Have you noticed that the winters ended even before they started ? We haven't yet had a proper snowfall in Spiti - and it is now getting quite concerning to say the least! Last week the whole village of Demul went to the Komic Monastery to pray for snow. Things are getting serious not just in Spiti but the entire Himalayan belt.
Snow is essential in Spiti as without the winter snow, water goes down to a trickle in the summer. In 2016, the highland villages of Spiti faced a severe water shortage and their crops dried out - losing their main and in some villages only source of income. With the rapid way climate is changing we felt 2016 wasn't just a freak year - this may happen again - so last summer with the help of volunteers on our travel & volunteer programs we built a series of check dams to form an artificial glacier along a spring shed - this will aid in more effective spring water recharge in the village of Demul.
Many thanks to our volunteers who have contributed to this effort for there is only so much that the Gods can reverse in the battle against climate change.
If you would like to join a similar Journey of Change - and make a difference in the lives of those residing in the highest villages of the World - join us this summer in Spiti on our Volunteer Travel programs ⛰
Day:14 That dream land is just 111 km away. Though my bike was covered with ice in the morning, it melted by 9 AM and by saying a decent bye to Lama I started my ride to Kaza, by about 2 o clock I reached this awesome valley which is situated in the left side of the road to kaza... The roads seemed to be fully covered with ice so I took a left turn to explore the route, but the ice over there was a bit hard and took much time (15 min for 2 km oneside) I didn't see anyone on the way nor did I had an idea regarding pin valley so I decided to go back towards the road to kaza... (Now I regret for that) .
I reached Kaza at 3.30 PM and a guy helped me to find a homestay for a cheap rate but it didn't had a heater (imagine the situation when the temperature is around -18 deg cel) so I was out looking for fire/heater else I was sure that I won't survive that night over there I found this man @akshayrajmysore and he runs a homestay over there #mahabudhahomestay a decent home stay with reasonable rates, though he enjoyed opposing me in almost everything I felt like his angle of view was more right than that of mine (experience)... So that night I took a stay over there in kaza...
Life in Spiti during winters - 05
Traditional knowledge and Frugality:
This is a typical house in the Spiti Valley. They are made of mud and stone which keeps it warm during winters and cool during the summers. This is just one of the examples of the ingenuity of traditional knowledge.
Also, surviving in harsh geographies with limited resources have made such communities extremely frugal. Maintaining the stock of firewood, fodder for animals, drying up certain foods for later consumption are all important tasks which help them survive the long and cold winters.
Nothing really gets wasted here, not even the excreta of their domesticated animals which is left behind while grazing in the mountainside. It is collected and converted into manure for the field. It is probably difficult to comprehend the importance of these small activities through the lens of our consumerist lifestyle, but for them it is a key thing which has led to their survival and helped them flourish while being in harmony with the nature.
Science and progress have made us come a long way. But the modern science tends to seek the answers for every problem based on new observations and experimentations and operate with a blind belief in technology. It almost completely discounts and rather looks down upon the many insights that the traditional societies have to offer regarding the same problems. I think, we can rather find interesting solutions if we can have an amalgamation of both.
Those prayer flags you’ve hung at your desk and on your bike are not just some fancy accessory. Everything right from the colour to the words on the flags has a deeper meaning. Prayer flags essentially carry our prayers via the wind to get them answered. Here’s what you need to know about them before telling your friend visiting Leh-Ladakh to get some for you.
Each colour of the flag symbolises an element :
The red, blue, yellow, white and green represent elements like air, fire, water and earth. White symbolises air, red is fire. Green is water, yellow is earth, and blue is wind. They also represent directions – North, South, East, West and centre.
Om Mani Padme Hum’ has a very deep meaning.
Om- The sacred syllable
Padme – Lotus
Hum – Spirit of enlightenment
This mantra does not have one particular meaning. It’s a combination of values like compassion, ethics, patience, diligence, renunciation and wisdom. It is said that if you recite the mantra during meditation, it can cure pride, jealousy, ignorance, greed and aggression.
Prayer flags should never be still
The reason why they are put high above the roof is so that they flutter in the wind. It is said that they emit positive spiritual vibrations and that the prayers are carried by the wind like silent prayers.
It’s a good omen to receive them as a gift
Getting prayer flags as a gift from someone and not buying them is how you should acquire a prayer flag. Therefore, telling a friend who visits Leh-Ladakh to get you prayer flags is the right thing to do.
There are two kinds of flags – horizontal and vertical
The horizontal ones are called Lung Dar and the vertical ones are Dar Cho.
They should never be kept on the ground
It is considered disrespectful if the flags touch the ground. Therefore, they should always been hung at a height. Around the frame of the doorway is considered the right place to put the flags.
Many a times people asked me, what gave you this spark in your life? How did it all got started?
I tried recalling the moment and found that; It all started when I started reading. I’ve been reading many different people while I was in school(10th class).
I read Mahatma Gandhi for the first and then found I am not really a Gandhian thought process & later on somehow I got the opportunity to read Swami Vivekananda.
Now I don’t know what exactly I read from Swami Vivekananda but yeah surly something from him only and today here I am.
Whatever I am today is because of him and I still need to read him a lot and learn a lot. •
If you are looking for a teacher someone who can help you solve your problems and help you achieve your dreams, try reading him.
Image: Shot on GoPro Hero5 Black #shotongopro @gopro @goproin | In frame: Michael Heckenberg | @gnarbox | Edit: Adobe Lightroom CC 2018 | Location: Kaza, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India 🇮🇳
Spiti is always a tough journey and that's why way more fun than the journeys I undertook in different parts of this country.
I always mentally prepare myself whenever I'm leaving for Spiti, for once I'm there, no matter how many times i apply sunscreen, how many baths I take in a day, I know I'm going to return as if I went directly into a dust storm.
So I don't bother at all. I am always the one to volunteer to sit outside under the harsh sun, with cold winds slapping my face and watering my eyes, but that's the way to enjoy this land of Gods.
The sunshine is abundant here, and so is dust blowing behind the cars, and then when everything settles down you've these amazing vistas, with different ranges intersecting and snowclad mountains staring at you, as if challenging your will to get off your lazy ass, and make an attempt to summit them.
And I have failed summits here, but I've also climbed a few. And for sure, living here is the most difficult amongst all the places I have lived at, for a little bit of extra physical activity, and your body starts striving for extra oxygen, and the only way to get that extra oxygen in this vegetation less paradise is to walk to the nearest stream or river to refill you bottle.
But hey, at the end of it, this place surely makes you a stronger and more compassionate being, because once you face these difficulties, you realise how much more you can do to ensure others don't have to go through what you underwent.
So here it is, this is how my vision of Spiti looks like.
Full of movement and full of sunshine, the way a life should be. - An excerpt from @abhiandnow’s Spiti journey.
Join us on an epic winter road trip and let us show you Spiti's winters.
Dates: February 11 - 17, March 25 - 31. Limited seats available.
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