According to the original plan we wanted to reach kazaa on this day and spend more time at Chandertal the next day. This was not to be. We got up late (by Joshi’s standards) and had a leisurly breakfast and it seemed that even God was not with Joshi that day because it was pouring cats and dogs. And we all had a problem … Now we’d have to tackle the rain along with the potholes. But we were prepared for it … or so we thought.
The road from karcham was an absolute mess thanks to landslides and the blasting for the Nathpa Jhakri project going on. We were stopped at times on the way because the labourers would be blasting a section of the mountain and other times we had to stop cause there would be shooting stones coming from the mountain above. It was awesome, if you know what I mean ;)
We filled up our tanks at a non-descript place and braced ourselves for the journey ahead. The next petrol pump was only at Kazaa and we were all running short on petrol. We had a lot of firsts on this day: Our first water crossing, Our first landslide like experience, First bouts of AMS and breathlessness and the first awesomely beautiful waterfall.
The landslides story is a funny one. We had just crossed the slush ridden part of the road after Karcham and it seemed that the weather was opening up. Ashok and Amar were ahead of us all and Sandhu was following them. Both of them crossed a narrow section of the road, stopped and started waiving at us. Sandhu, didn’t see that and continued on that section of the road and he saw the waiving only mid-way through that section. So, guess what did he do ? He stopped :-) For a second and then they came .. shooting stones ! A couple of them hit him on the helmet and that was when he realised the reason why both Ashok and Amar were waiving at us like maniacs :-) So, they weren’t asking him to take their snap or something .. they were asking him to STOP ! But it was too late by now and all Sandhu could think of was engaging the first gear and run from there … run like hell !
This was also the day when we saw the lush green landscape transform into an arid moonland. The trees were gone, the greenery was gone and all we could see was the brown (!!) Satluj river the and mountains which were all shades of brown. We reached Nako at around lunch time and had a hearty lunch. The dal chawal were actually quite tasty. Nako has a small monestary as well as a natural lake both of which are quite popular with foreign tourists, which would explain the presence of the large number of hippy looking dirty foreigners in that small village. We decided to skip seeing the Nako lake as we were getting late and it didn’t look like we would be able to reach Kazaa anyway by evening.
Just after Nako the road started crumbling and we started climbing the heighest point on this road. I don’t remember the name of this mountain but I sure do remember the rocks and potholes on the road. As soon as we crossed over we had the pleasure to ride on the most beautiful stretch of asphalt this side of the planet. Just look at the contrast:
We reached Tabo around 5 in the evening and decided to stay there for the night since Kazaa was another 50 kms and that could have taken another two to four hours on those roads.
It was a good decision as, it turns out, Tabo is known for its monestary which is among the oldest in the region (around 900 years) and unlike the other monestaries is situated at ground level so we didn’t have to climb any mountains to see it. The monestary is made almost entirely of mud. Did I mention the monestary is an encridbly beautiful sight ?
The whole village is built around the monestary and it looks like this is also a pretty popular circuit among the firangs since we saw a lot of them here also. The village even has a german bakery ! And we saw a couple of them on bullets too, all with Rajasthan license plates. Those guys were really doing the whole touristy circuit ! The food at the various restaraunts btw, is awesome. Tibetan, Indian, Continental, Israeli (!!) you name it, they have it. Which is pretty incredible for a village the size of .. well pretty small.We stayed the night at the monestary guest house. Nice cosy rooms with attached baths and hot water :-)