Corporate Goat in Mountains
“BREATHTAKING LAHAUL”: THE LAND OF MYSTIC WINDS AND RUSTIC LIFE
Saint Augustine rightly said that the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. Himachal is all about amazing curves, stunning panoramas, narrow streets, the charm of flowing rivers, the anonymity of high mountains and cultural richness of himachalis. This paradisal state is literally the home of stars, constellations, snowy mountains, deep rivers, massive glaciers and high passes. If you want to feel the flow and the lesson of ‘be in flow’ you must come here.
Mountains will welcome you with incredible warmth, forested hillsides will meet you with happy waving, rivers will tell you the gurgling lifely stories, roads will let you know about the beauty of journey in nothingness, goats and grazing cattle will show you the real traffic, Smiley faces will let you learn about keeping calm in harshest of climate and so on. Even winds have their singing notes, beautiful sounds.
Himachal is full of memories and places worth dying for. Shimla, Manali, Kinnaur, Kullu, Dharamshala are well known tourist places. But, I will start my story with Lahaul Valley. Inarguably, this district is the magical world of “Alice in the wonderland”. ‘Lahaul’ is derivative of the Tibetan word Lho-yul connotation with the ‘country in the south ‘ or Lhahi-yul stands for ‘Country of the Gods. Indeed, of its name, Lahul is nestled by majestic snow-topped mountains. Chandra and Bhagha are the raw beauty scattered throughout the Lahaul. From Sissu, till ‘Baralacha la’ and sites of Udaipur, each place has its story.
How to Reach Lahul
By Air (throughout the year):
The nearest airport to Lahaul is the Bhuntar Airport which can be reached from Delhi airport or Chandigarh Airport. One has to reach Manali from Bhuntar via bus or cab. Hire a bus or a cab from Manali bus stand or Taxi service to reach Lahaul Valley.
By bus (In summers):
The valley is accessible by road from Manali via Rohtang Pass or via Sissu. If you want to go via bus (which is really cheap and economical), there are night bus services from Chandigarh (around 8:00 pm) and Delhi (around 2:00 pm). Also, there are buses to Manali from where you can board a bus to Keylong or the place you want to explore first (like Sissu).
By Taxi/Own four wheeler:
There is the hub of Taxis in Manali. From where you can rent a taxi on a daily basis or weekly basis as per your planned schedule. (PS: Check the taxi rates beforehand and stay safe from scammers.) If you know the terrains and tough roads, elf-driving is also an option. But please take a wise and safest decision, while you are in the mountains.
Places to visit
Sissu is about 40 km away from Manali, and the best way to get there is by bus from Manali Bus Stand. It’s a journey of approximately 1 hour. Stay in Sissu and enjoy the nursery’s of this miniature village, breathtaking landscapes. While reaching Sissu, you will cross the famous Atal Tunnel. Adore and appreciate the worth and place of this connecting link between Manali and Lahaul. The site is mesmerizing and you will be wanting to absorb the vibe of this divine place.
The next day in the early morning start your journey to Gemur or Jispa by bus or by cab. These are two beautiful villages enchanting the acoustic beauty of Lahaul. In the way you will meet the confluence of Chandra and Bhaga ie Chandrabhaga (chenab) in Tandi. The simple rustic charm, freezing cold water of the river, chilly winds, snow showered mountains will move you deeper. The nights are colder, and days are hotter here. Keep your sunglasses, sunscreen and masks to cover yourself up. Stay here and acclimatize yourself with weather and people.
Ask locals about story of lost villages around. Visit the monastery and TrilokNath temple (A common shrine of Buddhists and Hindu’s) which are nice places to visit during daytimes.
Jalma is a beautiful and silent place in Pattan valley. Living right beside the Chandrabhaga flow, it is a quiet spot to behold your sight and spend your day.
Sarchu is the last point of Lahaul. After spending the best of times in Gemur or Jispa the next stop is exquisite Sarchu.
You will find unspoiled nature and your heart will beat wildly. There is a 360 degree change in geography and landscape once you start towards Sarchu. The terrines go tough, and narrower. Sarchu lies on the boundary of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and situated between the Himalayan mountain passes of Baralacha La and Lachlung La, World is different now. Water crossings are scary and difficult for the drivers and sight to behold for travellers. Tsarap Chu River has the golden brightness and barren terrain has the spellbinding scene. Stay in campsites or with locals.
Tso Kamtsi or Surya Tal, is a 800 m long lake that lies just below the 4,890 m (16,040 ft) high Bara-lacha-la pass in Lahaul and Spiti district of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is the third highest lake in IndiA. One trek route is the Zingzingbar–Suraj Tal–Bara-lacha-la