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Old 29th June 2011, 21:31   #61
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

@hridayjyoti: I missed this travelogue because your posts coincided with my travelling to Ladakh (Hawk-On-Foursģ (H-4ģ) Roadtrip: Leh(t)'s go to Ladakh & Srinagar with QuickSilver.), with no internet access. This was such a delight to read, I am rating it 5-stars. Mountains through the eyes of a geologist / geo-scientist, who would have thought! Details that we take for granted and just put down to nature's quirks are described scientifically, colours of rocks explained, bends in rivers, ice sheets, fractured rocks... - it would be delightful to accompany you into these regions and learn about the mountains all over again through your eyes.

Till then, I'll make do with this thread...
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Old 30th June 2011, 21:53   #62
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

Wonderful TL.... brought back fond memories of my trip on 08. Aching to go there again. 5*s.
Cheers,
Jay
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Old 1st July 2011, 12:19   #63
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
@hridayjyoti: I missed this travelogue because your posts coincided with my travelling to Ladakh (Hawk-On-Foursģ (H-4ģ) Roadtrip: Leh(t)'s go to Ladakh & Srinagar with QuickSilver.), with no internet access. This was such a delight to read, I am rating it 5-stars. Mountains through the eyes of a geologist / geo-scientist, who would have thought! Details that we take for granted and just put down to nature's quirks are described scientifically, colours of rocks explained, bends in rivers, ice sheets, fractured rocks... - it would be delightful to accompany you into these regions and learn about the mountains all over again through your eyes.

Till then, I'll make do with this thread...
Thank you. I would also like to accompany you sometime. Before becoming geologist I always wondered how the big boulders sit on over the mountains or how mountain formed, or why earthquake do occur! I do remember the grandma story of earth sitting over a tortoise and when the when the tortoise shakes his body, earthquake happens, blah blah blah... Now I atleast know little bit about, the reason behind earth processes and the various landforms caused by them, also little bit about rocks. Believe me, rocks, hills look different from a geologist's eye and sometimes it spoils the fun of enjoying nature as a common man! Whatever, I bet if any hardcore geologist accompanied me, he would have gone mad in the Spiti valley, it's just a Geologist heaven.


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Wonderful TL.... brought back fond memories of my trip on 08. Aching to go there again. 5*s.
Cheers,
Jay
Thanks Jay. Why don't you make this year around?

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Hriday, I think this is a fantastic TV and the pictures are simply superb. You have guts, my friend, to do this all alone (though you did pick up some friends along the way).

You have forced my arm—I have to do this trip now...
Thanks rajeev. A trip to Spiti is worthy any given day. I think picking locals during my journey helped me to learn little bit about their culture, specially about the monks and monasteries of Spiti.

Cheers!
Hriday

Last edited by hridayjyoti : 1st July 2011 at 12:34.
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Old 1st July 2011, 12:47   #64
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

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Thanks Jay. Why don't you make this year around?
Next plans to Spiti include some high altitude treks and some offroad adventure. Got to make elaborate plans for roughing that out.
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Old 1st July 2011, 12:52   #65
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Next plans to Spiti include some high altitude treks and some offroad adventure. Got to make elaborate plans for roughing that out.
Wow, it sounds tempting. I would like to join you if you don't mind and go with my timing.
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Old 1st July 2011, 13:24   #66
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

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Wow, it sounds tempting. I would like to join you if you don't mind and go with my timing.
Sure, send me a PM with your contact details and will keep you posted when plans shape up.
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Old 7th July 2011, 00:00   #67
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Default Drive to Pin Valley

(Story resumed!..)

27th June, 2011

13hrs drive from Kaza to Chitkul! Madness behind the wheel continues!

As planned, I woke up early; but got disappointed by the weather. Once again the peaks are covered with clouds and grey skies! Without having breakfast, I checked out at 6:30am from Kaza. I was planning to drive all the way to Chitkul after paying a visit to Pin Valley. With a rough calculation I would reach Chitkul by evening, and I had to drop visit to Giu village.

Yesterdayís car wash caused problem to music system, I doubt water had gone inside the player, and itís not reading CD and left speakers gone mute! I left with no option but to connect i-Pod to aux port and played with one speaker!

By 7:15, I reached the bridge that goes to Pin Valley.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3256.jpg

After driving in dirt roads over the last 3 days, all the roads started to look good.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3258.jpg

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3259.jpg

Pin valley is simply a heaven for any field geologist, it has got some classical text book examples of rock deformations. Though I am no more a hardcore geologist, these structures made me stopped again and again.

This is a very important rock structure for oil exploration, known as roll-over anticline

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3263.jpg

I was wondering how this landscape will look under clear sky!

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3264.jpg

A small water crossing on the road before reaching Gulling.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3268.jpg

The weather continued to disappointed me, everything looking dull which made me getting firm about the decision to finish off Pin Valley as soon as possible and get to Chitkul by evening.


I arrived at Gulling by 8:00am and I encountered a small traffic jam of cattle.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3274.jpg

Rapid just after crossing Gulling.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3277.jpg

A road goes through it!

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3278.jpg

By around 8:15am I arrived at Mikkim, from Mikkim the road bifurcates to Mud village.

A long bridge over Pin River, that goes to Mud.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3281.jpg

Across the bridge there is Sangam Village. Disappointed with weather, I already made my mind to finish off my drive to Pin Valley and hit back to Kaza road by 10:00am. Itís already 8:30am, I took a U-turn just after crossing the Sangam village.

Sheet of ice, where I took the turn

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3284.jpg

I felt little bad that I couldnít make it Mud, but with a dull weather, it also donít make much sense to go further.

Sangam village.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3286.jpg

Now, my objective was clear, Chitkul would be the destination today. Stopped couple of times to get few photos of geological importance.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3295.jpg

My new jerrycan was leaking a bit, so decided to transfer a few litres to the tank. By 9:30am I arrived at the bridge that connects to Kaza road.

After yesterdayís wash, Zuki shinning high.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3306.jpg


Cheers!
Hriday
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Old 7th July 2011, 11:43   #68
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

awesome TL and pics - i have never done such a trip but the pics narration are pushing me to plan a trip across himachal.

rating this 5*
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Old 13th July 2011, 13:28   #69
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

Moving back!!!

It was 9:30 when I started for Chitkul. Audio system was giving lots of trouble, whenever I hit a bump, volume goes down and I had to hit another bump to get it back! I tried to find out the faulty wire but in vein!

Last few snaps of Spiti river bed.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3308.jpg

Gloomy weather brought out more colours of the rocks.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3314.jpg

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3315.jpg

By around 10:15am I arrived at Tabo, I am feeling hungry now, ordered 2 aloo parantha; considering tight schedule ahead I wasnít expecting to have lunch! I met a family coming from Punjab over the hotel, and they had a flat tyre! They asked for air pump to temporarily fill it up, so that they can make it to Kaza.

At around 10:45am I started from Tabo. Giu village already out of radar. By 11:30 I arrived at Sumdo, after giving car details, I jumped on to gypsy. Bad and tight schedule resulted in lesser snaps enroute this time.

Audio system started to behave funnily now, whenever I took right turn the volume died off but, as I turn to left it came back! I just hoped that it would continue to play till my journey ends.

The climb before Mailing Nala, slowed me down, mostly I had to drive at lower gear while keeping the momentum. Finally I reached Nako by 1:15pm, itís an perfect time for lunch, but considering the road to travel, I skipped it and opened the packet biscuit and mixtures for the first time in the trip!

Nako! Sky is much more cleared up now.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3322.jpg

From Nako, itís mostly downhill to Khab, I made the 33kms stress in less than a hour.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3323.jpg

Few bad stress.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3324.jpg

Awesome drive just before Khab.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3326.jpg

The long bridge near the confluence of Spiti and Sutlej rivers.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3327.jpg

Nala crossing.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3329.jpg

When I made to Powari, it was around 5pm. Once again Powari Petrol pump out of service. Now, I have no option but to go to Tapri and come back to the road to Chitkul.

Filled the tank full at Tapri and came 10kms back to bridge to Chitkul. There is very high chance of missing this road as a dam road, so one need to keep eyes open.

The road to Sangla is small and broken at places. It was really annoying to me as I wanted to make to Chitkul before 7pm.

Evening golden sun-rays made the vista very beautiful, but I couldnít stopped because of time constraint.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3332.jpg

Few vistaís enroute.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3333.jpg

Slowed down more by cows.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3337.jpg

By around 7:15pm I arrived at Chitkul, ending my 13hrs day long drive. I checked into a hotel for 300rs with decent room on first floor.

After dropping the bags, I went to explore the village and clicked a few pics.

Snow capped peaks from hotel room

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3339.jpg

Wooden house

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3341.jpg

More vistas

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3343.jpg

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3346.jpg

On the dining hall I met a French couple whom I met in Nako while going. They had been in India for last 5 months and almost finished the northern India. There were also to Israeli guys who came to India to spend their vacation after finishing off their duty in army. We chatted there for around 2 hours before we broke for sleep.

Initially I planned to drive via Jalori pass, but somehow I felt the essence of having a good Sunday sleep at Gurgaon, before joining office on Monday! So, tomorrow I would be going back, around 600kms roughly 16-17hrs nonstop drive, should be ok!

Cheers!
Hriday
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Old 31st July 2011, 10:04   #70
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

Excellent. Magnificent photographic epic, hridayjyoti. I wish to drive to these places at least once in my lifetime! By any chance, is it possible to do it in a sedan with just two occupants?
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Old 31st July 2011, 12:42   #71
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

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I am little confused about alternate road. I did asked the hotel guy about the alternate road, didn't get a proper answer. But, yes that road is functional. Looking at few pictures of old Mailing Nallah road, I doubt I took the new alternate road
Lovely log. Started reading it before we did our trip to Spiti and finished reading it after getting back.

There is an alternate road at Malling, we had taken it and it is smooth sailing through there. IIRC, it goes higher up than the old road. We had a local chap who had hitched a ride with us who pointed out the right route to us.
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Old 1st August 2011, 16:44   #72
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

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Excellent. Magnificent photographic epic, hridayjyoti. I wish to drive to these places at least once in my lifetime! By any chance, is it possible to do it in a sedan with just two occupants?
Yes, just be a little careful and you can do the entire circuit. However, in case you plan on coming down or ascend via Rohtang then monsoon time is best avoided, I'd be going in august though.
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There is an alternate road at Malling, we had taken it and it is smooth sailing through there. IIRC, it goes higher up than the old road. We had a local chap who had hitched a ride with us who pointed out the right route to us.
How does a first-timer figure out this alternate route, any pointers?
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Old 2nd August 2011, 10:43   #73
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

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Thank you.
I am little confused about alternate road. I did asked the hotel guy about the alternate road, didn't get a proper answer. But, yes that road is functional. Looking at few pictures of old Mailing Nallah road, I doubt I took the new alternate road
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There is an alternate road at Malling, we had taken it and it is smooth sailing through there. IIRC, it goes higher up than the old road. We had a local chap who had hitched a ride with us who pointed out the right route to us.
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How does a first-timer figure out this alternate route, any pointers?
The existing SH30 that connects Khab to Kaza via Nako is the new road which passes through the small stretch of Malling (Nala) at higher elevation. There is no other alternate route. The old route at lower elevation is non-function and goes only upto Yangthang (across the river) now. Previously old SH30 was not connected to Nako and one had to take a left fork for about 7kms to reach there. The old route entailed traveling about 3KMs of landslide prone Mallin area.
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Old 2nd August 2011, 18:05   #74
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

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The existing SH30 that connects Khab to Kaza via Nako is the new road which passes through the small stretch of Malling (Nala) at higher elevation. There is no other alternate route. The old route at lower elevation is non-function and goes only upto Yangthang (across the river) now. Previously old SH30 was not connected to Nako and one had to take a left fork for about 7kms to reach there. The old route entailed traveling about 3KMs of landslide prone Mallin area.
Thanks, looks very much in line with what we had seen. We were quite wary of running into the infamous Malling and did not find any problems. Asked the chap who was hitching the ride with us and he said the current route avoids it.
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