*What is Spiti?
Spiti means the Middle Land. Spiti is the valley, surrounded by the mountains and remains cut off for most part of the year due to heavy snowfall and having very low temperature(-35 degree Celsius).
*Where it is?
Basically Spiti is in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. It is middle land between India & Tibet.
*How to get there?
There are two ways to reach Spiti valley.
1- Via Shimla - Kinnaur (445 km)- This route remains open throughout the year. But in distance wise comparison this road is more than double in kilometers. But it has its own beauty of Hindustan Tibet Highway (NH 505). From this route you will reach Kaza in 2-3 days passing through Shimla - Kalpa - Sangla - Chitkul - Nako - Tabo - Pin valley - Kaza.
2- Via Manali - Lahaul (200 km)- This route opens only during May ending to September. It is cheaper in the budget and also this route is much shorter in distance but due to pathetic road from Gramphoo to Batal and numerous water crossing at few places especially around Chhota Dhara, this road is avoided by some travelers.
*We, group of 3 friends from Ahmedabad decided to go to Spiti after completion of our Engineering last year! We have booked tour through local traveling agency from Ahmedabad to Ahmedabad in June. We chose Manali route.
Major Places covered in 7 days- Naggar, Mandi, Rohtang pass, Batal, Kunzum pass, Losar, Kaza, Langza, Komic, Hikkim, Kee Monastery, Kibber, Tabo, Dhankar monastery-Lake, Chandrataal lake, Solang valley, kullu, Manali mall road...
Day 1: Ahmedabad - Naggar (Manali)
*I am basically from Ahmedabad. Our journey to Dreamland was started in Jammu Tavi Express (19223) from Ahmedabad. Skipping that 2 days of train I am starting from Manali.
*We Reached Naggar (Manali) early in the morning. After getting freshen up, we went for local sightseeing and took bath under very cold spring water! As per locals, it will help to acclimatize our body with Higher altitude.
*Full day stay at the camp site to set up our body with higher altitude.
Stay: Swiss tent, Naggar.
Day 2: Manali - Rohtang pass - Gramphoo - Chhatru - Batal - Kunzum pass - Kaza
Traveling - SUV- 200 km (15-20 hours with halts)
*We are going to Dreamland! Spiti!
*We are passing through one of the most adventurous roads in the world. Every mile has a different thrill and a different story to tell!
*We departed Early in the morning around 3 AM From Naggar via Manali - Leh highway and then NH505.
*We took the first halt at Marhi (10650 ft) around 5:45 am. And Had great tea at Chamba Dhaba.
*We had taken permission in advance for Rohtang pass.
*Reached Rohtang Pass (13058 ft) at around 7 AM. The real adventure starts from here. Straight and smooth roads are now in pictures only. There were sharp turns after few straight drives and if you blink for a second then you will be in a deep ditch..
*With Mesmerizing view of glaciers and a snow-covered mountain we entered in high altitude zone of Great Himalayas. Mighty mountains are welcoming us with streams at every 100-200 meters.
*Gramphu was a splitting point of the road where one was leading to Leh and and another was to Spiti. Northbound of Gramphu is Leh and Southward is Spiti.
*Chhatru (11100 ft) halfway from Manali to Spiti. After Chhatru near Chhota Dhara, we crossed the Chenab river. There is no bridge for crossing this river. We had to go through the complete river, But with our luck, the flow of water was less and slow. We stepped out of SUV, so the driver can safely get a car out of the river without any load and we walked in this chilled water of snow and wherever possible we climbed on rocks to prevent our leg's veins from blockage due to cold water.
*We are crossing the road at speed of maximum 20 km/hour due to very muddy and bad road conditions.
*We took a halt at Batal (13940 ft) for lunch near 2:30 pm. We had a great lunch at a very remote place Chacha - Chachi Dhaba with warm welcome and Rajma-Chaval-Dal. This place also provides rooms for night stay.
*Batal is the place where the road is separated for Chandrataal And Spiti. A few kilometers later we took right side diversion and took the road for Losar.
*The Kunzum Pass (15059 ft), tthe second pass on our route to Spiti started right after we crossed Chandrataal diversion.
*We had heard of kunzum pass like one hears a fable. The path was narrow, uneven and windy. It was dusty and barren. It was inhospitable. It was not meant for life!
*After reaching to the top of the Kunzum Pass our next stop was Losar. But Before going further we took halt at the Kunzum Mata temple. Every vehicle that heads to the Spiti valley by this route, halts here for a blessing, for thankful to Mata for crossing it..
*We entered in Spiti valley though the Losar village (13,400) at around 7 PM. The view, the village brought us back to reality out of the shock of Kunzum Pass. We registered our vehicle at a checkpoint.
*We are waiting for the end of the road, we were tired and scared, we were frustrated with not ending road. High altitude and thin air making us frustrated, But we didn’t realize that we were so close to our dream destination. And at around 9 PM finally, we were in a Headquarter of Spiti - Kaza (12500 ft)!
*And then we went to our hotel room. (Norbuling hotel) And Had light dinner and stared at the sky. We were able to see Milky way through naked eyes without any external equipment.
Stay: Hotel Room - Norbuling hotel
Day 3: Kaza - Langza - Komic - Hikkim- Kee - Kaza
*After taking a little halt we crossed villages like Kiato, Pangmo, Kuric and Rangrik.
*It was completely dark and we needed to cross several bridges and our final bridge connecting to the Chicham - Kibber - Kee villages to Kaza.
*Our first day in Spiti started in Kaza with little climbing on Kaza's small Hill behind Sakya Tangyud Monastery, Where you will find a superb top view of Kaza.
Kaza - Langza - 15 km (1 hours)
*After that we went to the Langza(14500 ft). It is known as Fossil village of Spiti. Langza and many other villages of Spiti submerged under the ancient geological Tethys Ocean, more than 200 million years ago. There were fossils of marine animals which can be seen today in Langza and neighboring villages.
Langza - Komic - 13 km (45 mins)
*According to HPPWD, Komic (15050 ft) is the highest village in the World connected with the motorable road with a population of nearly 114.
*A massive statue of Lord Budhha guarding the hamlet is the tallest structure here and it looks like it taking watch over whole village.
Komic - Hikkim - 13 km (30 mins)
*Hikkim (14567 ft) is famous for the World's highest Post office at a height of 4440mtr.
*One can send a postcard and it will be reached in any part of India in 30 days. It also acts as a savings bank for locals.
Hikkim - Kee - 28 km (1.5 Hours)
*With the most amazing view of Spiti valley and one of the best places of the trip and personally first in my list of Spiti valley is Key monastery (13688 ft).
*It is the largest monastery in the entire Spiti Valley. There was 3 floor in the monastery, Walls were covered with painting and murals. It accommodates nearly 350 monks nowadays. One of the best view of Spiti valley can be get from here.
*It was founded by Dromton, one of the students of teacher, Atisha in the 11th century. It has been attacked and destroyed many times but still it is one of the most attractive places in India.
Kee - Kaza - 15 km (40 mins)
*Visited Kaza local market in the evening, Tried Chhang, the local barley beer, and Arakh, the local barley whiskey.
Stay: Hotel Room
Day 4: Kaza - Tabo - Dhankar - Kaza
Kaza - Tabo - 50 km (1.5 hours)
*We reached Tabo (10,760 ft) at around 10:45 AM passing through Tabo bridge and visited the Tabo monastery
*Tabo monastery was founded in 996 CE. It has a plethora of wall paintings and mud statues made by hand. It is noted for being the oldest continuously operating Buddhist enclave in both India and the Himalayas.
*The magnificent Tabo Caves are located just above the ancient Tabo Monastery, which was founded more than 1000 years ago. It serves as dwellings for monks during the harsh winters.
*We had a great lunch at Hotel Tiger Den and left for Dhankar village
Tabo - Dhankar - 32 km (1 hours)
*We reached Dhankar village (12,774ft) at around 2 pm.
*After a trek of approx 2 km from Dhankar monastery we reached Dhankar lake (14010 ft).
*The trek was a true test of fitness and stamina as both are needed to go from a height of 3890 meters to 4270 meters in a matter of hours with an insufficient level of oxygen.
*But finally, after much struggle, we reached near Dhankar Lake. Lake has a mesmerizing view with the surrounding mountains. It had Crystal clear and placid water. We did drink this water.
Dhankar - Kaza - 33 km (1 hours)
*After careful coming down to base, we drove back towards Kaza.
*We reached kaza around 6:30 pm. And tried some awesome local food there.
Day 5: Kaza - Kunzum pass - Chandrataal - Batal - Rohtang pass - Naggar
*With lots of memories, We left Kaza in early morning for a Chandrataal.
Kaza - Chandrataal - 125 km (5.5 hours)
*From Kaza via Losar village and Kunzum pass, we take a turn towards Chandrataal lake before 3 km to Batal, But the road was very narrow and dangerous and way more adventurous then Chhota Dhhara pass.
*Finally after 14 km of horrible drive, We reached to Chandrataal lake (14,100 ft) with the walking of 25-30 mins. when we reached Chandrataal, the first thing that came in our mind was, It's really worthy to visit Chandrataal above all this risks!
*Chandrataal got its name because of its crescent shape. Mountains of scree overlook the lake on one side, and a cirque encloses it on the other. It is like an ocean of blue water.
Chandrataal - Batal - 15 km (1.5 hours)
*After that we left for Batal at around 1 PM. We had our lunch at Kangri Dhaba. They have 4 types of dal & Chaval, and Tea - coffee.
Batal - Rohtang Pass - Manali - 125 km (7 hours)
*We left from Batal in half an hour. With dangerous road cum stones we passed through Gramphu & Chhatru reached Rohtang Pass in 4.5 hours and had small halt.
*We reached Manali around 9:30 pm.
Day 6: Naggar - Solang Valley - Manali - Ahmedabad
Manali - Solang Valley- 35 km (1.5 hour)
*We left for Paragliding in Solang Valley (8400 ft) early in the morning. After waiting for an hour for wind, We started adventurous ride of Paragliding. One of the best adventures in the whole trip.
*After that, we did River Rafting in Beas river.
*In the evening, we visited Overcrowded Manali mall road, Hidimba Devi Temple, Vashist Temple- it is said to be at least 4000 years old. Tried local alcohol- Lugdi (Made from Rice).
*Finally, my trip to Dreamland - Spiti ???? ended with lots of non forgettable memories and our heavy hearts.
*Once again we needed to go towards the reality leaving the dreams behind, towards the overcrowded cities, towards the jungles of concrete, One more time we were rushing to reach before 10 AM and struggling to leave at 7 PM from the cage.
*And with all these thoughts we went to our respective cities from there onwards.
*Trip was completed on the 27th of June. It has been 1.5 years for this click but my affection towards Spiti, Towards Kee Monastery, Towards god's own land is still the same as it was.
*The Never ending journey of Life! And this tale of Spiti will never ends...
*And that's why I am going one more time to my Dreamland. Winter is there and yes, I am going to the places where the World ends...!
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