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Just 700 kms away from Delhi, nestled between India and Tibet , this cold desert is a place stand still , which looks like a perfect painting! From being the land of pristine lakes , world's highest villages to the beautiful cold desert , The Aura of Spiti touches one's heart and soul.Trust me, Life's most Unforgettable and Wonderful moments await you at Spiti.

Spiti has always been a dream destination to my family , ever since we started watching hours of travel videos on YouTube during the 2020 Lock-down. From owning our Dream Machine , the RED MAHINDRA THAR 2022 edition , to driving on the treacherous snow filled roads of Hikkim , Kibber , Kaza and Komic, it's been a dream come true moment . Thanks to THAR BENGALURU , MAHINDRA SIREESH AUTOMOBILES and BLUE MOUNTAIN EXPEDITION for making it a successful Snow expedition.

2022 has been a year of high and lows to my family. On one hand , While we were privileged to living the dream of Thar and Winter Spiti , on the other hand , loosing my pillar of strength in a fire accident has left me shattered to nowhere.

My family decided on taking the much needed break , driving through the roads of Spiti to , "Rejuvenate Refresh Reset !"

At Spiti Valley , the pristine rivers, green meadows, snow capped mountains, Buddhist monasteries, the simplicity and warmth of the locals , soothen your soul and help you reset your mind and body.

To me , Spiti is not just a travel destination, it's an EMOTION ! A Life Time Experience, A feeling beyond words.

The Spectacular Spiti has so much to offer. This untouched beauty of Spiti heals your mind and body. Let go all your sorrows.. Finally you end up discovering the new person in you , whom you had totally ignored amidst the city hustle-bustle . Thanks to Spiti , for helping me rediscover myself.

Well , born and brought up in a family of naturists , my love for Nature and Eco friendly activities has been a priority. Any travel to the lap of nature is a lesson I learn from mother Earth. So this #SpitiExpedition driving through the snow carpets on our RED BEAST( #thar ) had opened up many chapters of environmental crisis !

Driving through the snow white roads , in the peak winters of Spiti , all I realized was WINTER #SPITI IS NOT ONLY ABOUT THE SNOW CAPPED MOUNTAINS , BLUE SKY and THE BREATHTAKING LANDSCAPE . Beyond the beautiful winters lies the hard life of the locals who are completely cut off from the mainstream during core winters. Be it the scarcity of water , fear of food security , Animal rearing , and many such untold hardships , the locals always welcome the travelers with a smiling face. Though the hotels and restaurants are completely shut down during the peak winters , many home-stays , these days accommodate travel and adventure enthusiasts during their winter expeditions to Lahaul-Spiti.

As per the lessons of my late grandmother, I have been a curious observer through out the expedition to Spiti Valley. During my visit and stay at Theog , Kalpa, Kaza ,Nako , Tabo , Kibber, Hikkim , Komic , all I witnessed , higher the altitude, lower accessibility to flowing taps and water. The importance of #Water, in a region of higher altitude is crucial. While the luxurious hotels at Theog could nurture our demand for hot water and sanitation, But , as we moved higher towards the Spiti Valley, the flowing taps and flushes turned to be a once upon a time story ! From our stay at Kalpa, Kaza, Nako and Tabo , all I witnessed was people storing water in plastic cans , in huge tubs and drums. Though the tap and flush existed , could be used only in summers!

Here in metropolitan cities we come across people using ( wasting) liters ( in billions) of water for various unwanted purposes. If the water wastage continues at same pace , times not far that the war between humans for gold and assets be replaced for food and water !

In the Spiti valley, I witnessed people walking miles to fetch a few liters of water from the frozen lake ,river and stream . Speaking to the locals at the home-stays I rested in , I learnt that the scanty snowfall and rainfall has aggravated water crisis at Lahaul Spiti , leaving them with no option, but to fetch water from a long distance.

Speaking to many locals at Kaza , surrounding Pema Home-stay ,the ladies expressed their hardships about every evening as to how they had to drive their vehicle to the nearest hand-pump to fetch cans of water for domestic use.

From their words , I realized that the trouble here was to operate the pump in zero and negative temperatures at over 12000 feet high where people go out of breath after a few pumps . So the villagers hand in hand had decided to help each other in operating the pump and mutually collect water for domestic purposes .

The hand pump does not work at higher altitudes. Hence people will have to walk a few kms to the nearby stream to collect water., Because collecting water from the stream is easier than operating a hand pump. But walking in deep snow , nearly 5-6 feet , in harsh winters with howling snow storms is a daily challenge to them !

As we all know by now , Spiti Valley is a dry land with scarce water sources during winter. The next challenge is the usage of water for sanitary purposes. Since usage of a flush needs lots of water , the home-stays and the locals have been using the traditional #Dry-pit #toilets to overcome excess wastage of water . It has two levels, a toilet on the top and a composting unit underneath, which is later used in the farms as manure . So the Spitians have found an ecological way to the existing crisis !

While interacting with kids at the home-stay , I learnt , the private schools were completely shut down for winters between December to March while the government schools followed the normal holiday system. The life of the children in Spiti reminded me of the saying " WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS, MAKE A LEMONADE OUT OF IT ! "

Yes , Ice-Hockey , Ice-Skating on the frozen lakes and water bodies has been a favorite winter sport amongst the Spitians. During my stay at Pema home-stay in Kaza , I witnessed kids enjoying ice hockey and the frozen Nako lake had turned out to be a Skating rink for the sport enthusiasts.

Over the centuries, from generation to generation, despite the fragile ecosystem and harsh weather conditions, the people in, Lahaul Spiti have accustomed to their Traditional irrigation system known as #Khul , which utilizes channels to carry water from glacier to village. The #khuls often run long distances, running down the mountain slopes and across the Spiti valley . Water from Khul is collected through the night and released into the exit channel in the morning.

In conversation with a local farmer from Kibber , I learnt that off late , with the conditions of Global Climate Change , the decline in snowfall and early snow melting, the snow melt water from the mountains and the glaciers has been the only major source of irrigation for the farmers in Lahaul and Spiti.

The home-stay at Kalpa , had an apple orchard attached to the property. In the backyard they had rows of apple trees dried up in winter ! I learnt from the home-stay that the local vegetation in Kalpa was Black peas(Rajma) , barley, potatoes , Gobi , and recently had started with growing green peas, seabuckthorn and Apples. It's all worthy to mention the crunchy -juicy fresh Red Apples from Kaza and the tasty Seabuckthorn orange tea we relished on throughout our Stay at Spiti .

It seems, until a few years ago, November had the season’s first snowfall and by mid of March, there would be a healthy snow cover of six to seven feet. By March end or April the snow would tend to melt, ensuring enough water for irrigation. But this is no longer the case now .

This year , while we traveled during Christmas and New Year , the Spiti valley , unlike the olden times, had very little snow fall. The mountains stood bare and brown ! No snow and all dried !

It was on 29th December we witnessed a live snowfall in Hikkim ,Komic and Langza adding joy to our dream vacation. But the snow fall was scanty and did not add much difference to the scenario.

The same night we were second time lucky to dance to the snowfall at Our home-stay in Kaza .

Studying about the Ecological conditions, and environmental factors at Spiti , in an interactive session with #BlueMountainExpedition , I learnt from Mr.Dheeraj , that Waste management was a very different crisis in regions of higher altitude. The acute Mountain Sickness amongst the travelers demands the frequency of drinking water. On the other hand , Tonnes of plastic bottles discarded by the fellow travelers , end up in a dumping ground adjacent to the Spiti River. And they take a minimum of 600 years to degrade. Technically driving kilometers down the valley to dispose tonnes of plastic waste discarded by the travelers during harsh winters is impossible for the locals . And recycling these single used plastic bottles in such harsh weather conditions in a terrain like Spiti ! Impossible! A humble request to all the fellow travelers, who admire the beautiful landscape of Spiti and call it untouched Nature's Abode , to help Spiti and the locals fight the waste management , by kindly not dumping your plastic waste in the nature's purest abode. When you could drive and carry the fully loaded bottles and snacks for your selfish desire to quench your hunger and thirst , kindly drive the waste back home or empty them in a proper township down the valley which has access to good waste management. While we did the same , dozens of plastic bottles used by us during our Spiti drive were brought back and disposed in a township with proper Waste management.

To all my dear friends and readers I hereby request you with folded hands to kindly join the #keepspitifreefromplastic Movement . The speed and pace of tourism developing at Spiti is a huge welcome as it adds to income and development of the locals but , the increased tourism at the untouched mountains shouldn't lead to an era where our next generation is forced to Travel to a polluted valley , a valley of plastics ! Kindly refrain from dumping your non biodegradable waste at any home stay or hotel at a 12000 feet high altitude! Drive back your waste from those beautiful meadows and add to #sustainabletravel .

Hope this blog turns out to be an eye opener to the fellow travelers and help them out with #sustainabletravel.

So next time you are traveling, be a #Suatainabletraveller and if possible opt for #plasticfreetravel.

Catch you in my next travel blog about my Spiti experience!


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