To be honest, I came to know about Spiti’s existence just a few years ago, I guess three. The way I discovered it was when someone posted a picture of Chandratal Lake and Spiti was mentioned in how to reach there. Since then I had been researching about the area and had a dream to visit the place! I had no idea about when and how will I be able to fulfill this dream. This year came a sudden travel plan and that too, none other than Spiti! Someone truly said ‘Best trips are those that are planned suddenly’! 🙂
We planned to leave on 17th June, Saturday morning and to be back by 27th June, Tuesday. We took two days as a buffer just in case we get stuck anywhere due to any reason. Since the pre-monsoon showers had started we were a little skeptical if whether we will be able to make it to spiti or not. We left as planned early morning around 6:30 from Gurgaon. The weather was rainy and it did rain just as soon as we touched Delhi. Our first stop was in Narkanda, so it was a long drive from Gurgaon straight to Narkanda. The rain could have slowed us down and we wanted to reach Narkanda before sun-down. The route was as below –
Gurgaon – NH8 – Dwarka Road – Rajouri – Pitampura – Sonipat – Panipat – Karnal – Kurukshetra – Ambala – Chandigarh (Bypass) – Shimla – Kufri – Theog – Matiana – Narkanda
Total Distance covered on Day 1 – 438 kms
The rain in Delhi was heavy but after a few kms, it stopped. We didn’t stop in the morning and had very light snacks as breakfast in the car as we wanted to cover the maximum distance in the first half of the day. The first stop we took was near Ambala at a Dhaba. We had our breakfast there and left within half an hour. By 5 pm we started climbing up the hills but as expected there was huge traffic on the road towards Shimla. There was a lot of construction work going on and there was a long queue of vehicles moving slowly. The menace was created by some cars parked on road side making difficult for two cars to cross at a time and also by impatient drivers who wanted to jump the queue and blocked the traffic for the vehicles coming from the other side. We were stuck in that for about an hour and a half. We then decided to take another halt and went to Dominos and had some Pizza. Then finally we took the bypass road which clear of traffic and goes towards Narkanda. The roads were good and the rain started again. The weather became beautiful!
At around 7:30 pm we reached Narkanda. It was late evening and was getting dark but fortunately, our journey was done for the day. We checked in the hotel which we had booked in advance. It was the Hotel Mount View. This was not a good hotel at all! The room was pretty small and compact. There was no food available and we had to ask the boy to get it from outside. We didn’t even get much and managed to get a daal tadka, chapatis and rice somehow. The service was very very sloppy. We had to spend the night there so we managed and the next morning we checked out of the hotel and went to the nearby market to have some breakfast before we started for Kalpa.
Now, in our initial plan, we were supposed to stay in Sangla after Narkanda. We had a hotel booked there as well. But in Narknada we were not very convinced with the hotel that we booked in Sangla. We decided to see other options there and we found a hotel and booked it. This hotel turned out to be in Kalpa! God knows how that hotel was showing in Sangla but was in Kalpa, 2 kms before Kalpa, to be precise! Another thing was that we had another hotel booked in Kalpa for the next day! So instead of staying one day in Sangla and one in Kalpa, we now were about to stay both the days in Kalpa and that too in two different hotels! 😀
Narkanda is a small town and there is a small market there and we chose to have our breakfast in The New Himalayan restaurant. It looked nice and was decently big. What I loved most about it was its service! The guy who was taking our order had a smile on his face all the time and if he got confused or was not sure he came back to confirm the order again! The food was good too and the options were many excluding the seasonal recipes which is pretty understandable.
Finally, after we were done with our breakfast, we started for Kalpa. I was really excited because from this point onwards everything I would see will be for the very first time! It was so interesting to see the landscape change a little. One of the most exciting things I saw was, a huge river! I found out that it the river Satluj! This was the first time ever I saw this river! The sound of the water was pretty loud! Almost all the way to Kalpa we were driving alongside the river. Most of the road was in good condition except for a few patches here and there. Another amazing thing we found was a natural rocky cave-like tunnel. That fell in the district Kinnaur and was a treat to see!! It has been kept as raw and natural as possible.
We also encountered a few bridges that allow only one vehicle to pass at a time! The most amazing experience we had on our way was at Karhcam-Wangtoo bridge! We didn’t have to cross that one but it fell on the way and there were several flags tied on it and the wind was super strong and the flags were flying beautifully with it!! It was a delight to watch! The wind there was so strong that my clothes were difficult to manage. 😀 We stayed and enjoyed there for about half an hour. Had a cup of tea at the nearby shop right on the side of the bridge. It was really relaxing and refreshing! We started our journey again and we reached the point where the way cuts for Sangla and Kalpa. So if you wish to go to Sangla, you will go straight and if you want to go to Kalpa, then you cross the bridge on the left. We took left.
We reached Kalpa at around 4:30 pm. We crossed Reckong Peo which is a big town and you can get your car or bike refueled here and get any food necessities for the journey ahead to Tabo. As it would be really difficult to get a lot of variety of food on the way to Tabo. The next fuel station you will find after Kalpa will be in Pooh which is after 61 kms and thereafter none before Kaza which is another 136 kms. Anyway, we reached our hotel which was called as “Hotel Inner Tukpa“. The hotel was nice with the gorgeous view of the famous “Kinnaur Kailash Mountains“! The hotel was basic not very amazing but the service was great. The view of the Kinnaur Kailash made our stay worth it! It was the day when there was a final match between India v/s Pakistan for the ICC Champions Trophy. India lost that match and though we were upset about it, however, the beautiful view kept us okay.
The route from Narkanda to Kalpa –
Narkanda – Kumarsain – Kingal – Rampur Bushar – Jhakri – Sungar (Sungra) – Wangto – Tapri – Chooling – Karcham – Kalpa
Total Distance covered on Day 2 – 178 kms
Here comes to an end to the first part of my Travelogue, Road Trip to Spiti. I hope you really enjoyed the post and find it helpful. There is vlog as well on the same which is attached below. All the videos get uploaded on my YouTube Channel named “RougePouts“. I hope that you like the video as well. If you do then please do not forget to like, subscribe and share! I will be back with the second part of the travelogue very soon! Stay tuned for that! Have an amazing day!! B-Bye 😀