Motorcycle Diaries (Part V) Hikkim Komic & Langza
The views of the Trans-Himalayan range were so breathtaking that any amount of praise falls short. Reaching Mohit Gulia’s quaintly designed abode felt like setting foot into a beautiful, sun-lit cocoon.
At the last hairpin bend before Tethys, I had spotted a very long, straight ponytail sported by a bright-faced man. Faizullah, or Faizul as he was more commonly referred to at Tethys, would be our junior host and man Friday for the next three days. Ever-smiling, hospitable and caring, Faizul was our go to person. Equally warm and charming was Ritu, Mohit’s wife and Tethys’ hostess.
A furry brown dog called Piggy was the gate keeper at Tethys. Being a dog mom and a dog lover in general, I can safely say that never before had I met a more docile, more under-bearing mutt than Piggy. She extended her affection by simply just being by your side and wagging her tail. No jumping, kissing or barking like my two little devils at home. But don’t let Piggy’s angelic demeanour deceive you entirely. All night, she’d have intermittent barking wars with her admirer strays across the pathway, being a total tease.
After we had dived into clean, fuzzy sheets and drifted into deep slumber, we were woken up by a spectacular sunrise. My trio readied up for the day. Today, we were going to explore Hikkim, Langza and Komic and I was giving my motorbike two days of rest. Hopping into the Endeavour and leaving a fluish Mohan Singh (our backup driver) behind to rest, we set off to unveil the scenic route leading to even more scenic destinations.
To Milo’s and my dismay, Hikkim’s post office had been transformed completely. Contrary to the quaint post office that we had visited in the village last year, now what welcomed visitors bang on the main road was a giant red post box. Much to Milo’s laments, I pointed to the brighter sides. One, it was easier for the elderly and physically restricted visitors to post their letters and postcards from here and two, the post office further secured its rank as the world’s highest, since it had escalated from the village below to the road above!
Without looking behind us again, we hurried along to Komic for a brief cup of tea and a stroll past its monastery. My mother had an enchanted look on her face, for every encounter with Spiti was turning out to exceed her expectations, and each excursion turned out to be more gorgeous than the previous one. Above everything, she too felt the unique Spitian vibe, which is a feeling that I’ve been struggling to translate since my first visit back in 2017.
The Buddha statue overlooking the fossil-famous village of Langza had some renovations going on, so we said our Julleys to him from a distance, and drove onto the vantage point a few kilometres below Langza. The towering peak, Chau Chau Kang Nilda domineered from an astounding 20,000 feet. Deriving its name from Chau Chau, the Spitian fairy princess, the peak’s full name can be translated into the fairy princess mountain on which the sun and moon shine. Spitian legend has it that once, this fairy’s heart was broken by Landup, a man whom she was in love with. Since the fairy still seems to be nursing her broken heart, she refuses to allow a man to come near her, and thus, turns the weather and odds against oncoming trekkers. Regardless of one’s conviction of the legend, Chau Chau Kang Nilda conveys much justice in steering our imaginative beauty of the fabled fairy princess.
With a sigh, I join my travel companions to meet some old family friends over lunch at Deyzor. An indulgent quiche and chocolate cake later, we are lured by siesta back to our den in Cheecham. Lazy as the high altitude makes you, we all freshened up later over a cup of tea and sported up to play a few games of Cluedo. Hot dinner was served shortly and we called it an early night, for we had a morning visit to the Key monastery planned for the following day.