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ShiviMay 25, 202015min1800

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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ShiviFebruary 11, 20209min680

Travel Blog Winter Spiti

 

hikkim kibber spiti valley

 

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

 

snow-leopard spiti valley

 

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.

 

kaza langza spiti valley

 

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.

 

Kibber spiti valley

 

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.

kaza spiti valley

 

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.

 

spiti valley

 

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.

 

spiti valley white wonder

 

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
  • Scarf\muflers
  • Comfortable Riding\sports shoes 
  • Towel\napkins
  • Water bottle
  • Cap / Hat, Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen Lotion, Lip Balm
  • Torch / Flashlight (with extra batteries)
  • Personal medication
  • Personal toiletries

 

Let’s connect for more travel writing and blogging… #keeptravelling 


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ShiviJanuary 13, 202015min1302

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. 

Manali

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.

 

manali snow

 

Shimla

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. 

 

shimla snowfall

 

Gangtok  

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.

 

sikkim gangtok

 

Gulmarg

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.

 

gulmarg snowfall

 

Ladakh (Leh)

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.

 

ladakh leh snowfall

 

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.

 

zanskar valley

 

Mussoorie

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.

 

mussoorie snowfall

 

McLoedganj

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.

 

fresh snow mcleodganj

 

Auli

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.

 

auli winters

 

Dhanualti

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.

 

snow dhanualti

 

Kangra

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.

 

kangra valley snow

 

Chamba

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.

 

chamba valley snow

 

Tawang

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.

 sela pass snow tawang

 

Spiti Valley

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 snow

 


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ShiviOctober 5, 201814min1494

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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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.


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