The beauty of Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti with its spectacular landscapes is mesmerizing for people living in the plains. As a backpacker, I have always desired of traveling into these higher ridges of the Himalayas. Little I had realized that with its deep valleys, treacherous roads (mostly unmetalled/kachha), cascading rivers, High Mountain passes, plenty of fruit orchards, tasty peas, and lentils; I will lose myself into its wilderness. I had planned for two weeks in Kinnaur and Spiti valley and skip Lahaul segment for the next journey. We planned to enter through Narkanda route and exit from Rohtang pass. The journey in this region is not for comfort-seeking travelers, as it is a roller coaster ride. Counted as among the most dangerous roads on the planet, it challenges the imagination. If one ignores the rough and rugged landslide-prone terrain and soak in the pine and spruce trees, the diversifying moon land landscapes, the grand rivers of Baspa, Sutlej, Spiti, the snow-covered ranges and rugged mountains, then the nature welcomes every traveler warmly. The journey is quite hectic and physically exhausting, and dangerous too but surrounding beauty keeps everyone glued. Journey started from New Delhi.
Day 1, June 11. (6.30 pm) HRTC bus From Delhi ISBT Kashmere Gate to Rampur Bushahr via Narkanda
Day 2, June 12. (9.30am) Arrived at Rampur; via Jeori to Sarahan Bushahr; Night stay at Sarahan
Day 3, June 13. (6.30 am) first bus from Sarahan to Jeori; Then from Jeori to Sangla valley via Wangtu, Karcham; Night stay at Sangla Village
Day 4, June 14. Hired a vehicle to Chitkul via Rakchham and back to Sangla village by 2.30 p.m.
- By 4 p.m. hired a vehicle to Kalpa. Traveled via Karcham & Reckong Peo (6 p.m) to reach Kalpa and stay
Day 5, June 15. Explored Kalpa, Chini, Roghi, Kothi, Reckong Peo; Night stay at Chini village
Day 6, June 16. Lift from Chini to Reckong Peo Bus stand: 9.30 am Bus to Moorang fort from Peo;
11-11.30 am to Moorang
1.30-2.30 pm bus from highway across the Moorang to Nako; 5.30 pm - Arrived at Nako and night stay
Day 7, June 17. Explored Nako
Day 8, June 18. Nako to Tabo via Chango & Sumdo; Night stay at Tabo
Day 9, June 19. Tabo to Kaza via Sichlling (Deboarding point for Dankar)
- Kaza to Kee/Key/Kye gompa; Night stay at the gompa
Day 10, June 20. Hike to Kibber from Kee gompa
- Kibber sight seeing + hike to Kibber Dogri and night stay
Day 11, June 21. (8.30 a.m.) Morning bus from Kibber. Deboarded at Komic Crossing; Hitchhiked to Komic; Komic sightseeing and night stay at a camp
Day 12, June 22. Komic to Kaza town; Booked shared taxi for Manali; Kaza sight seeing and night stay
Day 13, June 23. (7 a.m.) Shared taxi from Kaza to Manali via Losar, Kunzum pass, & Rohtang pass; Night stay at Manali
Day 14, June 24. Explored Manali; HRTC Bus to Delhi
Day 15, June 25. Arrived in Delhi
Destination 1 - Sarahan Bushahr: Journey to Kinnaur started from the Delhi's ISBT Kashmere Gate. We boarded the HRTC bus to Rampur (also known as Rampur Bushahr). It is a town located beyond Shimla and Narkanda and home to the Asia's largest Hydro Power Project - The Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power Station (formerly known as Nathpa Jhakri Power Corporation) at Jhakri. We arrived at Rampur around 9.30am. As we were thinking of what next, a private bus was leaving for Sarahan Bushahr and we decided to continue the journey to Sarahan. Bus takes a detour from Jeori into mountains for more than two hours. Jeori is a small kasba on the National Highway.
Sarahan Bushahr: Though located in Shimla district, the place is famous as the Gateway to Kinnaur. Sarahan is the abode of the famous Bhimakali temple complex, one of the Shaktipeeths. It is by far one of the most well maintained and beautiful temple complexes that I personally seen during many years of my travel. Surrounded by a small village and hills, it is a good place to relax, connect with you before embarking into the deep ravines of Kinnaur and Spiti valley.
Where to stay: As a Shaktipeeths, it attracts tourists from West Bengal, Bihar, and other places. Multiple Bengali styled hotels are available which are moderately maintained as it mostly caters to the needs of Bengali tourists and pilgrims. During the peak season, the price can vary from INR 700 to as much as they will ask. The best place to stay is at the Bhimakali temple guesthouse for which prior booking is required.
Food: Local eateries and hotels serve their own food.
Destination 2: Sangla Valley: Next day, boarded the first bus leaving for Jeori downhill to catch the bus for the Sangla valley. By 8.30, we reached Jeori and had breakfast, and ATM usage. W got the bus for Sangla around 9-9.30am.
Our journey from Jeori to Sangla valley was filled with adventure. Being stuck in a Himalayan traffic jam is an experience in itself. After passing Wangtu by Tapri, due to huge water discharge from a nearby dam, the main NH road was flooded. All the vehicles had to take a risky detour via the old Hindustan-Tibet Road (Tapri-Urni road), which is not the most maintained one. Just imagine being stuck in a jam at the mountains for more than 2 hours where it is difficult to move forward or go backward especially in a bus.
The road to Sangla takes a detour from Karcham Karcham to Sangla village is one of the most dangerous roads on the planet Earth. Baspa River flows through the valley and therefore it is known as Baspa valley as well. Sangla is approx 16-17 km from Karcham.
Important - Many travelers end up going to Peo/Kalpa first and then travel back to Sangla valley and then head towards Kaza. If you are coming from Shimla side, then the best option is to aim for Sangla valley first and then continue journey further deep into Kalpa/Peo, the other areas of Kinnaur and then towards the Spiti Valley.