Situated high up in Trans Himalayan territory, Spiti Valley, meaning “the middle land”, is a place to travel at least once in a lifetime or may be for a person like me every now and then in a lifetime. Spiti Valley is a place that can surely leave you spell bound by its charismatic natural beauty and the Road to Spiti Valley is not far behind in decorating the entire trip with such beauty. There are two routes that goes to Spiti Valley,
i) via Manali as Manali – Rohtang Pass – Gramphu – Chattru – Kunzum Pass – Kaza (Spiti Valley)
ii) via Shimla – Kinnaur Valley as Shimla – Kinnaur – Nako – Sumdo – Tabo – Kaza(Spiti Valley), commonly known as Hindustan – Tibet Highway.
Going via Manali side by and large depends first upon opening of Rohtang Pass and then opening of route from Gramphu to Kunzum Pass and Kunzum Pass in itself. This generally takes time and remains closed for almost 7 months in an year. Rohtang Pass generally opens post Mid – May and further route to Kaza over Kunzum Pass almost opens by second week of June only.
The Hindustan – Tibet highway remains open all through out the year via Kinnaur Valley and you can make a journey to Kaza over it all round the year because there is no high mountain pass that comes on this route. It is said to be motorable all round the year, however, traveling to Spiti Valley especially in winter months is not that easy as it reads and conditions in winters on Hindustan – Tibet highway is quite challenging and tough.
I took this route, the Hindustan – Tibet Road which is popularly known as one of the most adventurous and deadliest roads in the world overlapping the majority of traditional silk route and running alongside of National Highway – 22 (NH – 22). The road trip over Hindustan – Tibet Road running through some of the remotest and magnificent vistas is something hard to ever forget in one’s life. In certain stretches NH22 (the old Hindustan-Tibet Road) is terrible, but what makes up for this is the gorgeous landscape that changes as one drives through the lush mountains of Kinnaur Valley and crosses into the rugged moonscape of Spiti with just a few villages in between.