I took 9 days holiday from my office and booked the tickets for Delhi to go on trip somewhere in Himalayas but didn't know where. Reached Delhi in morning and went to Chandni Chowk. After that went to ISBT to get info about road conditions as there were news about landslides at that time. Was confused between Kashmir and Spiti valley. Finally chose to go to Spiti valley. As I have 9 days decided to complete Spiti circuit and with that bought the ticket for Rampur which is ahead of Shimla which was over night journey. There are many night buses to Shimla, Manali from Delhi and you can reach Spiti from Shimla as well as Manali. From Manali, every morning a bus leaves for Kaza. You can check details on https://online.hrtchp.com/
Opened my eyes in morning found myself in beautiful hills touching clouds. After sometime bus stopped for breakfast near Narkanda. It was really a beautiful place full of greenery.
Around 12 pm reached Rampur and got freshed up here and had some lunch afterwards on bus station. You can get regular buses for Reckong Peo and also buses to Sangla(though not so frequent). Now had two options for my next destination either Reckong peo (from where I will get my bus to Kaza next morning) or Sangla (which is a beautiful valley on Kinnaur, from where I was planning to go to Chitkul). After 1-2 hours I boarded the bus for Sangla and decided to visit Chitkul, which is Last village of India border. After few hours of travel reached Sangla in evening but missed the last bus to Chitkul, but you can take cab their which costs you and not for budget travellers. But there was another bus which goes to Rakchham which is halfway between Sangla and Chitkul and it's also more beautiful than Sangla. When I reached there it was already dark and now I had to find place to stay. There are few hotels in Rakchham but as much as Sangla and also they are little expensive, so I chose to stay in homestay instead. There were some lady's on bus who were resident of that village so I asked them for homestay and one of them provide homestay and price was 500 per night and it was good and clean room. After having dinner outside, bought some snacks for morning and charged my phone and power bank and went for sleep.
In morning I wake up early and got ready by 6:30 am and had some tea which my host offered me and started walking for Chitkul which was around 12 km from there. In morning the views were even more amazing.
After walking 4 km reached checkpost and registered my name and then hitch hiked to Chitkul and chilled there for some time near Baspa river and the valley views were amazing and thought after all it was not bad idea to come here.
After spending sometime at Chitkul, it was time to leave for Reckong Peo from where we will get buses going towards Spiti. Again I Hitchhiked with same group. This was a group of 4 cousins from South India who were planning to do rent bike in Spiti and explore, so I also joined them. We started without having any lunch from Chitkul as there was a bus at 1 pm which go till Sumdo, which is just the starting of Spiti Valley (and same bus comes back till Chango and go forwards till Kaza in the next morning, this is something that we learnt while in that bus). In route of Reckong you come across Karcham Wangtoo plant on Satlej river and can also see the confluence of Spiti and Satlej river. We reached Reckong Peo just in time, infact we had to stop the bus in mid of road and board it, just lucky enough. We planned to stop at Chango for that day which comes before Sumdo, as some local people told that its difficlut to find place to stay at Sumdo. As we started journey from Reckong towards Chango we started getting flavors of barren cold dessert. We reached Chango in late evening and got homestay just near the place where bus stopped and from same place next morning bus will come. Cost was around Rs. 600 per room (excluding food). In dinner, I had veg thali which costed around 100-150(unlimited rice, roti and sabji (dal, rajma)).
Next Morning we boarded the same bus we boarded previous day, which goes to Kaza this day. Though bus came 1-1.5 hour late because it was too cold in morning that bus took time to start. Reached Kaza afternoon, in route bus also took diversion to pickup at Gui (famous for old Mummy Stupa) village which is little diversion from Sumdo.
After reaching Kaza, we had our lunch at Himalayan Cafe in Kaza, food and ambiance was good. You can also rent bike from Cafe. After lunch we went further into market to rent bikes (Himalayan cafe didn't have much bikes available). They had Royal-Enfield (350 cc and 500 cc), Activa and Aprilia Sr 150. After renting we started our journey towards Tabo, to visit 1000 year old Gompa (monastery). That night we stayed in Tabo. Cost around Rs. 600 per room (excluding food).
Next morning, we headed towards Dhankar Village. At Dhankar we also hiked to Dhankar lake at further high altitude (4140 mt.). One can also see the confluence of Spiti and Pin river.
After an exhausting hike, we had lunch at Dhankar gompa restaurant, food was good and there are also stay options. But we want to go Mud Village in Pin Valley and spend night there. We continued our journey towards Mud and halted at Kungri monastery on the way before reaching Mud. Mud has lot of options for stay. We reached Mud in evening and had some tea and snacks. In night we had dinner along with some other travelers, played music and enjoyed for some time. Cost Rs. 600 per room (excluding food). In dinner, I had veg thali which costed around 100-150(unlimited rice, roti and sabji(mix veg, dal)).
Next morning, we woke up had some tea and started from Mud and our first destination for today was Demul (a remote village in Spiti). Views on the way were amazing which makes it worth visit and also there is a spot on top, called Balari top from where one can spot 18 villages of Spiti.
After spending some time at Demul(4320 meters) we headed towards Kaza from where we planned to Langza, Komic and Hikkim Village. There is also a route from Demul to Komic directly (then one can visit Hikkim and Langza then go to Kaza). First we visited Langza(4419 meters), which is famous for Buddha statue and also known as fossil village.
Then, we went to Komic(4587 meters), which is the highest village connected to motorable road. There is also a famous Tangyud monastery. We took a halt for some time and had our lunch in Komic.
After lunch in Komic, we headed towards the Hikkim(4400 meters) village, which has the highest post office in world. After visiting post office we started our journey back to Kaza and started hunting for rooms. Finally we little bargaining we got room of cost around Rs. 800 per room(excluding food, you can get dinner for around Rs. 100-120). We booked this room for 2 days. After that we went to explore Kaza in night.
Next morning everyone was tired and don't want to go anywhere, so i decided to go alone today. After having breakfast i started my journey towards Key Monastery. Went inside the monastery and a monk there showed and explained some interesting things kept in monastery and then also offered me green tea before leaving from there. Apparently they are also constructing a museum there.
After having tea, I left towards Kibber(4270 meters) village but before going to Kibber village decided to take a diversion little before Kibber and visit Tashigang(4362) village. Tashigang is a village less explored but a beautiful village it is. One can see Langza Buddha statue from here. First comes the Gette village, then one crosses the unknown pass, after that you come across a herd of Yaks and finally reach Tashigang village, consisting of 3 houses and very nice and kind people. On whole route it feels like you are riding on Tibetan plateau. There is very old caves near this village which was used for meditation for months in it. I asked the local to take me to those caves. There is no road, so you have to walk there.
It was nice experience to go inside the cave and see it. After that, villager invited me to this house and offered me tea and snacks. Then they told me to have lunch then go, but I requested that i have to go as i want to reach back before evening and it would take time as roads are not good. After that, I started back to Kibber and went further beyond Kibber to visit Chicham bridge, which is Asia's highest bridge. Then i returned back to Kaza well before evening.
After coming back we started asking for cab that can take us to Chandrataal and then to Manali (Note: you cannot take a bike rented from Kaza to Chandrataal). Taxi union quoted Rs. 11500 for Tata Sumo, then we asked out host to ask his cab friend and he arranged it in Rs. 10000. If you are alone and you don't find any co-travellers to share the can fare, then another budget option is to catch the morning Manali bus from Kaza and ask the driver to drop on Chandrataal diversion after descending from Kumzum pass and either start walking for Chandrataal or hitchhike if you find any (though must say hitch hiking is difficult in Spiti valley, so best way is public transport for budget travelling). After having some shopping in Kaza market and dinner in Cafe Zomsa(another very good Cafe with options for live music), we went to sleep.
On Day 7, we had our breakfast and then started for Chandrataal(4300 meters) in cab that we booked. Our first stop of the day was Losar where we had paratha, maggi, tea and after half hour left from there for Kumzum pass(4600 meters) and stop there for some time. Suddenly the weather changed and snow flurry started making weather too cold. Then after some time we left from Kumzum pass and moved towards Chandrataal (after coming down from Kumzum pass there are two road left goes to Batal-Manali and right goes to Chandrataal.
Car stops about 1 km before Chandrataal where you can find Camps and first thing we did was to take a camp to stay at night. We took sleeping bag camp with capacity of 5 people as it was cheaper than others and also includes evening snacks, dinner and breakfast. Cost was around Rs. 800 per person(don't remember exactly, but it was cheaper as it was approaching almost end of season). After leaving our luggage we left for lake and spend good amount of time chilling out there and returned back by evening. After having dinner we all went to our camp for sleep and it was freezing cold at night.
Next day, we woke up in morning at it was freezing cold in morning, Were temperature was below zero and came out of camp and saw the frozen water and ice on bikes and cars. After having breakfast we quickly left from there and thought of having proper meal at Batal thinking there would be lesser cold in Batal. After reaching Batal we had paratha, maggi and tea at famous "chacha chachiji dhaba".
Then we left from there crossed the Chandra valley. Views were mesmerizing as we can saw lower part of Bara Shigri glacier, Papsura(6451 meters) and Dharamsura(White Sail, 6446 meters) peak and some other peaks. There were no roads literally, it was completely off-roading.
Our next stop was Chhatru(3300 meters), where we had our lunch (rajma chawal) and then moved towards Rohtang pass and after small halt towards Manali. We reached Manali around 1:30 pm. Weather at Rohtang pass and Manali was cloudy.
After that I went to Bus station and booked overnight bus to Delhi. Couldn't believe that trip was already to an end. At the end, this trip was an amazing experience, worth to be remembered in life and do it again someday.
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