2000 hours, 06-04-2019, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India:
After hibernating for a long time in my home, I am heading out to Spiti as winters comes to rest and the rhododendron trees blossom in the forests.
I have been to Spiti in three different seasons till now. My first visit happened to be in July during the monsoon season. I can still hear the Satluj River flowing down the valley in its full capacity with its sound so loud that we couldn’t even hear the other person speak, standing just a mere 2-3 feet away. Up ahead was everything new to me. A different terrain altogether. From the lush green forests of Kinnaur, we had entered lands which were sort of barren with a few bushes, shrubs and very few trees scattered over mountains of loose rocks and soil. Various colours of rocks, formations, soil and snow. Giant glaciers and snow covered peaks all around. Settlements looking like oasis in desserts.
Trekking from Kumzum La to Chandertaal lake with The Little Mountain Walker (then 9 years old, who became a great travel companion and friend), Sanjay Mukherjee and Abhishek (my big brother) for the first time. Tasting the local brews and herbal tea made of flowers plucked from the mountain side right in front of us. Visiting some of the oldest monasteries in the world and experiencing a different culture.
Altogether a beautiful experience that left me spell bound and convinced me to visit again six months later in winters, and eight months later in September during the Spiti Festival, when I got a chance to pluck and eat sea buckthorn berries from numerous bushes growing on the banks of Spiti River.
So here I am, on the road again. This time in spring. Waiting to see how the journey unfolds.