Spiti Surmount

Tripoto
3rd Jun 2016
Photo of Spiti Surmount 1/2 by Sameer Wadhwani

The adventure covet had evolved into a new dimension after 'The Dream ride to Leh'. It could no longer be satiated by mere visual indulgence or voyaging into unknown territories, but demanded a bracing mental furor with a wacky sense of niche attainment. Thankfully the hyperactive travel sites feed these aspirations by bribing the HTTP cookies to deliver the correct match, right to your online doorstep.

World's most treacherous Road seemed a reasonably good punchline to intrigue our inner dementia. And so the plan to surmount Spiti materialized.

Route:

Delhi - Narkanda - Sangla - Nako - Tabo - Losar - Kaza - Kunzum - Chandertaal - Rohtang -Manali - Prashar - Delhi

Photo of Spiti Surmount 2/2 by Sameer Wadhwani

Five of us in Scorpio and 1 on RE Bullet; Insane destination. This was going to be spectacular!

Day 1

Delhi to Narkanda (420 kms)

Everyone was itching to escape the dreadful heat of Delhi and get some respite in the sedative ambiance of the hills. And hey presto, as soon as we entered the ghats, the weather turned misty and greeted us with incredible spectacle:

Wondrous weather and terrific terrain

Photo of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

Jolly colorful Hill huts

Photo of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

Our stay at Narkanda - Shimla Hills International

Photo of Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

We reached our stay for the night - Shimla Hills International (Narkanda) in damp plight but cheerful spirits, all geared up for the forthcoming adventure starting next day.

Day 2

Narkanda to Sangla (157 km)

A hearty breakfast with valley view and cool breeze set things up for a perfect start to the day:

Appetizing Breakfast

Photo of Sangla, India by Sameer Wadhwani

We fueled up and began our ascent to Sangla:

All set for Sangla

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

On the way we encountered gorgeous vistas in form of cavernous mountain roads near Kinnaur:

True connotation of a ROCKing click!

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Way to Kinner Camps (Up the hill - left side road)

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Finally arrived at our accommodation - Kinner Camps (Sangla), a beautiful campsite nested among the mountains, adjacent to river and into nature's green lap:

Sangala -Kinner Camps - Lovely place :)

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

In evening, there was bonfire, followed by unforgettable late night conversations till the break of dawn:

Bonfire: The perfect remedy to shoot down chills

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani
Day 3

Sangla/Chitkul to Nako (130 km)

We decided to cover Chitkul early in the morning as we had reached late to camps yesterday after taking numerous halts standing transfixed, gawking at the mesmerizing landscapes. The road to Chitkul village turned out to be an extension to amazing canvases from the day before:

Photo of Nako, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

Turn 1 - ahem..cool

Photo of Nako, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

Turn 2 - even more interesting; water stream running throughout the route

Photo of Nako, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

Turn 3 - Was that it?

Photo of Nako, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

Turn 4 - aha...WOWterfall!

Photo of Nako, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

Chitkul Village: Last village on Indo-China Border. Can't cross this checkpost

Photo of Nako, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

So we headed back to the village

Photo of Nako, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

And captured the amiable moments and gulped tea

Photo of Nako, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

Who wouldn't want to wake up to such gorgeous views every morning

Photo of Nako, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

Leaving Chitkul was turning to be a tough job as it was such a treat for all senses. But time was paramount and we did not want to miss out on the surprises ahead.

We had deliberately left our luggage in camps before leaving to Chitkul as we had to anyway cross the place again on way to Nako, but more so, to have a last eyeful of this place.

We collected our luggage from Sangla camps and bid adieu with a heavy heart having to leave such a delightful haven, not knowing when would we be able to feast our eyes with these views again.

But the onslaught of sheer surrealism had not yet stopped!

We had no clue of the glorious sights that were to be bestowed on us, but as the day progressed, we had to slow down further. Each corner presented a magnificent picture of the nature filled with vibrant colors and beauty of incomprehensible magnitude:

Never had witnessed such a clear rainbow - check!

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Incase one was not enough - double check!!

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

How to resist traveling when you get to witness these amazing scenes

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

And no, these pics aren't even edited!

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Stunning array of colors

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Signboard should read - All roads lead to Utopia!

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

After much procrastination and innumerable clicks, we reached camps late in the evening and at once retired to our cozy beds in the tents for night.

Day 4

Nako to Kaza (112 km)

Fresh and injected with new enthusiasm after much needed rest, we explored the Knaygog Kinner campsite and nearby areas:

Knaygog Kinner campsite, Nako

Photo of Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

Made a friend - excuse to revisit Nako :D

Photo of Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

The Nako monastery was also nearby so we decided to stopover before heading off to Kaza:

Also on the way was Geyu Monastery which houses a 500+ year old mummy naturally preserved.

Its not enroute to Kaza; there is a slight deviation by taking a right turn, but should not be missed :

Wheels of Prayer at Nako Monastery

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Geyu Monastery. Left side hut with yellow roof houses the mummy.

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Prayer flags fluttering incessantly at Geyu Monastery

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Yep that's the mummy, sitting timidly with yellow scarf

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Till now we had been traveling with a leisurely pace.But seeing The mummy gave us perspective of value of time and we hurried to get back on route to Kaza.

Some pics on the way to Kaza:

That's Geyu Monastery on hill top in background

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Salute to this man covering these terrains on a cycle!

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

And bikers too - hatsoff to them riding such strenuous stretches

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Meanwhile we were chilling peacefully with no concerns of world!

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Finally, approaching the destination

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Fact file: Kaza has the highest petrol pump (zoom pic to read signboard behind the car)

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Received a warm welcome at Kaza Hotel (Hotel Delek House)

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

After check-in we headed to Key Monastery:

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

We slept early after returning, as the next day was going to be the climax of trip we had been waiting anxiously for!

Day 5

Kaza to Manali via Chandrataal (260 km)

This has to be undoubtedly, the most thrilling day; handsdown!

From the beginning of trip we were fed horror stories on Kunzum pass and pagal Nallah, about how they have overpowered travelers to succumb to their will often.

But we were positive, as we had left on time, and the breathtaking views provided the fortitude to carry on steadfast:

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

The sheer magnificence of this pic bowls me over every time!

Photo of Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

At long last we reached Kunzum Pass:

Final homestretch to Kunzum

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Kunzum Mata Temple - All vehicles stop and circle around the temple to pay respect to goddess and pray for safety

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Charged up with confidence and elation of completing our first arduous task of reaching Kunzum, we decided to cover Chandrataal also, which proved to be a vicious trail to conquer:

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Deserted but placid lands

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Encountered various nallahs enroute to Chandrataal

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Enigmatic pathways to the lake

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

The red devil was unperturbed and conquered these terrains with aplomb

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

And at the end of road, the effort was worth the landscape:

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

The moon Lake : Chandra Taal

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

The magical tranquil would have lingered had we not looked at our watches and realized that there was still more than halfway left to cover in order to reach Manali.

Things got more enthralling when we got lost after Batal (Chacha-Chachi ka dhaba)as there were no roads and only various tyre-treads that were leading to different routes up and down hill and across rivers and glaciers:

Lost in no-mans land

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Asking for direction from a jeep passing by.

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Trying to find a way through the jumble

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Finally followed some bikers crossing us that seem to know the right path through glaciers

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

The roads took us through Chhatru and Gramphu:

Battling the tough roads

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Travelling by Gramphu's gra'mercy'

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

And ultimately after much turmoil and endurance, we reached familiar territory - Rohtang Pass :

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

We breathed a sigh of relief & triumph, and thanked the gods to help us accomplish and complete the journey through Spiti Valley.

But the journey hadn't yet ended.

We had kept a backup day before the return journey in case we got stuck somewhere or were delayed. So we planned to utilize the day by driving to Prashar Lake the next day from Manali.

Day 6

Manali to Prashar (114 km)

We had to cover a mere 114km, so we all reclined and waded into a gentle pace enjoying the great roads and even better scenery around:

Photo of Prashar Lake, D.P.F. Parashar Dhar, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Prashar Lake, D.P.F. Parashar Dhar, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani
Photo of Prashar Lake, D.P.F. Parashar Dhar, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

Destination is near- Prashar!

Photo of Prashar Lake, D.P.F. Parashar Dhar, Himachal Pradesh, India by Sameer Wadhwani

We reached late in evening and decided to camp out near the lake:

Camping out under the stellar sky at Prashar

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Peaceful sojourn at lake:

Prashar Rishi Temple besides the lake

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Prashar Lake

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Hot chai-parathas, cool breeze and splendid location!

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

View from our abode

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Our accommodation at Prashar - PWD Forest Dept, Mandi

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani
Day 7

Prashar to Delhi (482 km)

Unwilling to return to hustle bustle of cities, we stayed till afternoon to soak in the last few hours of unperturbed silence, peace and fresh breaths of freedom.

We stopped after Mandi and just lazed sitting on this bridge reliving the glorious past few days :

Photo of Delhi, India by Sameer Wadhwani

We were blessed to have experienced nature in its most fervor purest form. Not only did we create memories, but also developed a heightened sense of respect and admiration towards the range of brilliant and awe-inspiring contours that nature has to offer.

*-*

Travelers :-

:)

The Decathalon accumulators/ Models / Sorority

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

The Meditator / Ice-Cream admirer / Explorer / Shopper

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

The DJ/ / Jogger / Navigator

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

The inquisitive temperature-detective

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Dr. Stu / Ross / Varun

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Rahul 'The Rider' / Dilli da Gabru / Poser

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

The Driver / Cleaner / Certified Photographer

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Cheers to the Spiti Expedition Team!

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani

Things end, but memories indeed, last forever!

Photo of Spiti Surmount by Sameer Wadhwani
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