I am thirty now but have already travelled 80% of the tourist places in India. If targeting for the mountains there is absolutely no streak of doubt that Himachal Pradesh will give you the best experience about being on the mountains. Tabo is a different slice of Heaven on Earth altogether.
Many people love to travel across the world and explore new places but all of them are not mountain lions. I am one of those who prefer to be on the top of the mountains looking down at the valleys below, experiencing the chill and the thrill of the place. This year I had a trip planned during the Durga Puja vacation which turned out to be the best to add to my collection of travel memories across Himachal Pradesh. It was an unforgettable trip to the Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh.
It was a lovely sunny morning on the 4th of October, 2022 and we were all set to move to our next destination, a small village called Tabo. Situated at a height of 3,280 mts, Tabo stores the history of Indo-Tibetian Collaboration. Our eyes witnessed an enchanting compact Hamlet surrounded by the rugged mountains and at the heart of the village stands the Tabo Monastery. The Monastery has been segregated into two parts, New Monastery and the Old Monastery.
In order to keep the frescoes intact, lights are rarely switched on inside the Old Tabo Monastery. We were informed about the significance of the structures of two Buddhas inside along with the paintings on the wall by the local guide with the help of a torch. The Old Tabo Monastery is a mud structure that was rebuilt in 1983, a few years later, after it was greatly affected by an Earthquake. Local people devote their time to keep this antiquated Tabo Monastery clean and open for those who want to visit and experience the spiritual aura of the place.
As we moved further towards the left, we were awestruck by the colourful structure of the New Tabo Monastery which is like a sharp contrast to the previous part of the Monastery. Surrounded by apple orchards, New Tabo Monastery is a mesmerizing architectural structure pointing towards the Spotless blue sky. It is like a break to the monotony of the rocky cragged mountains all around. At the same time, it is like comparing Earth with the imagined visuals of the Heaven.
The winding village paths, chilling wind and the warm embrace of the afternoon sun made us explore the neighborhood till dusk. For trekkers, visiting the Tabo Caves is a must but we had to avoid that because of the presence of aged people in our group. We enjoyed that time near the Tabo Bridge from where the view of the Spiti River was very enticing.
Soon the sun hid behind the mountains and the scene changed into a clear starry night, one that petrified our emotions and we consider ourselves lucky to behold such a memory. One such night from the rooftop of the Guesthouse was like a date with the stars above. The day ended with cluster of impressions to cherish forever and with the hope to know more about such unexplored circuits like Spiti Valley in the future.
On 6th October, when we were going down from Tabo, we went to the Gue Monastery, situated in the Lahul and Spiti district of the state of Himachal Pradesh India. I always had the wish to visit Egypt some day to see the mummified corpse inside the pyramid but I did not have the slightest idea that I would witness such a secret in India. It was on insistence of our tour guide that we visited the Gue monastery where a 500 year old mummy of a Buddhist monk is preserved.
This mummified corpse of Sangha Tenzin was found in in an old tomb which surprisingly opened after the 1975 earthquake. Archaeologists took interest in the mummy and excavated it in 2004 and it is displayed in the Gue Monastery for all curious tourists. The seated position of the mummy signifies a meditating posture in which he went into starvation. We were astonished the note that the teeth and hair are still visible in the corpse although the mouth is open and the eyes only hollows. The local people of the Gue village believe that the mummy of Sangha Tenzin is the symbolic representation of the Living Buddha.
This trip to the Spiti Valley in October changed my view about the beauty of Himachal Pradesh. It had the feel of visiting any foreign location and I have collected numerous unforgettable memories to keep permanently etched in the scrapbook of my mind.