The Middle Kingdom


Spiti has been the Middle Kingdom ever since the Indian landmass separated from Gondwana Land and collided with the Eurasian continent. Culturally too, the region has been a bridging zone between India and Tibet, with traders ferrying pashmina and spices along the circuitous and windswept trails for centuries. The landscape here is unique, almost abrupt. Gentle meadows suddenly drop off thousands of feet at the valley below. Craggy rock formations interrupt rolling fields of barley. Tireless icy winds indent the mountains, akin to a sculptor having lost track of time. Signs of upheaval are everywhere. As if some one had called truce in the middle of a raging conflict, and status quo has been maintained ever since.

There is a timelessness to Spiti which makes us pale in significance. In a way, I did not mind the difficult terrain and bad roads on offer. Now, more than ever, we need places which instil the fear of the unknown in us. As humans, we need to be a bit more humble, a bit more in awe. The importance we attach to ourselves needs a bit of erosion. Rest assured, Spiti does a good job at that.

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