Spiti – Where Gods Reside: Day-4 continued…

 

Route: Kaza – Kibber – Ki (Kye) Gompa – Kaza

As soon as we reached Kaza, we gave a call to several people (friends and family) to let them know about the latest on our trip. After that, we started to search for a decent yet cheap guest house where we could spend the night. We did manage to find out a cheap guest house, where we freshened up a bit and decided to go visit the Kye monastery and the Kibber village.

We were very hungry. Enroute we decided to eat whatever we could lay our hands on, and so we did. Kye monastery is a short drive from Kaza, about 10-15 odd kilometres or so. The roads are decent too. Although the Kye monastery is a short drive from Kaza, but its location gives it a distinction from it’s neighbourhood. Placed on a hillock, it stands apart from the rest of the valley, with construction crowding the hill on which it stands proudly for centuries now. Before visiting the Kye monastery, we continued on the same road and made it to Kibber, which is arguably the world’s highest motorable village. 

Situated at more than 4000 metres above the sea level, Kibber used to pride itself as the highest inhabited village in the world once, but that credit has now weathered down to only the highest motorable village in the world. With the expanding road networks, I am sure it will soon become the second, and later probably the third and so on and so forth in the days to come.

The village of Kibber is VERY Close to the Tibet border, and is mostly inhabited by the Tibetan Buddhists. There are just a few dozen houses in all of Kibber, and they all looked pretty similar to me. The villagers mostly rely on livestock to make a living, but as tourism is slowly but surely making inroads here, a couple of guest houses have sprung up. Kibber had electricity and even had a school, where school children were playing Volleyball in the ground. I wonder how do they manage to play ANY sport when we were having a tough time breathing even when sitting still!

 

The roads that lead towards the Kibber Village - the highest motorable vilage in the world!

The roads that lead towards the Kibber Village - the highest motorable vilage in the world!

Towards Kibber.

Towards Kibber.

Bikes taking a breather at 14,025 feet.

Bikes taking a breather at 14,025 feet.

Kibber Village - at 14,025 feet above Mean Sea Level (MSL).

Kibber Village - at 14,025 feet above Mean Sea Level (MSL).

Kibber Village.

Kibber Village.

 

Feeling proud and ofcourse mesmerized by the beauty of the Kibber village, we rode down the deserted path which had only rocks and dust as ‘tarmac’, towards the Kye monastery. The Ki Gompa as it is popularly known is one of Spiti Valley’s most spectacular Buddhist monasteries and ofcourse well worth a few minutes (if not a few hours) of your valuable time. It’s a fabulous, almost organic building that seems to be a part of the rocky outcrop above the Ki Village on which it sits. It is the biggest monastery of the Spiti Valley and a religious training centre of the Lamas.It is worthwhile to note that this Gompa dates back to around 1000AD, and is one of the oldest in the whole of Spiti Valley, second only to the Tabo Monastery that we visited day before. 

We entererd the monastery after taking our machines all the way up to the monastery gates. We encountered an inner courtyard, confused and wondering which way to go. Just when our confusion was growing, a sweet voice offered us help. It was the monk speaking in a feeble voice, offering his assistance to us. The friendly monk took us through each room of the gompa. But before that he took us to the monks’ kitchen where he offered us a cup of tea each. The kitchen seemed very very old, perhaps built many centuries ago, which still existed. Eventually, after talking with him for many moments, he took us to the prayer hall and lead us inside. He had a typical round Mongoloid face with small eyes and bulging cheeks. His robe clung to his body in a manner not very different from, say, a sari. It was a lovely experience visiting the Kye monastery. Although the monastery is so old, but there is really no visible evidence of the past. The buildings that stand today are made of white washed mud plaster and wood to support the roof. His Holyness Dalai Lam also paid a visit to the monastery, last, in the year 2000.

After giving us the full tour of the monastery, he escorted us back to the entrance of the Gompa, and humbly welcomed us to visit again. The goodness and the hospitality of the people of the hills just never ceases to amuse me. It never does, really.

Ki Gompa Entrance.

Ki Gompa Entrance.

Ki Gompa

Ki Gompa

The architecture is beautiful, and the design so vibrant.

The architecture is beautiful, and the design so vibrant.

Ki Gompa

Ki Gompa

Welcome to Key Gompa

Welcome to Key Gompa

Entrance to Ki Monastery.

Entrance to Ki Monastery.

 

 

The Kye monastery stands on top of the hill, overlooking the Kye Village.

The Kye monastery stands on top of the hill, overlooking the Kye Village.

_MG_6827

_MG_6828

_MG_6832

 

Kye Village.

Kye Village.

 

We came down to Kaza after our heartwarming visit to Kibber and the Ki (Kye) Gompa. I still was having problems breathing, which eventually as I would find out will be there till I left Kaza. The evening at Kaza was much different than whatever amount of time we had spent up until now in the whole of Spiti Valley. It was actually a town full of chaos. Guesthouses littered the streets, and we could see many tourists roaming around. A few professionally run resorts too had sprung up in the outskirts of the town. However, after having a relatively heavy dinner we went back to our room, where we had to keep the windows open to let the air pass, so as to not have any kind of breathing problems or headache. 

We were really having a tough time sleeping. We talked in length about our journey so far, where we have come, how much distance we had covered and ofcourse our journey back that was to start tomorrow morning. Eventually, we fell asleep to the cold climes, and the wonderful atmosphere to start our journey back the next day…

Next – We start our journey back from Kaza towards the National Capital, Delhi.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: