Adventure

An epic road trip to Spiti Valley, the Land of Lamas in India

For the last three weeks I have receiving lot of queries regarding travel to ‘Spiti Valley’. More so as we did the circuit with our 11 months old little baby ∞ The road trip that entails more than just planning your days, test of patience and display of mettle!!

So, I decided to share our story, experience and details again for the benefit of the fellow travelers. I have attempted to make this post as comprehensive as possible to serve like a helpful Travel Guide to Spiti. This post has actually been one of the most popular one on Untraveled Routes so far, it received 1000+ views within two days of posting 🙂 Finally here it is –

The Trans Himalayan voyage through Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti Valley

We have done road trips before (Dainkund Peak, Betaab Valley, Mandhavgarh) but the one we were planning this time was totally different. We were bracing ourselves for the drive on one of the most treacherous and deadliest roads of the world. This time it was the thrill of NH-22 and Hindustan-Tibet road. This time we were going to be away in the majestic rocky deserted mountains, rugged terrains, vertical cliffs and cold desert valley.

And somehow our instincts convinced us that this was totally worth it.

Spiti was on our minds for a long time, an incessant zeal for travel gave us all the courage required to do this trip with our 11 months old baby boy – Aayansh. So we did it in April 2016!!! Gorgeous mountains, flawless cold desert valley, captivating culture, contagious love and warmth, beauty exuding from every quarter… Spiti Valley is a treat for soul.

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Categories: Adventure, Tour Spiti, Traveling with a Baby, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Wednesday Wisdom :)

Wednesday Wisdom

Read this beautiful saying by Dalai Lama and felt like sharing 🙂 Captured this picture near Kaza during our Road trip to Spiti Valley in April 2016.

Categories: Adventure, Experience, Tour Spiti, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

The ‘Sakya Tangyud Monastery’ at Kaza

Kaza / Kaze is the largest township of Lahaul and Spiti Valley. Kaza is the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti Valley, making it an important administrative and commercial center.In fact, Kaza was the only place in whole of Spiti Valley which had the hustle bustle of a town unlike Tabo, Dhankar or Komic and felt totally different from other places in the region. Kaza has strategic importance attached to it, primarily because of location. In you are entering Spiti via Rohtang Pass, Kaza is the first town of Spiti you will witness. There are myriad stay options at Kaza to suit one’s pockets. Mostly the travelers, prefer staying at Kaza and exploring the area around on a day tour. There is not much to see as such but the place has it’s own charm and known for the Tangyud Monastery.

The Colorful Monastery at Kaza!!

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If you would like to read more about Spiti and it’s villages, feel free to explore the first section on our blog.

To give you a glimpse of Spiti region, sharing a ‘A photo tour of Gue village in Spiti Valley’

Categories: Adventure, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Surprises on the road in Himachal, India

Our fondness for backpacking has taken us on lots of road trips in past five years and maximum of them have been to some location in Himachal Pradesh. Himachal is like assorted bouquet of exotic flowers, you just can’t have enough and can’t get over it, the more you explore, the hungrier you become 🙂

So, in all the road trips we did, primarily Mcleodganj – Dainkund, New Delhi – Spiti, New Delhi – Shimla / Manali / Rohtang, there were few things absolutely common!!

  • The School Gang – You are going to witness pure happiness when you’ll run into little kids going to school in blue uniform. So cute they all look !! They have to walk really long distances on a daily basis.

Kids Dainkund

  • Be prepared to meet unexpected companions on the road – You are going to find the roads inundated with pashima goats, yaks, cows and sometimes monkeys too 🙂 (though at regular intervals).  A must watch short clip here from our Dainkund trip when our bike waded through the goats covered route!!

Goats in Spiti

  • The Natural Springs and StreamsHimachal Pradesh provides water to both the Indus and Ganges basins. The perennial rivers of the region are the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, the Sutlej and the Yamuna. The road trip in this region will get you to witness beautiful streams at unexpected places and do they look beautiful!!

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So people ‘Travel more to find your surprise’ 🙂

Marcel

Categories: Adventure, Travel Experience | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Roghi, a beautiful village near Kalpa

Wonders on the the Trans Himalayan voyage through Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti Valley

It’s not the destination but the journey what makes life so interesting. A road trip to Spiti Valley is sort of like that only. The travel treasures that you get to witness to reach Spiti valley are fascinating. And one such place that we instantly fell in love with was ‘Kalpa’.

Kalpa, is an alluring village of Kinnaur. Situated at an altitude of 2758m, Kalpa offers unbelievable views of the majestic Kinner Kailash range. The sunrise and sunset are mind blowing here. When the clouds play hide and seek with the mountains during the day, it’s a sight to watch!!!

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A captivating capture of Kinner Kailash Range during Sunrise at Kalpa, Kinnaur.

Reaching Kalpa was the most difficult part of our journey due to bad road conditions. We were enjoying the monster faces and scenic beauty until the bad patches began disturbing us. Once we crossed Sungra the patches transformed into a fully fledged pebbly road. It was a stretch of good 40 kms starting from Wangtu and continuing till Karcham. Once you reach Karcham, the roads are divided into two – the one going straight leads to Rekong Peo and the other one to Sangla. We purposely took the one going to Kalpa.

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A view of Kinner Kailash range adorned by Tibetan Flags

Get a little more cozy at Roghi

Situated  just 3 kms away from Kalpa, is this beautiful scenic village called Roghi. You would love to explore the treacherous road, the famous suicide point and serene views.

Roghi Village

Suicide Point

You don’t want to fall from here!! Suicide Point at Roghi Village

Happy Exploring!! with Untraveled Routes

Categories: Adventure, Kalpa, Kinnaur, Nature, Offbeat Travel, Photography, Road Trip, Tour Spiti, Travel, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , | 32 Comments

7 reasons why road trip to Spiti will leave you spoiled !!!

One road trip to Spiti, and all you want to do is ‘Let’s go again!!’

Making up our minds for doing the 11 days road trip with a little baby was not easy at all. It was the first time ever that we were so anxious about our ‘Travel’ plans!! Post baby, the lifestyle changed every bit and traveling together (particularly the adventure trips) became like dream in a glass bottle. However, our zeal for road trips couldn’t keep us away for a very long time and after a break of a year we decided to pack our bags and set out on a road trip along with our 11 months old little love to the revered Spiti Valley, the Land of Lamas in India. Spiti is as stunning as it name sounds!! Lahaul–Spiti lies in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Spiti is predominantly occupied by Tibetan refugees and hence the region has pretty much feel of Tibet. Read a deep conversation with a Tibetan Refugee ‘Jampa’!!

Spiti is a cold desert mountain valley – the middle land between Tibet and India. Itinerary – 11 days from New Delhi – Spiti Valley – New Delhi

We had no idea that we had signed up for the most challenging, surprising and oddly pleasing odyssey. The road trip to this wonderland was an unforgettable journey, the memories are still fresh and though it was freaking difficult we would love to do it again!!

The resplendent Spiti will leave you spoiled, and here is why –

  • Exigent Roads – There are two ways to reach Spiti – one via Manali and the other one that lets you through the Trans Himalayas via Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti. We covered the region via scenic Kinnaur route, the National Highway 22 (NH -22) and the Hindustan Tibet Road.  It was thrilling as well as challenging to drive on these roads. The transcendent roads are something you would have never seen or experienced before. These roads are touted as one of the most treacherous and dangerous in the world. The NH 22 will drive you insane for lot of reasons but you’ll love the adrenaline rush and thrill.

The hairpin bends of NH – 22, the narrow dimensions, encountering natural waterfalls, close encounters with trucks and buses, the frequent bad patches will make you feel ecstatic and sometimes insane too.   Take a virtual tour of the roads here.

  • Insane Landscapes –The gigantic rustic brown mountains, sometimes chocolate dipped and sometimes covered with snow with extra effect of pristine blue waters flowing. The jaw dropping views of sunset and sunrise will begin around Kalpa. As you keep moving forward the lush green hills will gradually transform to dusty and big sand like mountains. You are going to miss the greens!! But you will be able to embrace the change too.  
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View of Dhankar village from a distance!!

Spiti Valley Quotes 2017

  • Get High! –The high altitude is not just high is really quite high to handle. Once you cross Sarahan and approach Kalpa, the excitement begins. All the villages in Spiti Valley feel like perched on top to name a few – Totally Tabo (3050 m), Dhankar Heights (3894 m), Key(4166m)!! All wobbly and super windy. Interestingly the route till Tabo is challenging but the one from Tabo to Kaza and Kaza to surrounding villages is not bumpy. You will fall in love with the views from such altitude. However, the wind at such height is strong enough to hurl your car to wobble. We experienced it so many times, while approaching Dhankar, again while visiting Key Monastery and then Gue village.

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  • Intriguing History – The place is inundated with attention-grabbing stories and they will govern you mind space for long as you will keep thinking about it while you drive on empty roads wondering are you the only soul loitering around.

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Categories: Adventure, Tour Spiti, Travel, Traveling with a Baby, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 62 Comments

Dainkund Memories!!!

Untraveled Routes - Poem I

If you would like to read more stories on Dainkund or see more pictures, feel free to explore….

Adventure ride to Dainkund

Memories from Dainkund!!

A rendezvous with history and the Hills

Categories: Adventure, Dainkund Peak, Himachal, History, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Give your child the gift of ‘Travel’

It may positively impact brain development!!

Who doesn’t like vacations? We all do!! But how many times we put it off because of other priorities? How many times the ‘quality time’ is substituted by the coolest toy available in the market?

Well, you might want to rethink your family vacations after considering Dr.Jaak Panksepp’s findings.

Go for a Road Trip!!

What is the best way of learning in life? Experience, right? Then why should we deny our kids to have that.  I was intrigued by this research and found it interesting to share.

When you travel with your family or in simpler terms go on a Family Vacation, the time spent together is invaluable to kids as it lays down the base for positive affective memory process.

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Us, right in front of entrance of Tabo village in Spiti Valley. This is a capture shared from our 11 days long road trip from New Delhi to Spiti Valley and back, Aayansh was just about 11 months old at that time.

As a matter of fact, in most regions of the brain, no new neurons are formed after birth. Instead, brain development consists of an ongoing process of wiring and re-wiring the connections among neurons. New synapses between cells are constantly being formed, broken or pruned away. In early childhood the brain is genetically programmed to produce more synapses. For instance, a child’s brain (from 0 to 3 years of age)—produces 700 new neural connections every second

According to the Panksepp’s research, the PLAY system and the SEEKING system are areas of the brain that are exercised best when kids are exposed to new surroundings. Kids, have strong urges for physical play (running, chasing, pouncing and wrestling); these aggressive assertive actions rarely get triggered when kids are at home or left alone with their toys.

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Categories: Adventure, Beach Vacation, Road Trip, Travel Experience, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , | 36 Comments

The Deadly Trio

The best thing about ‘Travel’ is that you can’t always predict what you are going to encounter during the journey. The road trips, the bike rides, the train, buses, cycles and sometimes on foot, the experience is different every time and that’s what makes it special.

While we were away in the rocky mountains of Spiti Valley, close to Key Monastery, Ashish spotted this beautiful sight. From distance it looked ordinary but thanks to DSLR zooming capability, when we closely observed it actually looked oddly pleasing.

Presenting the King, Queen and assuming the Knight!!!

The Deadly Trio

How I wished someone could actually tell me the story behind it, like how & why of it!! But nevertheless we captured the shot, it seemed like a great find and feels happy to share it with the world here 🙂

Honestly, of all the places we have covered so far, Spiti has been the most enchanting one considering the history, gorgeous landscapes and particularly because it’s not hoarded by tourists!!

Take a closer look at the trio –

Keep traveling to creating cherishable experiences …

Cheers, Untraveled Routes

Categories: Adventure, Hill Station, Himachal, Tour Spiti, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Spiti, Revisited.

Spiti Valley Quotes 2017The road trip that I will never forget about, well for the good reasons but also for not so good ones. Reaching Spiti Valley is tough, the brutal journey might leave you exhausted but it’s all worth it!! The region exudes beauty, I could never get enough of the sightseeing and almost all the time I was peeking from the window (I vividly remember!!). Sharing a memory from our Spiti road trip…the beautiful landscape shot was captured while returning from Kibber Village. Hope you guys relish it 🙂

For further readings on Spiti –

The road trip from Delhi to Spiti and back!

Dhankar Heights !!This will make your heart go boom…

Totally Tabo-ed

Cheers,

Untraveled Routes

 

Categories: Adventure, Road Trip, Spiti Valley, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , | 13 Comments

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