Losar Himachal: Have you ever imagined life without social media? Of going a day without using a phone or experience a serene night without any ear-splitting traffic, where you can literally hear your own echo?! If this all sounds too good to be true, keep reading!
I’m talking about an untouched paradise of Himachal better known as Losar in Spiti and the experience which I wish to share with you all!
Where should we begin? It was around minus 15 to 17 degrees when I reached Losar with my trekking master, Urgian Chhering Dongthoth (the owner of Spiti Expedition Tour & Travels) who is more than a good friend now. I was quick to realize that my next few days would not be regular or mainstream in any way!
Too busy soaking in the beauty of Losar Himachal, before we knew it, it got dark pretty quickly yet there was enough light thanks to the sky full of stars! Our destination, Kaza was still far off and it would have been too risky to drive over the road which was half frozen and covered with boulders and so, I decided to spend a night at Losar.
Literally stranded and deserted, I stumbled across a local house and was relieved to receive a warm welcome from an unknown family. I was a bit hesitant to ask for a place to sleep but then the biting cold numbed any second thoughts!
I entered a room full of strangers who eventually became more of friends! The room consisted of family members of all generations! 3 children, pretty women with their husbands, a few family friends, Grandpa and Grandma – an all encompassing joint family.
After wolfing down some hot Chapati, Sabji with Sangmo (a dessert made of barley and alcohol), I warmed myself near the fireplace! The room was made cozy by heating a gigantic tub of warm water and the steam acted as a lullaby that put me in a deep sleep.
As I awoke the next morning and peeped out of the small window, the sight left me awestruck!
I struggled to crawl out of my bed and the granny served me a steaming cup of soothing tea. I took out my leftover cup noodles and happily shared it with the kids of the house who lapped it up pretty quickly! It’s surprising how we never appreciate the things that we easily get.
The 3 sisters then served me loads of Thukpa and we all sat sharing stories about our lives. It was fascinating to hear that these women were super talented in weaving carpets and other household items, selling handmade products that would fetch them just enough money. But for them, life had more to offer than money, and so they weaved gifts for family and friends too. I wondered if I could ever think that way when it came to earning a living!
I walked out of the house, and I could count the number of houses on my fingers – may be just 4 or 5 even. All the houses were painted white signifying equality and each house had their own greenhouse for storing and cultivating vegetables which I thought was brilliant and also necessary.
The one strange thing was the lack of any health care system in the area and one had to drive for hours to Kaza for even basic treatment! And then there were health care camps only in places where there is decent connectivity already. I couldn’t understand the point of conducting medical camps in such places when there’s such easy access to hospitals.
The next day I was invited for a wedding of one of the family members of the household I was staying at. I pondered over how many guests would be coming, because of what I witnessed, I could spot 15-20 people residing in Losar!
The guests started pouring in and how, they came from nearby villages and by the evening, the small town came alive with all these beautiful people, dressed traditionally. The sunken sun rays illumined the mountain peaks and the temperatures dropped. Underneath such a beautiful and mesmerizing sunset, these folks showcased a custom dance in front of all the guests which we thoroughly enjoyed.
I’ll always cherish the beautiful sight all the dancers swirling beneath the mountains lit up by the sun rays!
The hours flew by in the blink of an eye and finally came the bride all dolled up and mostly crying while everyone hogged, drank and danced!
Before I headed towards to my guest house at Kaza, I carried a piece of Losar in me forever.