Spitians: The people of Spiti, food and the homestays! – Things to experience when in Spiti

A trip to Spiti is the closest thing I have experienced to paradise. I know you’ll be like “Shilpy, stop exaggerating, you have never been to Paradise”. Well, yeah I have never been to Paradise of course, but in my mind, if there was truly a paradise then it will be filled with Spitians-the people of Spiti.

On our way to Spiti from Rohtang Pass

What do one like in general while traveling. The landscapes, the greenery, massive mountains, the profound architect of cities, scrumptious food, etc. Isn’t it? Well, I was not any different. The moment I entered Spiti, I was perplexed by the landscape.

The majestic mountains at Spiti

I was running around with my camera, trying to capture the beauty of Spiti. (No photos can ever justify what you see with your naked eye). Enjoying the cafes, binging on some local cuisines like Thukpa, Tirik, etc.

But as days went by, I realized I am falling in love with the place all over again, and this time not because of something I saw but because of something I experienced. The selfless affection, the warm smiles, the small gestures of asking if I am doing alright and if I am eating well. It just made me feel like I am at home.

The ride at Spiti, he helped us out to reach Kaza from the backwaters

While walking on the streets of Spiti, I saw people with happy faces, the face you see when someone is truly content in life. The broad smile on their faces used to light my day and for those 10 days in Spiti, I forgot about my life struggles, my problems and everything I had back in Mumbai. And here is when I realized, I have landed in PARADISE!

The “Good Morning” or “Hello” was drifted to “JULEY”. Yes, that’s HELLO in SPITI!!

Whenever I used to have eye contact with a local in Spiti, they used to give a broad smile and wish “JULEY!”. People used to welcome us at their house for some tea or desserts.

And NO!! they were not running a restaurant or not doing this for money but just living by the phrase we Indians believe but rarely follow “Atithi Devo Bhava!”. The money offered by us was straightly refused. If you’re in Spiti do not repay their hospitality by money. Truly, no amount of money will be enough. Rather give them something which will be useful, it can be food, clothes, books, anything they need.

If there’s one thing you should not miss if you’re in India or visiting India, is the experience of living in Spiti!

Go for HOMESTAYS( There are no Air BnB’s), anyway you won’t find many hotels. Live with them, talk with them, listen to the stories over a cup of tea and you’ll be reminiscing that for the rest of your life!

At Langza, I met a group of young kids who were returning from school, jumping and dancing with the massive school bag on their tiny shoulders. When I asked them for the directions, the kids actually stayed with me and toured me around the entire village.

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To all the kids around us and also to kid within us a very Happy Children's Day!! 💫👻 . Nov 14, In India, is celebrated as Bal Diwas translated to Children's day which is the birth anniversary of our first PM, Jawaharlal Nehru. He was very fond of kids and truly believed that the strength of a nation truly resides in the children. They are a pure soul and someone who thinks freely and has dreams to fly. Indeed as a kid, we are full of ideas, smiles, and life. Kids never hesitate to take a risk or to fall. Even if they fall, they smile and laugh so hard and again they get up and start to play again. As we grow up, this attitude changes and the kid in us hides behind the huge bush of responsibilities, stress, greed and what not. But, don't let the kid in you die, never ever do that. Be a kid and think like them, fly like them and dream like them. Truly this thing will convert our stress lines to smile. Also, spending a day with kids is the best stress buster. I remember the day I had spent with these beautiful souls at Langza. These kids had a way to live and every time I feel depressed or stressed out I look at this pictures and it automatically brings a huge smile to my face. 😊 There is so much to learn from them and there is so much more to life. On this note, once again Happy Children's Day!!!!! As always SMILE MORE, STRESS LESS!!!

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I had the most amazing time with them. We laughed and played, they showed me their house. The school, the monastery, whose mom makes the best food, etc, etc. Oh my god! Just by thinking about this makes me grin ear to ear! Isn’t it fantastic to experience something like this!! If you’re in Langza do spend some time with these angels. Well, not only in Langza, anywhere in Spiti!.

How adorable are they!!

Indulge in a great conversation with these munchkins at Kee Monastery, Spiti

Taking the experience of HOMESTAY to next level!!

HOMESTAY in LANGZA

We book Air BnB for finding places that we feel is a home away from home, to feel like a local and truly experience the beauty of the place like locals would do. Rarely we get a place like this which fulfills all our requirements or wishes. Is’nt it?

Even without BnB, the experience of staying in HOMESTAY at Spiti is everything which we look forward to. When you’re in Spiti just ask the locals if you can stay with them or if they know someone who offers homestays. They will happily welcome you in their world.

Make sure, you respect their privacy and also shed love for love.

I stayed in homestays at Langza, Demul, and Komic. I remember each and every day spent with them so profoundly. They used to prepare a scrumptious meal for us like Momos, local pasta, thukpa, parathas, tea, and whatnot.
I stayed at Sonam Homestays, near the statue.

Inside the greenhouse at our homestay in Langza

HOMESTAY in KOMIC

In Komic, Tenzin and Nawang hosted us and the experience of living with them was astounding. It changed my perspective on gender equality.

Nawang is a chef at the World’s Highest Motorable Village situated in Hikkim and Tenzin is a housewife. They were childhood sweethearts and later, their love story luckily got converted into arrange marriage and soon they had a beautiful baby which was about 8 months old when we visited. The baby kept Tenzin occupied and of course, our one night visit meant extra work.

In the male dominant society that we live in, the female is supposed to handle the house chores especially if she is a housewife. Is’nt it? But NO, these rules don’t apply in Spiti. Nawang did not let the burden fall on Tenzin and rather used to cook dinner for us after returning from work. How thoughtful! He taught us how to make momos while sharing their adorable stories from childhood. Nawang made sure that we, Tenzin and the kid are well fed before he starts with his dinner. I was really stunned by the behavior!
These are the kind of stories that we should tell our kids!!
Stayed at TENZEN HOMESTAY!

HOMESTAY at DEMUL

Another such amazing time I had was with Padma Dorje and family at Demul. We had Chang (Desi Liquor) with them. (Yes, with the entire family). We had amazing meals and also danced on some local Spitian songs. Aha! that was a night to remember.

Stayed at PADMA Dorje HOMESTAY!

Of course, I do not have their numbers because there is no network and no telephone connection in SPITI!!

With Padma Dorjay and family at Demul, the best three days ever!
View from Padma Dorjay’s homestay in Spiti!! Gorgeous?

MUST try FOOD when in SPITI

  • Cabbage Momos
  • Churon
  • Shunali
  • Quo
  • Chang – Barley Beer
  • Arak
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Must have at Spiti: Bareley Pancake with Seabuckthorn Jam at Kaza
Nothing better than a hot cup of tea in mountains
Chruon with Tirik (A flatbread made with barley flour)
Churon prepared by our super owners at Spiti

I hope your stay at SPITI is as beautiful as it was for me. Sometimes it’s just the people which makes the place worth visiting. And, SPITI is blessed with both, the jaw-dropping landscape and heart melting people!!!

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