So I realized. Since I was bordering so close to Indo – Pak border this time around during my long Rajasthan Gujarat Vacation, I thought how close did I get earlier to the Indo – Sino border and look what I found!
The closest I was to China border was in Gue village of Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. Our friendly driver wanted to give us a pleasant surprise and took us to this village located in the high mountains in the remoteness of Spiti. Apparently China border is a stone’s through away. Well don’t hold me to those words exactly but what I mean is the border was a mere 2 hour walk from here and when I located Gue on the map it is almost bang on the Indo – Sino Border.
And then coming back to the recent vacation, I was again wandering very close to the Indo – Pak border. While in Jaisalmer, I went on a 4 day trek in the Desert National Park and its surroundings which are decently close to the border but not as much as Gue. Once I came to Kutch to visit the white Rann, I realized again I was very close to the border. We infact had a chance to visit the Indo – Pak border but the officials said taking photos I strictly prohibited and hence I opted out to go to a beach instead, insane, right?! Well yeah, that’s the wandering soul for you.
And along with these two instances, whenever I was very close to border in Ladakh or Rajasthan I always saw something super spectacular. Let's take the current instance.
When I was at Gue in Spiti, I saw the mummified remains of a 500 year old monk who goes by the name Sangha Tenzin. No kidding! I was surprised to see how well the mummy was preserved with no balms and preservation whatsoever. I am thinking the cold and dry weather might have contributed to its preservation. Look carefully and you can even see the hair on his head! You might have seen a mummy in a museum sometime but how many times have you sat right one foot in front of it and looked into its eye. I did and I was half scared to death worrying it might jump up any moment!
And I already showed you one snap of the White Rann, I have seen nothing like it before I tell you! Miles and miles of white salt beneath your feet and blue skies is the stuff dreams are made of. Granted it is a highly inhospitable environment for existence but that is the beauty of wilderness. A sunset here can be a striking extravaganza with the colors reflecting on the white stretch and if you are lucky enough to see the reflection in the leftover marshes.
Lesson learnt - Hang around as close to the border as possible. You will see spectacular things. :)
While I am bordering so close to these areas, I might as well cross the border one of these days. But as I travel more in India, the more I realize the less I have explored my homeland before heading anywhere else. So it is going to be India for a long time now. Until I explore every nook and corner of the amazing country.
So that was the closest I have been to China and Pakistan.