Yes!!! We are finally SPITIed.
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.”
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.
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.
Oh! Spiti, I am in love with you. Dying to be in your embrace again and again!
65 thoughts on “Quick View: Self Drive Road Trip to Spiti Valley, Himachal, India”
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 🙂
Thanks for your appreciation. It means alot. every day was stunning and it was really once in life time trip. C u again.
Incredible images! It must be a great experience.
Yes Indrajit, it was out of this world experience.
your photos are insane, so gorgeous! and what a cool trip to take! ahaha driving in other countries makes me so nervous! But this looks like a great way to experience some breath taking scenery
Thanks Erin. Every moment was breath taking. It indeed a place which belongs to God.
Beautifully captured sights of Spiti!
Thanks for your kind words. C u again.
OMG! Stunning images!
I so want to go to Spiti . Your pics make it all the more tempting.. May be next vacation
you must and thanks.
You drove a Figo to Spiti (and Chandertaal)???
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
Wow. Sir its doable…. patience is the key. In next post i will post pics only of my Figo in Spiti. C u again.
Does your wife also drive ? Mine doesnt,but we still go out on as many drives as we can
But I still cant imagine Figo doing that road from Rohtang to Chandertaal 😀
Also, lookup http://www.bombaynomads.com when you have a chance.
Or just the Spiti post at http://bombaynomads.blogspot.in/2014/08/spiti-valley.html
My wife also doenst drive
yes we did that from Kaza to Chandratal to Rohtang. This time of year you dont find much water on infamous water crossing so the stones and boulders are all visible. you need to drive carefully. We took one day from Kaza to Chandrataal and then one full day from Chandratal to Manali…. So as i said patience is the key.
Beautiful pictures. Reminds me of my own solo bike trip, some years back. Its an incredible journey.
Thanks. Please share the link of ur solo trip.
Hi Himanshu, here are the four links-
Wow…thanks sirji. Would love to read. Thanks again.
I love it how you describe it as a cold desert, two word we don’t usually associate , the shots looks stunning, worth the hard drive
Spiti Valley is awesome. Must be high on every bucket list.
An awesome collection 😀
Thanks Mam. Appreciation from you means alot!!
What great shots, you must have been stopping the car every two minutes to get those lovely pics! Great way to truly see somewhere is to drive it yourself. It’s scary but well worth it!
Seriously i was stopping every mile…and finally in last two days i had to take a decision not to shot but absorb. It was awesomly scenic.
What an incredible journey! I feel like I was right there with you due to your beautiful photos. I love the dry desert just below the snow capped mountains. Just beautiful!
Thanks Mia. This road trip to Spiti was incredible.
wow wow wow!! The photos are amazing, and so is your accomplishment! I can’t imagine driving so many miles in only 8 days, let alone on such a treacherous road! I would like to know more about Chatandral! Will there be another post?
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.
Stunning pictures …
Amazing pictures! I would definitely go for this once in a life time journey! 🙂
Wow. I am happy to know that i could inspire you. do plan for india and you can enjoy more such places.
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!
Haha. I am sure u must be. My wife also enjoys it this way.
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 🙂
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. 🙂
Beautiful pictures, they are so gorgeous it takes your breath away and makes you want to visit it all ,, amazing
Thanks. You must visit this place. Everything abt spiti is indeed gorgeous!!
Wow, looks amazing on photos. I love views like that! Hope to visit Himachal one day, maybe by car 😉
I am delighted that my post could inspire you. Thanks for visiting..lest stay connected!
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.
Wowww…. Such a nice comment. One of the best comment i have ever received.
cold desert concept meant not cold weather… must reveiw comments before submitting!!
I always do. Thanks for dropping by!
How many days you spent for spiti valley?
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…. 🙂
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.
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
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.
What a dream it would be to take this road trip and see the Himalayas! Thanks for sharing your experiences!