We all have been trying to resist our travel temptations all through, but now, the lockdown has indeed started pushing us over the edge. Well, while we wait for life to get back to normal and are following all the rules laid down by the government, which is more important than anything else, we can definitely go down the memory lane of the last trip we have had before the lockdown was imposed. Travel is all about making some beautiful memories and weaving in some great stories. So here are some of our team members, who were left speechless when they travelled to their dream destinations, but have indeed turned out to be storytellers when asked them about their experiences.
In this blog, we bring to you the story of Kamana Mhatre, who takes us through her travel diary of the last trip she took before the lockdown.
Q.1 Where was your last trip before the lockdown?
My last trip before the lockdown was to Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh.
Q.2 What did you love the most?
I loved just everything about this trip. Unlike the popular destinations which find their place in the Himachal tour packages, this trip was indeed a revelation of the best-kept secret of this Apple state of India.
Be it the Monasteries like Key Monastery, Hikkim - the Highest Post Office in the World, Chicham Bridge – the highest bridge in Asia, Chitkul – the last Indian village on the Indo-Tibet border… Our trip stunned and took us by surprise at every step.
Spiti, will however always remind me of one thing I have weaved cherished memories around. We met a local kid at Chitkul. The shepherd family of this cute little angel owned a beautiful wooden house by the stream. Early in the morning, this lad was playing in the front yard of his house. We spoke to him and learnt that he was in the middle of his school vacations. And you should have seen his school to believe – A beautiful structure, by the river and with the backdrop of mountains… Ah! It was straight of a story book! Who would want to miss even a day at such a school! We shared a chocolate with the little boy, which he relished and even clicked pictures with him. It was indeed a pleasant sight, as the little boy went to the nearby stream to wash his hands, as soon as he finished the chocolate bar. Truly a filmy scene for urbanites like us, isn’t it?
Q.3 More about your trip
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Spiti is certainly one of the lesser-explored places to visit in Himachal. A hidden treasure indeed!
While May to September is when generally travellers visit, the summer months of March to June are considered to be the best time to visit Spiti valley. So this is not only owing to the pleasant weather but also fewer crowds.
When we had been to Spiti valley in June, 2019, the weather was just perfect. The average daytime temperature was around 15 degrees Celsius, while in the night the mercury used to fall down anywhere between 5 and 0 degrees Celsius.
We visited Hikkim, which is the World’s highest post office and even posted letters for ourselves. Once we were back, we were eagerly awaiting these letters, coming from such a unique and special post office. These letters will forever remain a treasured memory and souvenir for us.
Your Spiti valley tour is incomplete without visiting those divinely mesmerising and peaceful monasteries. We visited the four most prominent of them all, namely Tabo, Nako, Dhankar and Key. It’s great fun watching the young monks play cricket and football within the monastery premises. What’s more fun is joining them in a game, and we actually did it. The kids were so friendly and welcoming! The monks at the Key monastery gave us a wonderful insight into their culture, along with piping hot herbal tea, which was no less than nectar amidst low temperatures outside. We were even fortunate enough to be shown the holy Buddhist scriptures, dating 600 to 800 years back and even the room where His Holiness Dalai Lama stays when he visits the monastery.
At Gue monastery we could behold the divine as we bowed before the mummy of a Buddhist monk in the sitting position and a whopping 500 years old!
And yes, how can I forget the heart-warming hospitality extended to us by a local family in Kaza, who offered us some lip-smacking home-made snacks, scalding butter tea and some scrumptious dishes for lunch.
Q.4 Will travelling with friends be the same again?
Unfortunately not. I think we’ll have to and eventually we’ll adapt to the new normal that is in place in the post-pandemic world, even while travelling. Having said this, I am sure, people will continue to travel, but of course with all the precautionary measures. Even we have had our Ladakh trip planned for this year but as we all know, had to call it off. However, we have already begun chalking out our itinerary for next year now.
Q.5 Best thing about living in the mountains…
Do I even need to say, what winter means to Mumbaikars like us! While we yearn for cool breezes and winter chills in the city, Mountains make for those perfect getaways for us to get that much needed respite from the hustle and bustle of an urban life. I strongly believe in the fact that with their pleasant weather, clean & green atmosphere, tall pine trees and more… One can find answers to all their problems in life just by spending some time in the laps of the mountains. And of course, who doesn’t aspire of a real-life picture, which seems to have escaped a painting – a cute little café, an adorable house nestled amidst the peaks and waking up to stunning vistas from the window, every single day!
So this was Kamana Mhatre, sharing her travel diary with us today. Stay tuned for many more such exciting and captivating stories in the days ahead.