From Sangla and the Baspa Valley we bounced down to and along the Satluj and back up to the district headquarters of Reckong Peo to sort an Inner Line Permit to allow us to carry on up to the Spiti Valley. We thought we may have passed the last of the hudro projeccts as the river was in full force – sadly they are starting on the next dam. The road alongside the river was rough, dusty and slow.
Reckong Peo is a large town, set high on a horticulturally developed ridge and looks straight across to the mountains of Kinner Kailash (6000m) and Torkandan (6500m). We have a room that costs us $14 (expensive for us!) but if it was any where else in the world it would be hundreds because of the view.
Life certainly is cheap here. Breakfast typically is paratha and butter or bowl of curd (like a double chappati with flavour in the middle) or chappati and omelette. That might set us back $1 each. If we have a thali for lunch it might be another $1 each. Thali is a plate with rice, dahl, two other curries and red onion – all in little depressions on the tray and comes with a couple of chappatis. We normally share one. We have been splashing out for dinner when there are places to splash out in and we might get a great meal for $5 (that at Ashrafs Indian restaurant in Wanaka would be $25 each) No complaints with the food here!
Next day we had a short climb up to Kalpa, a small village at 2800m, with Budhist temples alongside Hindu temples and an amazing mountain backdrop. Our timing was good as two of the local gods were being returned to their temple rooms amidst a procession, fanfare of chanting and instruments. Apparently they had been visiting local homes. See the pics for the earthly manifestation of the gods!
The next music that caught our attention and drew us off our path was a cricket match – modern music blaring when batters scored or between balls – 2 Indian religions in one day!
A motorcyclist had told us of a peaceful campsite near Kalpa which we eventually found and enjoyed a night away from the bustle of the towns. Our first campsite of the trip and only interupted by (bilingual) goatherders and their flocks.
Back to Peo for the permit and tomorrow we carry on up valley.