The Wrong Turn, In Land of Lamas

BY : H

2 years ago

“Spiti Valley is the land defined as God’s abode”, the land of Lamas, this place is as unique and spectacular as it’s name.

I am Himanshu and my epic road trip to Spiti Valley started in September 2019. This was very special trip for me in many ways. First this was family trip and other completely unplanned. In Aug/19 we were planning for Ladakh bike road trip, Delhi - Srinagar - Leg - Manali - Delhi. But, unfortunately just before our departure Article 370 was revoked. And leading to uncertain situation we cancelled our trip. After months of desperation and desire of travel , one day my Jiju( Brother in Law) called and we planned to leave for spiti valley. With our experience, basic itinerary and offline google map we left after one week via car. 

Everything was unplanned , but going great. From our stay to hostels and homestays to scenic beauty of Spiti Valley. 

Just imagine sitting with a beautiful book and a cup of coffee with the sound of gushing water of the river and the enchanting view of mountains and playing UNO at night. At night sometimes lying on our backs on the ground facing the sky and gazing the stars. The scene was indescribable. 

On the way back from Kaza , we stayed at Tabo (Kaza to Manali road was blocked). Our plan was to reach Kalpa the next day.

Our day started and we left early morning. Soon everything will be on the line for us. We were traveling towards Nako. As the national highway was turning  left towards Nako village, offline google map showed right. As we proceeded we entered very small village . As we left the village road started getting terrible. Cannot even call it a road. It was dusty and rocky road, wide enough just to accommodate our car(we were traveling via Tata Hexa). And we were driving beside the mountain with loose rocks. As we were traveling in Spiti, this scene we have already scene, so we were fine. But, soon road was getting narrower and rocks were getting bigger. Over half hour we saw no one and soon realized that we have taken a wrong turn. Road was not getting any better and we started to getting afraid as we had seen one landslide while traveling to Kaza. By no way we could take  u turn, even if wanted to, hoping this road will soon join national highway. As the road was getting narrower and rocks size increasing , by was no chance this was a normal road used for vehicle movement. My Jiju being very experienced driver was somehow driving. Soon rocks were too huge that one of us had to come out of the car and remove it. We kept driving the same way for next 10-15mins. One of us was removing the rocks and obstacles and my Jiju was driving. But soon we reached a dead end. Road was blocked by very large rocks. By then all of us were on our toes and my sister was almost crying. Somehow we were trying to take a u turn there but then something happened no one could imagine. As we turned slightly, a huge and loud dynamite explosion took place. It was soo huge that smoke of dust filled the complete valley and our car trembled.  For the time being, it was like our heart stopped pumping and ears numbed. My Jiju lost control and car stopped. And all of us were looking up for the landslide. If landslide could have started, we would have fell off the road into the valley or buried there. As we were able to get our senses back, we turned and slowly drived out of it. That was the longest one hour of our life. All of us were silent. And our breath and heart beat was audible. 

As soon we returned to the village, all of us came out of the car. My sister actually cried, some were shouting and none of us could believe that we were alive. 

As we were shouting, one uncle came to us. As we told him this, he literally laughed and gave all of us apples he had. And told us this was the old road that go directly to Kalpa and now a blasting area. We had seen the death from so close. All of us could have died and nobody have known for days. There was a very small cautious sign at the village starting. And hanged at a place not visible. 

That day all of us decided not to tell this to our parents. This is the first time I am telling this story, hoping they don't read it.

After all this we realized how lucky we are and how precious life is. At that time we were ready to leave the car there and run. And how important relations are. We all were scared for each other. 5 members of our family could have died there.

My heart literally trembles as I write this. 

As I got my senses back i saved the location of the village. (31.9555480, 78.5929070 -check these coordinates on map ). 

And yes, after that we left for Kalpa. And then got stuck in landslide before taking turn for Kalpa. We waited there for 4 hours. But we were literally happy that we are alive. 

Those 11 days of the trip were literally beautiful. Spiti is undoubtedly a paradise on earth.  it’s not just the beautiful peaks, the nature, the landscape or for that matter the weather that you experience. It’s about a beautiful and breathtaking divinity that you visualize within a split. One of the best , I have even scene.

Surely, I want to and will soon visit Spiti again. Literally want to go there again and see all those magnificent mountains and valleys . And maybe visit that place also where I saw the death :p.