Now that a couple of weeks have elapsed since the trip Chalo Spiti 2019, I feel I have the required perspective to write a fairly objective review.
THE GOOD: I covered the same route in 2016 with Nikon India as one of around 20 workshop participants. That trip lacked the bonhomie and sheer joie de vivre that I enjoyed during Chalo Spiti 2019. Part of the reason could be that fact that this time we were travelling in one vehicle – a Traveller – while in 2016 it was a fleet of five Innovas. Another reason is Vartika and Kshitij have all the fizz of a newly opened bottle of beer, and a spirit to match. By and large their planning was meticulous, and the logistics were handled admirably. Their choice of properties was mostly impeccable.
THE NOT-SO-GOOD: The not- so -good were very few and far between. The window of my room in our Kaza hotel opened onto a wall, with none of the beautiful view of the mountains that the others on the upper floor enjoyed. Our homestay in Mudh was blessed with a one totally clear window that allowed anyone in the corridor outside to peep into the room. The monastery in Dhanker that we reached after a long drive followed by a fairly long walk was just an empty shell, the residents having moved to another location some weeks ago.
THE OUTSTANDING: Our hotel in Kaza stood out for its ambience and quality of food. We got a wonderful taste of local cuisine and culture during dinner at the homestay in Mudh. The family of ibex that we spotted at the Kibber wildlife sanctuary was an unexpected bonus. Chandra Tal was a dream , and to see it in sunny weather such a treat! The charming house in which we spent a night in Lossar was like a set out of a Hollywood movie. To top it all was the knowledge of the region that Vartika and Kshitij brought to the table, and their very infectious happiness, energy and enthusiasm. Ventilator Village is highly recommended!
- Baljit Singh- Spiti 2019