Trip Report - Kinnaur Spiti Lahaul - June 2010

Reply
#1 Jul 4th, 2010, 14:21
Join Date:
Feb 2010
Location:
Kolkata
Posts:
2,986
  • kshil is offline
#1
The Trip includes places like Chail - Narkanda - Sarahan via Baggi, Sungri, Taklech, Dharanghati, Mashnoo - Chitkul - Kalpa - Tabo - Pin Valley - Kaja - Losar - Kunzum La - Gramphoo - Sissu - Keylong - Barlacha - Udaipur/Trilokinath - Manali - Sairopa - Jalori Pass - Naldehra - Mashobra - Shimla.

It was trip from Kolkata to Chandigarh via flight and then taking a Scorpio for whole trip that picked up from Chandigarh and dropped us at Kalka after 17 days. We took Shatabdi to Delhi and Duronto on next day for coming back to Kolkata.

Start Odo Reading at Chandigarh Airport: 32001
End Odo Reading at Kalka Station : 34203

Total Distance Travelled 2202 km

Here is the trip report and the snaps:

The initial trip was planned from 19th June to 4th July that needed to prepone by a week round last week of May due to some urgent work that came all of a sudden like a Himalayan Western Disturbance. On one hand it resulted in a complete change in itinerary, air/rail tickets, straight away forfeiting 20% of booking amount with HPTDC Hotels and many uncertainties, on the other hand it gave me much more flexibility and most importantly I got the best possible weather of June 2010, a month that would be remembered for quite long due to some un-seasonal rain, heavy snow and record late in pass openings. On Accommodation front, my only prebookings were at Narkanda, Sarahan and Chitkul.

11th June: As a late riser I do hate early morning flights but Jet Connection at 6.30 in the morning was too lucrative to miss as I could reach Chandigarh Airport by 10.15am and that means utilizing the whole day. Actually reached 15 mins late at 10.30am and found Vinkle (my driver for this trip) was waiting with the 2009 model Scorpio(HP-02A- 2200) just outside the airport. I got some snaps of car and driver before hand and the deal was Rs.2200 per day inclusive of everything. By that time I spoken to the owner and Vinkle for atleast 4/5 times and discussed the route and clearly communicated the route I am planning to take, an important thing, one shouldn't miss if you want a hassle free journey later. There was no advance as I clearly mentioned I won't pay unless I get a ride in the car :-) Ultimately I was so pleased with the Car, I decided to pay 50% on that day and called owner to come to either kandaghat or Kufri to collect it. Reason is one of the posts in this long thread where Dilliwala advised me to take the scenic Chail Route if possible. It's a worth journey through the route bypassing Shimla completely and Chail Palace was a place we really liked except the monkey brigade there. Left Airport around 11.30am, took lunch break at Giani Dhaba, Dharampur for an hour, packed up the scorpio with dry foods and 6 cans of mineral water 5 ltrs each and with a stoppage at Chail palace for 45mins,some photo stops, finally reached Narkanda round 7.30pm, when sun just sets into the mountains. As a first day of trip, I prebooked Harsh Villa, arkanda through HPTDC Website only and if you can tolerate the entrance that is little steep, rest is complete value for money for Rs.550 a day. If possible take a 1st floor room and the Himalayan Vista from Room and attached balcony was awesome. I had some very good snaps from this balcony itself. The guy could bring in dinner/lunch from local restaurants for you without taking any extra charges and suddenly at night with all blankets we feel heavenly after escaping from a pathetic 38 degrees in Kolkata.

12th June: Next Day, rather in all subsequent days I made sure that I get up before sun and can start the day with a beautiful sunrise. My alarm was fixed at 5.00 in the morning for next 17 days. Started around 8.00 in the morning for Hatu Peak drive and the road was awesome. Only concern is the temple that is being built there, not sure whether the same serenity would be maintained when the temple would be open for all. PWD RH on Hatu peak is still not operational as there is no electricity there at top. But I wish I could stay a night there sometimes in future, such an awesome location it has. Came back from Hatu peak, strolled around Narkanda and the ski ground was great, a local cricket match was going on there, by the way Cricket seems to be tremendously popular in whole himachal even in the remotest places. The afternoon was planned for driving to the Thanedar/Kotgarh areas, the apple orchards of Himachal. Nice places all through and finally spending a nice afternoon in Tani Jubbar Lake.

13th June: Kept a close eye on weather as my data card was still working, This was a day when I was planning to take a little off route to reach Sarahan and praying hard for a nice weather. Instead of taking NH22 via Rampur, I chose the route that British people started using to avoid hot Sutlej Valley and later established as a preferred alternative as part of Old Hindustan Tibet Road. The route was from Narkanda to take Baggi, Khadrala, Sungri, Taklech, Dharanghati, Mashnoo to reach Sarahan. The Baggi to Sungri Stretch was extremely rough and surely didn't get any kind of maintenance for atleast a year though buses ply in the section. From Sungri road becomes suddenly better and it was quite good road till 10km ahead of Dharanghati. Dharangahti - Mashnoo was complete offroading through dense forest region, an amazingly charming journey though and from Mashnoo to Sarahan again it's a well tarred road. The whole section all along goes through higher ridges and utterly devoid of any traffic. You would get awesome vistas with aweful roads. We started at 7.30 in morning from Narkanada and reached Sarahan around 4.30 in afternoon. Took a nice lunch break at Taklech and several other breaks in between. Sincere thanks to Dhananjay for the idea of this route. Those who are interested can visit Saraikoti Temple from Dharanghati as it's a divine place I heard. In Sarahan, we had prebooking at Bhimkali Temple, a wonderful
place to stay. In the evening we strolled to visit the Palace and Hawa Ghar on top, a nice place to see the Sarahan valley and in a clear weather you might witness a brilliant sunset over Srikhanda Range.

14th June: The day started with a brilliant sunrise over Srikhand. We started around 8.00 in the morning from Sarahan, took a tea break at Jeori, experienced the worst section between Wangtoo and Karcham, SJVN and JP has almost ruined this entire part of NH22 and this region seems to be one of the highest producer of hydro electricity. I wish they could do some justice to the roads and infrastructure of this area as well apart from their business. Felt some relief after entering Baspa Valley but till Kuppa, the road was extremely narrow and the drive was quite scary. Reached Sangla by 12.15pm and took lunch, It's quite a busy place with lots of hotels and we decided to move ahead until we reach Rakcham. Rakcham is a small village by the side of Baspa. We enjoyed a lot there, spending some nice moments beside Baspa before finally reaching to Chitkul around 3.30pm. Chitkul was simply a divine place and I discovered not only the Data card but also the Airtel Sim stopped working there. BSNL Sim works but without certainty, I found my hotel staffs almost doing acrobatic movements over terrace to catch BSNL signal. After sundown the serenity and cold icy air were hallmark of Chitkul. Probably I would stay longer here next time. We stayed in Hotel Panchali, valley facing first floor room was awesome but this is the place where I had to pay for prebooking. I paid 1100 while booking from Kolkata and when enquired about rate
pretending to be a potential guest, my heart was broken when I heard the guy telling "last price 550 saab, aur kam nehin hoga". Chitkul is a place that might need prebooking during puja holidays if mass tourism from Bengal is on, otherwise there are plenty of options unless you venture in an off season.

15th June: My luck with weather continues with another brilliant morning there, Thanks to Lucid, as per his advice, I took the Nagasthi ITBP camp walk in the early morning and it was awesome. This is the place where the famous Har Ki Doon Trek starts or ends and this valley connects with many famous valleys of Uttarakhand. We took lunch in Panchali itself and started around 12.30pm for Kalpa, intention was to catch the sunset there but for the first time in afternoon sky turned cloudy and weather started behaving differently. I heard about 3 hotels in Kalpa, HPTDC was one of them that flatly refused to talk stating all their rooms are filled up even though I saw just 2 days back they have plenty of rooms specially in above 2500 range. Hotel Kinner Villa is nice option but they have good room only for 15th and 16th they were shifting me to a backside room. Golden Apple is the third, I heard a lot about and it also could offer only a good room for 15th. I somehow ignored Rakpa Regency though Vinkle repeatedly told me about this and later repented a lot for this. Golden Apple room was ok but toilet was not that good, geyser was not working. The worst experience I had with food and such a half cooked chicken they offered, I still have a nightmare and couldn't have chicken since then. The Hotel also doesn't have a good lobby/terrace to enjoy Kailash range, so called side view rooms were simple horrible and you would be in a difficult situation unless you get a front facing room there. It's quite costly too; as a whole I won't recommend this hotel to anyone. With bad weather and shattered dream of a divine sunset, the matter got even worse and I decided to shift to some other places on next day.

16th June: My alarm went on at 5.00am but I could hear raining from bed itself and with the time rain was getting heavier. The reversal of good luck in start of the trip continues as around 9.00am I have scrapped the idea of walking to Chakha, an idea shared by Uttam here. At 11.00, the moment rain gets lighter, I started exploring the other hotels and found Rakpa completely vacant. Chose the room no 405 at top floor with a nice terrace, attached balcony and awesome views of surroundings. Rent was 1000 as compared to 1700 of Golden Apple. With change of hotel, luck also started swinging back and we decided to go to Peo for lunch and some marketing as next day we would start for Spiti. Little Chef was a brilliant place to eat in Peo and with 2 cartons of mineral water (24 bottles of 1 ltr each) and filled up fuel tank of Scorpio, we were all set for next day. We went to Roghi in afternoon, amazing cliff and terrific fall below. This is the actual HT Road again from Poari towards Khab via Chini Village (Kalpa). In the evening, more bad news came as we met a group of people from Kaza who returned after waiting unsuccessfully for 4 days to cross Kunzum Pass. I called Lotey (Ramesh), the extremely helpful person who owns Spiti Sarai Hotel there and Spiti Holiday adventure a tour organizer in valley. Thanks to Voyager for giving his contact. He assured me telling it would be open soon may be in a day (that he used to tell me from 7th, the day Kunzum closed after sudden snowfall) and I have nothing to do rather than praying for it. My Tata Photon got dead after Sarahan but Airtel came alive after entering Kalpa. I was frantically checking IMD and Accu through cell GPRS and only hope was next 4/5 days were predicted as dry in both the sites.


See the Snaps here : Kinnaur Deb bhumi


17th June: I woke up around 4.30 and the stars in the morning sky made it clear that a brilliant day is waiting for us. The next few hours were amazing with an unforgettable sunrise in Kalpa with crystal clear Kinnaur Kailash Range in hand shaking distance. Started at 7.30am in morning hits NH22 again and move towards Spillo. Seen the right diversion towards Namgiya and ShipkiLa and left towards Ropa valley. The road was almost all the way good but turns better after Khab Bridge. I remembered to catch a glimpse of Reo Purygal, highest peak in HP from Khab Bridge as mentioned by Lucid and Uttam. It was awesome, the road started to go up after Khab and a signpost marked clearly Yangthang ahead in old road and Nako on the top in new alignment to bypass Malling. New Monastery of Nako was good but best is the sight of Reo Purygal again from there. Visited Nako lake and village for some time, watched quite clearly the old Malling road that was completely destroyed for 200 mtrs in between and new road alignment at top. Around 1.00pm started from Nako and proceeded towards Chango where the old Malling Road meets with new alignment on other side. Chango to Sumdo was mainly through deep canyons of Spiti which was with us since Khab. Pare Chu meets Spiti at Sumdo and yes in right we found NH22 gone upto Kaurik for another 17km. Kaurik is not open for civilians without permit and probably an unique place that is completely destroyed in 1975 earthquake where as the name is still being used in all milestones. We left NH and started with SH30 from Sumdo as we enters Spiti. Land Scape changed completely after Nako with all barren mountains and some typical air erosion patters picked up straight from geography text books. Took a detour of 12 km one way to Giu for that famous Mummy, a bigger temple kind of structure is being built there where mummy would be kept, saw the hair of Mummy but not sure if they are still growing as claimed by many. Hoorling comes once you hit SH30 after Giu. The road is worst here and this part was closed for a day in first week of June shutting Kaza - Peo link. Then We reached Tabo around 4.30pm and found Trojan GH vacant yet pricey, Mentok Dumra little too basic, surprisingly didn't find San Maria at all in that small town which otherwise was a famous hotel. Lotey again became saviour and directed us to Diket Norphel and later we found this is nothing but lost San Maria that changed the name now. So first floor room there at 500 was extreme value for money. The food was good and hotel was extremely clean. Visited Tabo Monastry and brilliant paintings there are quite mesmerizing.

18th June: We didn't do breakfast but got some Alu Paratha from the hotel and left by 7.30am. First destination was Mane Village, seems to be greenest in whole Spiti Valley, this is the place where Gunsarang and Manirang Pass trek starts that connects Ropa Valley. The site of Spiti Valley and SH30 was amazing from here. Manerang Ranges were at touching distance and both upper and lower Mane villages are very green. After Mane reached Schichiling but skipped Dhankar as our plan was to do a night stay there. From Attarago turned left towards Pin Valley and experienced some best panorama in whole Spiti Valley. Pin's color is turquoise compared to muddy Spiti, Gone to Kungri Monastery, attended prayer there, From Kungri, Pin Valley looks awesome, reached Sagnam that itself is a very scenic place and after Sagnam road bifurcates to Mud and Bhaba/Pin parvati pass onwards and other fork goes to Talling and Kuokti Valley, this is the starting point of Larsa Pass Treking towards Spillo at Kinnaur. Mud is having couple of accommodations and had a nice lunch there. Anyone would be surprised with the colors that Pin Valley can offer. We came back to SH30 and then gone other side towards Lingti Valley. The vista is completely different yet very attractive as we proceeded towards Lallung. There are apparently 2 roads marked for Lallung, one through Rama and Lingti Village that is extremely rough and as per local couldn't connect to lallung yet as the board at SH30 claims. The other road as part from Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna starts again from SH30 and links Lallung, we took first route first, abandoned it little later and then took the second route to reach lallung. The Kamelang peak rises dramatically behind Lallung village and the old monastery there is worth visiting. We tried to took the short cut from Lalung to Dhankar by another gravel road and within 500 mtrs of Dhankar discovered the road was cut off in between due to a bridge work. We had to trace back all the way to SH30 and then through Schichiling reached Dhankar at 5.00pm. Gone straight to old Monastery and experienced awesome vista of Spiti Valley from Terrace. Got a nice room at 500 in Monastery Guest House with attached bath, geysers. Had a nice dinner and ended a busy yet very satisfying day.

19th June: The morning was brilliant again and I didn't wait anymore but sharp at 6 started the 3 km hike towards Dhankar Lake. Some parts are stiff but mostly moderate hike and reached at lake by 1.5 hours. It was a calm morning and lake was awesome with mirrors of surrounding ranges specially manerang. I just sat there for an hour and the feeling was hard to express in words. Early morning Dhankar lake is an awesome experience. I came back by 9.00am and took a shower, had a good breakfast and started by 10.00am towards Kaja. Straight away proceeded towards Langza once the Scorpio got it fuel tank filled up. Langza and Komic were 2 awesome places with Chau Chau kang Langda in its backdrop, both places had monasteries where as Komic Monastery had an extra attraction of a stuffed Snow Leopard there. I thought of spotting some fossils in langza but didn't find any, heard from locals it might be available near water streams in the forest, most likely maximum were picked up and sold already. There is another village called Hikkim and there are roads connecting each of them. We took from kaja the main road and took left fork towards Langza as mentioned by a kaja local.From Langza again one road goes Komic directly and we took this to reach there, while coming back we tried to experiment a little and took the road to Hikkim from Komic and after Hikkim there is a fork, right side goes towards langza and left goes towards kaja directly. We took right and got stuck in Mud slush for half an hour, finally retraced and took the left towards Kaja and soon discovered why the local asked us to take langza route. The road was extremely narrow and full of loose gravels that is difficult to grip, Scorpio faced skiding in couple of places and once we escaped by an inch from a straight fall to Spiti Valley. After some time found a dozer is removing stones and we kept waiting for almost 15 mins before it gave us an extremely narrow space to pass, Vinkle's driving skill saved our day and when we took first hairpin after that, we realized the dozer we just passed, throwing the stones on our road from top. We shouted a lot to stop, honked a lot, all in vain and then we had nothing to do but to pass the stretch as stones are coming from top and it was steep and full of loose gravel to back track. Now the worst, Vinkle told we need to remove few boulders from road those could damage the car, he was at steering, it's only me who need to do the job as he had to drive fast the moment I pushed the stones. It was most horrific moments of my life, stones are coming from top, I was pushing stones with all my energy to make way for the scorpio and Vinkle is honking if the dozer shows some mercy to us, don't know exactly how long it was but seems to be never ending, finally crossed the stretch unhurt. Came back to Kaja and meet Lotey and the best thing that could happen then was exactly what he told, Kunzum opened 2 days back and first lot of cars crossed Barlacha on that day itself. Along with that the bad news was Chandratal link road was still closed and none knows even in Kaja when it could open. I asked if I could try a trek from Kunzum Pass as that is shorter and more scenic. He discouraged me very clearly as he was expecting lots of snow in that route. We didn't want to stay at kaja and asked him if anything is available in his hotel at Rangrik (Spiti Sarai). He offered us a complete suite with 2 rooms and 3 beds for 1000. It's the best deal we got in whole trip and undoubtedly the best place we stayed among all 17 days. The hotel location was superb out of all hustles and bustles of Kaja and the food was extremely good. Voyager once wrote, it's best value for money in the valley and he was 100% correct.

20th June: The food was so good in Spiti Sarai, we planned for the lunch here too and planned to visit Kye/Kibber/Tashigang in morning after placing the order for lunch. Kye Monastery is in a lovely location and can be seen from the hotel itself in the backdrop of colored mountains. The views from Kye towards valley is amazing. We moved towards Kibber and clearly could see Chichim and Kibber in same frame, Parilungbi River flowing in between. This region starting from Chichim, across Parilungbi river Kibber, Gete, Tashigang and then across Shilla Nalla Langza, Komic is called pasture country, having an appearance of a platue high above the valley with meadows and sharp cliffs falling sharply to main valley and striking appearance of two left bank tributaries of Spiti, Parilungbi and Shilla flowing through narrow gorges. From Kibber the famous Parang La pass trek starts towards Tso-Moriri in ladakh. Chicham is not motorable from this end but having road connectivity from other side, a place called Kiato. (Towards Losar from Kaja) From Gete, walk till the start of the trail going down to Kye Monastery and you would be rewarded with an awesome valley view having Kaja and Rangrik in same frame. The road from Gete to Tashigang is very bad with lots of places full of muds where you can get stuck easily. In such a place, we stopped our vehicle and started walking forward through a well marked dirt road. We walk for almost one and half hour and the result was amazing, we could see Langza far away across Shilla Gorge and then got the best view of Chau Chau Kang Nalda at right and Kanamo at left. Both are brilliant with all white views and lots of fresh snow in June. If one can stay a night at tashigang (not sure if any accommodation is available there as only couple of houses I could see within my 360 degree views from there), I think it would be worth experience as the place is awesome with brilliant views of all high peaks and colorful panorama of pastureland. I would be back here for sure. While returning we found a Sumo got stuck in mud that left atleast 40 mins before us from Tashigang in it way back to Kaja. Driver was busy with all sorts of tricks and almost opened the whole toolbox and seems to have already tried all means. The passengers seems to be young couple who were quite scared as the rear right wheel was very badly stuck. Vinkle joined the fray and when nothing worked, he asked all of us to come down from our car and gone into the back seat of Sumo. When all of us cramped in back, rear wheel ultimately got some grip and yes it was able to come out of the ditch. Next was our turn and we put some stones, pebbles to make it much easier and came out without any hassles. When we reached Kaja it was almost 2.00pm (the walk in Tashigang helped us to offshoot the estimated lunch time we told in hotel but again it was worth), enjoyed the nice lunch, quickly pack ourselves to start off for Losar. This is another memorable stretch from Rangrik to Losar and each of the villages enroute are awesome with some very scenic canyon drive. Pangmo flat was awesome in this journey along with hoodoos formation near Kiato. We reached Losar and stayed at PWD GH, which was undoubtedly the best place to stay here. We experienced an awesome sunset and sunrise from Losar, it's very windy place but simply out of the world because of the location.


See the Snaps here : Spiti - Into the Thin Air


21st June: After an extremely comfortable stay in Losar, where we had room heaters, geysers, enough blankets and a very comfortable room with a nice dinner, we started next morning towards Kunzum. Vista got changed dramatically as we entered the snow zone with all white everywhere. Unlike Rohtang it was very clean and clearly quite a lonely pass to enjoy. In the temporary Tent of PWD on Kunzum top, I found the famous signpost where it was showing "Chandratal 14.5 km and Jeepable 13.5km". They removed the signpost even from Batal link road and that is quite an indication they are in no hurry to open the road this year. I had nothing much to do as the other trek route from pass that almost goes down all the way to lake after a small climb in pass, was full of snow. The PWD local fellows also advised me not to trek the route all alone and asked me to checkout the Batal route. But Batal route is close to 14km and trekking both way in one day from there would be almost impossible with my fitness level. Accommodation for family there in Batal was another problem and ofcourse I could see weather is going to get bad from 25th onwards and before that I needed to be back in Manali after covering Lahaul, so I decided to skip Chandratal and taken a decision on spot to comeback for this divine lake again sometimes soon. The descent from Kunzum towards Batal was worse than ascent from Losar and very soon, I could see the Chandra River down below and the famous link road to Chandratal that was blocked atleast 4/5 places with snow as long as I could see from top. Reached Batal and heard the harrowing story of those school kids who got stuck there for 10 days from Batal dhaba owners. Even a German Cyclist was killed due to Avalanche on the fateful days of 7th to 9th June with huge unseasonal snowfall in the region. Uttam probably got stuck in the region during same time as was Travo. Batal itself had 4 ft snow then and the original road is completely abandoned now and PWD made way for a new road just beside the Chandra river for first 6 km from batal to chotadhara. Going through some arduous stretches with scary water crossing, high snow walls, glacial zone of Bara Sigri, some nice meadows the road goes towards Chotadhara, Chatru and finally Gramphoo for almost 60 km. It's just making way for humans rather than calling it a road. I understood why only high ground clearance cars are advisable here when I crossed the section. Weather was brilliant all across and when we reached Gramphoo and hit Manali Leh road, still we couldn't believe we are so close to Chandra Valley, Same Chandra River was still flowing with us but hats off to BRO for making an excellent wide road in such a difficult terrain. Actually you would feel any road brilliant just after covering Batal Gramphoo stretch. In Khoksar we took lunch and met the cordial PWD asst engineer to get the stay warrant for stay at Sissu and Gondhla on 22nd and 23rd. Due to VIP Visit we got it in reverse order than what we wanted and as a result had to travel 50km more. Soon came across Pagal Nallah of Sissu and it's really Pagal specially in late afternoon. Lahaul valley is much greener than Spiti and farming is more noticeable across the valley. Reached Tandi by 5.00pm and the road was excellent except a 10km stretch between Sissu and Gondhla. Made the fuel tank full and discovered all hotels of Keylong were full with almost zero availability. It's full of bikers and tourists who were stuck there for days as Barlacha was opened just a day before. Lotey again came into our rescue as we didn't hesitate to call him straightaway to Kaja. We got a nice room in Hotel Dekyd for 1200 just because of his contact and the hotel was very nice.

22nd June: We started the day early around 7.30am and headed towards Baralacha in a nice sunny day. Road was excellent in almost all section except couple of water crossing just beyond Keylong and Darcha. We crossed, Jispa, Darcha, saw the new alingment of Manali-Leh highway after Darcha via Zanskar. Entry of vehicle was required at Darcha and it was probably the third place after Sumdo and Losar where we had to do the same formalities. Crossed Patseo and enroute visited a nice and small Dipak Tal with wonderful turquoise color and moved towards Zingzingbar. From here we started a journey of lifetime, I have seen lots of snow in Europe and US but never felt it could be so divine before this. We started getting lost in the middle of snow as we come closer to this famous pass that cuts through Great Himalayan range (Himadri Himalay), highest east west spread among all the Himalayan ranges. No word could do justice to exactly how we felt for next 2 hours. On the way found almost frozen Surajtal, a treat to eyes. Met an horrendous traffic jam near pass as it's just one lane road by then and there was no traffic restriction in place that made the chaos. One police bus got stuck in between making it worse and along with that found large number of oil tankers approaching the pass. When pass was only opened to light vehicles, don't know how these oil tankers were allowed, may be they come under essential service. For the first time probably we enjoyed the traffic jam in life as 95% of tourist were Leh bound and they were really anxious as Sarchu tent was not ready by then, where as we enjoyed every moment stucking in the ice age as we knew we had to start return journey the moment we reached the top and had no hurry to come out of that heaven. On way back we took our lunch at Darcha and then proceeded to Sissu for stay in PWD RH. This is another PWD RH, that one should stay, extremely good location and nice rooms.

23rd June: In the morning started for a trek to Sissu Waterfalls, it requires crossing Chandra river over nice bridge and then the waterfalls stream through a precarious bridge with some loose stones and woods. Some very steep ascent and you could see the main falls clearly from very close. Other easier option would be to drive to the helipad below and from helipad you can get a nice view of the falls. We started after breakfast towards Tandi where Chandra meets Bhaga to form Chandrabhaga and flowing westward. Our destinations for the day were Udaipur and Trilokinath in Pattan Valley and found it's much greener than Lahaul even. Chandrabhaga would be all along with you flowing at your left. In Udaipur Mrikulamata Temple was great with its wooden carving. We took another great lunch in Udaipur and headed for Trilokinath, the Trilokinath location was amazing and probably only temple that has hosts Shiva and Buddha together. If someone plans well, can include a 3 hour trek, one way, to Sat Dhar, a nice meadow from here. Trek towards Bharmor/Manimahesh in Chamba can be taken through kalicho pass from here. The road was quite good all through except a 10km stretch from Thirot towards Udaipur. This section was one of the worst among all roads I traveled in Himachal including famous Batal Gramphoo. Not sure due to this section or not, on 13th day from start we faced a puncture for first time in trip here. Our stay was scheduled at Gondhla PWD,that itself is in fabulous location but seems not much tourist stay here. Gondhla has no tourist infrastructure and as a result no availability of foods and ccommodations here, we found PWD RH even doesn't have any arrangement for food and finally settled with Veg Chowmin for the night. It was close to full moon and the surroundings of Chandra River with high mountains and lovely valleys in a moonlit night was simply awesome.

24th June: Around 3 in the early morning we realized a sudden change in weather hitting by a severe storm and heavy rains. I realized IMD missed the date by a day as it was 25th when the disturbance was supposed to hit. We didn't realize much in night that followed by a partly sunny morning with some clouds. We started early as our objective was not to get stuck at Rohtang traffic jam. We hit road by 7.00am and soon after crossing Sissu we found road is completely blocked at pagal nallah due to huge slide. We knew about a bypass through a village road to reach khoksar from BCMT website and easily found out the road after back tracking couple of km. The bypass road was awesomely scenic and we saw pagal nalah from top then as 2 dozers were in full service there. Reached Khoksar at 8.30 and took breakfast. Started for Rohtang and found one more slide where we had to wait for 20 mins before it's cleared and we headed towards Rohtang. After 20 years I saw Rohtang and it's a complete change and I couldn't figure out much rather than just lots and lots of people, cars, horses, donkeys and what not. It's difficult to recognize Rohtang separately from Delhi Pragati maidan or Kolkata Maidan unless Pir Panjal range used to be there. A classic example of irresponsible mass tourism and surely when Rohtang Tunnel would be ready, Himachal Govt might make it an amusement park with some rides and a good entry fee to generate better revenue. God saves this Pass!! We got stuck in traffic jam as usual and finally reached Manali around 1.30pm and stayed at Ocean Inn. No intention of getting out in Manali as the place was horribly crowded comparing to the heavenly places we came across earlier. We took the rest of the day full rest and weather gone worse to worst as evening approaches, enjoyed the rain from hotels all along. Enjoyed Italy Slovakia match on TV and some tennis as well. The hotel was just inaugurated 2 months back and very new property and we got room for 1400. Food was awfully bad and when we asked the reason, the guy told the restaurant was outsourced, not a compelling alibi though.


See the Snaps here : Lahaul - Land of Folklores


25th June: Early morning started for Sairopa and still it was raining heavily. On the way Vinkle did his first mistake of the trip by saying about Kullu Shawl factories and my wife got hell-bent by then to do some shopping that I carefully avoided since begining. Usually I play with weight/luggage restriction excuses for flight quite well to counter shopping but this time unfortunately we had to return by Train, my last excuse fell flat as it's clearly written in all corner "Credit Cards Accepted" and all hell broke loose as we entered the factory, in next one hour our luggage counter gone up by three and countless number of times I had to choose between multiple colors and designs, none of them honestly looks attractive to me. Somehow got out the factory and soon found the weather is improving (what a coincidence!!) , taken nice lunch at splendour dhaba just before Aut and crossing Aut tunnel we took left to enter into another heaven. Banjar Valley is surely one of the greenest corner of himachal. Tirthan, the cleanest river of Himachal starts showing up and we follow the river, take a left before Banjar towards Gushaini, the entrance of Great Himalayan National Park. Before 5 km of Gushaini, we reached Sairopa. The forest RH was awesome, I booked 2 rooms over phone by calling Shamshi range office, for 500 it's out of the world. You can easily stay for 3/4 days in this ambience and would enjoy every moment of it. Set 3 was best room that somehow range officer allotted us. Gone for small walks near Tirthan and saw many flowers and birds in between. Apples and pears all the way with lush green surroundings and magical Tirthan in front, set a stage that is difficult to forget easily. No cooking in FRH but a nearby shop would serve you delicious dinner, breakfast and lunch at your room.

26th June: Woke up early, enjoyed the sunrise and first time I didn't feel like moving on, it's an addictive place and I would come back with a long vacation here. Ultimately started at 11.00 in morning (maximum late start in the trip) and proceeded towards Banjar and then towards Jalori pass via Jhibi and Shoja. Nice green surroundings everywhere with tall pine forests in every corner. Shoja end of Jalori is extremely stiff and almost all the way till pass it's a journey in first gear from Shoja. We proceeded through Khanag, Ani and Luhri and crossing Luhri Bridge, we took the right towards Sunni instead of normal route that goes towards Sainj. This route is shortest to come to Shimla and just follows Sutlej all the ways. We had an invitation for lunch in Vinkle's native place, Sunni on that day and we enjoyed it fully. It's nice flat land with lots of farming. Only problem is it's extremely hot as it's in valley floor of Sutlej. Through Basantpur, we reached Naldehra in evening and liked a hotel Rock Heaven in Mashobra a few km ahead of Naldehra as we had no intention of staying at Shimla. The hotel was good at 1000 and food was equally good too.

27th June: Our last day in heaven, started around noon after lunch as we had to catch Delhi Shatabdi at 5.45 in evening, Had to come to Shimla as I had to pay rest 50% of the Car rental to owner there and then some uneventful moments before we reached Kalka. In Dharampur, we returned the 6 empty cans of 5 ltr water bottle in Gianni Dhaba and got 120 bucks refunded, Just before Kalka it's always a traffic jam that would eat out some time of yours specially if its a weekend. Anyway we reached well before time and had a good journey back to Delhi. It's a warm welcome literally to 40 degree from 5 degree.

28th June / 29th June: I had some work there in Delhi, the reason why the trip preponed for a week, completed that, intentionally took ride in a Delhi Private Bus and DTC low floor AC Bus to enjoy the contrast and then finally took Duronto Express from NDLS to reach Kolkata on 29th. It's a wonderful journey and one of my most memorable trip that ends here.


See the Snaps here :Manali - Sairopa - Shimla
#2 Jul 4th, 2010, 14:23
Join Date:
Feb 2010
Location:
Kolkata
Posts:
2,986
  • kshil is offline
#2

Relevant Contact Information

Car/Driver : Vinkle - 9459262520 - Very highly recommended. He himself owns a Sumo and the Scorpio owner (whose car I took) taken a Innova recently, ran for thousand odd km, So you can choose any car you like.

Accommodation:

Narkanda: Harsh Villa, can be booked by HPTDC Site, highly recommended,specially a first floor room. Contact: 9817555777 / 9882147045

Sarahan: Bhimkali Temple: Very Highly Recommended, booking can be done by calling 01782274248. I took room number 4, the biggest room there in first floor, very good if you are 3 or more persons.

Chitkul: Panchali GH, Highly recommended, booking can be done by Kolkata based Geetanjali Travels (Sandip) at 09816803505 / 09903154295(Kolkata). Sandip used to Stay in Kapla from May to Oct and 1st number should work now. Also you can call 01786244279/9418590629/9816803505 for booking too as this owned by same owner who owns Kinner Villa in Kalpa. The best one is valley view first floor room.

Kalpa:

Golden Apple, Kalpa, I never would recommend.

Kinnaur Villa has some rooms nice, HPTDC Hotel is in amazing location too. But I would suggest have a look at Rakpa Regency too, For contact call Sandip's number as given above or 01786226587. I stayed at room 405 in 4th floor with terrace and attached balcony, awesome!!

Tabo: Hotel Dekit Norphel (earlier San Maria), any first floor room, highly recommended. I somehow missed to get the number here.

Dhankar: Monastery Guest House, the best you can get here.Contact Vineet Rana @ 9418817761.

Mud: In case someone is interested, Tara Guest House can be contacted at 9418365251/9418441453/9418571167. Location was excellent and same about Food, I didn't stay here.

Kaja/Rangrik: I stayed at Spiti Sarai, very highly recommended and for any help in Spiti, contact Lotey 9418439247.

Keylong: I stayed at Hotel Dekyid, highly recommended, Contact Tashi at 9418157650 or
01900222217

Manali: I stayed at Ocean Inn, contact 9817666488, Accommodation was good but food was not.

Mashobra: Hotel Rock Heaven, excellent place, contact 01772740141/09816056448


PWD CH/GH:

For detail process refer to the relevant thread here

Narkanda CH: Call 01772655988 and fax number 01772653535. I didn't get as it was all booked.

Sarahan CH: Call 01782-233017 /01782-233016 and Fax Number is 01782-233167. I didn't get this either.

Kalpa CH: Most unpredictable and the worst experience while interacting them, they refused to give fax number, got it from another IM Member, faxed application, they confirmed getting it, made me waiting till last day for confirming and in last day when I was at Karcham, they said it's not possible. Call at 01786-222252 and fax number 01786 223342

Kaja CH: Call 01906-222202 and send fax 01906-222215. Very Cordial, got rooms initially but cancelled as pass opening was delayed and Govt officials got stuck there.

Keylong CH: Best people to deal with, but again same problem as kaja because of extreme delay in opening of Barlacha. Call 01900-222501 and send fax at 01900-222502

For Sissu/Khoksar/Gondhla PWD GH, call 01900-275018 and they have no fax number, so book over phone.

For Tabo, Kaja, Sagnam and Losar PWD GH, call 01906222416, fax in same number after requesting for fax tone.

For Sairopa FRH, call GHNP, Shamshi at 01902-265320, for food contact at the local dhaba at 9218792253.

My experience is it's quite unpredictable but if you get, nothing can match for its value for money, more chance of getting in smaller places like Sagnam, Losar, Sissu, Gondhla, Udaipur rather than in Kaja/Keylong/Kalpa/Peo where people visits more often.
Last edited by kshil; Jul 4th, 2010 at 22:54..
#3 Jul 4th, 2010, 14:30
Join Date:
Feb 2010
Location:
Kolkata
Posts:
2,986
  • kshil is offline
#3

Original Disucssion Thread on the Topic

The main discussion thread on this topic is here.

Any question / clarification is most welcome but request you to post the query in original thread and leaving this thread for your comments only.

Cheers
#4 Jul 4th, 2010, 16:38
Join Date:
Apr 2007
Location:
Delhi
Posts:
232
Send a message via Yahoo to adventurenorth
  • adventurenorth is offline
#4
Dear kshil1 Nice snaps. Great travelogue. Detail write up. Loved to read it.
#5 Jul 4th, 2010, 22:39
Join Date:
Feb 2008
Location:
Kolkata, India
Posts:
134
  • travo is offline
#5

Thumbs up

Awesome Spiti/Pin pics....Our Lahaul experience is so much different....Real nice write up....and very very informative as usual
#6 Jul 4th, 2010, 23:02
Join Date:
Feb 2010
Location:
Kolkata
Posts:
2,986
  • kshil is offline
#6
Thanks adventurenorth and travo, actually places are so very nice and with God's grace we got such a nice weather, photography became an easy job, I didn't have to put much effort there.

@Travo, I do understand the harrowing experience you gone through the trip but would request you to come up with that if it's still not a trauma to even think on those days. Nature is so funny that in a span of just ten days how different the experiences can be.
#7 Jul 5th, 2010, 12:42
Join Date:
May 2006
Location:
kolkata
Posts:
44
  • jaybecs is offline
#7
@Kshil

Awesome, just the information anyone would like to have. Thanks a ton!
#8 Jul 9th, 2010, 00:13
Join Date:
Nov 2007
Location:
kolkata
Posts:
119
  • sudipto is offline
#8

Thumbs up Congratulation........

@Kshil

Hello,
I want to congrates you for the great trip.And also great details,it will defenately help the forum greatly.
I dont know what type of LUCK I have, you know I was also starting from Kolkata on 11 June and on 9th morning my office "request" me to postpone the journey, so I......

now when I watching your trip report & snaps I memorised the situation more.

ok, thanks again for your trip reports..
#9 Jul 9th, 2010, 16:43
Join Date:
Jan 2009
Location:
New Delhi
Posts:
174
  • tobubun is offline
#9

Smile @Kshil

Dear Kaushik
can you give your phone number,so that i can discuss my trip to Kinnaur-lahaul-spiti with you .

My email id
tobubun@gmail.com
#10 Jul 9th, 2010, 18:03
Join Date:
Feb 2010
Location:
Kolkata
Posts:
2,986
  • kshil is offline
#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaybecs View Post @Kshil

Awesome, just the information anyone would like to have. Thanks a ton!
The Thanks should go to this Forum as all the information you find here are collected from here only in 90% cases. I hope you read my acknowldgement in original post and if possible catch hold of those prolific members like Lucid, Dilliwala, Dhananjay, Voyegar, Nayan, Uttam and you would surely be surprised with their knowledge on this region. Most of them are hiding though now a days but believe me they are immensely helpful and knowledgeable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudipto View Post @Kshil

Hello,
I want to congrates you for the great trip.And also great details,it will defenately help the forum greatly.
I dont know what type of LUCK I have, you know I was also starting from Kolkata on 11 June and on 9th morning my office "request" me to postpone the journey, so I......

now when I watching your trip report & snaps I memorised the situation more.

ok, thanks again for your trip reports..
Thanks Sudipto, I was trying to find you for last few days as I know you, Chandrali, Travo all had plans almost in same time there. Infact I knew we should meet in Kaza on 19th and I expected to meet you there itself. Unfortunately you haven't made it, due to the damn office once again and missed really a nice weather but I am sure you would soon be able to reach this divine place and definitely with a better luck and weather next time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tobubun View Post Dear Kaushik
can you give your phone number,so that i can discuss my trip to Kinnaur-lahaul-spiti with you .

My email id
tobubun@gmail.com
I have sent a PM to you, check out that.
#11 Jul 9th, 2010, 19:50
Join Date:
Feb 2010
Location:
Delhi
Posts:
53
  • Bubble Gum is offline
#11

Kshil

Brilliant travelogue Mr. Kaushik......breathtaking photographs. Thank you very much for sharing such useful and detailed information with fellow IMers. I am sure its gonna help us to plan trips to this region much more easily. If you don't mind, could you please provide me your contact number. It would be of great help if I plan to visit Lahaul and spiti valleys.

Cheers!
#12 Jul 9th, 2010, 21:29
Join Date:
Aug 2009
Location:
kolkata
Posts:
51
  • Nilanjana Mahata is offline
#12
@kshil

I must admit that IM is so informative. Thank you for sharing your experience. After going through these threads i have planned a kinnaur trip 1st week of october.I have started booking my accommodations.You wrote about harsh villa at narkanda whose entrance is steep.I do have some orthopaedic problem. Is it too tough? then I won't consider it.
#13 Jul 9th, 2010, 21:49
Join Date:
Nov 2007
Location:
kolkata
Posts:
119
  • sudipto is offline
#13
@kshil
I am already start planning my next tour.may be in the same area or in garhwal region.
And thanks for the reply.
#14 Jul 9th, 2010, 21:56
Join Date:
Feb 2010
Location:
Kolkata
Posts:
2,986
  • kshil is offline
#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubble Gum View Post Brilliant travelogue Mr. Kaushik......breathtaking photographs. Thank you very much for sharing such useful and detailed information with fellow IMers. I am sure its gonna help us to plan trips to this region much more easily. If you don't mind, could you please provide me your contact number. It would be of great help if I plan to visit Lahaul and spiti valleys.

Cheers!
Thanks Bubble Gum, It's just a small effort as a give back to the forum else in my life I never wrote any trip report. Without IM, this trip won't be so complete, I even got the name of places from where you would get best glimpses of Reo Purygal or Chau Chau Kang Nalda, got direction to the exact place from where I would be able to get some great shot of the Spiti Valley, unbelievable this forum is, I must say. I also must mention the book by Deepak Sanan, still considered bible for this region, if you are really keen, you must get a copy of it.

I sent a PM to you with my number but still request you to put any question in forum here so that others can participate and share the thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nilanjana Mahata View Post @kshil

I must admit that IM is so informative. Thank you for sharing your experience. After going through these threads i have planned a kinnaur trip 1st week of october.I have started booking my accommodations.You wrote about harsh villa at narkanda whose entrance is steep.I do have some orthopaedic problem. Is it too tough? then I won't consider it.
Yes IM is undoubtedly an excellent site in this regard. Kinnaur in Oct would be awesome, I wish I could join you in the trip again . Yes as that's Puja time, get your accommodation booked. About Narkanda Harsh Villa, have a look into a snap I uploaded on that accommodation, you would get an idea how much you have to walk up, not much and shouldn't have problem if you can manage stare cases at home. Else the hotel next to it (see in snap), old thorn is good as well but costlier (1100) is there where you would get a smoother access.

Have a nice and safe trip ahead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudipto View Post @kshil
I am already start planning my next tour.may be in the same area or in garhwal region.
And thanks for the reply.
Sudipto, Garhwal is nice no doubt, but Kinnaur Meadows, Spiti Cold Desert and Lahaul high passes make an unparallel combo in this sector, just push your boss and make it happen and if possible in end sep to start oct in this region, I have seen snaps, the region looks even better with fall colors.
#15 Jul 9th, 2010, 21:57
Join Date:
Aug 2009
Location:
kolkata
Posts:
51
  • Nilanjana Mahata is offline
#15
Around 9-15 october,can you tell me about general weather at kinnaur?
Reply

Posting Rules

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
Forum Rules»
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.3.2
© IndiaMike.com 2016
Page Load Success