July 17, 2016, 1645 hours.

We are now in #Kaza. I guess I was expecting something because I can feel a “hmmm” inside me as I am looking at the vast sprawling valley in front of me. Mountains on both sides, a very wide valley, with a huge riverbed, the #Spiti gurgling along playfully in little rivulets all along the riverbed, and the town of Kaza by the banks.

I think I had built an image of Kaza as a stark, remote, stony mountain with one kachcha road, one chai-tapri, a ferocious river and high mountain passes all around.

But this real Kaza is quite a town. For starters, it’s green and as a follow-up, it seems to be thriving as a critical pit-stop for whatever lies ahead (Chandratal for example). The two hotels we enquired are full, I can see a good mix of Europeans, Israelis, and Indians walking around, busy doing stuff.

There’s a monastery here, shiny, probably fairly new, and the kind that makes for great photographs (the kind of new-age monuments you see in Southeast Asia). I can see ATMs, shops, bus-stand, petrol pump, restaurants… and I am starting to think chicken for dinner, hot water for bath, cosy room, some rest, maybe WiFi… Ah, yep almost every hotel is advertising WiFi.

Btw, Kaza is at 3740 meters (12,270 feet) above sea-level. By no means, is it a low-lying walk in the park. It just happens to be in a valley and as valleys go, this is a sprawling one.

The wind is reminding me not to take it easy, the clouds on the horizon promise to make it an interesting evening.

We checked into the Dhangskar hotel and we got a brilliant chicken curry, hot steamy dal, roti and rice for a late lunch.

(Yes, there’s hot water, WiFi is temperamental, large comfortable even luxurious rooms, electricity box ticked, and TV!).

Kaza 01

Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

Kaza 02

Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

Kaza 03

Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

Kaza 04

Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

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