It was a warm night at Mane village inside the room though outside it was pretty cool that night, in fact cold 🙂 … I had two choices, one was to be with the entire group who will be participating in the DoW Causes for the first time. Second choice was to accompany the platoon of about 18 people from the group to an early morning Sopona Lake trek from Mane village. But, here again, the heart won over the mind which forced me to live the feelings with many newbies who would be executing these noble DoW Causes in the Mane village. Hence, I ensured myself yet another trip to Spiti Valley just for this trek to Sopona Lake 😉 😉 …
The journey so far…
Day 5 – Sopona Lake
Sopona Lake is about 5 KMs of medium difficulty trek from Mane Gongma village having steep gradient at places initially. Sopona lake is glacial melt lake and water in it becomes less as the snow melt decrease in later days of the season. It takes about 3-3.5 Hrs to reach Sopona lake from Mane village for an average person like me who is not used to trekking at all and the trek route passes through the grazing fields Doksa offering some panoramic aerial views of Dhangkar side valley from the vantage points on the route. You can take a local villager of the Mane village with you, in case you are interested and they will charge around 800-1000 for the day. You can talk to Sonam ji who can connect you with the local guide if you are interested to visit Sopona Lake from Mane Gongma village. You can read this: Sopona Lake – A beautiful Disappointment
DoW Causes at Mane Gongma Village
Coming back to story, I remained in the village and the group of 17-18 young enthusiastic chaps went on for the trek to Sopona lake. The breakfast was arranged for us in the meantime we all did freshen up. After the breakfast, rest of the group went on to the primary school first and then one of the five senior secondary school present in Spiti Valley for executing DoW Causes. We interacted with the children up there and as usual it was whole lot of fun connecting with them. There one of the co-group as Pankaj, Rahul and Rahul declared a scholarship in the school of Mane Village too which was quite an amazing gesture. You can read the entire story at: DoW Causes – GYAAN 500 | Mane Village – Spiti Valley. The local villagers were very amused to see the gesture and the respect for us was much more seeing that we are not just mere tourists and care for the local surroundings as well as do our little bit for the locals too. There was a wave of gratitude, blessings and respect in the whole Mane village. The feeling as usual is out of context and words always will fall short for describing it. Many of us were doing it for the first time, so there were learning as well as excitement too, no wonder we learn from the experiences only but overall the causes were executed with great enthusiasm and spirit by all the devils. Thanks to each one of them 🙂 🙂
After a while, the group from Sopona Lake trek also returned, we settled the bills with Sonam ji and started off for Lhalung Village for today’s night halt. However, as we got ready to pack up from Mane, we figured out that Amol ji, who went with the group in the morning for Sopona lake trek were missing and had not returned back yet. This created much of anxiety and tension among all of us citing even after an hour or so of return of the entire group, there were no traces of Amol ji on the trek route. We were really worried as even the guide had returned back 😳 😳 😯 😮
We requested Sonam ji to send the guide again in search of him and along with him some of us got ready but as we were about to start the trek up, we could eventually spot him 🙂 :)… And then, all is well that ends well I will say. Everything was packed up, we bid adieus to Sonam ji and thanked the entire village who supported us with our stay up there in such harsh yet remote conditions, which I am sure must have disturbed their daily lives to some extent.
Mane to Lhalung Village
We started late afternoon from Mane village and kept a decent pace to reach up there to Lhalung. The route goes from Schichiling, by pass Dhangkar and from Larji village you need to off the route to go over to Lhalung crossing Rama village. The idea of having a stay at Lahlung was to get a feel of raw experience of spiti Valley by staying yet again in the home stays. Next two days were booked up in Kaza at Sakya Abode and Snow Lion for all of us. Hence, the luxury was awaiting us after this day of another amazing experience with locals of Spiti Valley. By evening all were there at Lahlung and yet again to my agony everyone was there waiting for me to assign the rooms.
This time it was more like first cum first serve or go and take your own whatever you get. I was feeling feverish and Shakti was already down with fever in the car. Hence, did not have much energy left in me and wanted to take rest or crash in bed. Stomach infection had set in it seemed to me as an indication. In the allotment of rooms, Jyotin bhai wife was also not well and we had given him one of the first choice of rooms and no one at the start of the village knew how the rooms were. Which one were good and which one were not so good. Car could not be taken into village and hence everyone was supposed to walk but Rakesh ji (pradhaan / president of the Lhalung village) told us that room was present up there near monastery where car can easily go. Hence, we allotted those rooms of home stay to Jyotin bhai but he came back as his wife cannot walk a bit and now need a change in room. Other rooms were allotted so it was a big headache as no one want to walk up there after the trek either to Sopona Lake or the long walks in Mane village in the morning. And since the room to Jyotin bhai was allocated in first place it was now unfair to ask anyone to adjust with him. the unfortunate part was rather than directly sorting the issue with each other all used to come to me and midst all these tensions and misery, I broke out on my anger as soon as Jyotin bhai came money into picture. It broke me down to an extent as I questioned myself why did we put up this mega meet??
Any ways we both showered our anger on each other, guess my fever and stomach infection got me out of my groove and above all when he brought that he is spending “money” as if no other person is and we are answerable to him. But, once my adrenaline settled, I knew Jyotin bhai was a nice guy and said all this in the wake of illness of his wife. I requested Nawang bhai to settle Jyotin bhai in to a nearby homestay as me and Shakti gathered some strength to hike to our home stay and crash into the bed. Stars were visible now and night has settled as I woke up after 30-40 minutes of power nap. Samar and Pawan ji group was there in that homestay only, so we had some fun discussions.
After a while we walked down to Rakesh ji home where dinner was arranged for the whole group in the form of buffet again. It was quite a healthy one and most of us loved it. Had some gup shups, met Jyotin bhai and we both apologized to each other at the outbreak of anger and went towards the respective rooms for good night sleep. Rakesh ji home was the same home where me and Sany had tea in our last visit to Lhalung when we came in winters over here. That time we gave lift to Rakesh ji brother who after the DoW Causes in the school invited us for a tea at his place. Here is the account of that frozen trip to Spiti Valley in case you missed to read it:Freezing Lhalung Village – Snow White Spiti. The night was quite cold outside with wind blowing at quite a pace. I was still feeling feverish at night with loose motions now. Hence, took the medicine and in no time went for the sleep after reaching our home stay.