Gue, Spiti – Abode of 550 years old Mummified Lama!!

‘There’s a 550 years old Mummy of a Monk preserved in the village!!’

This piece of information was more than enough to leave us totally intrigued, curious and super excited to visit Gue Village in Spiti.

We bid goodbye to Kaza on April 29th and embarked on our return journey to New Delhi. However, we still had three more destinations to cover – Gue, Nako and Sangla. So far, so good!! And we had a huge 1100 kms distance to cover until we reach home so had to stay positive and strong.

Spiti Panor

Witnessed this beautiful view while returning from Kaza, Spiti

However, Spiti is one region where the flurry of surprises never ends; you cannot predict what you’ll encounter next. This fact serves like a natural morale boost for explorers like us and therefore though the journey was challenging we carried on with panache.

Going to Gue!!

Gue, is a high altitude tiny hamlet located at a distance of roughly 40 kms from Tabo village. The road is beautiful and mostly well maintained.

The day we were traveling we did not see a single vehicle moving towards Gue barring ours!! However, got used to this feeling 🙂 We observed change in the pattern and color of rocky mountains as we approached the village. The mountains adorned copper color as if they were meticulously painted.

When we reached the Village….

The village had an eerie silence; the wind gave special effects reminding us of the movie ‘Hills Have Eyes’!!! When we entered the village we could not spot a single soul!! We were looking for someone to confirm the way to Monastery that houses ‘Mummy’.

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Colorful flags look beautiful as the wind adorns them at Gue Village, Spiti

However the huts / houses, Tibetan flags, scripted / inscribed stones made us comfortable. The inscribed stone thing is very peculiar to Tibetan culture; I’m going to cover the carving culture exclusively in another post. I believe the stones are hand scripted. The place looked beautiful and there were many things that distracted us from directly going to the Monastery.

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I wish I could decipher what the intriguing writings on the stones reflected….

We could observe bright and colorful Monastery perched on top from a distance and assumed this must be the one. We kept ascending with the road to reach there.

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Gue Monastery visible from a distance

When the Monastery premises felt peculiar…

 The wind pressure increased, it became little frosty too and somehow we both felt so dehydrated up there!!

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We both were feeling something, I’m not sure if this was just a psychosomatic discomfort but the moment we reached the premises we felt quite different, there was something in the stillness of the place.

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Colorful and gorgeous Monastery structure at Gue Village in Spiti, Himachal

Looking for the ‘Mummified Lama’

There was no one around and the Monastery was locked!! It was so disheartening, after traveling so far we did not want to miss visiting the Monastery (read taking a close look at the mummified Monk)

Unlike other monasteries we visited so far, this one seemed fairly new!! And yes it was. The structure was painted with bright red, blue and green colors, totally aesthetically appealing. One particular thing about the ‘Monastery’ was firstly the shape was unlike what we have seen at other places and secondly the dragon-like faces at the four corners. Moreover, I wish I could understand what was written on the walls there.

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So, after peeking through all over two floors of the Monastery like structure and waiting for someone, we still had no luck L the circumstantial evidence reflected the interiors were still in the making. The structure was vacant and there were cartons lying in the corners.

Just when we were about to get moving (reluctantly though), the little cemented room in proximity caught our attention. It looked like a watchman or security personnel’s room. It had glass windows, so we decided to sneak peek in search of some luck. And voila!!!!

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Memories from the Dainkund Road Trip

What a road trip that was!!!

The memorable (and challenging) journey from McLeodganj to Dalhousie to Dainkund Peak still tickles the travel bug in me 🙂 We did this road trip in April 2014 and later (sometime in 2015) I wrote this beautiful write -up  – ‘Adventure Ride to Dainkund Peak ‘. Today just sharing the nostalgia via these beautiful pictures we captured en route to Dainkund –

Marcel

Breathtaking views of Dhauladhar Range near McLeodganj!!

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Taking a quick break for some click click near Dalhousie 🙂

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Beautiful bountiful nature luxuriant with greens near Dainkund

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Dhankar, Spiti – the Heights that will make your heart go boom!!!

Tickling the travel bug with an offbeat treasure between Tabo and Kaza, Spiti Valley

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Our visit to Tabo village had left us excited and yearning for more. After visiting the Tabo Gompa and taking a short walk in Tabo village we were ready to continue our 11 days Trans Himalayan voyage.

We began driving towards Kaza around 11 am (though our next stop was Dhankar); thankfully the road was straight and real smooth. The sun out there was bright enough to give us serious tan however the wind was chilly. And it was super windy!!!

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Take me wherever these roads go!!

Beautiful! Beautiful! Journey

Spiti River was accompanying us religiously; it looked so pristine and blue. We couldn’t hold back our excitement and decided to go closer and feel the water. We really wanted to stay more but the ruthless Sun and our restless Baby boy pushed us to drive further.

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Pristine waters of Spiti River glorified by bright blue sky!!

The Entrance

It’s hard to miss the road to Dhankar; it’s beautiful and quite evident.

The Ascend

This is the ‘BEST’ part of visiting Dhankar. The magnificent views that your eyes witness will fill your heart with excitement beyond ordinary. There are many turns on this road and the views keep changing with every turn leaving one with great expectations.

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Ashish taking a quick break and enjoying the wind!! He deserved all the breaks after all he was the one driving throughout. The challenging and strenuous roads are nothing less than tight rope walk more so when there is a 11 months old little baby in a tow!!

As an encore the car keeps shaking most of the time owing to strong wind.

Road to Dhankar

There it is!! The picturesque Dhankar Village

Places to be visited

One peculiar thing about Spiti Valley is that it’s not really about sightseeing but more about enjoying the journey, adrenaline rush and spectacular nature.

Mostly at all the destinations you will find a Monastery (Gompa) and/or a Fort accompanied by amazing history and legends.

Dhankar- The Intriguing History!!

Dhankar stands tall at an altitude of 12,774 feet. Dhang/dang means cliff, and kar/khar means fort. Hence, the fort on a cliff is popularly known as ‘Dhankar’. The confluence of Spiti & Pin Rivers from this height is incredible!!!

Dhankar houses a 16th century old fort monastery; however one can see the new monastery now in the tiny village of Shichilling. The old monastery complex is also known as Lha-O-pa Gompa; it has five different halls and includes a number of multi-storied buildings. Don’t miss out on the Lhakhang Gompa – the Monastery of the followers of Lha-O, famous lama who was born in 1121. The highlight of the monastery is the a statue of Vairochana or Dhayan Buddha with 4 figures seated back to back.

Dhankar served as the ancient capital of the Spiti Valley Kingdom in the 17th century. The Nonos, the former rulers of Spiti, chose this strategic high altitude village for competent control. The legends say that the monastery has also served as a prison in the former era.

The monastery is associated with Gelukpa order of Tibetan Buddhism and has around 150 lamas residing in it.

Dhankar Landscape

What a gorgeous combination of chocolate dipped descending terrains and ice capped mountains!!! @Dhankar, Spiti Valley

The monasteries in Spiti Valley are mostly locked (at least in April they most certainly are) but the Monk usually opens it up on request for the visit. And sometimes the Monk will happily give you a tour explaining all the details about idols, scriptures, artifacts. We were not so lucky at Dhankar but at Tabo Gompa we met a super friendly Monk who spent so much time clarifying our doubts about Buddhism and Tibetan religion and culture.

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Landscape view of Dhankar, Spiti Valley

Dhankar Gompa / Monastery is declared as one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world by World Monuments Fund in 2006. The ceilings and walls mostly made of wood are in dilapidated condition yet the beauty is eternal.

If you liked reading about Dhankar, then this might interest you too –

The Epic Road Trip to Spiti Valley

Totally Tabo-ed!!!

Sarahan – Abode of Goddess Bhimalkali

Majestic Mountain Range at Kalpa!!!

Happy Exploring!!

Cheers, Untraveled Routes