An unforgettable journey to the Himalayas
In October/November 2000, I undertook a trip to the grand Himalayan Spiti valley in the north-east Indo-Tibetan border of Himachal Pradesh, India. This was my fourth trip to Northern India. On three earlier occasions, I had been on trips to Jammu & Kashmir, Badrinath / Kedarnath, and Nepal. However, never did I experience anything of the sort I did in this trip, because Lahaul and Spiti are a different world altogether.
We were a group of 10 – Vidisha, my ex-wife, my friends Dhananjay and Bhavana, Geetlekha and Madhukar and George and I. We also had two kids and their grandmother with us. Madhukar, who is an avid trekker, and visits the Himalayas frequently, masterminded the trip.
Our earlier planned route to approach Spiti was via the southeast from Shimla, along the Sutlej River. The planned way back was the more treacherous route via the Kunzam and Rohtang passes to Manali. While booking our jeeps, we discovered that because of the Sutlej floods, the Shimla route was closed. The possibility of snowfall also threatened to close the Rohtang-Kunzam route, hence we departed with uncertainty of reaching our destination, and remaining stuck in Manali. At the time however, this did not mean much to Vidisha and I, since we were blissfully unaware of what we might miss.