Quick View: Self Drive Road Trip to Spiti Valley, Himachal, India

Yes!!! We are finally SPITIed.

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Spiti Valley is a trans-himalayan, cold desert region located  in the north-eastern part of Indian state of Himachal Pradesh offering only scenic landscapes and nothing else. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India and Spiti River adds life and charm to this Himalayan Valley.

Every sight in each direction is so pristine and serene that you feel stunned and amazed every moment. This part of world is cut off from world for 4-6 months in a year and infamous for tough traveling conditions. Every turn calls for highest order of driving and maneuvering skills on these roads. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India which was described by Rudyard Kipling in his book Kim as “a world within a world” and “a place where god lives.”

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After an inspiring self-drive up to Kinnaur Valley last year, Spiti Valley was on high priority for us. Literally we planned meticulously for this trip and finally on 26th September 2015, early morning I left for this dream road trip with my companion for life – my wife. It was indeed one of those once in a life time journeys that we finally embarked upon with a mix feeling of apprehension and high expectation.

We travelled for 1800KM in 8 days and roughly 500KM were on NO TARMAC road and for miles and miles there was indeed no road. We drove on one of the most dangerous road of the world, crossed treacherous water streams, attentively meandered along rivers like Satluj, Spiti, Pin, Chandra and Beas, watched best golden hour landscapes, traversed thru Rohtang and Kunzume passes, visited highest village of the Asia and prayed inside few of the oldest monasteries of the world and camped at 4500 mt in freezing -6 degree temperature near Chandrataal. While on road in Spiti, shades of mountain, vibrancy of sky, pebbled river bed, endless roads made us feel as if Tolkien’s Middle-Earth (Endor) in Lords of the Rings was this Middle-Land Spiti.

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The barrenness of the mountains characterized by the umpteen shades of brown, black, grey, orange, green makes this region of the world most scenic. As you enter from fruit-abounding, full of green Kinnaur Valley to treeless, road less, people-less and oxygen less Spiti Valley, you see unbelievable, unimaginable aspects of natural beauty.

We drove edge to edge, detoured to worst ever route to Chandratal, crossed notorious Pangi nallah and living the words of Robert Frost every moment in Spiti Valley. It indeed was travelling on the road least travelled and now when we are back to Delhi we realized that it had made all the difference in true sense.

So, for now, I will let the photographs do the talking. More detailed posts to come soon.

Riders as seen on G T Road. We were sure to meet more such riders during our road trip!

Riders as seen on G T Road. We were sure to meet more such riders during our road trip!

Near Chail. Instead of going via Shimla, we detoured from Kandaghat toward Chail and Kufri

Near Chail. Instead of going via Shimla, we detoured from Kandaghat toward Chail and Kufri

Drama in the sky Near Rampur.

Drama in the sky Near Rampur.

Golden Hour shot

Golden Hour shot

Awesome Landscapes!

Awesome Landscapes!

Kinner Kailash Range from Kalpa

Kinner Kailash Range from Kalpa

Golden Hour shot from Kalpa

Golden Hour shot from Kalpa

Sun Rise from behind the Kinner Kailash. As seen from Kalpa.

Sun Rise from behind the Kinner Kailash. As seen from Kalpa.

Driving on World's most dangerous road :)

Driving on World’s most dangerous road 🙂

View of Satluj Valley after Kalpa

View of Satluj Valley after Kalpa

Dangerous rooads along Satluj towards Nako.

Dangerous rooads along Satluj towards Nako.

Picturesque!!

Picturesque!!

Kalpa to Nako. Home of serenity!!

Kalpa to Nako. Home of serenity!!

Snow Capped Mountains!

Snow Capped Mountains!

At Khab where Spiti meets Satluj. After this point Spiti was with us till Kunzum Top!

At Khab where Spiti meets Satluj. After this point Spiti was with us till Kunzum Top!

The beauty was too much to be absorbed!! We were lost in the Spiti Land!

The beauty was too much to be absorbed!! We were lost in the Spiti Land!

On our way to Giu Mummy. From the river bed of Giu Nallah.

On our way to Giu Mummy. From the river bed of Giu Nallah.

Picturesque Lari Village on the way to Tabo!

Picturesque Lari Village on the way to Tabo!

Everything along spiti was amazing.

Everything along spiti was amazing.

Dhankar Monestary

Dhankar Monestary

Golden Hour Shot from Dhankar!

Golden Hour Shot from Dhankar!

It seems god is still busy in creating the wold!! Heavenly!

It seems god is still busy in creating the wold!! Heavenly!

ALong Pin River towards Pin Valley!

ALong Pin River towards Pin Valley!

It looks as if God is also lost in spiti and still busy in creating the world!

It looks as if God is also lost in spiti and still busy in creating the world!

Small Hamlet along Spiti River!

Small Hamlet along Spiti River!

Snow capped peaks as seen from Kaumik near Kaza!

Snow capped peaks as seen from Kaumik near Kaza!

Spiti RIver near Kaza!

Spiti River near Kaza!

Towards Key Monestary!

Towards Key Monestary!

Key Monestary Near Kaza!

Key Monestary Near Kaza!

Road to Kunzum Pass from Kaza!

Road to Kunzum Pass from Kaza!

Curves and turns of the road kept us alive!

Curves and turns of the road kept us alive!

Beaauty all around us and thats t=why people love to get lost in Spiti Valley!

Beaauty all around us and thats t=why people love to get lost in Spiti Valley!

Lost in wonderland!

Lost in wonderland!

Spiti Valley with all shades of brown, Green and orange!

Spiti Valley with all shades of brown, Green and orange!

As we reach Kunzume Pass!

As we reach Kunzume Pass!

At Kunzum Pass!

At Kunzum Pass!

Kunzum Top!

Kunzum Top!

Near Chandratal, we camped at -6 degree temperature!

Near Chandratal, we camped at -6 degree temperature at 4500 mt height!

Awesome and beautiful Chandratal Lake!

Awesome and beautiful Chandratal Lake!

On our way to Rohtang from Chandratal. Worst of all the roads but most beautiful scenes as well!

Trek upto Chandratal from Base camp!

On our way to Rohtang from Chandratal. Worst of all the roads but most beautiful scenes as well!

On our way to Rohtang from Chandratal. Worst of all the roads but most beautiful scenes as well!

On our way to Rohtang from Chandratal. Worst of all the roads but most beautiful scenes as well!

At the fag end of our road trip and looking back to the mountains and the landscpaes!

At rohtang Top and thus we completed our Spiti Circuit in 8 days!

At rohtang Top and thus we completed our Spiti Circuit in 8 days!

During the last day when we were on the worst patches, we met these beautiful people who helped us and now we are no more strangers! Thanks Guys!

During the last day when we were on the worst patches, we met these beautiful people who helped us and now we are no more strangers! Thanks Guys!

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Oh! Spiti, I am in love with you. Dying to be in your embrace again and again!

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61 thoughts on “Quick View: Self Drive Road Trip to Spiti Valley, Himachal, India

  1. Sreejith Nair says:

    Wow… what a stunning post!!!

    Very nice write up and some incredible images 🙂

    I am just back home after visiting cousin, who just completed his Ladak trip and I went there to see the images.

    So I am prepared for your stunning images from Spiti 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing, Himanshu 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pradosh says:

    WOW
    You drove a Figo to Spiti (and Chandertaal)???
    Incredible!

    I have a red Figo just like yours, which I like to take out of the city because it is such a joy to drive
    And I have also done Spiti on the same route as yours (from Kinnaur to Spiti to Chandertaal and back via Rohtang), but on a hired Innova

    But I would never imagine taking the Figo there. It doesn’t have the ground clearance, nor does engine have enough power I think. Hats off to you sir

    Liked by 1 person

    • Himanshu says:

      Thanks thanks and thanks for such great words. Yes there would be another post on CHandratal. It was indeed a stunning place located between to highest motorable passes Rohtang and Kunzum.

      Like

  3. porchet000 says:

    Haha! What a gorgeous road trip. This is why I love traveling with my husband … he does all the driving and I get to sit back and soak up all the great scenery!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mappingmegan says:

    Wow there really are spectacular and serene views no matter which way you turn! Sounds like a fabulous region!! Doesn’t look like you took out a 4WD – did you have any car trouble or worry about this since it was so remote? I would love to plan a similar excusrion myself 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Himanshu says:

      Thanks for the encouraging words. Yes mine is not a 4WD, but despite a tough terrain i managed it this time. However, turly may not do it again with my Ford Figo again.
      Good to know that i could inspire you to take such road trip… during your upcming trip to India, you must include Spiti or Ladakh. 🙂

      Like

  5. Andapo says:

    First, when I read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, I always liked adventure… gosh mountains and rivers, remember September 11, Bilbo uncleji’s b’day party where he did something crazy for the drafts to escape the elfs home… “The Road goes on and on…”… some poem also… well yes somehow like a Hobbit changes into something else after an adventure so do we I guess(: … great you made this road trip!! I guess you guys still son’t have kids yet so cool cool couple trip driving on treacherous roads… I can feel the hot tea and food you would have par taken on the way… and the peace in the Monastries too… awesome!! Anyway nice recap I guess… I also am intrigued by this cold weather concept… some blogger went trekking and he showed green green stuff(: and rivers that he said you can drink from etc… and ofcourse it’s virgin beauty… the word that show unspoiled and pure in nature’s context(: …so I am confused on the landscape and terrain… from Manali, from Bhutthan one can get glimpse of mountains too… somewhere snow capped… anyway… nice good 1800 km journey… wow…no planes to Delhi then bus or taxi from there but just went like that… and you know what’s the best the people you connected with who are no longer stangers!! awesome man, says so much. Anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pradeep Shukla says:

    Hi I am an late entrant to your post, but must say that already inspired person got more inspired by your inspiring post. I am doing this 10 day something trip with my wife and kids age, 8 and 10 on my Innova.

    I am sure just like you I am going to have a great time. Would you recommend some precautionary steps while driving and also keeping my mind age of my kids.

    Hats off to you, you did great…. 🙂

    Regards,

    Pradeep

    Like

    • Everything_Candid says:

      Hii Pradeep,
      With Innova, you wont fae any problem. Drive slowely and when in doubt get down and check. Climb slowely so that your kids dont face Altitude sickness. Keep drinking water every 30 Mins and have small portion of food frequently. I have seen even younger kinds in Spiti so go there with open arms.

      Like

  7. Aditya Krishnan says:

    Hey i am planning a similar trip to delhi via shimla- kunzum- delhi last week of oct please suggest me a itenarary for the the same as i plan to do a 7 day road trip with family in a sedan (skoda rapid) also suggest essentials places not to miss etc thanks in advance

    Liked by 1 person

    • Everything_Candid says:

      Hii Aditya,
      Happy that you are going to Spiti.
      Day 1: Start early and do not stop before Rampur/Sarahan. As it is your first time stay at sarahan. It would be roughly 650 KM for day one. But you have to do it or else you would miss many places in Spiti.
      Day 2: Rampur/Sarahan to Kalpa. Be careful during one patch where your vehicle may face issue due to low GC.
      Day three: Kalpa to Tabo to Dhankar. Give amiss to Nako.
      Day Four: Dhankar to Kaza. And visit Key/kibber same day and come back to Kaza.
      Day five: Kaza to Kaumic/Hikkim/Langza. Drive carefully. Whenever in doubt get out of car and check. Do not push if you are not sure.
      Day six: Kaza to manali. Leave early as this is where you will face real challenge. And give a miss to Chandratal, as with Rapid it will hell of an issue in my view.
      Day 7:Manali to Delhi.
      Happy road tripping.

      Like

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