Sunday, October 07, 2018

Spiti Trip 24-25 June 2018 - Part1 Manali-Kaza

Spiti Valley is a cold desert valley in the north eastern part of state of Himachal Pradesh.
It is very similar to Ladakh and Tibet in terms of not only landscape and weather but also in terms of culture.

Photographers like to capture its barren beauty against the blue sky and with clear river waters in foreground.

With this in our minds we (Rahul, myself and Alpana from Mumbai & joined by Surabhi from Delhi) planned a visit in the last week of June.

The itinerary was to start from Mumbai on 23rd June.
Reach Manali via Delhi on 24th.
Reach Kaza on 25th.
Spend 3 days at Kaza travelling to Pin Valley, Key, Kibber, Komik, Hikkim, Langza & Chandratal.
And return to Mumbai on 1st July.

The planning started with booking flight tickets to and from Delhi.

And followed by a visit to HPTDC office in World Trade Center, Cuffe Parade.
From there we booked AC Volvo bus tickets Delhi-Manali and Manali-Delhi, stay at HPTDC hotels at Manali and Kaza and a vehicle to travel from Manali to Kaza and back and local movement in spiti.

The volvo bus to Manali was much more comfortable than I had thought.
We started at 3pm from Delhi and reached Manali by next day morning 8.30am

Manali - 24th June 2018

The one day in Manali was not just to visit various tourist locations but also to acclimatize.
We visited Hadimba Temple and Solang Valley and walked around the mall road.

I was carrying a rented Nikon 16-35mm f/4 lens for my Nikon D750 and was eager to use it and see the results.

Hadimba Temple



 Enroute Solang Valley




Solang Valley - a very crowded place and you do get some snow capped mountain views but nothing much compared to what we would see in coming days in Spiti. One can also do paragliding here.





We ended our day by roaming around the mall road


Before concluding our day we had discussed with our driver, Sony Singh, about travel next day.

We were ready to start pretty early 5 or 6am to reach kaza on time but we were in a shock after hearing the time from Sony. He said we will need to leave at 2am (What??)

But later we realized that it was a very wise decision.

Manali - Kaza - 25th June 2018


We started at 2.30am from Manali when some youngsters were still ending their day singing along the mall road and police chasing them away :-)

We were at Gulaba checkpost  at 3.15am and we were told that the traffic will start at 4am.
Being there so early I was expecting it to be completely empty but there were already 2 cars and soon there were around 4-5 lined up behind us.

Traffic started at 4am and we were at Marhi at 4.45am. Had some tea and sandwiches before moving ahead to Rohtang.

We reached Rohtang at 5.45am just in time to see the sun rising behind the snow clad mountains.


Took some more shots at Rohtang till 6.30am. There were lot of flowers at Rohtang and it was quite a sight with Yellow billed coughs sitting within them.




Yellow Billed Chough



Black Redstart
Rock Bunting

We reached Chatru by 8.30am. Chatru is a small village on the way to Kaza where one can have tea and food. It is the place where people end their Hampta pass trek.




At Chatru got a pair of white capped redstart

White Capped Redstart (Female)
Black Capped Redstart (Male)

The next stop was Batal. On the way to Batal got some very good bird pictures and some scenes shot with mobile.




Red Billed Chough

Citrine Wagtail

Chukar Partridge


Batal has only few dhabas. Earlier there was only one , Chandra Dhaba, which is run by Chacha and Chachi and they are quite famous among tourists and trekers.

Batal is also a base for 14km trek to Chandratal a very beautiful lake, which was on our itinerary earlier but later we had to cancel due to bad weather.

Batal is also the place from where one starts to climb towards Kunzum pass the highest point on the Manali-Kaza road.

We reached Batal by 12 Noon. Had a quick lunch and proceeded further.
Got some nice pics of some high altitude birds here
Horned Lark

Yellow Billed Chough


Tibetan Snowfinch

The road was very bad and in some places water was flowing on the road.


Kunzum pass at the height of 15000 feet is very windy and cold. It gives good 360 degrees view of the nice snow capped peaks. We reached Kunzum by around 1.30pm.



From here the plan was to directly reach Kaza.
On the way we crossed Lohsar which is a beautiful village.

Finally after a very long journey we reached Kaza at 5pm.

The reaction from the manager at the desk was quite surprising.
He said "How did you reach so early from Manali?"
After hearing that we had started at 2.30am he said "Ah, then its ok" :-)

After a travel of 15hours from Manali we were quite tired and after an early dinner called it a day.

Read Part2 Pin Valley

1 comment:

Ujwal Kakodkar said...

Excellent ! Your posts inspire me to visit this place the soonest