Mudh, Pin Valley, Spiti, Himalaya

Surreal in its splendour, otherwordly, littered with sensual swirls of purple rock and vistas of fierce granite teeth. These are the youngest mountains on earth. Red rock merges with rolling emerald hills thrust into a sky blue dream of white clouds and light, endless orange skyscapes, pink patches, red striations exhibiting the history of the earth. In its layers the story of time. For all to see, touch and feel. Glacial fingers creep down to the raging brown river. Tectonic power forcing the earth skywards, towards the heavens or the hells, from the core. This is a playground for the free spirits, for the spirit. A place where only few are willing to go, and even fewer are willing to experience in its fullness. Its richness and diversity.
When you have seen and been in Spiti, in any life, there is no going back. Language has no words for this form of beauty, the rational mind cannot comprehend such a place. The forces of nature seemingly merge with the spirit life, creating natural magic. Nature in its purest, most dramatic state. Take a walk and you will find valleys of flowers, shepherds and a sunset that should end all days.
Local people move with the seasons, in touch with all around. Living in mud houses, above their livestock, with cosy kitchens and free flowing chai.
Wild flowers are eaten by wild yaks, their semi-dry dung picked up by semi-wild men and placed in baskets on their backs. Blue plastic tents, weighed down by only rocks, perch on craggy outcrops all over the Himalayas. They house Bihari’s, the true rock and roll stars of this land. Hanging out (and on) with their family and friends in the most remote areas on earth. Smiling brightly around small gas burners, keeping the landslides and boulders at bay. Burrowing through a land where no roads should go. Hammering away at rocks all day, wearing acrylic flares, keeping the roads, the lifelines open. Spitis only connection with the outside world.
Kids greet you in Mudh with hungry eyes, grabbing for gadgets and shiny objects. Like magpies with snotty noses and reddish eyes. Looking up at me like a lanky martian. “I come in peace, to absorb your beauty, then leave.”
Isrealis suddenly disgourge from a local bus, bringing confused vibes but good hashish.
Jagged red ridges zig-zag along the horizon, the greener hills keep rolling. Roll, roll, rolling on. To my right, Wuthering Heights blends perfectly with the Grand Canyon.
Nawang is making Maggi noodles for dinner.
Walking – Mountain goats observe then hop away. Spiti spirits seem to be whispering in the gentle breeze. Drawing me in. Taking me to places where I have never been. Nature has made castles, cathedrals of rock and mud up here. Faces spring from rocks. Spires and crenellated walls envelope the crumbling road as it winds through valleys below mountains topped by waterfalls. Free-falling thousands of feet. Water which will be used to irrigate the stepped fields, the green peas and barley of Mudh. Human ingenuity and survival at its most pronounced, every village is surrounded by vivid green fields and popular trees in the highest desert on earth. A land of hardship, etched into faces. People stoop to carry a wild-eyed child, stack of branches or small boulder on their backs.
In Pin you can see wild horses, golden eagles and the secrets of the world. Natures secret garden, no longer. I’ve been there.

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