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ShiviMay 25, 202015min3690

We as humans always get attracted to something which is unachievable or looks very difficult. I always keep on wondering how people in Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Northern Himalayas sustain in extreme conditions especially in winters. This thought always fascinates me and pulls me towards it that I want to experience something like this once in a lifetime. And here I am writing my blog after finishing my winter Spiti in the harsh weather that one can dream of. Travel to Spiti is a different experience all together especially when you have been to Spiti in Summers.

This blog will cover a lot of aspects as to what all one should carry to be safe in such weather, different ways and routes that one can take.

 

mall road shimla

If you are starting from Shimla

We took a flight from Mumbai to Delhi. You can also take a train as there are a lot of trains available for Delhi. Once we reach Delhi we took a train to Kalka, You can take a direct bus from Delhi to reach Shimla. If you want to give a different feel to your travel experience then don’t miss the Toy Train. Book tickets in advance for toy train from Kalka to Shimla as at the last moment you won’t get any tickets.

 

kalka toy road (1)

 

Suggestion – Please book your bus tickets in advance and only take the Govt. buses if you are planning to reach Shimla directly. Please avoid taking private buses to reach Shimla, first of all, private bus operators takes a lot of time and secondly, it’s risky as well.

Shimla to Kalpa (9712 ft)

We started from Shimla early morning around 8 AM since the distance between Shimla and Kalpa is 230 km and it takes approx 7 hrs to reach a destination. If you are taking a couple of stops that the same journey extends to 10-11 hrs considering climate is all favourable. I will suggest people start early if you can and keep some buffer time with you. In midway, we took a couple of stops one for breakfast where we had yummy aloo ka paratha with achar and curd. I don’t know how these locals made food but it really taste distinct, I would say something is there in the air and water which makes simple things wondrous.

My travel buddy and I then took the route via Kufri, Narkanda, Rampur and then finally to Kapla. Enroute you will find snow, on both sides of the roads, sometimes view is so mesmerizing that you want to forget everything and just feel the beauty of these hills. Kalpa is the capital of the Kinnaur region, I am not sure how many of you know this. We reached Kalpa around 8 PM in the night, it was all dark as in hills around 5-5:30 you will see that sunlight starts fading. By 8 you will feel it’s like 12 o clock in any city. From here the whole fight starts or I would say you start feeling the chill of the Spiti Valley. We were lucky to get beds that have heaters in it embedded. Nights are so cold that you can’t even think of taking your hand out of your gloves and don’t ask the layers of clothing that you need to wear. And not to forget in rooms you won’t get water in the toilet since all the pipelines get blocked or frozen due to ICE.

 

shimla kalpa (1)

 

We took our dinner and headed to the room since it was a long journey and tiring as well, though the beauty through which we pass through was giving us a glimpse that what all we will be seeing ahead. The night view was also imposing as there was no pollution and an only beautiful sky filled with a bunch of stars, it looks as if someone has started a DJ light.

Kalpa to Tabo (10761 ft)

Post healthy and fresh breakfast and we both started a little late since the distance between Kalpa and Tabo is only 160 km which can be covered easily in 4hrs. We were planning to cover Giu monastery in between which we were unable to as due to some unforeseen circumstances we keep on getting late like there was a landslide in between, then due to on-going road work at a lot of places blasts were begun due to which we need to stop till the road gets cleared. Considering all these its a fun ride as you keep on seeing sometimes half-frozen, sometimes full frozen Spiti river. This view is only in winters and you keep on wondering how come suddenly river started flowing where half a km before it was all frozen. And these mountains keeps on changing colors after every 4-5 km which you can only experience. Tabo is famous for Tabo Monastery. We reach Tabo around 8 PM and had a good sleep. Since next morning our destination was Kaza.

 

frozen river spiti valley (1)

Tabo to Kaza (12467 ft)

Distance between Tabo to Kaza is hardly 50 km which can be covered easily in 2 hrs. However, we decided to cover Pin valley which is almost frozen and would take your heart away when you pass from those routes where on both the sides you will find huge Ice blocks, sometimes their height is more than 10 ft and when you pass those you get an adrenaline rush. Pin valley is an abode to flora and fauna of Himalayas (National Park) but in winter you can only find one thing and that is snow. We reached Kaza and did a night halt there.

 

snowy road kaza kalpa (1)

Kaza to Langza-Komic-Hikkim – Chichum Bridge – Kaza

These are some of the famous places nearby Kaza which cannot be missed if you are here. Langza is a village that is famous for Buddhist monasteries and fossils. We were unable to reach Komic due to heavy snow in the region and roads were blocked. Hikkim is famous for its worlds highest post office. You can postcards to your near and dear ones from here.

 

hikkim post office (1)

 

Chichum Bridge is Asia’s highest suspension bridge. When we reached there it started snowing and what more you can ask for at such a beautiful place.  In midway, we have seen places where water is flowing from top but in middle, it has frozen, we were wondering how this can happen and we both was awe stuck witnessing that nature’s beauty which itself was surprising.

 

chichum bridge (1)

 

After covering all these places which in itself is an experience we came back to our homestay. A lot of memories were captured in photographs, some were captured in heart and some were there in our eyes which was just to stay for a very very long time.  We have our dinner and stayed in our rooms, the temperature was -20 degrees celsius and we were feeling that we all died as it was so cold out but when we saw the mountains and the sky it felt as if how can the world be so beautiful and so calm. Trust me that was the feeling.

Kaza to Kalpa

This is one of the longest journey that we took in the whole trip and in midway since it was 200 km that need to be covered and in hills covering 200 km might take approx 9-10 hr which is just a journey time excluding the halts that you take and how much time you spend on each halt. With each passing hour, we were feeling that why we are going back as the Himalayas and the hills that we spend time were most beautiful. We thought that our journey has come to an end but God and nature have a different plan for us. After we reach Kalpa and checked in to our rooms, around 11ish in the night it started snowing, I have never seen real live snow falling on me. Trust me guys feeling was out of the world. It was like cotton coming on you and that’s it and it goes away. Wow-what a thing to watch out for. Till morning it was continuous snow and we came to know that this fresh snow is in whole region and routes have started closing down due to this.

 

kaza snow (1)

Kalpa to Shimla

We started for Shimla and expecting to cover the distance in 9 hrs approx but due to snow routes were closed and we were forced to take a longer route and it took us 2 hrs more to reach to Shimla. We all were tired, happy, sad and what not as whatever we have experienced was in itself a journey that neither of us thought about.

The trip came to an end but the memories and the experience that we all got in itself was mind-boggling.

 

Things to Carry

  1. Rucksack
  2. Jacket for -15 degree celsius
  3. Sports/Trekking Socks
  4. Woolen Socks
  5. Gloves
  6. Fleece
  7. Neck Warmer
  8. Woolen Cap
  9. Thermal Inner Wear
  10. Sun – Screen – SPF 50
  11. Water bottle
  12. Litter bags

Place to Stay

Depending on your budget you get ample places to stay, however, we suggest to do bookings beforehand as in winters it becomes tricky to roam around and look for good options.  You will get a lot of budget hotels and home-stays, luxurious hotels are doubtful in Spiti Valley as it is still a secluded land and for past few years have gradually started becoming a travel spot.

If you like this blog or want to read more such blogs leave comments or you can reach us and let us know your feedback.


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ShiviOctober 5, 201814min4244

Spiti Valley – the moment this name comes, a lot of people get amazed and ask ohh, is this in India and if yes where? This is a hidden isolated world in Himachal Pradesh which is a wonder in itself. This blog is close to my heart and you will get to read more such on Spiti valley as this place is a treasure chest for me and I’m sure many traveller enthusiasts would agree with me.

Treasure chest – just two words to say about a world that was forbidden to visitors for about 30 years. Travelling to Spiti Valley is like Time Travel, you tend to get a feeling of getting in a time machine and travel to a world and time unknown. Wow! Goosebumps.

 

Spiti Valley - Himachal Pradesh
Spiti Valley – Himachal Pradesh

This blog is based on my recent 10-day bike travel to Spiti valley with a rider me being a pillion on Royal Enfield 500 cc. In particular, this blog is about 6 reasons to visit Spiti Valley – the hidden treasure of Himachal Pradesh. So let’s start by knowing the place a bit.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” – John Muir

This all belongs to Spiti that lies across the main range of Himalayas, called the Trans-Himalaya. But hey, wait, what are those things that come to your mind when we think about Himalaya. Spiti is 13,800 square kilometres of untamed land. Lush green meadows, misty mountains with dense pine forests, snowing ranges, and soaring high snow peaks. On the contrary, if I say you won’t get to see much of these in Spiti valleys then? What I wanted to say is – Spiti is the complete divergence of all that, but just as beautiful as the other side of Himalayas.

Spiti Valley is a cold desert mountain valley that is situated in the Himalayas – the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. It is the land of barren hills, gorgeous lakes, grey scree slopes, rubble rocks, muddy terrains, and some of the world’s highest inhabited villages that are secluded with the least of 30 humans, and as their population and not more than 100 people in one village at the max. it is a land of beautiful monasteries hovering histrionically over its landscape. The touch of desolateness and a sense of ancient civilisation are some add-ons. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India. Let’s find out reasons to visit this unadulterated and hidden treasure that has gradually getting transformed into an exotic tourist destination. Let’s see…

Reason 1

Spiti valley is also home to the highest motorable village in Asia – Komic it is a beautiful scenic village where the temperature dips to -30 degrees Celsius in winters. The landscapes are amazing that will leave you awe-struck.

The world's highest village with a road: Komik, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
The world’s highest village with a road: Komik, Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

 

This village has a population of around 50 to 60 people. The houses here, separated by swish lawns and green threads of the loom with wooden windows and doors, very Indo-Tibetan feel. This set up gives everyone enough room to bask in the winter sun. These houses are a welcome change from our congested city houses.

Reason 2

Spiti is the secluded terrain for many visitors yet there is a reason to visit because of plenty of homestays in this scarcely inhabited Spiti. My favourite is Solo Yolo – Kaza and for more on homestays in Spiti read next blog

The best homestays in Spiti Valley

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This gives you a wonderful opportunity to the visitors to learn about their culture and stays with locals. Most of these homestays are in the middle of the villages and at a very high altitude giving you the perfect view of the entire valley.

Reason 3

It has a beautiful monastery amidst the mountains that dates back to 996 AD. Key Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,166 metres (13,668 ft) above sea level, close to the Spiti River. It is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for Lamas. It reportedly had 100 monks in 1855. You can stay in the monastery and pray in the praying room.

 

key gompa monastery - Spiti Valley - spiritedblogger
key gompa monastery – Spiti Valley
key gompa monastery - Spiti Valley - spiritedblogger
key gompa monastery – Spiti Valley

Reason 4

The monasteries are one such reason for not to miss visiting Spiti. There are many monasteries in Spiti that are considered to be the centre of Buddhism; you will get to unwind your soul in this perfect place. Come to stay in monasteries and have some soul-searching.

komic monastery - Spiti Valley
Komic monastery – Spiti Valley

 

Tabo Monastery in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Tabo Monastery in Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh

 

Reason 5

The glorious and stunning view of the Milky Way at Pin Valley, you get to have them at Tabo and Kaza as well. In fact, Chandra Tal shall not be missed for star gazing and this amazing view to fall in love.

Milkyway Sight in Spiti Valley
Milkyway Sight in Spiti Valley

 

Milkyway Sight in Spiti Valley
Milkyway Sight in Spiti Valley

Now that’s a sight we simply don’t get at too many places.

Reason 6

There are dozens of lakes in Spiti that are neatly tucked away in the valley for you to discover. One such major tourist destination known for some of the toughest and exciting motorable roads in India is a stop at Chandra Tal lake – the lake of the moon. It is on the Samudra Tapu plateau overlooking the Chandra River. It is at the altitude of 4,300 metres (14,100 ft) in the Himalayas. Camping by this lake under the starry skies is exactly the kind of life-changing experience you are looking for.

These are some of the reasons to visit Spiti – an offbeat travel destination in India. Here are many more offbeat destinations in India which you can choose for your next travel.

Chandratal lake - The moon lake - Spiti Valley
Chandratal lake – The moon lake – Spiti Valley

 

Chandratal lake - The moon lake - Spiti Valley
Chandratal lake – The moon lake – Spiti Valley

Keep reading, Keep travelling.. the world awaits you!

 

Be Happy 
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