Has it ever happened with you that you arrive at someplace and find it to be so extraordinary that you just don't want to leave?
That was Nako for me!!
Nako is a small village in Kinnaur valley, Himachal Pradesh. It is located at a height of about 11,800 ft. and is the last village in Kinnaur valley. Nako is surrounded by barren and Rocky Mountains. The only greenery is the fields of the villagers. It is unspoiled, picturesque village with narrow lanes leading to various homestays, white and red colored houses of the locals and ends at Nako Monastery. You can explore whole of the village on foot.
I reached Nako in the evening from Reckong Peo in a local bus. The bus ride was fairly decent. It was a pleasant surprise to see the terrain change as I came closer to Nako. On reaching this small, secluded village, I directly approached the Monastery and met one of the monks to see if I could stay at the Monastery. After much reluctance, he let me in in a guest room. The room was cozy and pleasant.
I was starving by then so I quickly freshened up and left to explore this pocket-sized village. After roaming and asking around, I came across a one room restaurant by the name of "Shakshuka". I was drawn to the name and was eager to know what it meant. The owner told me it is a name of an Israeli dish that he makes and is famous for in Nako I, obviously became intrigued and ordered a plate of shakshuka for me. It is a portion of poached eggs in a tomato curry served with bread. It was decently cooked and the owner was an extremely polite chap. He told me the story behind the name of his restaurant and how Israelis loved visiting Nako on their way to Spiti valley.
Now full, i went strolling towards the white mud houses next to the Nako lake. The lake lay at the back of the village. It was calm and silver in color, not too big. Someone was playing his guitar on the other end of the lake and i just sat there and enjoyed the moment. Lost in the beauty of this quaint village, i spent hours by the lake before i heard the sound of a bell close to the lake.
The sound was coming from a huge prayer wheel positioned on top of a hill. It was an hour or so before it got dark. And so i made my way up to the hill to spin the prayer wheel and experience the view from the top. It was spectacular. One side stood the dark barren mountains, other side saw the last rays of the sun on snow capped mountains. I stood there with strong, cold wind gushing into my face untiI I started to shiver with cold.
By the time i came down to the village, the moon was shining bright above me. The sky was clear with millions of stars twinkling. I wish time would have just stopped there till i had my fill of that moment but it was freezing. Next morning i bid my goodybye to Nako and promised to return again, this time for a long stay.