I woke up around 7.30 AM and it was quite a pleasant sleep inside the homestay of Bittoo ji. We had to visit Dhangkar Lake and then go over to Mane villages for the overnight stay as our triage with raw Spiti Valley was about to commence today 🙂 🙂 …
Day 4 | Tabo – Dhangkar Lake – Mane
The morning at Tabo did not have much to do other than enjoying the delicious breakfast at Kunzum Guest House where Nawang bhai had arranged a buffet for the whole group and then a stroll in the Tabo Monastery and Tabo Village. That lonely walk in the village and Tabo monastery helped me regain much of the lost energy 😉 … It is always very soothing to my soul to walk inside the monastery, spend some quiet 15-20 minutes out of the busy sightseeing schedule. Some pictures of Bitton bhai home stay and Kunzum Guest House rooms as well along with pictures from Tabo Monastery:
Well, the day was not well for the couple of sisters out of three that joined us on this mega adventure of Spiti Valley all the way from Mumbai. They were hit with AMS and condition was not that good. II asked everyone else in the group to move ahead to Dhangkar and then we had to go back to upper Mane village for overnight stay. I stayed with them as we waited for the doctor to arrive in Tabo primary health centre. Finally, the doctor came and we had both of them examined over there. Doctor advised complete rest to both of them and to take some medicines along with having plenty of fluids and food. This is one thing we all must remember that we must take plenty of fluids as well as rich carbohydrate diet even if our body does not feel hungry. We have to understand our body more rather than waiting for reactions from the body on us. So, in higher trans-Himalayas you need to be active than reactive to your body. Please read more about: Acute Mountain Sickness and Importance of Acclimatization
Dhangkar Lake Trek
We thanked the doctor and bittoo bhai who helped us throughout our stay in Tabo and resumed our journey of the day towards Dhangkar Lake trek. We planned to visit Dhangkar Monastery first and then go over the trek to Dhangkar lake which was the prime highlight of the day. The trek is all marked and no guide is required to do it. It takes around couple of hours to reach the Dhangkar lake from Dhangkar monastery. The first half of the trek to the hill top seen from the monastery is steep but then it is more like a walk with very less gradient. So, all your energy is lost in that first half of the trek only. I suggest you to carry loads of water, dry fruits, eateries, etc.. to keep you energized and hydrated with glucose water. I needed much of them to trek over this strenuous part :D 😀 … Most of the devils made it to the Dhangkar lake, showing some great team spirit many a times motivating each other. Pankaj even started a game of calling each person 10 step at a time and then rest before all others behind take those 10 steps at a time. This way all the guys kept motivating each other and reached this magical hidden gem up there in the lap of mother nature midst complete solitude. The words fall short to describe the feeling of being besides Dhangkar Lake and sitting besides that magical setting of the Dhangkar lake in complete silence with massive view of mighty Manerang Pass range in the backdrop.
After spending an hour or so, picking up waste plastics thrown by tourists and plastic water bottles around the lake, we started the trek down to Dhangkar Monastery. Trekking down from the Dhangkar lake was not that difficult on the body but again the last half being high gradient, at every step caution was required for an assured grip of the foot so that you do not fall or slip down on others on the trail 😀 😀 … Of yes, I forgot that before starting the trek I met a fellow couple from Mumbai who were there and spotted us from the name of Devil On Wheels as they had also planned their Spiti valley trip from this very website only. It is always a pleasure to catch up with the fellow DoW readers or DoW members up there in Himalayas and listen how they perceive DoW and its vision for Himalayas 🙂 🙂 … Here are some pictures from Dhangkar Lake trek:
After the trek, we had a super duper lazy lunch and the high altitude had begun to show its signs on many of us who had lost quite a bit of energy on the Dhangkar Lake trek. Many were looking crazy, out rest from the faces for the availability of food in the Dhangkar monastery canteen. To add insult to the injury, the service at the Dhangkar monastery restaurant was pathetically slow due to abrupt arrival of such a large group 😀 😀 … The guys at Dhangkar Monastery canteen could not keep up to the pace with the demand and some of us had to skip most part of the meals after getting hold of whatever was available on table 😆 😆
Getting to Mane Villages from Dhangkar Lake
Meanwhile there was a sad end for the trip of Sangeeta and her sisters as one them were not keeping well due to AMS and condition was getting worse. They decided to exit the trip by first going to Kaza for the day and then moving on to Manali from there. Anil Mustafa, one of the biker also went with them leaving his bike with Utsav who rode it for rest of the tour. Bidding adieus to them, we started for upper Mane village where our overnight halt was arranged. Mane is a twin village with the names of Mane Yongma (Lower) and Mane Gongma (upper). The upper village of Mane, that is Mane Gongma, is about 6-7 KMs from the Mane bridge that comes just before Schichiling village while going from Tabo to Dhangkar. So, it was kind of a backtracking for us from Dhangkar towards the Mane bridge and then onto Mane villages. However, this was planned deliberately because we had to trek Sopona Lake next morning from Mane village and that required some degree of acclimatization which was contributed by our trek to Dhangkar Lake today.
Our stay was arranged by Sonam ji in Mane Gongma village with the assistance of Tsering bhai. I cannot thank him and all the villagers of the Mane Gongma village enough with any kind of words for the help they provided us throughout our entire stay up there AND served us with all hands open. It was one of the most amazing display of hospitality and such experiences keeps me reminding that humanity still exists in this world. The feeling again cannot be expressed with words here and it can only be felt by being there to experience this kind of hospitality by these god sent, down to earth, humble souls of Himalayas.
It was time to settle everyone because yet again majority was waiting for me to arrive and allocate the rooms. It was unfortunate somehow for me in terms of what I had to listen or hear in days to come for helping out the group in allocation of rooms. Most of the groups did not carry the paper or sheet and did not know what they booked in Mane village for them. Did they book camp or tent or they booked a homestay was not clear to them 😳 … I was merely helping them out in the allocation of proper rooms based on the needs of a family or a bachelor or a girl gang or in need of room, unfortunately. Anyway, rooms were settled and all the late comers also were adjusted at last minute of the night by the local villagers, yet another example of helping us live that night in raw Spiti Valley. All the camps arranged by Tsering bhai were pitched but remained vacant as none of the people in the group who booked those camps, availed them; a start of a great misery for me which I was not aware of till the time I reached back home from the trip 😥 😥
Anyway, we will come back to this unfortunate story at the end of the travel tale but for now let’s keep enjoying the much better part of this amazing journey of DoW Mega Meet into the remotest parts of Spiti Valley to explore the hidden gems up there in the trans-Himalayas. The dinner was arranged at Sonam ji house or home stay which had quite a number of rooms with dry pits inside it. It was the first experience of remote / raw life of Spiti Valley for most of the 60 people in the group and everyone was loving every bit of it to the very core 🙂 🙂 … Everyone enjoyed the dinner buffet and thankfully today I was able to get it as well to an extent needed unlike in Tabo 😉 😉 … The sky was as beautiful in the night with clear sight of Milky Way galaxy parting away the billions of stars each side of it. The cold breeze was feeling much colder now which again forced me to ditch my camp pitched outside and sleep inside the room where there were already 6-7 people sleeping with the group of Pawan ji and Samar. It hardly mattered as my body was already exhausted with the long day especially the Dhangkar Lake trek and in no time I fall asleep 🙂 🙂
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