*BASED ON A TRUE STORY
Solo travelling has always been fascinating yet fearful at times. The time comes, when you feel like travelling places solo just to overcome the fear of solo travelling. Being alone is always an extraordinary experience, you get to know more about yourself. You are not in a group where people have different dreams, agendas and mind sets. Here I am talking about a solo experience of a girl, a friend and passionate traveller. You might feel that the story of this girl is scary, but that’s where you see the opposite, that even after her struggle, she didn’t QUIT. This story is about Kate (Made up name)
Kate started her journey to the cold barren lands of KAZA in a bus from New Delhi in search for some solitude. Kaza, one of the most beautiful towns in the state of Himachal Pradesh, situated near the Spiti Valley. It is the coldest place in India, located some 11,980 ft above sea level. There are several monasteries, hillocks and scenic places to visit. It is also known as “The Gateway to Ladakh”. so to reach kaza from delhi it usually takes 2-3 days depending on various conditions. the route which is taken is Delhi-Shimla-Rampur-Reckong Peo-Pooh-Nako-Tabo-Dhankar-Kaza.
Her first stop was Reckong Peo, A 19 hour journey from Delhi, although it is advised to take a stop somewhere in Shimla or Theog or may be Narkanda, but that depends on travel itenary made by you. Reckong Peo, also spelled Reckong Peo and simply known as Peo by the local inhabitants, is headquarters of Kinnaur district, one of the twelve administrative districts of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It is a very small and less inhabitat village and only the mode of transport from Peo to Kaza is via HRTC (Himachal Roadways). You cannot get a prior booking and there is only 1 bus that leaves early morning for Kaza.
Kate reached Peo by nightfall and had to spend the night in Peo itself. The only way to reach Kaza the next day was to board the early morning bus. Kate described Peo as no man’s land, specifically after the dawn, because that’s when she reached. According to her there aren’t many hotels/hostels around the village. It took an hour for her to find a place to stay overnight with in her budget and comfort. She took a room in a small hotel, not very far from the bus stand and being a small city with less travellers she was only girl in the hotel. That night was pretty tiring and she overslept, making her miss the morning bus. The next day she roamed around Peo and Kalpa. It was 4.30 PM, while she was returning to her hotel, she gets an unknown call asking with a very similar voice asking if she is in the room or not. She answered back with a basic question, Who is this? Phone Hung up. Then she got another call after 10 minutes asking the same question again and she felt as it was the manager/owner calling her. This happened thrice which left her in frightened situation. She decided to leave the hotel and book a different one, but unfortunately no hotel was available. She had no choice but to stay in the same hotel, locked up until the sun hits up. All was good until 8.30 PM.
There is a knocking at the door.
Kate- Who is it?
Another Knock at the door.
Kate- Who is it? (Scared voice)
Manager/Owner- Khana Kha Lia Apne? (Drunk Voice)
Kate- Yes and please don’t disturb.
Another Knock at the door.
Kate went quietly and put her ear on the door and tried to listen what’s happening behind the door. She could only hear murmurs and giggles.
She finally took a stand, that she had to run away from this hotel. She packed her bag pack and opened the gate slightly and found the corridor empty and just took off and while crossing the reception she could hear giggles and bottles rattling. If anyone is wondering why she didn’t use her cell phone, Peo is a no reception are, only BSNL works there. Now the scared girl is out on the streets in the dark, and in the mountains 10pm feels like 2am.
She decided to walk up to the bus stand and stay the night in open, while walking she found a soldier, near the cantt area. He asked her is she needed help, but she was in such a trauma that she couldn’t utter a word and just walked away. She told me that, she was feeling uncomfortable by every men who passed by, that is the reason, she couldn’t even ask the soldier for help. Around 12.30 am she found a small momo shop which was run by a lady in her house. She went up to her and asked for some soup and as soon as she said these words, she bursted in tears. The lady calmed her down and asked her the whole situation and also told her to file a complaint, but she was so scared and traumatized that she just wanted to get of that peo. The lady gave her shelter for the night, and her husband stood in the que for the bus ticket to Kaza and didn’t even take any money from her, for all what they did. She finally took her bus, went to Kaza and completed her entire circuit. She came back with a lot of good memories and also with this scary incident.
Even today she feels scared when asked about this incident, but she says ‘A bad past can’t let you judge the beautiful future’