Travel Route: Ki Monastery – Kibber – Mudd

Ki Monastery

We arrived at Ki Monastery on a special day and had front-row seats at a world-renowned festival performance, to which photographers worldwide make special plans to attend.  The costumes and the festive spirit were fantastic.  I admit that next to the heavy-duty cameras, I had a momentary feeling of inadequacy in a crowd of professional photographers since I was using a phone’s camera only, but I let it go.

The repetition of the mantra ‘om mani padme hum’ (translated, ‘Behold the Jewel is in the Lotus’) is said to bring good fortune and wash away all sins.

Tomer, with his friendly personality and his big giggly smile, often draws conversations with locals.  Their eyes are always delighted when he converse with them in their language – Hindi; he diligently accumulates new words every day.  He is often being offered to share a local tobacco smoke – a bidi with chara (weed).  Indians are friendly and will often ask us for a selfie; they also enjoy practicing their English.

The question is not whether one believes in God or not.  All one can is either to know God or not.


We arrived at a place I call: Shaanti on top of the world.

Mudd is the most remote place we have reached on our Kinnaur/Spiti loop.

Kuldep, our driver, told us a few days ago that last year a landslide blocked the road for a month while he was at Mudd.  He had to walk 30 km to pass the landslide sections to reach the main road, where he caught a bus.  His car was in the village until the road re-opened a few months later.  On the drive, he kept pointing out to the sections that were blocked by the landslide.  I could sense his concerns, but it took me a few moments to realize the depth of his fears.  This was a traumatic experience for him.  Moreover, it turned out this was the first time he drove on this road since the landslide.  I felt a deep admiration for his courage.  Upon reaching Mudd and seeing the beauty around, I decided that it would be a ‘crime’ not to stay and take in some of the beauty.  We decided that Kuldep will drive back to Kaza and pick us back up in a couple of days.  God willing, there won’t be any landslides.

As we walked up Pin Valley from Mudd towards the connecting pass with Parvati Valley, the tilted shape of the rock layers all around us is evident.  The Indian sub-continent is pushing towards the bigger part of the earth we call Asia.  This Sisyphus push that has been going for millions of years is how the Himalayan mountain range came into being.  Over the years, other natural forces such as wind and water added their imprint on the scenery.

The white, gray, and purple ribbon colors of the Spiti River run along the road like a companion.