A trip to the Kinnaur and Spiti valleys during monsoon is not a sane idea. But bursting all the myths and putting fear to rest, we can vouch for the fact that both Kinnaur and Spiti look nothing less than otherworldly when it rains. While Kinnaur delights people with more than 50 shades of green, Spiti is largely deserted and takes us in like a warm house for weary souls. There are a few things which can equal the thrill of a trip to Kinnaur and Spiti in monsoon. The fact to keep in mind here I that landslides during rain are no big deals. And unless it’s a massive landslide, most of the debris is cleared off the road within a few hours. So if we are going on a trip to these places there is no reason to skip the monsoon. We have to go prepared and be cautious. So here are a few things which make the trip amazing and unforgettable.
Waterfalls and rainbows
Monsoon brings about a huge change in the landscape of already stunning terrain. The famous Hindustan-Tibet Road turns all green with waterfalls cascading down from almost every turn in the road. It is nothing less than gaping out of the car’s window for most of the drive.
Both the valleys of Spiti and Kinnaur see several local festivals during the monsoon and thus give the tourists a chance to get close to the local culture here. Here is a good chance that we will run into locals engaged in Dev Milan ceremony in Kinnaur or monks gearing up for more rituals and even Cham dance in one of the Buddhist monasteries in Spiti.
Chitkul is a tiny village that is home to some of the densest mountain jungles. As river Baspa flows all wild and gregarious here, it adds more wild to the already spread wilderness. A day camping in the wild here and we will know that the jungle here is nothing less than the much-famed Bavarian forests.
Stargazing, the sky has it all
While the skies in the Himalayas are already stunningly clear, rain wash over the remaining dust and smoke particles as well. We will have more fun stargazing here than ever before, that is when the rain stops. Carrying a perfect camera for some astrophotography is not a bad idea.
Rainstorms in a desert
As we cross over from the lush green of Kinnaur to the barren, cold desert of Spiti, our soul might start craving for a change in the scenery. We can see clouds gathering at an alarming speed by the horizon, leading to rain showers that might just be a few km ahead of us even if we are watching it while standing in the startling Himalayan Sun.
The months of August and September brings the season of apples in Kinnaur. During this time we will be driving through apple orchards and heavily-laden trees on at least one side of the road.