“If not now then when will you do it “
These words are enough to motivate anyone to take up any challenge, push your limits and follow the adventure.
In June 2015, we, a group of 6 were motivated for a week long roadtrip from New Delhi. It was a group of friends, some knew each other some not. We made the initial plan for Ladakh, however, I was not sure that only a week’s time is enough to visit, secondly Ladakh in June is not different from any metro city. All rush and crowd would have been in Leh and Ladakh and my quest for peace would have gone in vain.
I proposed to go Chandratal in Spiti Valley. I did not knew that it goes through the “Most Treacherous Road in the World“. It may sound bit scary and crazy but anyhow we all decided to travel to Spiti valley and Chandratal trek. We started our journey on 20th June, Saturday for a week trip from New Delhi. Picking up every one in the Innova with our Driver Manu Bhaiya.
We were headed to a new place, really unknown and unheard. We just had an itinerary, no bookings & no plan, obviously that was gonna end up with some trouble, but we were ready to take up the challenge and end quest for peace. Our goal was to complete the Spiti valley Circuit and travel from Spiti to Manali in a week’s time only.
Here how’s it started our Spiti Valley Tour
20th June, Day 1 – New Delhi – Shimla – Narkanda – Sarahan (550 kms)
First day of the Spiti Tour
We set off at around 10’o clock in the morning and made the first night halt at Shimla, it was a hell of the peak season all the hotels were full. There was not even a single room in any of the hotel. We decided to move to Narkanda in search of a place to stay, hard luck again. No rooms there as well. We were out of options and had to sleep in the car only and booked the hotel at Sarahan, on call.
We left the city of Narkanda right before dawn, ascertain if the Manu bhaiya could drive another stretch without proper rest. Driving through the banks of the Sutlej river, we headed to our first stay at River view hotel in Sarhan. We rested there and had breakfast. Sarhan is among those silent places where you will not find much of the crowd, meeting local kids, the Temple of Devi and first morning with beautiful landscapes.
21st June, Day 2 – Sarahan – Sangla (98 kms)
Continued Roadtrip on International Yoga Day
Later we took the road to Sangla village, it was at another river Baspa. It was a late morning start as we all were tired from the previous day’s hectic journey. Surprisingly, this day was First International Yoga Day, we were in a remote location with limited connectivity so we missed the grand celebration of first ever celebrated International Yoga Day.
The tough roads have started past Sarahan, scary and blind turns. There was everything that could make this route adventurous. We could observe that what would be coming on our way.
The iconic tunnel that leads to Kinnaur
Sangla is an offbeat place, you will not find many travellers there, the crowd here was mostly natives or the tough Bike riders. We made our second night halt at Sangla, obviously we made a prior booking this time at Hotel Rock View, Mr. Arjun Negi was our host. We had a perfect chill evening and with bonfire and music under the stars we made little more perfect.
22nd June, Day 3 – Sangla- Chitkul – Reckong Peo – Kalpa (110 kms)
The Last Village of India
22nd June — Morning at Sangla was beautiful, today we were supposed to go Chitkul, the last village of India. We went for a morning walk at dawn, it was fresh and breathtaking. There were apple orchards near the Baspa river and mountain view was a delight too. I could observe the reason why Delhi’s mornings never excite me to go on walk. Even the morning walks are not peaceful in the chaotic cities like Mumbai and Delhi.
Chitkul is around 35km from Sangla, we drove there, spotting the beautiful landscapes of Baspa Valley. It was so windy at Chikul, we all were shivering in the month of June. We spend a couple of hours here and had our lunch. We took really cool pictures at Chitkul just to mark that we were in India’s last village.
We already made a booking for the hotel at our next halt Kalpa. We reached there in the evening itself, that gave us chance to have an evening walk, but again, it was chilly here, moreover, the silence was scary too, so we gotta come back before night. For the first time I was not enjoying the silence, probably sometimes you need people around you to feel safe and comfort.
Later, we decided to have the dinner outside instead of having in our rooms. We enjoyed the windy weather on the roof of the hotel and later had dinner under stars. Yes, right! The sky was filled with bright stars, I was trying to figure out the constellations, but failed terribly. I realised, I am only an engineer not an astronomer.
23rd June, Day 4 – Kalpa – Pooh – Tabo – Kaza (210 kms)
First View of Spiti Valley
23rd June — Next day, it was a bright sunny morning. Ideal lights for photography with Kinnaur Kailash in the background. We came to know about Kinnaur Kailash trek, it is very exciting and adventurous, but unlucky again, it takes around 6 days to complete that trek. The care taker of the hotel in Kalpa, was excited too to send us for the trek, unluckily we had no choice to miss it. So, after breakfast, we gotta rush to our next destination Kaza.
The roads to Kaza were just spectacular, you would fall in love them. We were actually seeing the road to Spiti, those curves on the narrow roads was nothing less scary than the edge of a hill. Passed the bridge that puts us on the most treacherous road in the world. Soon, we lost mobile signals on our way, totally disconnected from the world for the next few days. Good or bad, we were not sure.
Spiti valley weather in june is almost pleasant throughout the month, with sunny days and cold nights. The June temperature in Spiti Valley ranges from 25 Degrees to 10 Degrees Celsius. We were carrying light woolen and Jackets to cover ourselves. However, in the windy weather you will really feel the chill of the mountains.
Kaza is among the top altitude towns, there were world’s highest retail shop(gas station) and world’s highest post office. This time of year is considered as the best time to visit Kaza. The temperature in Kaza was lowest of our previous stay. We made the bookings in Hotel Le Karze and stayed there overnight.
The Key Monastery at Kibber is a just few hours drive from Kaza. You would know why, Spiti is called as the barren land, there was no vegetation, just the breathtaking views of mountains and clouds.
24th June, Day 5 – Kaza – Kibber – Losar – Kunzum Pass – Batal (150 kms)
The Coldest Night
24th June — Kaza to Chandratal is another stretch, which was the particular interest of mine. We have to miss the Chandratal trek, as we ran short of time. While heading to Batal, we met some really interesting locals at Losar, they promised to meet us back in New Delhi. We had our lunch in Losar
We reached to some of highest altitude in our journey, Kunzum pass, nearly 15000 feet. That was super chilly and most us were having slight altitude sickness, though we learned that garlic water could be helpful(learned this at Kaza). Batal has this one Govt. aided Guest house managed by famous Chacha and Chachi of Batal, we stayed there for the night and this was coldest night of all. We all shared in our room as the it was too cold to go other room and none of us tried to extra adventurous.
We had a dinner of Maggi and soup only, the guy who served us the dinner, told his story that he accidently reached in Spiti Valley from Assam via Bihar, Delhi and Chandigarh, in search job and a good pay. I hope now he he had reached back to home.
25th June, Day 6 – Batal – Chattru – Rohtang Pass – Manali (130 kms)
Spiti Valley Circuit Completed
25th June — It almost snowing or it was hail storm, but surely not a pleasant weather at Batal, we left from there early in the morning on the road to Rohtang pass. Wait, there was no road, only stones and mud. Many times we placed rocks on the flowing water just to settle the tyres of our car. Our car stuck there a lot, but yeah, we managed well to pass that route and reach to snow covered Rohtang pass at 7’o clock.
We had those snow dress and climb up on the snow. The mountains covered with white cover of snow, it was the best snow view I had ever seen.
We started to drive down the mountains and reached to beautiful place, Manali in the afternoon, the last night halt. After spending so much time at remote and offbeat locations, Manali seems to be really crowded for us. We had best of the time here, clicking selfies, enjoying some Punjabi dinner, exploring shops and market.
26th June, Day 7 – Manali – New Delhi (560 kms)
That is how we ended our trip and head back to New Delhi at dawn.
All thanks to friends — Ashwin, Gaurav, Himanshu, Arjun and Anuj.