That handsome fella is Changzod. After acting as the head llama of a monastery for 12 years he decided to venture down a different footpath and open Hermitage Phukchong – a silent retreat in Spiti’s Pin Valley. His mud houses are on the border of the Spiti National Park and the only other residences in the area belong to a nunnery which uses them for silent retreats, needless to say there are no noisy neighbors. My visit was in mid July and although there was still a glacier at eye level while I stood by the door to my room, it is slowly but surly melting into the Parahio River 100 feet below. Of the three modest mud structures that make up the retreat one uses a passive solar heating system thanks to some help from EcoSphere, this particular building is a Puja Room which is a spiritual room for prayer and meditation.
With luck, karma, good fortune, or whatever name you care to give it I was the only guest for the time I spent here and calling this place serene, or anything else for that matter, would be an understatement. There were prayer flags waving in the unwavering valley wind and only the sounds of the river to break the silence so I meditated, had my 5th cup of chai, witnessed the most star filled sky of my life and called it a night. Nice work Changzod.
In exchange for the hospitality and peacefulness, not to mention delicious food, I am here to work on some marketing for the place. Here is my first round of images that I’ll be developing into a campaign to spread the good word to travelers near and far.
Apologies for the small images but the electricity won’t stay on long enough for me to upload 5 separate images today.