Adventure

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: , , , , , , | 63 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

A daycation to Key Monastery, Spiti Valley !!!

‘ Is this your first visit? ‘ A deep yet soothing voice distracted us.

A middle aged Monk clad in typical maroon colored attire was standing right besides us. His smiling eyes continued the conversation.

We were at the largest and one of the oldest monastery of Spiti region – ‘Key Monastery’, more commonly referred as Kye Gompa and it’s founded by Dromton around 1100 CE.

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Placed on top, the Key Monastery as visible from a distance!!

 

As is with other monasteries in the region, this also had impressive murals, paintings, artifacts and above all an extremely warm and friendly Monk who was more than happy to share information.

You might wonder the oddly pleasing structure of the Monastery, well the credit goes to repetitive Mongol attacks that began in 14th century. Not just that later the Monastery also survived the wars in 1830s and 1840s but stood strong resulting in box like structure. The formidable structure at an altitude of 4166 mtrs still looks impressive.

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Welcome to Key!! with Untraveled Routes

The monastery also serves as a training center.And close to 300 monks reside in the Monastery. And yes there is accommodation available for travelers, peace seekers and explorers alike.

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Behind the scenes!! Preparation for prayers in progress…at Key Monastery

The encore is that you might witness young cute looking monks playing a football match.

The Surroundings

Right before one enters the Monastery, there is a small restaurant serving snacks, tea etc.

Suggestions

Do carry a good pair of Binoculars. We covered Kye Monastery during a day visit from Kaza (16 kms approx), we witnessed Golden Eagle, The Red Fox, Yaks and many such beautiful sights to remember. We also visited Kibber Village, the highest motorable village in the world but will cover that in separate post. This one is dedicated to ‘Key’!!!

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Further Readings –

The 11 day road trip to Spiti with 11 months old baby boy!!

Super Seven Things about Spiti Valley you need to know!!

A virtual Road Trip to Spiti via Shimla!!

Categories: Adventure, Discovery, Experience, Himachal, Road Trip, Spiti Valley | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The rising ‘Moon’!!

Moon has risen at Tabo tonight!!

Tabo (Ta- pho) village is situated at a wobbly altitude of 3050 meters (approx 10,600 ft) in the eastern region of Spiti Valley. The tiny divine village will catch your fancy for all the right reasons. It was Day 6 of our epic road trip to Spiti Valley.

The rocky mountains were striking beautiful, carved aesthetically by nature. Huge expanse of land adorned only by nature was so appealing that you would want it to never end. The roads are mostly well maintained with bad patches here and there. For us, it was very crucial to sustain a particular speed for two big reasons – with the baby we could not drive for a long time, it was just tough for Aayansh and secondly since Ashish himself was driving throughout, our objective was to reach some place safe before 5.00 pm. So that we could select a hotel, enjoy the stay and get prepared for the next day. From Kalpa to Tabo in one single stretch was something!!!

We reached Tabo in the evening, the strong chilly winds pushed us in our hotel room right away. However, there is not much to do in the night here.

So, while we were having dinner, the beautiful and bright moon enticed us. We decided to check out the night sky and stepped outside, ‘Oh God, the chilly winds were difficult to cope up with for sure’.  We headed to the terrace – the star studded sky against the backdrop of huge rocky mountain looked stunning and the superstar of the night was ‘Moon’ gazing at us from the corner of the mountain. We wanted to capture this moment and here is the attempt 🙂

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The Moon rising at Tabo village in Spiti Valley. I wish we had the Tripod as the chilly winds at a temperature of -2 C and an altitude of 10,000 plus feet made Ashish’s hands little shaky but still the picture has come out well. 🙂

The next morning we had a memorable experience at the Tabo Gompa, check out – Totally Tabo-ed!!

The best part about the ‘Road Trip to Spiti Valley‘ is that the surrounding views change in every few minutes leaving you with a feeling of surprise and appreciation for nature.

Happy Exploring!!

Categories: Adventure, Kalpa, Kinnaur, Nature, Offbeat Travel, Photography, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Traveling to Hill Stations? Here’s a quick list of things ‘not to do’ !!!

Hills and Valleys in India enjoy the status of being quite popular vacation destinations throughout the year barring few months. Especially during the months of May and June, you will find people traveling to one or another hill station. Sure the hills provide the needed respite from heat and soothing break. Without a doubt you look forward to the most wonderful time with loved ones and friends and do not wish to ruin your happy mood because of trivial issues.

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So go on reading…we are sharing our experience highlighting what not to do while traveling and sightseeing high altitude region!!!

  • Stay away from the Horse rides: Most of the places in and around these hill stations are full of bhaiyas offering horse rides claiming to take you to some Switzerland point for bizarre amount. These points are very well approachable on foot as well, in fact you can enjoy the nature more while walking comfortably rather than sitting precariously on these horses. On few patches it is supremely risky to travel by horses. And you don’t want to spend without getting value. However, if you feel to treat this as an activity go ahead, it’s your discretion.
  • Do not travel empty stomach: The route to most of the hill stations goes in circles with lot of twists and turns resulting in motion sickness or some uneasiness (may be not for all) and increased duration of travel (because your vehicle will not be able to cross a particular speed). Most people develop some sickness and by the time you reach you are totally exhausted. Read how to tackle ‘Travel Sickness’. It is advisable to eat healthy, carry mint chewing gum or medicine to help you out in extreme situations. Take a break every 1.30 to 2 hours, treat yourself with pure oxygen, take deep breaths, and stretch your muscles.
  • Binging on unhealthy food stuff: We swear by health is equivalent to wealth. You most likely will find maggi (which is now banned even if it wasn’t it still counted under unhealthy food item) and chai walas (tea vendors) on the locations. Sometimes you will find stalls of Indian burgers; chana chaat etc but there is no surety about the hygiene and quality. The point is just as you prefer bottled mineral water, do make a point to avoid eating unhealthy food stuff; you don’t want to fall sick on vacation. Preferably carry bread and butter / jam, biscuits, tetra pack juices, chocolates to keep hunger at bay and eat only at superior food joints. Just as important as eating healthy, stay hydrated. Keep sipping water, juices, lemonade to avoid feeling queasy.
  • Travel light: Always keep your stuff as minimum as to fit in your backpack. Do carry a pair of comfortable shoes and first aid but avoid unnecessary clutter in your bag, Especially if you wish to do a road trip as well as part of your whole travel plan.
  • Littering the nature: Be responsible, do not leave the empty bottles, beer cans or throw packets / polythene at these places. You are not just spoiling the beauty but contributing to disaster waiting to happen. Take care of Mother Nature to the maximum extent possible.
  • Travel during monsoons: Kindly avoid traveling during monsoons until you are looking forward to extreme adventure; the weather can play havoc at these places. The landslides, cloud bursts, freezing temperatures, slippery roads can make it really tough. We once got stuck at Manali for over 48 hours. The river started overflowing and covered the highway, we were stranded on road and there were no hotels around. We had to request one of the local families to give us shelter. How we managed 24+ hours in a car; here is the full story – Hopes hanging by a thread!!!
  • Travel with the belly!!: Fitness, the most important factor, not just concerned with Travel but overall lifestyle and well-being. Not asking you to join gym but 30 minutes walk/ cycling / swimming or any activity of your choice. Keep yourself fit and work on your stamina to enjoy nature walks, treks, adventure sports at the destination. Also, the fit ones look great in photos 🙂

We’re sure these pointers will help; readers are most welcome to add on to the list:)

Another important thing while choosing vacation spot, try to go for less crowded and less exploited ones, for instance Shimla is one of those hill stations which has become extremely commercialized. There are other myriad other unexplored stations just do some research before planning your trip or just write to us 🙂

Happy tripping!!

Categories: Adventure, Hill Station, Himachal | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The road that leads to Spiti Valley (III)

This article is part of the series ‘The road that leads to Spiti Valley‘.

Finally! Spiti it is !!

I’m as much excited to write this post and share the captivating pictures with fellow travelers and readers. The best part about the ‘Road Trip to Spiti Valley‘ is that the surrounding views change in every few minutes leaving you with a feeling of surprise and appreciation for nature.

The 10 day long enduring road trip that we did to Spiti Valley seemed totally worth once we crossed Nako!!! From the Kinnaur route, one enters Spiti Valley via Sumdo.

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Heading to Tabo!!

The road is a bit rock strewn at intervals but mostly it’s a smooth ride. In April’16, lot of work was going on the roads till Tabo, I’m assuming by now the roads must be in perfect condition.

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Wondering what to do in Tabo village, just check out ‘Totally Tabo -ed‘, a detailed post on visit to Tabo Village!!!

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Tabo, here we come!!!

Road to Dhankar

Road to Dhankar, Spiti. This route happens to be my favorite, the landscape views of ice capped mountains in combination with chocolate hills and Spiti River flowing by, so divine!!!

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Categories: Adventure, Offbeat Travel, Photography, Road Trip, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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