before sunrise on a Sunday morning, having traveled through challenging mountain roads and discovered hidden stories, several key takeaways emerged. Despite the dangers posed by falling stones, the dedicated efforts of road-clearing crews ensured safe passage, highlighting the resilience of mountain infrastructure. This view makes me more inclined and gives me confidence in paying income tax, as we cannot assume everything around us is the same as in other regions. Discovering stories hidden for political reasons emphasized the importance of understanding the socio-political landscape of the places we visit. The genuine kindness of the locals left a lasting impression, showcasing the warmth of mountain communities. Moreover, the availability of Zostel in remote villages reflects the growing accessibility of these regions, enhancing the travel experience for adventurers like us.

In conclusion, our journey through the Himalayas not only offered breathtaking landscapes and unforgettable moments but also provided valuable insights into mountain life. As we bid farewell to this enchanting land, we express our gratitude to the WanderOn team for organizing this supervised travel experience, which ensured our safety and enjoyment throughout the trip.