Hey, lovelies loads of love and light to all Namaste this is your author on travel apart from writing books I travel and when I travel I usually just have my phone to shoot. As the majority of the time, I travel solo.
Thank you so much for making my last vlog a huge success on a Rajasthan road trip of 3500 km
This is another special one as mountains are close to my heart and here I bring India winter wonderland Spiti valley for you to travel to this unexplored destination in the winters.
This blog will give you the following points
Introduction about the Lahaul and Spiti valley
The valley’s culture and people
Places to see and their importance.
My recommendation for must-see places
Spiti valley is pronounced as Piti in the Boti language
It is the cold desert mountain valley which is located high in the Himalayas. It is a part of the northeastern part of the north Indian state of India Himachal Pradesh. Technically Spiti” means “The middle land”, i.e., the land between Tibet and India.
Let me take you to a bit of the geological placement of this beautiful valley. Spiti valley is separated from Lahaul valley by the high Kunzum Pass, at 15,059 feet (4,590 m). Then there is a road that connects these two divisions of Lahaul and Spiti but is cut off frequently in winter and spring due to heavy snow. A southern route to India proper, via the Sutlej in the Kinnaur district and Shimla, is periodically closed for brief periods in the winter storms of November through June, but road access is usually restored a few days after the storm ends. The most populated centres in the Spiti valley are Kaza, Losar, Sumdo, Chango.
The culture of Spiti dates back to ancient times and influences Buddhism and Dalai Lama’s teachings. The people follow Vajrayana Buddhism. Spiti valley is the research capital for Buddhist monks and hence have strong dominance of monasteries. For example, you see huge and main centres at Key Monastery, Tabo monastery, these are one of the oldest monasteries in the world and Dalai Lama’s favourite. Another interesting fact when visiting Spiti is to see Pin Valley which is the only place of survival for Buchen Lamas of the Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism.
Also, if you want to experience the nomads of Spiti then you shall visit the valley in the summers when it is the home to hundreds of semi-nomadic Gaddi sheep and goat herders who travel as far as 160 miles nearby.
In the whole valley when you go on a ride you will see the Spiti river, gushing beautifully with a soothing sound this originates from Kunzum pass. the Spiti River then meets the Satluj near Khab and Namgia in Kinnaur district traversing a length of about 150 km. The entire valley is emerged from the tectonic plates occurrence and has uplifted from the ocean bed.
Now let me tell you what all you can see in the valley. What are the things to see in this beautiful valley in north India, particularly in the winters? For summer travel to Spiti valley I will make another video, so stay tuned on this channel and explore India like nowhere.
Chicham Bridge – Asia’s largest bridge
Gue – known for the mummy dating back more than 500 years
Hikkim village – Highest Post office in the world
Kaza – the biggest city in terms of amenities and population the Spiti Valley
Key Monastery – The monastery is house to some 100 odd monks who receive education here. rare ‘Thangka’ paintings and ancient musical instruments ‘trumpets, cymbals, and drums in the monastery
Kibber – a wildlife sanctuary
Komic village – The highest motorable village in the world
Kunzum Pass – the entrance for Lahaul District
Langza village – The fossil village
Mud village – The coldest part of Spiti Valley
Tabo Monastery – This Pin Valley National Park monastery garnered interest when it celebrated its thousandth year of existence in 1996. The Tabo Monastery was founded by scholar Richen Zangpo
Among all these, my recommendation is to also visit National Highway 505 The NH 505
high altitude road, covers Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh, mainly running along Spiti River in Spiti valley. The highway from Kaza to Gramphu remains closed for 6–9 months in a year due to heavy snowfall and the closure of Kunzum La pass at an altitude of 4,550 m (14,930 ft).
this high altitude cold desert area of Lahaul and Spiti valleys of Himachal, receives negligible rainfall and the terrain is barren and treacherous, it’s prone to landslides and disruptions. The road is narrow and rough at places and crosses the high altitude Kunzum pass, for the bikers it is called Mecca as it requires good driving skills in mountains. It starts from Khab Sangam and it is 275 km long.
On this highway, you will witness Spiti at its best which is secluded and at peace. The gorges at NH 505 of Spiti river on the kibber and kailto road are worth watching and clicking for Instagrammers.
The clay pillars Enroute Tabo – at Lingti road are the perfect explanation of the oceanic uplift of the valley. For Chandartal there is diverge in between from Batal as this highway runs on the sideways of Chandra river. Later it joins up at NH 3 left at Gramphu.
If you are in Spiti then another recommendation is Lahaul too. When these two were separate then the capital of Lahaul was Kardang and the Capital of Spiti was Dhankar. Then Lahaul and Spiti were made one district in 1960 and now the main capital Centre is Keylong. It has no urban population and has one Vidhan Sabha constituency.
Let me give you a clear view of the structural sites of Lahaul and Spiti. I would say one shall visit the entire circuit of this district, it is another winter wonderland of India. The district has close cultural links with the Ngari Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region. Kunzum la or the Kunzum Pass (altitude 4,551 m (14,931 ft)) is the entrance pass to the Spiti Valley from Lahaul. It is 21 km (13 mi) from Chandra Tal. This district is connected to Manali through the Rohtang Pass. To the south, Spiti ends 24 km (15 mi) from Tabo, at the Sumdo where the road enters Kinnaur and joins with National Highway No. 5.
Spiti is barren and difficult to cross, with an average elevation of the valley floor of 4,270 m (14,010 ft). It is enclosed between lofty ranges, with the Spiti river rushing out of a gorge in the southeast to meet the Sutlej River. You find around 62 medicinal plants in this valley. Snow leopards are protected within the Pin Valley National Park and Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary. The Lingti plains are home to animals such as yaks and dzos. If you are in the months of Jan and Feb then you must enjoy the Losar festival (also known as Halda in Lahauli).
Talking about adventure seekers Lahaul and Spiti are for you guys.
Skiing is just not that popular right now, it is still under the honeymoon phase you can say. Bike rides, covering the entire Lahaul and Spiti circuit is what thrill-seekers do from all across the world. Marathons are conducted in summers and cyclists from all around the world ride and explore the valley.
The Spiti Valley is popular with trekkers due to the challenging nature of its treks. These treks take people to remote areas including rural villages and old Gompas, as well as wildlife trails. High altitude treks allow travellers to cross passes such as Parangla Pass (connecting Ladakh with Spiti Valley), Pin Parvati Pass, Baba Pass, Hamta Pass trek, Spiti Left Bank Trek. Popular trekking routes in the area include Kaza-Langza-Hikim-Komic-Kaza, Kaza-Ki-Kibber-Gete-Kaza, Kaza-Losar-Kunzum La and Kaza-Tabo-Sumdo-Nako.
Winters knocking on the door. Holiday destinations are on your calendar’s radar. Here are a few destinations you can fly to in India for this winter.
Gulmarg – Kashmir
The paradise in India. Popular for its excellent gradients and snow peaks for skiing in India. Gulmarg is nestled in the Pir Panjal range which is a cup-shaped valley. It is one of the most visited destinations in India. Best to visit during October till Jan for an amazing snow experience. With Srinagar as a base, Gulmarg can be reached via taxi. Make sure you take gumboots to walk in the snow.
The nearest railway station is Jammu
Srinagar is the closest airport – 35km
Auli – Uttarakhand
For ski lovers and thrill-seekers, Auli is one of the best destinations in India to visit during winters. It is Switzerland of India dotted with apple orchards, pine trees, and numerous treks for skiing in the Garhwal region. Auli is a hill town dating back to the 8th century, hence you may witness vivid locals and culture too. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited (GMVL) runs a ski resort and a ski rental shop. Located at 2800 meters above sea levels, it is home to the mountain ranges of Nanda Devi, Mana Parvat and Kamat Kamet.
Auli can be reached via taxi and buses from Delhi, Rishikesh or can take a shared taxi from Joshimath.
The cable car ride is also available from Joshimath which is around 700 rupees per person.
Closest airport – Jolly Grant airport of Dehradun.
Nearest railway station – Haridwar is the closest, but Dehradun and Rishikesh are also connected via train.
Coonoor and Ooty
Coonoor nestled in southern India is a beautiful hill station in Tamil Nadu. It is in the Nilgiri hills and the second largest hill station in western ghats. Just around 19 km is Ooty, another cute little town in Tamil Nadu. One can explore both in winters. Both the hill stations are blessed to have chilly and cosy weather round the year. These two are perfect spots for staycations.
Via road, it can be reached through Bangalore, Coimbatore, and Kochi. Road connectivity is excellent. Driving Enthusiasts as self-drive. State Transport buses also ply.
Nearest airport – Coimbatore
Nearest railway station – Mettupalayam which is 45 km
Mussoorie – Dehradun
Named as queen of hill stations – Mussoorie is situated on the backdrop of the Shivalik range of the Himalayas and the Doon valley. It stands gorgeously at the altitude of 7000ft above sea level. Best to visit in winters and throughout the year. Mussoorie was once the British summer capital. The British remnants can be seen in the city in the archaic architecture of the hotels and churches. The Mall road gives off a distinct colonial vibe. Another major attraction is Gun hill. Landour, along with Mussoorie, Barlowganj and Jharipani together form the greater Mussoorie, these are the adjoining hill stations. With a lot of waterfalls, the town of Dhanaulti in the vicinity and the remains of colonial architecture, Mussoorie has everything to make a memorable vacation.
Mussoorie is well connected via roads, to Delhi, Dehradun.
The nearest railway station is Dehradun 68 km away.
The closest airport is Jolly Grant airport Dehradun.
Mussoorie Chamba Highway is the best for driving enthusiast.
Shillong also acts as the gateway to Meghalaya, the state famous for heavy rainfall, caves, tallest waterfalls, beautiful landscapes and amazing people and their culture. Shillong is also fast emerging as an education hub for the entire northeastern region. Ward’s Lake is surrounded by walking trails. Don Bosco Centre for Indigenous Cultures features displays on the region’s native people. One can find descendants of the Khyrim, Mylliem, Maharam, Mallaisohmat, Bhowal and Langrim tribes. Popularly known as Scotland of India. It derives its name from Lei Shillong, an idol worshipped at the Shillong Peak.
The nearest railhead to Shillong is Guwahati
Shillong airport at Umroi connects only to Kolkata, else Guwahati is the nearest major airport.
Shillong is connected to Guwahati by NH 40 and the rest of the North-East by NH 44.
Coorg – Karnataka
This town is popularly known as Scotland of India. The Kodavas, the local clan are known for their martial arts and especially for their keen hospitality. It is adorned by misty landscapes and is popular as a coffee producing hill station. Coorg is officially known as Kodagu. Madikeri is the region’s centre point with all transportation for getting around starting from here.
Closest Airport – Mangalore, 152km
Coorg has its own railway station
One nearest is Mysore – 120km
You can catch deluxe KSRTC buses to Coorg from Mangalore, Bengaluru and Mysore.
Travel restrictions in Himachal Pradesh – Check before you travel
To start this blog, I would like to first appeal to everyone not to travel for some time more until the situations become under control. India is on the brim of herd community and we may see it happening in coming weeks. I’m not scaring you, God forbid if the infection catches you and your loved ones it is super tough to come out. COIVD is not a joke. Anyway moving further to what I wanted to convey is the latest travel restrictions in the Indian state Himachal Pradesh.
We saw a surge of tourist flagging to this beautiful and holy state of India in the months from Jan 2021 to April 2021. Still, there are tour operators who are working on the packages and are ready to take the road trips and hiking tours.
OKAY, I know that the industry had immensely affected by the pandemic and the tourism industry is one of the most impacted and is going under loss. However, breaks are imperative on this phenomenon as it is, directly and indirectly, increasing the cases. The worst part is that this virus mutant shows signs in 14 days and it remains for around 14 days, which makes it daunting to monitor and know where al all it is spreading.
In Himachal recently the Government has imposed a night curfew in certain districts. Solan, Sirmaur, Kangra, and Una, imposed night curfew from April 27th to May 10th – 10 pm to 5 am. Also Himachal Pradesh government also made the RT-PCR test mandatory within 72 hours for those who are coming into the state. Those who are not tested will be required to go into home quarantine or isolation at their residence for 14 days.
Additionally, other states have restricted the entry of buses, flights, and inter commute for a certain period. Please make sure to move only if it is necessary and urgent. Request everyone to be safe and avoid travelling for leisure and holidays for some time.
For more information, you can leave a comment or in case you need any positive news to get spread across channels do email us at email@example.com
International Mountain Day #mountainmatters Travel Blog
International Mountain Day 2020: India is proud bearer of the mystic Himalayas, its stunning landscapes, snow capped peaks and unique mountain biodiversity, makes everyone awe-stuck. The Himalayas or other mountain ranges in the world have attracted climbers for years. Not from India, they have come from all over the world. International Mountain Day is celebrated every year on December 11. On International Mountain Day, let’s take a look at few facts and the theme that make India proud.
International Mountain Day 2020 theme
The theme of International Mountain Day 2020 is Mountain Biodiversity. It focus to celebrate the rich biodiversity of the mountains and also address the threats they face. Celebrate International Mountain Day by joining the conversation on social media using the hashtag #MountainsMatter. Tag @authorontravel @mystic_author with your best pic with mountain, we will repost and share it.
Did you know that the world’s highest post office is in India in the Himalayas? It is the Hikkim Post Office, located in the Spiti Valley at the height of 4,400 metre, “where even mobile or internet fail to reach”.
The most famous and the highest mountain range of India is the Himalayan range. It is also the youngest and the longest mountain range in India and has almost every largest peak of the world. The Himalayan mountain range bisects India from the rest of Asia and is the primary source of mighty rivers in India.
Do you know that 15% of the world’s population lives in the mountains? Therefore, the conservation of mountains is a crucial factor. Mountains are not only important for inhabitants but also for millions of people living in lowlands. They are the sources of the world’s major rivers and also play a crucial role in the water cycle.
Though India, Nepal, and Bhutan have sovereignty over most of the Himalayas, Pakistan and China also occupy parts of them. The Champa, Ladakhi,Balti, and Dard peoples live to the north of the Great Himalaya Range in the Kashmir Himalayas. The Dard speak Indo-European languages, while the others are Tibeto-Burman speakers.
Famous Mountain Quotes:
“Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.” – Dag Hammarskjold
“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.” – Barry Finlay
“It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” – Sir Edmund Hillary
“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.” – Ed Viesturs
“Only if you have been in the deepest valley, can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.” – Richard M Nixon
One of the most awaited festivals in the colourful state of Gujarat is Navratri. Celebrated on the first nine days of Ashwin month, devotees keep fast for 9 days and worship Maa Shakti. In the evening, an earthen pot with holes and diyas inside, also known as “Garbi”, is lighted and women perform arti with it.
During Navratri, Garba dance and Dandiya Raas are popular forms of dances performed by both men and women, wearing their traditional dresses.
Navratri Celebration in West Bengal, Odisha, Assam &Bihar
In the eastern part of India, in the states of West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Bihar, Navratri is celebrated as Durga Puja and it is observed in the last four days of Navratri. These days are referred to as Saptami, Ashthami, Navami and Dashami. Durga Puja is the main festival of the people of West Bengal.
Durga Puja is celebrated with great pomp and glitter in various parts of the states in big pandals, where large sized idols of Goddess Durga on her lion, demon Mahishasur, Lord Ganesha, Kartikeya and Goddess Laxmi and Saraswati are erected. Men and women come wearing their best colourful dresses. It is a very common sight to see Bengali women wearing their traditional red saree, decked up completely.
The sounds of Dhol, Dhak, Dhunuchi nachh, the fragrance of agarbattis fill the air with freshness and purity. The celebrations of Durga Puja in West Bengal should be “must-watch” for everyone once in his lifetime.
Navratri Celebration in Tamil Nadu
Navratri is also celebrated in Tamil Nadu as a religious celebration to seek the blessings of Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati in the nine special nights. These three goddesses are worshipped for three days each. Friends, relatives and neighbours are invited and clothes, jewelleries, sweets and other gifts are exchanged among them.
One interesting feature as a part of the celebration is the decoration of the “Kolu” which is actually a staircase having 9 stairs, representing the 9 nights and each stair is decorated with beautiful dolls, and idols of gods and goddesses. It is said that the dolls that are used are handed over from generation to generation.
Navratri Celebration Andhra Pradesh
The “Kolu” celebration of Navratri in Tamil Nadu is celebrated as “Batukamma Panduga” in Andhra Pradesh, which means “Come Alive Mother Goddess”. The nine nights are dedicated to Goddess Shakti. Women make a beautiful flower stack known as “Batukamma”, which is arranged with seasonal flowers.
Women wear new saree and jewellery, perform puja in front of the Batukamma for 9 days and then on the last day they set afloat their Batukammas in a lake or any other water body.
Navratri Celebration in Kerala
In Kerala, Navratri is celebrated in the last three days and Keralites give importance to learning during these three days. They place books and musical instruments in front of Ma Saraswati’s idol on Ashtami, and worship the books and Ma Saraswati till Dashami. On Dashami, the books are taken out for reading.
Navratri Celebration in Karnataka
It is a strange fact that even today people in Karnataka celebrate the 9 nights of Navratri in the same manner as was celebrated way back in 1610 by the great Vijayanagara dynasty. Navratri is known as “Naada Habba” in Karnataka.
The rituals include elephants’ procession on the streets, including fairs and exhibitions of handicrafts and artifacts.
Navratri Celebration in Maharashtra
The celebrations are similar to Gujarat. Navratri in Maharashtra implies new beginnings. Hence, purchasing of a home or a car or new business deals or engagement is very common during this time. Married women invite their female friends, put haldi and kumkum on their foreheads and gift them with a coconut, beetle leaves and beetle nuts.
This gesture is referred to as “Saumangalyam” which means remaining the wife of her husband till her death. Each and every locality in Maharashtra has its own garba and dandiya nights celebrations.
Navratri Celebration in Himachal Pradesh
For the Hindus in Himachal Pradesh, Navratri is a great celebration. Here, the celebration starts on the tenth day of Navratri when the festival ends in other states.
People celebrate the tenth day, also known as “Kullu Dussehra” as the day of return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya. On this day, the idols from the temples are taken out in processions.
During the Navratri festival, the devotees visit various temples in Kangra, Una and Bilaspur districts of himachal Pradesh to pay worship to Goddess Durga.
Navratri Celebration in Punjab
In Punjab, the people keep fast on the first 7 days of Navratri and end their fast on Ashthami or Navami by worshipping 9 little girls and a boy, which is known as “Kanjika”. The Punjabis organize jagratas where they keep awake the whole night and worship Goddess Shakti.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Jacket for -15 degree celsius
Thermal Inner Wear
Sun – Screen – SPF 50
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.
Yes, this is true – Tungnath is one of the highest Shiva temples in the world and is the highest of the five Panch Kedar temples located in the mountain range of Tunganath in Rudraprayag district, in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. The Tunganath (literal meaning: Lord of the peaks) mountains form the Mandakini and Alaknanda river valleys. It is located at an altitude of 3,680 m (12,073 ft), and just below the peak of Chandrashila. The temple is assumed to be 5000 years old and is the third (Tritiya Kedar) in the pecking order of the Panch Kedars. It has a deep legend linked to the Pandavas, heroes of the Mahabharataepic as well. It is built of solid granite slabs, and also resembles the ancient temple of Bageshwar and Jageshwar.
What is unique about this temple
The distinctive feature of this beautiful attraction is its location amidst magnificent mountain ranges and spiritual importance which has been drawing millions of Hindu pilgrims from around the world in the last five years. It is a phenomenal place to visit wonderfully for the adventure lovers out there for they are going to have a great time trekking to reach the temple. It is an excellent combination of spirituality, majesty, and tranquillity thereby making it a sure-shot and an ideal getaway for all the travellers.
The architecture of Tunganath Temple
The affluent temple is made up of stones embellished with decorations that are coated on the outside paintings of the tall towers. There is a wooden stage exactly on top of the highest dome which also has sixteen openings. The roof of the temple is formed of stone slabs and at the entrance lays a stone image of Nandi facing towards the idol of Lord Shiva. There is an image of Lord Ganesha also on the right side of the temple gate.
Inside the main chamber lies the ashtadhatu which is comprised of eight metals, idols of saint Vyas and Kala Bhairav and the followers of Lord Shiva. There are images of the Pandavas and four other Kedar shrines inside the temple as well. At the end of the trek path of Tungnath, the opening door of the temple is marked with the presence of the name ‘Tungnath’ painted atop an archway which has recently been constructed.
When does the temple open
It opens when the Char Dhams of Uttrakhand opens up during April or May every year during Vaisakh Panchmi on the date that is decided by the Badro Kedar Temple Committee on Baisakhi. Although before planning to come here, make sure you inquire with your travel agent about the route, etc. Remember the temple is closed during the winter season after Diwali, and the image of the deity is moved to Mukunath which lies 19 km away from Tungnath by the temple priests during this time.
Best time to visit Tungnath
The ideal time to visit the shrine is during the summer season as the weather settles to be pleasant during this time with the temperature being 16 degrees Celsius to an average.
How to reach
Take private as well as state-owned buses which run regularly between the nearby cities to and from Chopta.
The total distance is 448 km road between Delhi to Chopta and the rest is on foot. The trek from Chopta to Tungnath can be done or completed in 2 to 3 hours.
The nearest railway station is Haridwar lies closest to Tungnath at a distance of 225 km from Chopta.
From here you can also take or hire a taxi directly to the base trek camp.
The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport at a distance of 260 km from Tungnath.
From here one can take a taxi or bus till Chopta. From Chopta you can move for the trek as well on foot.
The information provided is best as my knowledge experience thus anything someone wishes to add is free to leave a comment below. For more blogs click here and to get in touch for feature writing or guest blogs contact here..
As the name is unique so does the place. Spiti Valley is a mesmerizing place for nomads and travel enthusiasts all across the globe. As unique as its name, a trip to Spiti Valley is an experience of the ultimate abandoned beauty! Separated from breeding Lahaul by the soaring 4551m Kunzum La, the Himalayan region of Spiti is another piece of Tibet marooned in India. While this region stays cut off from the rest of the world in October to February, you can visit Spiti from March to May to enjoy the snow-clad mountains of this sumptuous cold desert. That is precisely what this blog is about – Yes Winter Spiti- White Spiti. what our Winter Edition
Moonscapes to Marvels of Spiti Valley
Diverged villages in a saw-toothed moon land appear like mirages on the road to Spiti valley. Roads like these will make you overlook any other scenery you’ve ever seen. The whitewashed and snow-covered, mud-brick houses dwell into the local heritage. These houses look marvellous from the viewpoint of Key Monastery. And when they all covered with snow it is like a white wonderland.
Rediscovering The Ancient Spiti
Spiti Valley is the place to rejoice the love for long lost things. This could be sending a postcard from the highest post office in the World, or go fossil hunting in the villages of Spiti. One such fossil village-Langza embraces you with a life-size golden statue of Buddha. The sedimentary rocks of this village cover the remains of plants & marine life which are millions of years old. Go see for yourself if you’re lucky enough to spot one! I was lucky to have found one.
Variation in Beauty
Contrary to all shades of grey and white, a turquoise ribbon of the Spiti River will coincide you as your near-constant escort, speeding along a deep valley before turning south at Sumdo into the craggy gorges of the Hangrang Valley. Spiti fascinates many travellers, including a huge bunch of Indian motorcyclists, as a kind of ‘mini-Ladakh without tourist crowds’. This title is justified until its serene nature (a high-altitude desert) and culture (Tibetan Buddhist) are still intact. For this, we all need to be a responsible traveller and whoever visits Spiti Valley, please take care of littler, carbon footprints and strictly no plastics.
Things to Remember
Who all planning to travel Spiti Valley in winters, please have a look at the tips below and the temperature as certain areas can be nerve crunching.
It gets very cold here in winters i.e. December through February with temperatures hitting – 30C to -35C. You will need to be mentally and physically fit and must have done some high altitude travel to be able to manage travelling through this high altitude region.
Majorly you will get only homestays in winters and the hotels and guest houses will be shut. These homestays will have dry eco-friendly squatting toilets. You will need to equip with this system as due to water freezing and water lines freezing wet toilets are not available.
Because of the water lines freezing, the locals have a hard time carrying water for utilities from a close water source and therefore having a bath while you are in Spiti will not be possible.
In peak winter i.e. January and early February, all the places might not be open due to unfavourable weather conditions. Thus, whatever you are able to visit take it as an opportunity to explore the place.
Wintertime is actually not a season time to visit Spiti Valley thus you will not get a variety of activities and things to do in cold weather. at times you will not be able to move around much and will have to end up in the homestay. That is why I would recommend travellers to be prepared and make the most of the destination whilst enjoying snow everywhere.
Being in a homestay you can make most of the time talking to locals, knowing the Spitian culture, food and much more. You can be with the host and can understand the local food culture.
Be prepared to be empathetic and adaptable, as due to weather last minutes’ plan changes can happen or you can be forced to change your plans due to safety measures.
Things To Carry
Shirts / T-shirts, Trousers / Track Pants
Windproof jacket, Raincoat / Poncho
Thermal inner wear (upper and lower)
Woollen cap, Woolen gloves, Woolen socks along with extra pairs
13 Snowfall Destinations In India Not To Be Missed In Winters
– Snowflakes, snowfall, mushy and powdery snow – wow, who doesn’t love to be in the snow. Who would not love to play in the snow? Age is no bar trust me for this fun in life. This blog is about your winter destinations in India. Read it to know it. The most preferred destinations for snowfall this winters in India where you would love to pack your woollens and scarfs to start your travel journey. Please note these are my personal favourites but there are many more to visit, if you wish to know about them please leave a comment at the end of the blog. Read about 13 Snowfall Destinations In India Not To Be Missed In Winters.
The wonder of the wonders, the Rohtang Pass is amazing and is covered with snow all over in winters. You will find fresh snow and beautiful mountain scenery. The high mountains with the peaks covered in clouds, with snow-covered tops will amaze you. Thundering white waterfalls from high mountain and meandering roads leading high up to the destination makes you forget everything and it makes it worthwhile the visit. You can enjoy other activities as well like skiing, snow motorbike, and can just going crazy flickering and dancing around in the snow.
The capital city of Himachal Pradesh is white in winters. It is a beautiful hill station which experiences substantial snowfall in winters in India. Various tourists visit Shimla for snowfall and enjoy snow activities. Places like Kufri, Narkanda, Mashobra get heavy snowfall.
Gangtok is the capital of the mountainous northern Indian state of Sikkim. Founded as a Buddhist pilgrimage site in the 1840s, the city became capital of a self-governing monarchy after British rule ended, but joined India in 1975. Today, it persists as a Tibetan Buddhist centre and a base for hikers organizing permits and transport for treks through Sikkim’s Himalayan mountain ranges. But what is more striking about Gangtok, is the snow all over in winters, which makes it a wonderful destination to visit in winters. Although you get occasional snowfall in Gangtok places like Tsomgo Lake, Kupup Lake, Lachung, Lachen, Yumthang and Zero Point witness heavy snowfall during winters. Consequently, winter is the best time to go to Sikkim if someone desires to see snow.
Average snowfall was observed in Gulmarg, where nearly six inches of snow has swelled, while snowfall was heavier in the higher mountain ranges at many places in the Valley. From December-end to mid-February, there is abundant snowfall for you to create your own snowman! Make sure you pack heavy woollens as the temperature can drop down till -4 degrees Celsius.
The high mountain passes in Ladakh including both Khardung La and Chang La, are under mounds of snow and passing through them is quite an experience in itself. Succeeding accessories like shades/glares/goggles are highly advised at this time of the year. Travelling by both the road routes, the Manali-Leh Highway and Srinagar-Leh Highway, is not plausible since they are not open in the snowy winters of Ladakh.
A warning—if you are someone who is not attached to the cold weather or cannot bear cold climates, please give up the idea of visiting Ladakh in winter. The biggest battle will be with the intense chill, and it is more a brain game than anything else. It is more beneficial to be adapted for extremely cold conditions before landing at 3300m above sea level.
The most favourite hill stations are Mussoorie and Chopta which also saw fresh snow, alluring travellers from around the country. Mussoorie’s Mall Road and Landour saw an expanded footfall of tourists, keen to revel in the winter fun. People could be seen nestled around bonfires all through the day as mercury dipped further.
The normal McLeodganj snowfall time is between December and February when the temperature ranges from -1 to 7 degrees Celsius. With numerous tourist attractions and local cafes, McLeodganj can be a marvellous place to visit to watch the annual snowfall. Mcleodganj with its frigid temperatures is a Disneyland of snow, snowfalls and everything white.
The vacation months in this beautiful hill station stretches from April to June are great to endure pleasant weather. These months are also perfect for skiing, nevertheless, Auli is covered in snow throughout the year but the best time is from Nov mid till Feb end. Skiing can be relished at any time during this season. You can also enjoy skiing festival in the month of February. December to February is the best month to visit Auli to show love for the snow. The temperature during this season ranges between -1 degrees Celsius to 5 degrees Celsius. Though, many places to visit in Auli get a new life and start embracing tourists from far and wide.
One of the most astonishing places in Uttarakhand to play with snow or witness snowfall near Delhi in winters is the region around Chopta, Tunganath or Deoria Tal. A small town in Tehri Garhwal region of Uttarakhand experiences good snow in months of December till February.
Kangra is a gorgeous little town situated in Kangra valley at the foothills of majestic Dhauladhar range of Himalayas. And snowfall in Kangra makes this village a charming white-wonderland. In some parts of the Kangra valley, you can witness snowfall in January and February. November is the onset of full-fledged traveller season in Kangra. Sports and adventure aficionados can indulge in skiing down the snow-laden mountains during this time. January is the month that you can lay off quickly because of the unbearable cold temperatures dipping to sub-zero levels.
The temperatures dip zero and minus Celsius in winters. Be ready for a fun-filled winter vacation to Chamba. Chamba is a charming little delightful town in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. Established near the banks of majestic Ravi river the town gets paradisiacal during winters. This heavenly hill station is situated at a height of 926 meters. Presume how wonderful it would be during snowfall in Chamba. It is a remarkably old town with a lot of cultural heritage- with its history linking back to 2nd century BC. The village is renowned for its rich artistic heritage, its majestic temples, and magnificent palaces. It is also home to some wondrous art and craftsmanship including the famous Pahari paintings. If you love winters and freezing snow – this is the destination that will give you goosebumps during your holiday here in winters.
Tourists travelling to Tawang and Bum-La Pass in Arunachal Pradesh observed the first snowfall of the season. Snowfall in India can be seen by tourists in the Himalayan belt. The tourists along the Sino-India border at Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang district experienced the blessings of nature, and quickly enough, the whole place was engulfed with white snow. Bum-La Pass in Arunachal Pradesh is located at a height of 15,200 ft and has great ancient importance, as this is the road into which China penetrated India during the War of 1962. Today it endures as a popular tourist destination, and Tawang is only about 37 km away from this pass. Tawang is essentially visited during the winter season, which is from October to December.
Spiti in winter is the uniquely transformed version of Spiti that you saw in summer. The huge mountains, mysterious terrains, the extent of barren landforms, and spots of green are entirely shrouded in a seamless sheet of snow. It’s a sea of white as far as your eyes can view. Such is the mesmerizing exhibition that you would run out of battery and space in your camera’s memory card but you won’t run out of the will to click pictures. It’s fun when you don’t have enough to do during the winter in Spiti and you can blend with the locals, experience delightful Spitian cuisine, and learn to lead life the more intricate way.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now that’s a sight we simply don’t get at too many places.
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.
Keep reading, Keep travelling.. the world awaits you!
There is a piece in me that like to tenderly imagine my maverick and seditious soul. But, precisely, I love to have a picky and cosy relationship with my soul that can rub up against a little bit, putting me alive.