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From the lush vegetation of Kinnaur to the harsh landscape of Spiti....

The Spiti Valley is a remote area high in the Himalayas situated on north-eastern part of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The name "Spiti" means "The Middle Land", i.e. the land between Tibet and India. With almost no rain and snow-covered for 8 months a year, Spiti Valley is a desert mountain valley. Although originally Tibetan, it's been part of India since the mid 19th century.

Amongst the few unexplored areas the world over there isn’t one as enchanting and inspiring as Spiti. This land often known as Little Tibet, was historically a part of the kingdom of Nariss Korssum (Western Tibet), and is home to few of the oldest Buddhist monasteries and temples in the world. Tucked away in the interiors of the Trans-Himalayan belt of Himachal Pradesh, this high altitude cold desert region has only recently been opened to the outside world. Situated at an altitude well over 3000 mts above mean sea level, this valley is exposed to temperature variations of -28 degree centigrade to +28 degree centigrade and remains cut off for most of the year by the high mountains that encircle it. Due to its relative isolation, various unique and rare aspects of the Buddhist culture (Tibetan Buddhism) are well preserved in this valley.

The valley gets its name from River Spiti, which originates at an altitude of 16,000 ft high from the Kunzum Range, & is a main tributary of the River Sutlej - the largest among the five rivers of Himachal Pradesh.

Despite being a cold desert, with the mountains devoid of any vegetation, the banks of the banks of River Spiti are used for cultivation of barley, wheat & peas. It is said that the peas grown here are the best in India & is almost completely exported. Spiti is sparsely populated & everywhere we went, we enjoyed the sounds of silence amidst barren mountains, fresh snow & harsh terrain, which is a beauty to be comprehended, only when seen!

This picture was taken about 13,500 feet above sea level & we had snow fall the night before, continuing till the early parts of the morning. The snow which you can see on the top of the mountains are all fresh snow, which would melt away towards mid-day. Between the pea fields in the FG & the mountains in the BG flows the River Spiti, though not very visible from this POV...

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7684 W: 324 N: 15322] (53966)
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