Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip

14th Sep 2019

A tale of Spiti and Chandrataal - My experiences and explorations

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Since childhood we get to hear stories of the explorers, travelers who roamed around the world and discovered places. More or less we were always fascinated by the idea of travelling. Eventually we started believing that travel is liberation, for some it becomes an escape root and for some it’s a luxury. Some people would be happy travelling uncountable miles and for some going to their neighborhood brings joy. Definition differs person to person so the choices for the destinations too. What remains common for most Travel lovers, is the fact that it is a discovery within.

Months of planning, bargaining for few more days of leaves at office, saving few more extra thousand rupees and pushing that little boundary of physical and mental ability, we leave no stone unturned. I sometime ask – Why I want to travel, what I want to achieve out of it? May be the answer is similar to what I have given above but I never stopped asking this question and never stopped being curious about my interests. I am a seeker and will remain so. That brings me to initiate blogging for Travel Stories. To share my thoughts with other Seekers. After-all, who can ignore views like this!

Spiti valley view

Photo of Spiti Valley Trip, Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

The destination is a part of Lahaul Spiti District that is separated by Kunzum Pass. The Middle Valley or famously known as Spiti.

The route I was taking this time is not accessible throughout the year. Monsoon being notorious I had to plan it around autumn for sure. During winter it is mostly unreachable, thus, around August I decided to plan for September schedule with TripVer. After all, this is the month to witness clear weather and moderate temperature. Snow cannot be expected around this time which I didn’t mind. Initially it was a solo trip but eventually my cousin kid brother joined the bandwagon. It was little unplanned and we knew we had to make this happen under low budget.

This time I was seeking solace, tranquility and peace and felt Spiti would give me the same. I will take you through that journey now, please fasten your seat belts .....

Note: This was a short backpacking budget trip. We stayed at limited places. I will share the approx budget considering my experience and researches towards the end. We started our Journey from Delhi but here we would be covering from Manali to Manali.

By now many of you might know that there are few ways to visit Spiti -

Route 1 - via Simla - Nako - Tabo - Kaza - Chandrataal - Kunzum Pass - Rohtang Pass - Manali (full circuit) - Possible during summer months only (April - September)

Route 2 - via Manali - Rohtang Pass - Chandrataal - Kunzum Pass - Kaza and same way back (Possible during summer when Rohtang Pass is open.

Route 3 - Via Simla - Nako - Tabo - Kaza and way back when Rohtang Pass is closed (Open entire year).

We took route 2 as this was in the middle of September when the route is expected to be Rain free and Rohtang Pass to be clear. I would not say that things were smooth throughout. There were challenges of frequent altitude gains and temperature changes but we will come to that at a later part.

Starting Point - Manali - A - Rohtang Pass, B - Chhatru, C - Kunzum Pass, D - Losar, E - Kibber, F - Langza, G - Hikkim, H - Komic, I - Kaza

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Before we begin....

• Ensure the driver has the Rohtang Pass permit in advance

• Carry enough cash as ATMs are available at only limited places In Kaza with uncertain availability. Better to collect the cash from Manali

• Water is a must would be even better to carry 1 liter ORS as despite altitude gains the climate is dry sun rays are piercing

• Days can be very hot and with high UV exposure. Cover your body and eyes. Hat and sunglasses are must with Sunscreen.

• Avoid alcohols, this will help you to prevent or minimise the risk of Altitude Sickness

• One should carry all basic medicines along with Diamox (even better to have the pill in advance but always discuss with your doctor first)

• Carry dry food with high nutrition value and that are easily digestible. Avoid oily or heavy protein based complex foods

• Day and Night temperature in Spiti valley differs a lot so bring layers instead of 1 heavy woolen

• Bikers – Fast and Furious was a movie made under supervision. Dwayne Johnson would not be able to save you so be slow, wear proper gears and adhere to the safety guidelines to enjoy the complete experience

Day 1 - Reached Manali

We reached Manali from Delhi via AC Volvo Bus (12-14 hours). However, there are many other options available -

• One can reach Chandigarh via Train or Plain and from there are plenty of Buses available and its around 6-7 hours journey.

• Nearest airport from Manali is Kullu-Manali Airport which is at Bhuntar (50 KMs from Manali).

• From Simla by road

A day spent in Manali is always an exciting feeling and lifetime memory. The lush green surrounding were setting the right mood for the upcoming journey. We too had our share of pure bliss but that's a story for another time. For now sharing few moments captured. Not to forget, we met our travel buddies at Delhi and by now we were comfortably communicating and making this experience more enjoyable.

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Day 2 - Manali to Kaza

Let me be honest, this was unexpectedly long journey for us. The journey covers 202 KMs and also involves frequent altitude changes, making it extremely important to be aware of the precautionary measures that we have discussed above. The route as we followed -

Manali - Leh Manali Highway - Try to start around 6:30 AM as it takes between 9-14 hours depending on the road conditions. For us it took 13 hours despite starting around 7 am IST. Early morning's transport rush were minimal which helped us to reach Rohtang pass faster

Rohtang Pass - Alt - 13050 ft - The view would definitely mesmerise you on a clear morning. We stayed there for 45 mints approx to enjoy the surroundings. After crossing Rohtang pass, we were on hold for 2 hours due to road maintenance work. However, we enjoyed the halt as one would not get disappointed with the floating clouds and snow cap mountain views for sure. These were some of the reasons it is always preferred to start the day early.

A clear day at Rohtang Pass

Photo of Rohtang Pass, Himachal Pradesh by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

After crossing Rohtang we were accompanied by beautiful Chenab river Till Kunzum pass. Among the nature's high rises the agility of the river was bringing the essence of youthfulness and life. We were travelling through the Lahaul valley now.

After crossing Gramphu Bus Stand

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Gramphu Bus Stand

The junction from where the route to Leh and Spiti separates. Road towards north goes to Leh and towards east goes to Spiti. One could significantly witness the difference between the two road conditions as the one that goes to Leh is better maintained.

Chatru - We stopped here for Lunch (Limited options - Curry Rice, Rajma Rice, Instant Noodles, Eggs and Tea) Batal - Famous for Chacha Chachi Dhaba (another option for Lunch if reached early).

Photo of Chhatru, Himachal Pradesh, India by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Batal – Famous for Chacha Chachi Dhaba (another option for Lunch if reached early)

Kunzum Pass – Alt. 15059 ft – This is where Lahaul Valley meets Spiti valley. There is a small temple at it’s worth a Selfie at 15K with my brother. Here onward we were accompanied by Spiti river which followed us through the entire valley. Spiti river is an important tributary for Satluj. However, the river basin contributes half of the awe-factor towards this valley's attractions. One needs to experience with their own eyes.

Kunzum Pass

Photo of Kunzum Pass, Dhar Thachakarpo, Himachal Pradesh by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Kibber - Alt 14200 Ft. We would be visiting this place on our return journey and share the details accordingly.

Chicham Bridge

Photo of Kibber, Himachal Pradesh, India by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Chicham Bridge

Kaza - Alt. 12500 Ft. - Finally we reached Kaza at 8:15 PM. Remember we started around 7:00 AM. Both my brother and I made a mistake for not drinking ORS which we corrected next day onward. Heads were aching and we decided to have light supper and call it a night.

The notorious roads With shooting pebbles and graveled runs through rivulets many at times and some times there's "no roads at all". No doubts this road is considered the Most dangerous Roads in the World. They are "Dangerously Beautiful". Travelers are required to be patient and cooperating. There are always chances of landslides or flat tires or simply cars being stuck in the debris and we too were not exceptions.

Photo of Chicham Bridge, Chicham Khas, Himachal Pradesh, India by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Throughout the journey, I could feel that when it comes to Nature she can take over human capabilities and beat us with her vastness. It was 360 degrees of mountains staring at us as we were driving mostly above tree lines, the barren textures with the shadows playing above were teasing us to doubt our own sustainability for the upcoming days. We were exhilarated.

Day 3 - All about Kaza

The day started with a bright sunny welcome and from the hotel itself the view was serene and tranquil. Woke up around 8:00 AM but took a lazy start as we didn't have a hefty itinerary to cover. It was all about covering around 40 KM all total. Previous night we already realised that this place serves all kinds of foods we consume at home and also found one Bangali Cook! I am not a frequent Tea drinker but in mountains as you know ... equation changes! while sipping on the Tea my previous days headache was almost gone for the time-being (yes from the prolong travelling) and I was hoping for a day full of activities we had planned for a month now.

Sunny day view of Spiti Valley

Photo of Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

As we started ascending, the previous days dark landscapes were clearer now. These landscapes were way more different from what I have witnessed since childhood. No clutter of big hotels or hoardings. Only our eyes could be bothered with the glistening gallery of the river basin and never ending ethereal ranges.

We could see some locals and enthusiastic backpackers walking there way up to reach their destinations. We even gave lifts to some of them and shared their experiences. While sharing rides we met solo Indian lady mountaineer who almost walked through Spiti to explore the place. Also, met people from Armenia, Germany coming all the way along and wondering in the valley.


Photo of Komic, Himachal Pradesh, India by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Langza - (Alt. 14,500 ft) - One reason is enough to visit this place and that would be to watch Buddha watching over the valley and the peaceful ambiance it creates around. I was observing what I posted below for quite some time before I headed nearer for a closure look. I have been visiting mountains and monasteries for many years now and every place has its own glory. Here the exclusive experience was the contentment.

Note: During Snow all these places becomes inaccessible many at times.

Komic Village - (Alt. 15049 ft) - Known to be the "World's Highest Motorable Village". The place is 9 KM away from Langza and 18 KM from Kaza

The village hosted cycle racing that day which we missed by the time we reached but got to meet few people who participated. Hats-off to the adventurers who can beat the odds and come up to this place in such arid and extreme conditions.

The Buddha Statue at Langza

Photo of Langza, Himachal Pradesh, India by Rosy Paul Chowdhury
Photo of Langza, Himachal Pradesh, India by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

The next thing was visiting the Tangyud Monastery also known as Sakya Monastery. I would say this was not a large scale Monastery but I found what I wanted. First I came across someone (forgot his name unfortunately) who gave me a brief in about the festivals. I got to know, the Monastery main building shifted after 1975 (January) earthquakes (magnitude of 6.8). However, the old structure is still there which we visited. (Fpr details you can refer Wikipedia!). Also, he briefed me about the upcoming festivals in October where Lama would perform Chham (Puja) and he was making the Mukut (crown) for the same. Also, religious ceremonies including dances would be performed at the same time.

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Visiting Komic and not trying the Seabuckthorn (Local berry) Tea / Juice would be a crime. The only restaurant available (image below) offers this drink along with Thenthuk soup (non veg soup), Aktori (mini pancakes), if you are hungry by the time you visit Komic - which I am sure you will. The restaurant is eco- friendly and the owner is even friendlier.

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Hikkim - (Alt. 14,400 Ft.) - After leaving Komic it took around 15 mints for us to reach Hikkim which was down below the valley and 4 KM away (And 16 KM from Kaza). The attraction of this place is the functioning Post Office. This is the highest "Post Office of the World". One cannot miss the opportunity to bring back the essence of writing few lines in the age of typing electronic messages and send it to the people matters the most. Many of my Friends and Family wanted to have this experience and the Post Office didn't disappoint them. Though it takes quite a bit of time to reach the letters to the recipients (for me few are yet to be delivered after 1.5 months of the Trip) so set the correct expectations while stamping your own Postcards (If you wish). The fact is the Postman carries the letter on his shoulder and walks to Kaza then the letters get delivered to Delhi. I wonder how much efforts it requires and why despite being motorable, no vehicles are allocated to the staffs (matter of debate though).

Photo of Hikkim, Himachal Pradesh, India by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Kaza Township Exploration - After sending Postcards and catching my breath (yes the 2 mints walk was Breath breaking for me) we headed towards Kaza. Time to have Lunch and explore Kaza town.

Kaza is a small township but as Sub-divisional Headquarters for Spiti Valley this holds loads of significance. Hence, one could find the best amenities and facilities here that are no where to be found in the entire Spiti Valley.

Unfortunately, we couldn't explore the Spiti River delta but we gorged into the city to have Lunch @Kunzum and Spiti Restaurant (Do not miss the chocolate balls). We were tired in the evening so decided to skip the visit to "The Himalayan Cafe" hope we could have made it that night as the evening's cozy ambiance known to be quite entertaining and memorable.

Note: In September Kaza Monastery hosts festivals which we missed. Sharing the link for an informative site I found for he Lahaul Spiti festivals.


Photo of Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

What to Eat: Food would not be a problem as Veg and Non Veg all kinds of items including local cuisines like Tudkia Bhaat, Chha Ghost, Mittha, Aktori can be arranged at a local eateries. However, here we are discussing basic food and not anything extravagant.

Sipping my Seabuckthorn Tea

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

After having a delicious Lunch we marched for Kaza Monastery which was a pure treat of Peace, Colours and Warmth. The best thing about Spiti is you will find peace everywhere and the Monastery hardly had 4-5 people when I went up. Lamas were having a daily chat and as if the World has no hurries. Time just stood still. They felt my presence from afar and came to me. I thought may be taking Photos not allowed but I could not find any restriction signs anywhere. To my surprise, one of them approached me asking where I was from. Eventually others joined and I got to know that for few years he (Zam Yang - right beside me in the image below) stayed in Kolkata for Studies. I was feeling home right there 2000 KM away from home. I realised there once again - "Home is a feeling and not the structure". One of them was from Leh and gave me an invitation to visit there. So touched! many people were visiting but we were enjoying our chats. I stayed there around 30 mints and felt so content with the purpose for this trip. It's the people and the warmth they share makes a place worth remembering.

Photo of Kaza Monastery, Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Upon returning to our Hotel (Kunga) we were hoping for Bonfire. It was less windy that night not so chilly as well. Sitting by the fire, mumbling few songs with the travel buddies and looking at the surrounding we were swept away from our realities that in a few days we will have to go back to where we belong. I don't mind coming back to home, that's a priceless feeling at the end of the day but forgetting everything about my own self for sometime gives me scope to unlearn old things and think fresh. That's what was happening.

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

We stayed at Kaza for 2 nights. I would recommend staying around center of the town as public transports are not available for hopping into the markets unless you get a share ride from kind tourist

We knew that roads are again going to be bumpy. While coming to Kaza, 40% of the roads were covered in low light or darkness and we will get to witness the jaw-dropping views of the landscapes this time and we were also visiting the pending Kee Monastery at Kibber. After nodding our Good Byes we left for the day around 9:30 AM. We were excited for the day activities upcoming and also the fact being, this would be the last day venturing into the new horizons. We were about to witness the Serene Kee Monastery, Chicham Bridge, Chandratal Lake.

Kee Monastery (Alt 13668 ft.)

Sometimes we need to climb down the stairs of our reality to dig up the mines of darkness and bring out the Sun-rays. You may wonder what I am up to now with this statement. Well eventually I will bring up this context.

Kee Monastery - Picture courtesy - Yogesh (Spiti Travel buddy)

Photo of Key Gompa, Key Monastery, Key, Himachal Pradesh, India by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Kee Gompa - The Tibetan Buddhist Monastery and approximately 900 years old. By the structure of the Monastery it looks like a fort and has gone through several damages caused by human and nature since 14th century.

We parked our car outside and walked up to visit the main building. This was an ascent of almost 10 mints walk. The buildings are placed one after the other thus, the fort like look. One could ask for an accommodation here if informed well in advance. We wanted to try for the herbal tea available inside the Gompa but unfortunately it was Puja time for the Lamas and no one was available. After reaching at the top we could see the entire Spiti valley and the sound of Cymbals with slow and yet audible chants coming from the temple were adding a thrill to the atmosphere. Though I would not know the meanings for the chants but sitting there watching over the valley or listening to the prayers in that atmosphere can be a memorable experience for any human being Spiritual or not.

We went for a mini tour inside the Gompa. The place accommodates small rooms through narrow passages around the corners with only basic amenities. We looked inside for the chambers where Lamas pray (hermit mode). The chambers are cutoff from any outside noises or distractions as if meditating in the Himalayan caves. That is what I felt by getting inside the caves (meditations rooms) with so much darkness yet no darkness within the heart could be felt (May be I am getting bit Spiritual here!). Due to the ongoing prayers, we could visit the rooms, we were not stopped for distracting the monks.

When we approached the worship chamber where community prayers were going on, one of the senior Lama welcomed us and let us experience the tranquility. Like any other monasteries, this place was also enriched with colourful murals. After spending almost an hour we climbed down and header towards our next destinations.

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

The trip to Spiti gives you few milestones for sure -

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

By this time I have seen

• The highest village in the world (Komic)

• The highest Post Office in the world (Hikkim)

• The most notorious mountain roads of the world

• Asia's highest bridge (Chicham)

Mini halt at Hansa Village -

Would like to share a small experience here. For a short halt we stepped down at Hansa village on the way where one could find State Bank of India branch amidst the otherwise vacant area. This is a small village with with approx 10-15 houses with two storied stone made buildings. One could feel a touch of remote European village. Houses here are built to sustain in extreme weather conditions. Wooden logs could be found beside every houses. Every blocks of houses were massive and mostly painted in white. The interesting part was, we couldn't find a single soul in those houses. Not even a distant noise. As if people left the village, giving an eerie feel for the place. The fact was, people were out for days work. Else, it would have looked like coming from Herge' s books. I never thought I would feel that way. A mini civilisation showing all signs of lives yet no living being around. It was worth mentioning the experience.

Mini Hike to Chandratal

One of my senior colleague recommended Chandratal visit to me long time back and by the description of it I was already excited. We were hoping to reach there by afternoon as we didn't want to miss out the daylight over the lake. After almost about 5 hours journey we reached Chandratal base camp around 3:15 PM. Without wasting any time we dropped our luggage and set out for the trekking around 3:30 PM. The cab dropped us 1 km away from the lake. The hike was easy as not much of ascents were there except one or two minor places. Any age group with basic fitness and ample amount of time can take this hike. We could see several kids and people in their late fifties were enjoying the hike.

The moment the hike begun we witnessed the enchanting 360 degree views of the mountains. Some were snow capped, some were playing with the shadows and some were bathed in rays of the glistening sun. Patches of green all over the landscape made it so vibrant that one could forget all the exhaustion of the journey and get soaked into it. Gradually after two mini ascends the Lake peeked out.

The hike to Chandratal

Photo of Chandra Taal, Himachal Pradesh by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Chandratal Lake

Photo of Chandra Taal, Himachal Pradesh by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Unfortunately, due to the travel exhaustion we could not complete the full circle of the lake to have a complete view of the crescent shape from where it derives its name but standing beside the lake and enjoying the surroundings with bone chilling windy weather was not at all any disappointment. Everyone around there were celebrating the moments. Gradually the cloud started covering and we headed back towards our camps.

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

As if we are there looking at her tranquil water

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

Camping at Chandratal

I have done Sandakphu Trek before but that didn't offer me to have a Camping experience. My brother was also excited as this was his first too. The camp sites at Chandratal are well organised. It is unbelievable unless one goes there and experience themselves. The barren area where basic amenities becomes luxury and climate teases you every day to question your abilities, the organizers provides you with Hotel-Like services. I rather doubt if I should consider this as a Camping experience or Camp Hotel experience instead. Mostly one could find Swiss Tents here with attached Bathrooms. So during sub zero temperatures you don't have to go out in the middle of the night if your body betrays you with nature's call. There are separate kitchens and Campfire tents. However, if one is not smartly layered; going to the tents from ones own room tents after sunset would be bone chilling. Luckily my few years of travel researches and layering techniques helped me to keep myself warm. Woolen socks, Woolen gloves, 1 basic layer, 2 Warm layer and 1 Wind come water proof jacket along with the woolen skull cap were my saviors for the day.

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

We had a fulfilling experience of bonfire inside the dedicated tent where people chat in the evening. In Bangla we call it "Adda". People were sharing their journey experiences. We came across a group of Hexa-generian Bikers who came from South England. Their enthusiasm would put a 15 years old into shame. The manager of that Biker's gang were from an India based company. I wish I could have written down the details. All I remember he was from Rajasthan and accompanying the troupe in a four wheeler with 2 mechanics. He himself had a history of Shoulder dislocations (twice!). These people amazes me and may be that's why I wanted to write blogs!

At night we had a sumptuous buffet meal of Soup, Rice, Rajma Daal, Roti, Vegetable curry. I am thankful to the people who arranged such delicacies in those remote places. Even the breakfast next morning was grand with combinations of Breads, muesli, jam butter egg, Puri Sabji, fruits. Unfortunately, I had to miss that as I was not feeling well. Reason being the previous night I had a Claustrophobic experience in the middle of the night and my sleep went for a toss! But I would rather not remember that experience considering the ethereal views we witnessed next morning as the weather was clear and bright. However, water lines were jammed as the temperature reached sub zero the previous night.

We left the place early as we had to cover around 100+ km again but I wished we could visit Chandratal once again that day.

Day 5 - Chandratal to Manali

Way back to Manali was almost same experience as that of first day journey to Kaza only exception being, we were stuck in the loose stones and it took some hefty efforts to pull up the car. Thanks to a fellow driver who guided ours that time. As I mentioned before, traveling in such roads cannot be possible without co-operations, patience and extended supports.

Saying goodbye to the Roads one last time

Hope by now you have understood there were few things which we couldn't do the way we wanted to do but despite what didn't happen the thing that mattered most was we were loaded with experiences and memories . Thanks to Mother Nature and weather for making this an experience of lifetime. This was worth the time we bargained and the cost we saved for.

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

The trip for Spiti ended at Manali that day and we took the Bus ride back to Delhi. We were completely exhausted but something was still there, a Joy for returning home! I always feel this way because for me returning means, returning with an enrichment, lifetime experiences and stories to tell - to those where you belong! After all.........

The Experiences We Had -

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

The Struggles We Overcame

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

The People We Met

Photo of Spiti and Chandrataal - Call of The Desert Mountains #Spiti #Chandratal #budgettrip by Rosy Paul Chowdhury

..... cannot be measured with the amount of time we have spent there or could have spent more. Also, neither with what didn't go as per plan but what we learnt from it. As long as we consider ourselves as Travelers instead of Tourist, all journeys would be mentally nourishing and equally memorable.

The Overall Costs

We made it within 20,500 considering our Train journeys from Kolkata to Delhi to Manali To Kaza and same way back. Yet we had all the experiences expected within this time frame and budget.

• We booked our Backpacking trip with TripVer from Delhi To Delhi (One can also plan from Manali to Manali) which cost us 12,500 Per person for transport, stay and 5 total meals.

• Apart from this we spent around 1500 on food overall.

• There are some costs which are personal and depends upon how one would like to spend –

o Sending Postcards would cost 36 per card unless one prefers the simple post cards from Post Office (6-10 Rs unsure of the cost).

o Buying some fridge magnets as Souvenir (100 - 150 / pc - Locally made and thus I didn't mind spending few little bucks extra)

o We have spent some time @Manali Cafes and Manali Site seeing on the first day and while returning as well. We took autos for commute. Overall per head it cost us 1200 during the entire Manali stay

Hope this article gave you some insights. Please comment below on what do you feel and any experiences you would like to share and let me know when you would be packing next!