Moon Magic

Losar, a small village in the Lahaul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh in northern India, is situated at an altitude of 13,400 feet above sea level. It consists of a few houses with a population of about 250. It is supposed to be the coldest place in the Spiti Valley.

We stayed for two nights in Losar on our way from Chandrataal to Kaza. The original plan was to stay two nights at Chandrataal itself and then one night at Losar. But some of our tour members developed altitude sickness after the first night at 14,100 feet altitude of Chandrataal. The tour manager ordered that we descend to lower altitude at the earliest. The camp manager was kind enough to co-ordinate and make our staying arrangements in Losar a day ahead of our schedule. Reaching Losar involved ascending to Kunzum Pass at 15,060 feet altitude before the descent could begin. But the rugged beauty of barren monstrous mountains around us made us forget the altitude sickness altogether.

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It was 4 pm and Sun had started its westward journey.  The evening light transformed the mountain peaks into the thrones of gold for the gods-of-day to arrive after their day’s work and take rest before retiring to their celestial abodes.

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A little while later we could see the god-of-the-night, the Moon, quietly marching into the blue sky to begin its night duty. It was a full moon day. The moon-god was in his full form and arrived a bit early. But he had to wait to take charge as the Sun-god was still completing his last chores and yet to vacate the throne.

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We reached home-stay at Losar when the Sun was about to set. Our rooms were located on the first floor while the kitchen and dining room were on the ground floor of the home-stay. We were ushered into our rooms. We could see the landscape of Losar village right outside our windows. The green patches of farmed land were surrounded by barren mountains in shades of brown and gray. They appeared like well-toned muscles of a body-builder. The setting Sun had showered them with a ting of evening gold.

The lower altitude of Losar made us feel better and we could take deeper breath with more oxygen. No one had the energy to go out for a walk after the journey from Chandrataal. The journey had become tiring due to low levels of oxygen. We anyway had the entire next day for it. So, as soon as we refreshed ourselves we marched to the dining room for a cup of green-tea, but ended-up staying there till dinner. After the dinner, feeling better with delicious food served to us at the home-stay, we walked back to our bed-rooms.

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As we looked at the landscape from our windows, we were stunned. The landscape that earlier looked barren was now shimmering in soft white glow of full moon. The moon had made its magic. It appeared that the Moon-god has gently draped the masculine landscape in white muslin to cover it from the harsh cold winds of Losar while it was in sleep, and ordered its citizen stars to keep an eye on the sleeping baby.

Being a cut-and-dried person, I had not believed in the magic spell of the moon on human mind so far.  But here I was experiencing the moon magic myself.

And today I am proud to say that “Yes, I was moon-struck, at least once in my life time”.

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