Fossil Hunting in Spiti


Fossil Hunting in Spiti

TheVibe Weekly | Moving Images | Spiti

Kartik Rao

The soulful lands of Spiti are surrounded by the striking Himalayan mountain range and beautiful panoramas. From freshwater lakes that are clear and distinct to snowed desert plains, the geography of Spiti is rugged and marked for its unmistakable visuals. The region has been bestowed with such breathtaking beauty since time immemorial.

But there was once a time before such abundance.

Millions of years ago, the Himalayas were formed by the subduction of the Indian Tectonic Plate under the Eurasian Tectonic Plate. At that time of prehistory, India was a large island situated off the Australian coast and separated from Asia by the Tethys sea. Submerged under the ancient Tethys sea, the youngest mountain range of the Himalayas, teemed with life. The evidence of this startling revelation can, strangely enough be found, even as you walk through the fossils villages of Langza and Spiti.

Walk through the villages and you will at times come in the contact with amber relics that are treasured by the local communities. These rocks often double up as toys for the local children to play with. On closer examination, however, you will find that these toys are in fact, ancient fossils, sometimes with distinct moulds preserving precious evidence of life from millions of years before.

As filmmaker Rohan Thakur discovered in the Season 1 of Way Back Home, the children from the local communities are quite adept at discovering these fossils with ease. Fossil Hunting is a real thing across these lands. The fossils of ancient marine creatures and plants once buried deep under the sedimentary rocks, today are strewn across the village of Langza. The locals call these fossils “Chaudua” and sometimes trade in them with passing travellers.

This adventure is unique and a testament of the times of when the world was one big Pangea. To find evidence of our planet’s history buried in these lands are a revelation for those seeking answers to life. Evidence persists of fossil remains excavated in these lands that mirror the ones found in the hot desert mountains of countries as diverse as Oman. Our Earth was one big jigsaw puzzle that has shifted and spread out over millions of years.

This phenomenon is unique to the valley. Fossil remains that are buried deep in the underground are found lying here unassumingly.

It is a revelatory adventure that gives you an insight into our planet’s glorious past. The next time you visit Spiti, partake in some fossil hunting. For thrill-seekers, this is yet another high offered by the unique lands of Spiti Valley.

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