Sunday, 7 September 2014

Chandratal Lake, Spiti

Until around 3 years back , my awareness about “Spiti”,tucked away in the remote Trans-Himalayan zone was very limited. Also this was my first encounter in person to a place which I could categorize as “surreal”. No matter how many pictures and images I would have gone through earlier,of places with ice capped mountains at the backdrop …"Experiencing in person is only magical" !
This was a photography tour with Bangalore based “Darter Photography ” -  and I highly recommend this tour. 

Our tour started at Manali – via Rohtang Pass to Lahaul and eventually we moved to Spiti. 
Lahaul and Spiti are high altitude remote valleys having distinct characteristics in terms of vegetation and visuals . It would require several posts to cover the entire tour, so here is a brief gilmpse of the visit to Chandratal Lake during the tour .
Spiti means the middle land  - rightly so as it is nestled between the Tibetan border and Himachal and thus you can imagine how remotely it is located. 

The cold desert terrain is rugged, raw and easily dictates your attention span.

We had camped at a site close to the lake – must be at around 14000 ft, since  the lake is situated at an altitude above 14000 ft . Living in Mumbai at sea-level and transporting myself at this altitude in itself was quite exhilarating and should I mention Tough!  

After a certain point where the vehicles were parked, one has to walk it up till the lake. Negotiating the inclined path surrounded by these giant rocks around, clouds playing their shadow games over us, severe high altitude wind blowing through our bones, we trying to get every possible angle into the frame and huffing and puffing I began to doubt sadly though, no matter how beautiful these regions are, perhaps these journeys are not meant for me . 
I was too fatigued to take the next step and was considering to go back to the camp. A part of me wanted to see what lies ahead and a part of me was only wishing to be back in the comforts. I stood at a point to rest momentarily to be able to negotiate the last lap of the challenge and what I saw from the distance gave me a sense of ineffable joy !  
It was indeed worth every step I took for the trip right from day one.

 The hues of pinks and greens and browns on the mountains around the lake add a magical effect .

When one is so close to pristine beauty, which is neither easily accessible nor doable throughout the year, you feel humbled and grateful for the chance and opportunity granted to you to be right there.

Over the next few years I have come to realise,treks to places of incredible beauty and tough ordeals are actually addictive. In spite of all the arduous involvements and the promises I make to myself that this is the last one, at the end I would look forward to many such destinations for the sheer joy and contentment of being there,the journey and seeing it all in real . 

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