EP 7 - Nako to Gue Mummy Stupa to Tabo | Kinnaur Valley | Spiti Valley Tour
Namaskar friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali. Right now, we are in the Nako village of Kinnaur district, Himachal Pradesh. We did local sightseeing yesterday and today,... ...since morning, I've been roaming around in the village lanes. In majority of the houses, we can see the boundary walls made of stones. Today's programme is that first, we want to see a folk dance performance.
After that we will visit a nearby monastery. And then we will leave for Tabo. We had to start the day late today because we took some time... ...to talk to the dancers and get everything fixed. I am walking towards the hotel now.
Once at the hotel, we will watch the performance and show it to you as well. For your information, if you look at the map of Kinnaur,... ....you'll see Tibet on one side, and Kullu on the other side. On another side, it has Spity Valley and on the fourth side, there is Garhwal Himalayas. Right now I am in the region of Kinnaur Distict, which is part of... ...Trans-Himalayas. So, it is no wonder that we are at a height of 12,000 feet right now.
Let us walk towards the hotel now. Namaskar! Namaskar! First of all, thank you very much for taking out time for this performance. I've come to Kinnaur for the first time. And it is the first time that we had a chance to watch...
...Kinnauri dance performance, thanks to you! What is your main profession? Sir, as you can see, agriculture is our main profession and... ...mostly we grow potatoes and peas. Though apricot also is cultivated in this region, but... ...at a lower altitude. Alright! Please tell me something about Kinnauri dance form.
Today's our performance shall be in three stages. One performance is called Shabro, another is Shun. And the third performance is what we usually perform on occasions like wedding.
Really! Yes Sir! Very nice! This is a welcome token for you Sir! Thank you! (local folk dance performance) Thank you so much for your beautiful dance performance! Last night we requested Mr. Negi to talk to you all and he arranged for this... ...performance within hours. Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for taking out time to perform. We all will clap for you now. Tell me one thing... ...the dance that you performed today is what you usually perform during weddings? It must be a larger group for wedding performances? Yes Sir, about 1500-2000 people usually gather for weddings. 1500-2000, which means people from surrounding villages in the valley...
...must also be participating in the wedding. Yes sir, all families from the surrounding villages get together for the weddings. I am trying to imagine how grand the gatherings of 1500-2000 people would be! Yes Sir! A wedding takes place for how many days? Usually it is a two-day affair, if both the families are in the same village. However, if the families live far from each other, a wedding can also take place over 3 days. That means the song and dance goes on for the whole day. Yes, but apart from that there are quite a few rituals that take place during a wedding.
Alright! Our culture reflects in those rituals! Yes, sure! Very good! Fantastic! It was a pleasure meeting you all. One more thing that I've noticed is that your jewellery looks traditional. This jewellery must be passed on through different generations! Yes! Very nice! Thank you very much! It was a pleasure to meet you all and I enjoyed your performance too! Thank you Sir! We've come to visit a very ancient monastery, which is at a walking distance of 5 minutes. We have with me Mr. Manoj Negi, who is a local resident.
Please tell us a few things about the Nako village as well as this monastery. Sure Sir! Let me begin with the origin of this village Nako. This village was not called Nako from the start.
It used to be called 'Nao' or 'Nego'. To explain the history behind it, before 11th century,... ...a Buddhist Guru came to this place from Tibet. He reached here in the evening and met an old woman.
He started a conversation with that woman, who told him that... ...the village is called "Nau." The Tibetan Guru told her that instead of Nau, the village should be called "Nego." If you go into the meaning of this word, it has two different words in it. One is "Ne", which means a holy place and... ...other is "Go", which means a door. So, the word Nego means "door to a holy place."
If you trek further for about 7 km, you will get to see... ...something or another worth spiritual importance. This is why, the name Nego suits this village. The village is called Nako these days because of the outside... ...influence on the language. This monastery was build before 11th century. It is an ancient temple and it has four parts.
One part is called "Tirchim La Khan." This is the main Gumpa. And I will tell you about the rest when we go inside. Right! Sir, we cannot do videography or photography inside the shrine because... ...of certain rules put in place by the villagers.
So, I am going to describe the shrine here. The main Gumpa is called "Kerchum Lakhan." There are four rooms on four sides of the main shrine... ...believed to be homes to four devtas (deities). We just visited them? Yes Sir.
This part is known as home of "Malleh". Malleh means the supreme deity. This monastery is home to eight different deities. There are many deities who reside here? Yes Sir! What is on that side? There is the room called Kerchum Lakhan, and it is completely white.
That is also the residence of our deities. In our culture, deities and Lamas go hand in hand. We worship both of them at the same time. This room was built centuries ago and the peak that you see in front of this village...
...is named after one of the deities, Purgyil Devta, residing here. Highest peak of Himachal Pradesh! Highest peak of Himachal! There is another monastery towards that side. That monastery was built in 2007, when His Holi Highness Dalai Lama... ...visited this village for the Kalachakra event. This monastery is built as per modern architecture.
This one is ancient! Yes Sir, this is ancient. It felt good to visit this monastery. There is a strong wind blowing and I can see a lot of snow on the peaks around us.
These mountains remain snow-capped throughout the year? Yes sir, throughout the year! Thank you for giving us your time! Thank you Sir! (Man playing flute) (applause) Very nice! We met this gentleman right outside the monastery. When I saw a flute in his hands, I requested him to play something. It was a wonderful tune! Really enjoyed it. It was a pleasure meeting you. We are going from Nako to Tabo.
We've just covered 5 km and we stopped to enjoy this view. I am specially talking about the view of the road below. It is turning into various shapes while snaking through the landscape.
Here a tempo, there a truck and mountains on all the sides! I haven't seen such beautiful views anywhere else in my life. We have about 38 km to go before we reach the Gue Mummy Stupa after... ...which we will proceed to Tabo, where we will spend the night. We've reached a point where the road goes into two different directions. If we go in this direction, we will reach Gue Mummy Stupa, as you can see.... ....it is written here on the welcome sign. The Stupa is 12 km from here and after that we will be coming back to this spot.
After that, we will go 26 km in this direction to reach Tabo. If we were to stay in Kaza tonight, we would have had to travel further from Tabo. Kaza is about 75 km from here. Let us cross the bridge to reach that side.
Look at the color of this water. Pitch black! Ever since I started this trip, I haven't seen such black water as it is here. I am assuming that the mountain down which this river is flowing... ...is covered in black-colored soil. That could be the reason why this water is black in colour.
I also saw, a short distance back that the Gue nala was flowing... ...into the Spiti river. There was a Sangam (confluence point) but didn't stop our car there. One more thing I want to tell you is that we've entered Spiti valley. About 2 km before this spot, we came across a checkpost called Sumdo. We had to register our details at the checkpost because...
...it is the entry point to the Spiti Valley. We also saw a board there, saying "Welcome to Spiti Valley." There is a strong breeze blowing here. We will spend 5-10 minutes here and then proceed to the Gue Mummy Stupa. Finally we've reached the Gue Mummy Stupa. The building you see in front of you is a monastery under construction.
It shall be ready within 1 or 2 years. Let us go in this direction. We've reached the room where the Gue Mummy is kept. Let us go inside. I will have the darshan and then... ...once I come out, I will tell you more about this place. Now I am going to tell you a few facts about this place. If I miss out on any fact, please pitch in.
The mummy that we see here is called Sanga Tenzin. It is said that he gave up his life voluntarily about 530 years ago. This process is called self-mummification. In today's world, there are 24 such mummies, who are identified...
...and who are a result of the process of self-mummification. Now one thing that you would notice, which I've noticed for the first time... ....in my life is that this mummy has hair on its head, its teeth are intact. And so are its nails, that too, without any preservation. His hair, teeth and nails are intact just like these were 530 years ago. This is a unique thing and I don't think there is anything else.. ...like this anywhere else in India. Though there are preserved mummies in different locations but nothing like this. Yes, you won't see such a mummy anywhere else.
It has been a common practice in Buddhism, especially between... ....11th and 19th centuries, that a lot of monks went for self-mummification. But not every attempt was successful. In this process, the concerned individual is required to eat a special diet...
...of herbs, tree roots, etc for 1000 days or so. The person has to live a strict, disciplined lifestyle for 1000 days. Some people even used to follow this diet more than once. That is why this process of self mummification goes on till 10 years. Once they are sure that there is no element of fat or any other material ... ...that could cause the body to decompose.... ....that is when the process is complete. However, the main aim of this strict disciplined life could also be meditation...
... instead of self-mummification. Once the process is complete, the fellow monks put... ...the person in a tin box and bury the box in the ground. They insert a rod or pipe into the box to let the oxygen flow. There is a bell in the hand of that person, who can keep ringing it... ...at regular intervals, to tell those above ground that he is alive. After some days, when the person releases his last breath,....
...the bell stops ringing. After 1000 days of that happening, the box is taken out and... ...it is checked whether the process was successful or not. Tourists flock to this place in large quantities. But this place itself was discovered only recently. In 1975, this place was hit by an earthquake. At that time, there was a tomb like structure in place.
Earthquake destroyed that structure. A while later, when the Indian Army was building its bunkers in the area... ...they came across this mummy. A few years later, this area became a point of interest for tourists.
Nowadays, tourists travelling from Nako to Tabo, don't hesitate to... It must be 10 km from that point? Yes! ---travel this 10 km stretch to visit this place. I want to know from you that when was this glass enclosure installed? About 5-6 years ago.
This means if someone had visited here before that, he wouldn've got to see... ...the mummy without the glass wall in between? Yes! 5-6 years ago, this used to be a mud room, and this... ....RCC wall was constructed only recently. Alright! This monastery here also looks like it would be ready in a couple of years.
Yes, Sir! Great! Do you live in the Gue village? What would be the approximate population of this village? Around 200! Only 200. I think one could come here to spend a few days in the village. It is such a peaceful environment! Living in such a scarcely populated place will allow you to... ...experience and enjoy the nature without any hinderance. Is there a homestay in the village? Yes, there is but it is closed due to lockdown. Ohh! So, there is a homestay! Yes! Ohh! Great! Great! It felt good to come here. We are leaving now and today's our nightstay would be in Tabo.
Tabo is 26 + 10... 35 km! 35 km! Alright then! Let us leave for Tabo! We've reached Tabo. We had booked ourselves a homestay here.
Standing with me is the owner of this homestay, Mr. Richen Bodh. The homestay rooms are located on the first floor. Do you see the board there - Piggy Hostel - this is where we are staying.
Double occupancy rooms are available at Rs. 1000. I want to eat some local food for dinner tonight. Can you think of something? Give me 10 minutes' time, I will think of something.
Do let me know so that I finalize my order. Okay Sir! I will join you back in a short while. So you told me one dish would be "Chhurpi soup." Yes! And the other one is? Chhotrep! Chhotrep! We are standing right outside the kitchen. So, can we go in and see how the food is being cooked? Yes, of course. He and his wife are cooking dinner for us.
So, what are you going to cook first? Chhurpi soup called Thukpa! Thukpa? Yes, it is called Thukpa in local language. Alright! Please take us through the recipe as well. This ingredient is first boiled in water, and the water is then discarded. This step removes the bitterness. I have already carried out the first step. This is the main ingredient.
This is Chhurpi! Chhurpe! If I am not wrong, Chhurpi is made after drying up Chhaas (buttermilk). Yes Sir. I have added Sattu to it. Now I am adding salt to it. Now, it will be boiled for 5-10 minutes, after which it will be ready.
See, the Chhurpe pieces are cooked now. Now that it is ready, we are going to add this dried coriander powder to it. This coriander grows naturally in our fields, we don't need to cultivate it separately. Now, I will turn the flame low and simmer it. To cook the next dish, first thing that goes into the pan is local ghee (clarified butter).
This is the required quantity to be used for the dish. Is Chhurpi readily available in homes here? Yes Sir. Chhurpi and Sattu (Barley) would always be available. It is quite common around here. Yes Sir, quite common I am preparing a tempering of garlic and green chilies.
Now that the tempering is ready, I am goin got put in the vegetables. Here goes cabbage! Now I will add some water. This is the dough we have prepared alerady. It is hard to imagine this recipe. The way you prepared the tempering, then added vegetables and water.
And now this. What are these dough balls called? This is called Gopkuk Chhutrep! Chhutrep! Yes! Ohh! This is Chhutrep? Yes! We will cover it with a lid and allow it to simmer. After a while, the dough and the vegetables will be ready. Wow! There is a restaurant right next to the kitchen.
I am sitting on the floor right now. Such a seating arrangement is called 'Chaukse' in the local language. People love to eat in this set up along with their family members. The chhurpi soup is served to me. The second dish will come in 10-15 minutes. Till then, let us enjoy the taste of this soup.
Look closely how this soup looks like. These are pieces of chhurpi on my spoon. It is cooked now. I have asked for raw chhurpi, to show you how it looks.
When I travelled in Sikkim, I found Chhurpi in every household. Here also, he told me, the locals consumer Chhurpi in one form or another. The only thing different about this dish is that it also contains Sattu. For me, it is an absolutely new experience. Wow! Totally different taste! Somewhat feels like that.
This soup tastes somewhat like sweetcorn soup. It tastes delicious. No black pepper in it. They just added some local coriander for flavor.
This soup has its mild flavor. Let us taste Chhurpi. Chhurpi is sour in taste. Along with that, it tastes also like paneer (cottage cheese) and ghee.
And I also liked the flavor of Sattu in it. This is a kind of extreme taste. The soup is almost bland, just a bit of coriander for flavor and chhurpi. I liked this overall combination. If I ever get a chance to have this soup again, I would love to try it for sure. The Chhotrep is ready as well.
If you notice, they've served us the food in a Bell metal thali. Yesterday also, I noticed that brass utensils are quite popular in this region. It remains to be seen how the Chhutrik is cooked.
Tingmo that I've eaten is steamed. I saw it being cooked. They made the tempering first, then added vegetables and in the end... ...the dough balls. These dough balls are called Chhotrep. Let us take a bite.
Nice! I couldn't imagine that the final taste of this dish would be this good. In my opinion, the best way to enjoy this dish is to eat Chhotrep with the vegetables. Awesome combination! And the dough is perfectly cooked. There is now raw feeling in it.
And the dough also tastes of the flavor of vegetables. These Chhotrep was quite heavy to eat. If you eat two of these, it would be a complete dinner. One more thing I want to tell you, this dough has no flavour in it. You know how it was cooked! I don't think it even has salt in it. Even if there is salt in it, it is very minuscule.
After finishing the food, I walked upto this helipad nearby. I want to show you the view in the sky, so I am going to turn... ...the camera lens upwards. Look at the stars in the sky. Oh God! So beautiful! Standing here, and looking at the sky, I feel... ...as if I am inside a planetarium and looking at a galaxy. Nothing else can explain what I am experiencing right now. Before this, the only time I've experienced such a view is in Digboi, Assam.
But this experience is much better than that. Absolutley wonderful! This is the first time, I've known that there are so many stars in the sky. This is because we've never seen so many stars with the naked eye. This night could be the best night of my life if I get a chance to... ...spread a cot out in the open and sleep here. In fact, the excitement of sleeping under the sky wouldn't let me sleep at all.
I've been looking at the sky for the past half an hour, even before we started filming. This view is insatiable. So beautiful! Anyways! It is 10.30 pm now. We still have to copy the day's data, which will take at least 2 more hours. And tomorrow, we have to wake up early again.
I will say bye-bye to you now. Though, I would suggest that whenever you visit the area, you must enjoy this experience. Alright! Bye bye for now! Let us know your opinion about today's episode. Tomorrow morning, we will go to visit the monastery. And after that, I am thinking that I will spend tomorrow night in Pin Valley. Though it isn't far, but we will make some stops on the way.
Alright! So, we will meet again soon. Our tomorrow's journey will be available in the next episode. Bye-bye! Thanks for your time!