Rishikesh

Lahaul Valley – Losar – Chandrataal Lake – Kunzum La Pass – Parvati Valley – Tosh – Rishikesh

• The people of Spiti Valley are extremely hospitable and friendly. On our walks we have been invited often to share a cup of tea, a meal, and/or a smoke. But the most enlivened conversations we experience are with fellow Israelis, young or not so young. Tomer enjoys practicing his Hebrew. The percentage of Israeli travelers in this region, among the total number of international tourists is probably 80%. It’s a phenomenon, how a country of 7-8 million people has so many travelers in one remote region of the Himalaya.

• Chandrataal is a clear blue, glacial lake at 4270m surrounded by snow peaks of 6000m and above. We hiked to the lake from Kunzum La Pass. At the start of the walk I was mostly impressed by the dominant pink color of the landscape and flowers. Later the unexpected pouring rain put my focus on arriving at some cover. We took the liberty to enter a shepherd’s shelter, the host was absent, but we made ourselves comfortable....Continue reading

• Kunzum La Pass – At 4580m elevation the pass connects Spiti Valley with Lahaul Valley. At the pass, vehicles perform a respectful circuit of the stupas.

• It is rare to have electricity during the day in Spiti Valley, at most it’s sporadic. At around 8 pm the backup generators will kick in, and electricity will be on for a few hours.

• Hot water is another tricky issue, if no electricity then no hot water. Thus, my new criteria for choosing a place to stay is whether or not a solar panel that heats a water tank is installed.

• Wi-Fi is not available but along the roads a trench is being dug for a 4G line. Hence internet connection will arrive at Spiti Valley in the near future.

• After 16 days together, we parted ways with our driver, Kuldep. The plan was to be dropped off at Kasol, but I didn’t like its vibe. We kept driving for another hour to the end of a dirt road where after a short walk up the hill we found a guesthouse we liked. Tosh is one of those places unmarked on the map nor had I heard about before, that we ended up discovering by simply arriving. The process filled me with anxiety, but I stayed in the flow.

• On the following day, a nearby landslide sent tons of debris downstream a canyon prompting Tomer and his fellow hikers to run away from the gushing water. I on the other hand, was sitting on the guesthouse balcony watching the day passing by. I was looking at: the green forest, the white clouds, the progress of the construction site below, the mules going up and down the hill with loads, and the hotel owner, sitting just below my balcony chain-smoking chara all day long.

• It’s early morning, our room window is only a few feet from the strong, fast moving current of the Ganges. Across the river are the towering, famous Rishikesh Temples and Ashrams situated amidst a green jungle. On the river bank a few men are bathing in the water.

• The Lonely Planet calls Rishikesh the “Yoga Capital of the World”. It is located on the banks of the Ganges River, near its origin, and is heavily populated with Hindu Temples, Ashrams, and Yoga Centers. Rishikesh is a spiritual center that came to fame when the Beatles first visited in the 60’s.

• The common yoga style practiced in all the 15 classes I attended in a couple of different yoga centers is Classical Hatha Yoga. This is the most ancient and traditional style which has nothing of the variety and creative individual spirit of the many teachers I have been blessed to practice with in Los Angeles.