We are in Satluj Valley in a hotel that needs explaining!
The hotel is in a unique riverside location by the isolated village of Sangla and is down another steep road.
If you look in the centre of the photo you can see an aqua-coloured building (the bridge across the river is to the right of this and below the second hairpin bend) and just to the left is the massive landslide which has cut the village off by road! If you follow the river from this building to the left you can see our hotel with the green roof. There has NEVER been an access road built to this site! Everything for construction, fit-out and now guests must come up the 500m path along the river.
We take a day-ride to Chitkul, the last inhabited village near the Indo-China border where the Indian road ends. During winters, the place mostly remains covered with snow and the inhabitants move to lower regions of Himachal.
The 24km ride is spectacular with perfect weather and views.
There’s a beautiful vista of the mountains and the people are friendly and just carry on about their business. No-one tries to tout us. Summertime is busy with gathering and storing firewood for the long winter ahead.
“Polythene” is banned in the Himalayas so we aren’t seeing as much rubbish lying around but they still use their bins like incinerators – once they are full, they are set alight!
To travel in India you really must like Indian food! The beauty of having a guide, as we found in China, is they know what to order. Having Kamal of a high caste means everything is a high standard as they always want to impress him. The smells that waft around at any meal time are intoxicating. The Kiwis are all putting butter on their chapatis and only one guy is not so keen on spicy food. A most delicious dish last night was a shahi paneer – paneer cheese with a thick gravy of cream, tomatoes and Indian spices followed up with a hand-made dessert of two little brown balls with a sweet light syrup.