After interesting drive from Shimla to Nako via Rampur, Jeori, Pangi nala & Pooh, we got a comfortable place to stay at Nako village in Himachal Pradesh. Early in the morning we planned to walk up to the hill from where whole village and Nako lake is clearly visible. We intended to reach there before sunrise, but we were a little late. But the better part was that everyone of us got up early and climbed up. This post shares about some of the interesting facts about Nako Lake, how it's connected to the village, village lifestyle and what all you should explore around Nako village when you are there.
As we came out of our homestay, we noticed something running very fast towards the other direction. After a while it stopped and looked back. That's when above shot was taken. And in our zoom lens we could make out that it was a fox. It was quite far. We clicked above photograph with zoom lens and photograph used is cropped version, and that's why you see degraded quality of the pic.
Since sun was already up but it was making only one part shine with the morning hues. We could see the orange hues on hills opposite to us. The hill we were climbing was yet to get the sun light. In fact, sun was behind the hill we were climbing. We climbed a little fast as we wanted to click few photographs of lake with sun directly hitting the water. Above photograph shows the views of beautiful fields in front of Nako village and snow covered peaks in the background.
The fox had moved away from the village and how she was waiting for us to pass. Above photograph shows the fox watching us and planning her next moves. Hills around Nako also have snow leopards but probability of seeing them is more in winters when these hills also get the snow.
After climbing the hill, here is the first view we got. The climb is moderate. It's hardly 10-15 minutes climb from village from where you can see the lake as well as the village. For better views, you can climb further. There is also a trek till the hill top from where you see other side of the himalayan ranges. Supposedly, China is visible from other side of the hill and if you have powerful binoculars, you can see people working in the fields on other side of the border.
During most of the times in Kinnaur & Spiti you see various shades of these mountains, especially during morning & the evening. Around the noon, there is direct sun so everything is bright unless it's a cloudy day. Clouds make these landscapes look much better. The photograph above shows some of the shades created by morning light. The curves on these hills and direction of the light bring different textures to the landscapes. That was most interesting part for my travellingcamera :).
Varun, one of the Ace Travel photographer had clear strategy in mind about what all he wanted to do here. Along with the plan, he was equipped well. Here is one of his cameras on gorillapod for creating time-lapse of sun-light hitting the mountains and the clouds moving around. He shot this view for an hour or so and I think he is yet to process the final results. I am eagerly waiting for the same. After this, he climbed up to the prayer wheel and tried making another time-lapse of other side with farming land & snow covered peaks. It's always good to travel with inspiring photographers who help and encourage you to try different things. They also respect the value of time while travelling, so it becomes much easier to decide where we want to spend more time vs what to skip. Making wise choices is important, even when you are travelling.
Here is the view of snow covered peaks from the same hill and you can see one part of Nako village on right bottom of the photograph. There was another path to go down and enter from other side of the village.
I love the way above photograph shows the scale of the place. These is Nako village in the bottom with huge mountains in the background. Although I am not happy with the composition & overall tonality of the photograph, but I found it worth sharing.
Above photograph shows one of the biggest prayer wheels at such height. There are plates attached to the wheel along with solid iron bar, which are used for rotating the wheel. Since wind is very fast on the hill, most of the times this prayer wheel keep moving. Wind puts pressure on these 4 flat plates which help in slight momentum and gradually it speeds up. When it starts moving, relatively slow wind will also keep it moving.
All these mountains are dry and with minimal vegetation, so you would find farming lands and green patches only around the villages. And I guess that folks need to put extra efforts to get appropriate output from these fields. I didn't see apple orchards in Nako, but they grow radish, carrot, spinach, peas etc. Our homestay care-taker also had few kitchen-gardens where he was growing vegetables.
After spending 2 hrs or so on the hill, we planned to climb down towards village from other side. First we wanted to go near the lake and experience it. And then move towards the village to see what kind of houses they build, what do they do to deal with cold/chill. I wanted to see kitchen areas of these houses, but couldn't manage to enter any of these houses. It was time for villagers to store water, so I didn't want to disturb them. It looked like a main event to store water from the tap and there is fixed timings to get running water.
As we headed closer to the name we came across a little disappointing fact that lake was not very clean, but the good part was that it was not because of the people living around Nako Village but mainly because of natural phenomenon.
This was another interesting thing which I noticed in Nako village. Villagers have built these areas for their pets and none of these have roof. Rain doesn't happen in Nako and if there are lot of clouds, those are for snow which rare in summers. So they are not really worried about roofs in summers. I am sure they must be doing something for winters, but I am not sure what. Because heavy snowfall happens and snow leopards also come down to this region. So villagers need to take care of both these factors while making shelter for pets.
Walking around Nako village was one of my best experience here. Talked to some of the folks and it was surprising to know the level of simplicity in their lives.
There are many houses which are built with these stones put in layers but in a very tight and think way. Roof is usually wooden and filled up with dry grass to keep these structures warm. Gradually people are building concrete houses as well but keeping the interiors the same like old houses. Keeping these houses warm is very first need of Nako village.
Here is another photograph is cow standing inside the yard. There are multiple streets in the villages and once you are inside the village it's little hard to figure out on your own to move in the direction you intend to go.
Every house looked the same yet different. Some of the houses had area outside the house to maintain a little garden and some of the houses were attached to each other.
Here is a closer view of the Monastery in Nako village of Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh. The background of white snow in the background makes this monsatery very special. Most of the vehicles coming to Nako village are parked in this huge ground. This Monastery is on the other end of the village and after reaching this point we had to just follow the road towards the other end of Nako village.
Finally we reached our home stay, which was at the beginning of Nako village. Above photograph shows the view from roof-top of our homestay. It was time for breakfast and we were waiting for our breakfast to be served on the root-top.
While we were waiting for the breakfast, Varun chose to have quick read of "Know Your Worth", which is co-authored by Vibha Malhotra. And of-course it was a good photography opportunity for me as well. I bothered him during his peaceful read but that was ok :).
Nako Village is a unique place surrounded by magnificent landscapes all around.
Spiti-Diaries series will continue, so keep a watch on this place to go through our journey and know some very basic facts about the places we explored. And we encourage you to share your queries & suggestions through comments below.
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If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -
1. Manage your waste well and don’t litter Use dustbins.
2. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
3. Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
4. Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
5. Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite