Spiti Valley

Totally Tabo-ed!!!

Visiting the Ajanta of Himalayas -Tabo Village

Tabo (Ta- pho) is situated at a wobbly altitude of 3050 meters in the eastern region of Spiti Valley. The tiny divine village will catch your fancy for all the right reasons.

Visit to Tabo was part of our road trip to Spiti Valley. Spiti is one awe-inspiring region that houses few of the greatest surviving monuments of Tibetan art and culture. Historically, Spiti Valley is believed to be part of the Kingdom of Western Tibet.

Glimpse of Tabo

Glimpse of captivating Tabo village

It seemed as if the incredible road trip had surprises in store for us at every corner. The vast expanse of land,  flawless empty roads, and the Spiti River flowing by, filled us with happiness and wonder for nature. We were already in different world, albeit tired of all the driving throughout the day. Once we reached Tabo, the gigantic and colorful entrance re-energized us, the feel of this small settlement was so contagious!!!

That evening we settled in our rooms, gazing at the bright stars and stunning moon, excited about the next morning.

We started our day early, 5 minutes brisk walk and we were standing right outside the majestic temple complex of ‘ Tabo Chos-khor Monastery’. We had no idea what to expect. Though we had visited monasteries earlier too in Mcleodganj and Manali this one felt so different. (Explore Mcleodganj)

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The premises were covered by mud structures crafted beautifully to form particular shape, as we entered the main temple, intrigued and curious , we just kept gazing at the temple!!! The main complex is manifestation of eternal Indo-Tibetan art and culture.

“For those who are tired from the long journey; and for all beings,
witnesses of misery
that have been abandoned by friends and relatives;
this beautiful temple has been constructed.”

(Inscription inside gTug-Lha-kang of Tabo Gompa, Source – Petervanham.com)

Tabo Monastery was built in 996 AD (more than a millennium back!!) covering about 6,300 sq. m , it’s one of the oldest surviving monasteries in the world.

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⇒ The Tabo Gompa is second in importance only to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet in the entire Himalayan region.

⇒ The monastery was founded by the king of western Himalayan Kingdom Guge.

⇒The monastery has preserved the Tibetan art, culture and artifacts over passages of time. It houses treasured collection of manuscripts, thangkas (Buddhist scroll paintings), statues in stuccos, frescos and murals depicting tales from the Mahayana Buddhist Pantheon.

⇒The walls are decorated with beautiful paintings. There are 36 huge clay statues adorning different mandalas.

The monastery also serves as one of the greatest establishments for Buddhist history studies and academic activities. This monastic complex is a national historic treasure of India.

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Construction of new monastery complex under progress at Tabo, Spiti Valley

 

The temple complex is a national historic treasure of India and protected as such by the Archaeological Survey of India. The monastery complex holds 9 temples, 23 chortens, a monk’s chamber and an extension that houses the nuns chamber. There is accommodation available for travelers as well.

 

The serenity and purity of the complex is indescribable.

You can read in detail about the temples inside complex here – Aarogya.com. You might like to read – Reaching Spiti Valley

Cheers, Untraveled Routes ♥♥

Categories: Adventure, Discovery, Road Trip, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Super Seven things about Spiti Valley :) :)

Traveling to Spiti? Things you must know, before you go!!

Spiti Valley is one incredible destination that offers variety to your travel experience in myriad ways. The road trip, the distance, the desert valley, the warm culture will evoke emotions never felt before !!!

Though the journey to Spiti is challenging, the good part is that mostly necessary stuff is available at intervals, you will encounter markets while crossing small towns and you will find food, snacks, milk, pay phone and other important things you might need. You will not find any food joints / dhabas / hotels for long stretches of the journey hence it is advisable to carry some munching stuff to keep hunger pangs at bay.

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Landscape view of Spiti Valley while on the way to Kibber Village #UntraveledSpiti

Wherever you go, it’s good to do research and have critical information handy, so here we share the first hand information and our experiences that will certainly help before/while planning a road trip to the wonderland called Spiti Valley. Read How to reach Spiti Valley

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Glorious Mountains

Vibrant Spiti

With colors so vivid and views so breathtaking, Spiti Valley will find a place in your heart forever 🙂

We captured this incredible image on the way to Tabo – The Ajanta of Himalayas on our recent road trip to Spiti Valley

We have never seen something like this, the combination of colors adorned by this place naturally is incredible!!! If you are planning to visit Spiti Valley this summer this surely will help – Reaching Spiti Valley, The road that leads to Spiti Valley.

Happy Exploring!!!

Categories: Adventure, Himachal, History, India, Photography, Road Trip, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doorway to Heaven

This beautiful temple door really seems to be the entry to the heavenly mighty Himalayas. We captured this shot at Kalpa, Kinnaur. Kalpa, is few kms from Reckong Peo, the drive itself will make you fall in love with this place. The place could be perfect summer destination !!! Go for a nature walk, relish the Apple orchards and magical views of Kinner Kailash range. We covered Kalpa on our recent road trip to Spiti Valley (April 2016) but you can easily make journey plans only around this place if you have less time and wish to stay in the lap of nature:)Evening at Kalpa

Categories: Hill Station, Himachal, India, Inspiration, Kalpa, Kinnaur, Photography, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The road that leads to Spiti Valley (II)

Delhi – Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti Valley in April 2016

This post is part of the series – The road that leads to Spiti Valley

Earlier I had shared stunning images of the roads via Shimla – Kinnaur (NH-22)  leading to Spiti Valley. Continuing from Tapri, the virtual tour is here, enjoy the ride 🙂 I had to limit the pictures till Nako, otherwise it was becoming a huge post.

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Tapri to Karcham on the way to Spiti

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A little break and a quick walk 🙂 near Karcham

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Approaching Kalpa, the place with gorgeous views of Kinner Kailash Range

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Shongtong Bridge: We observed the bridges on the way were adorned by several Tibetan Prayer Flags and looked so beautiful decorated with them.

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Near Nako :), after crossing Nako one enters into Spiti Valley via Sumdo

The luxuriant green Kinnaur changes to ice capped rocky mountains, you’ll fall in love with scenic beauty and the landscape views!! These sure will give you a feel of the road and help you plan your trip to Spiti, maybe even tempt you to experience the thrill of driving on these roads. I shall be sharing Nako – Tabo – Dhankar – Kaza soon 🙂 and those ones are really beautiful. Till then…..

Happy Exploring!!!

Categories: Adventure, Discovery, Himachal, Kalpa, Kinnaur, New Delhi, Photograpghy, Shimla, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Kalpa and the Resplendent mountain range

Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti Valley Road Trip in April 2016

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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An evening at Kalpa, Kinnaur!!!

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Tibetan prayer flags adorning the Kinner Kailash Range at Kalpa

We covered Kalpa on our recent road trip to Spiti Valley. 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.

Considering the bad roads, maintaining a good speed became really difficult task. Moreover, it disturbed baby’s sleep and he didn’t like the roller coaster feel of the car. I can’t define how difficult it can get if the baby does not want to cooperate!!! I’m definitely going to write a different post on traveling with a baby 🙂

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Categories: Himachal, Kalpa, Kinnaur, Offbeat Travel, Photography, Road Trip, Spiti Valley, Untraveled Routes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

The road that leads to Spiti Valley (I)

“Spiti Valley is the land defined as God’s abode”, this place is as unique and spectacular as it’s name. Spiti is a desert mountain valley – the middle land between Tibet and India.

We did a road trip to this magical place  in April 2016 with our 11 months old little love in tow. We covered the region in 10 – 11 days by our i10 Sportz 🙂

We took Shimla route (Firstly to keep ‘Acute Mountain Sickness’ at bay and secondly the Manali route was closed). Actually Shimla route helps the human body to acclimatize to the high altitudes in Spiti region. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can really disturb your vacation, no body likes falling sick on a holiday!!!  Read ‘How to reach Spiti‘.

We have captured shots of roads till Spiti Valley, these awe-inspiring and formidable views will give our readers and fellow travelers a fair idea of scenic route via Kinnaur route; the National Highway 22 (NH -22) and the Hindustan Tibet Road.

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The road that leads to Spiti Valley – Shot while crossing Rampur

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The road that leads to Spiti Valley via Kinnaur and National Highway – 22

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And the thrill continues with hairpin bends, broken fences and narrow dimensions on NH-22. We also came across a lot of monster faces carved naturally in the mountains.

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Encountered natural waterfalls at so many places, it felt great as the weather was otherwise very dry and harsh.

Post Tapri

The road right after crossing Tapri, the stretch becomes worst during rains.The patch becomes even riskier ahead but we could not capture that while driving.  It was drizzling the day we crossed this patch and it was slippery with all the mud on the narrow lane!!! Thankfully it’s a small stretch 🙂

The roads are known to have frequent landslides and patches with shooting stones. There are sign boards to inform the travelers at every dangerous place.These are managed by Border Roads Organization (BRO), hats off to BRO for doing a tremendous job. All the roads are two way roads it gets really scary when truck or huge bus crosses your vehicle. However, all the roads are mostly well maintained.

This series will continue to include more pictures of this amazing route from our recent Road Trip to Wonderland.

Happy Exploring!!!

The Road that leads to Spiti Valley (II)

The Road that leads to Spiti Valley (III)

 

 

 

Categories: Adventure, India, Offbeat Travel, Photography, Road Trip, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Apple orchards guiding the way!!!

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This is an image captured in a beautiful village in Spiti. The village was adorned by Apple orchards and looked so gorgeous!!!

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A picturesque village in Spiti Valley

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

The Trans Himalayan voyage through Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti Valley

We have done road trips before 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.

 

There were so many things we had to think through and we also needed back up plans

  • 10 – 11 days, away from home with a little baby!!!
  • Can we do the drive from Delhi to Spiti Valley and back, it could be exhausting!!
  • Drive on the deadliest roads of the world?
  • Is our car well built for rough roads?
  • Food supplies, spare bedding, winter clothes, heater, kettle!! ( packing stuff for 10 days was one hell of a task)
  • Our BIGGEST challenge was traveling with the baby – To ensure that he is happy and healthy throughout the journey, manage his routine. The thought about organizing his milk, food, diapers, sleep and keeping him involved so that Ashish could focus on drive gave me jitters.
  • Was it even possible to drive for 5 – 6 hours daily in the mountains with the baby?

But we still decided to go for it 🙂 so here is the travel story…..

We left from Delhi (our home) on the night of 20th April and touched Zikarpur, near Chandigarh around 12 pm. We decided to a break and stayed at a hotel for the night. Managing baby’s routine was extremely difficult during the initial days, moreover we did not want him to get cranky or upset about the whole thing, so we were quite cautious.

Next morning we began our journey around 9.30 am for Shimla. But the first day in the mountains was most difficult for me and the baby. As the car went in circular motions we both felt queasy. Anyways to avoid problems we kept taking breaks, stepping out of the car and quick walks helped. We stopped at Shimla for lunch and some sightseeing.

We reached Kufri around 5.30 pm and were dead tired. We decided to stay, as Aayansh was not in a mood for further ride. We chose to stay at Kufri Holiday Inn.

Day 3 – Peaceful Sarahan

Beautiful trees adorned with purple flowers will welcome you at Rampur. Since the road is bliss the journey to Jeori is also enjoyable. Moreover, we kept taking tiny breaks to soak in the nature’s beauty :).

Once you reach Jeori, Sarahan is off the main road just 17 kms away approximately. Sarahan has a surreal peaceful charm. Sarahan is a beautiful village adorned by impressive Bhimakali Temple that is 800 years old and gorgeous Shrikand peak views. Sarahan was the capital of rulers of former Bushahr State. Don’t miss lovely pictures and story about this place here – Abode of Goddess Bhimakali

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View of the Bhimakali Temple from South during sunrise #Untraveled Kinnaur

Day 4 & 5 – Stunning Kalpa

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.

Captivating pictures of Kalpa are right here – Kinner Kailash Range

Considering the bad roads, maintaining a good speed became really difficult task. Moreover, it disturbed baby’s sleep and he didn’t like the roller coaster feel of the car. I can’t define how difficult it can get if the baby does not want to cooperate!!!

 

Kalpa is few kms away from Peo. As we were ascending for Kalpa, picturesque views of the Kinner Kailash range (elevation 6050m) during sunset made our hearts pound with excitement. The nature truly re-energized us!!! Mostly hotels were not fully occupied in April and therefore we got a great deal. We chose to stay in ‘Kalpa Retreat’. And it was even more exciting to watch the sunset and gaze at moon and the stars right from the hotel bed.

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Radiant and majestic Kinner Kailash Range adorned by the rays of sun. Isn’t it gorgeous!!!

Day 6 – The Ajanta of the Himalayas – TABO!!!

The changing landscape from luxurious green Kinnaur into white desert of Spiti valley will mesmerize you and leave impressions that will stay with you forever. Gradually, the tall green trees are substituted by gigantic rocks and tall mud structures; with the backdrop of Himalayas, it’s a sight to watch!!!

For hours we did not observe a single soul, it felt like we were on a different planet and landed there in our car for exploration. Though we crossed Himachal Tourism buses and almost every time it increased my heartbeat as the roads were so narrrow!!!

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!!!

 

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Tabo Village, this is a picture of the premises of Tabo Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in the world. In the backdrop you can see caves where monks practice meditation. Also, if you observe keenly, there is ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ painted in TIbetan language, it’s so beautiful!!! I could not stop staring at that, I have never seen something like this before.

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Categories: Offbeat Travel, Photography, Road Trip, Sarahan, Kinnaur, Spiti Valley, Tour Spiti, Travel Experience | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 43 Comments

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