Kaza is one of only 2 villages in the Spiti valley and sits on the eroded flood plain of the Spiti river. It is also a spring board to the Ki Gompa. Perched on a hillock at 4116m , it is one of the highest Buddhist monasteries in the world.
In Spiti there is a tradition of ‘donating’ the youngest son to a monastery , a custom that still prevails today. The young man remains celibate, learns the scriptures and is allowed to visit his family, but has no say in its affairs.
Here are a few pictures of our visit there as well as the journey onwards and out of the Spiti valley ending in Manali.
The village of Kaza
Has the highest fuel pump in the world , & a generator that does not have diesel to drive it
We know it can deliver as this rally surely made use of its services
We are not the only ones hoping for fuel
Kaza is the last place one would expect to find a well stocked, shoe box size grog shop
Life is not easy here
En -route to the Ki Gompa
We see these Ibex at over 4000m
The Ki Gompa perched high up
with its view over the Spiti river
At this height
birds get to play on the thermals
We still have no idea as to the symbolism of skulls in Buddhism
The Gompas inner sanctum
The settlement at Kibber at one stage laid claim to being the highest settlement in the world with electricity
After Losar ( see Linda’s post) we meet yesterdays snow which in places has turned to black ice.
At over 4600m, we know very little about riding in these conditions . Or of this type of cold , wind chill & energy sapping thin air
The snow turns out to be manageable but it’s the super slippery black ice that is the real menace. In the sun one can see it, in the shade it disappears or looks like harmless water ,only to be discovered in a virtually uncontrollable slide.
In the shade you can’t see the ice but its there, particularly around the switch backs, which seem to be in the lee of the slope
The ice is a bugger around bends as one has little stopping power
and unfortunately on the way down as well. The compression of the motor was the only sane way to slow down
We come across this military truck that almost went over the edge on the ice. No wonder my feeble attempts to break the ice with a rock did not work.
Another standoff on the way down. This petrol bowser could not stop as it would loose traction. Its right wheel is on ice
After 20 km of hell on 2 wheels
the pass spits us out
To a more friendly river bed
which dries up to kilometres of this
We start to climb out of the valley
Around one of its corners we almost collide with 2 graders. Where they are off to defies logic as the track is far too narrow for them. The fronts ones wheel is hanging precariously close to the edge . There is no room for us to pass or for them to reverse
Together they carve a path for us to pass. The rocks on the right are an indication of the steepness of the slope. Hats off to these guys
The end of the valley and a welcome pit stop
These Spaniards were about to enter the valley on a hired Enfield. The hiring company, as spares, supplied them with one 17mm spanner , a tube and almost intuitively a spare throttle cable. I get to change the throttle cable as the old one expired . They decide not to go any further which is probably the right call.
Are we pleased to see the back of this one!!!!!!!! Cheers to the Hindustan Tibet highway
50 kms of some of the best winding roads take us down to Manali
and is colourful mix of inhabitants
The Beatles used to frequent this region for spiritual upliftment
Some may have never left?
This space cadet is as high as a kite
on another planet. We are equally as pleased to be here….