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Old 4th June 2011, 23:59   #1
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Default "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

The Teaser

The climb to the Hatu peak was quite uphill and narrow. I've to drive mostly on 1-2 gear on 4wheel to get going and luckily for me, no upcoming vehicle encountered en-route. But, the view at the top of Hatu peak at 3400m was too mesmerising to forget about all.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2511.jpg

After filling up tank-full at Narkanda, I start my journey, destination: Chitkul, the last village of India. On contrary to bad roads from Theog to Narkanda, the road from Narkanda to Rampur is simply excellent. Most of the time I am making around 40-50kmph.

Some thing is wrong. Strange sounds of metal rubbing coming out from left side of the Gyspy! Immidiately I stop the car, check the wheel! Oils pouring out from the left front wheel and also rubber buring smell with smoke coming out of it!

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It is still 45kms to Rampur. Looking into the oil, it looks like gear oil rather than break oil. Whatever, I have to move on till I get to the next maruti service station... and the journey begins!

More Teaser!
You are alone!
You must be kidding!
You should have come with someone!
Are you not getting bored?
... ...
These are the reactions that I heard throughout my tour right from Gurgaon to Komic, the highest village in the world. Yes, I was alone! Not exectly, I was with my gypsy and the co-passenger seat was always occupied with my camera

With the company if these two I had a wonderful time wandering around the Spiti valley for a memorable week.

A treat to eyes, when sun plays hide and sick with mountains

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2478.jpg

Standing high after climbing high! Standing true to it's name "Gypsy King"

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2687.jpg

The giant Lord Budha statue at Langza village

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_3123.jpg

Time to get into the story now:

"It was a wonderful jouney to the highest village in the world, some thousand year old monastery and lastly the last village on India which finished off with a 17.5hrs long marathan drive from Chitkul to Gurgaon"

Cheers! First post to follow soon...
Hriday
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Old 5th June 2011, 00:43   #2
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

Most beautiful. You bring back memories of Hatu, Komic and Langza again and will be reliving those memories. Did you touch Pin Valley?

Last edited by adc : 5th June 2011 at 00:49.
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Old 5th June 2011, 11:42   #3
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

+1 Awaiting more pictures and a complete travelogue. Teasers have done their job well.
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Old 5th June 2011, 14:52   #4
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Default Preparation and planning

When I bought the gypsy 3month's back, a road trip to few particular places got up in the priority list namely Leh-Ladakh, Spiti valley, Gangtok and Tawang and beyond. And now one is down, atleast 3 more to come

What I know about Spiti Valley so far (from a Geologist's eye)

Spiti Valley is considered as treat to geologist since 19th century. The Spiti Valley, which exposes an almost uninterrupted squence of the Cambrian to the Certaceous sediments, is consist of numerous fossils. Spiti come under Tethys Himalayas, which is strongly folded and imbricated, weakly metamorphosed sedimentary series, infact it's a structural geologist's dream to work in that region...

I know most of the words above gone as techinical jargons for you

So, when I said to my friends that I am going to Spiti valley, the immidiate question was "For geological field work?"

Preparation
When I was planning for the trips I was not alone, there were 3 more people who were ready to come along with me. But, everyone had to cancel due to office liabilities.

For all route planning I must thank team-BHP tread on Lahaul Spiti Valley (Lahaul - Spiti; Suggestions and help needed), Bapu and hvk sir.

Now preparing the gypsy, the gypsy has already got a full engine overhaul, new tyres, new fuel pumps, new head-lamps, new bumpers (though I have damaged rear bumper during an OTR) and new rally-kamanis. I took a few spares like clutch plate, clutch and accelerator cables along with a hydraulic jack, air pums, toe strap and a puncture kit.

After preparing so much, cancelling the trip for lack of partner didn't sound good to me. So, I decided to go alone on the trip. Here I am, back from the trip in piece with little woe with the gypsy on the way.

Brief Itinerary of the trip

22nd May, 2011: Delhi to Narkanda, 450kms, 12.5hrs
23rd May, 2011: Narkanda to Sarahan, 122kms, Gear oil leaked, lost 6.5hrs.
24th May, 2011: Sarahan to Nako, 225kms
25th May, 2011: Nako to Kaza, 190kms, visited Tabo and Dhankar Monastery
26th May, 2011: at Kaza, visited Ke monastery, Kibbar, Langza and Komic village.
27th May, 2011: Kaza to Pin valley (till Sangam village) to Chitkul, 310kms, 13hrs.
28th May, 2011: Chitkul to Gurgaon, 590kms, 17.5hrs

Few stats:
Total number of days: 7
Total Distance : 1875 kms
Fuel consumed : 270 litres
Total cost : ~INR 25000/-

Detailed day by day break-up and incidents to follow from next post with photos.

Cheers!
Hriday
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Old 5th June 2011, 17:47   #5
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

Hriday, that is a wonderful experience of your Spiti valley, the photographs are exciting and so well composed, i am sure it will be great promotion for the place. Kudos. I am looking forward for more photos and travelogue description.

Last edited by khan_sultan : 5th June 2011 at 17:51. Reason: No SMS language please. gr8 = great. Thanks for understanding.
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Old 6th June 2011, 01:06   #6
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Default Bon Voyage!

21st May, 2011 / Saturday: Gurgaon

Itís Saturday night and I am going for Spiti Valley on tomorrow. Almost everything checked, but I am yet to pack. Cloths are lying on the bed, food stuffs/medics on the hall room floor and car spares/jack etc lying inside the boot of the other car. It had been a long day, went to Mayapuri to get toe kit, also gave the gypsy a wash. My plan is to leave from Gurgaon at 5:00am to beat the traffics of Delhi and reach Narkanda by afternoon. I checked all camera accessories / laptop / data card / mobile charger / GPS. It is already 1:00am, time to go for a sleep.

22nd May, 2011 / Sunday

By the time I start my engine it was 6:50am on the clock. 1:50hrs behind schedule.

Missing a road while leaving Delhi has almost become a routine for me, this time also there was no exception. I took the wrong turn on Punjabi Bagh this time and headed towards Rohtak on NH10 thinking that it is NH-1!!! When after driving 30kms, I didn't reached Sonepat, I know I am on a wrong way. Immidiately zoomed out on GPS, and took a U-turn to Delhi, and Delhi traffic woke up by then. I took the Outer Ring Road, and left Delhi border 8:30am, now I am almost 3hrs behind schedule and Narkanda seems little tough considering the bad road from Theog to Narkanada.

Luckily, for today weather is little cloudy, so it should not be problem to drive a non-AC car.

I reached Sonepat by 8:50am and had my breakfast with aloo parantha and a much needed cup of tea.

The road till Panipat is just a delight to drive. I am making constantly 90-95kmph, out of curosity, i decided to check speed with GPS. Ooops! GPS is showing 5kms more than the speedometer! I am making 100kmph on GPS while speedometer showing only 95! This might be because of the bigger tyres.

After Panipat the Flyover construction began and traffic slow down. Being adventureous, I splashed mud on to windscreen while overtaking a truck, so I stopped by a dhaba to wash it also ordered a cup of tea.

Off-roading started on highway! Gypsy splashed with mud

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-photo0108.jpg

I have resumed at 10:45am and crossed Kurushetra 11:40am. By 12:45 I stopped at McD for my lunch and much needed fresh up. After having Mc Spicy Chicken (is it spicy???), I resumed my journey at 1:30pm.

Huge parking space at McD. Good place to relax for a while before going ahead.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2456.jpg

Before entering Himachal I fill up my tank in Haryana, as petrol is cheaper.

By 2:30 I arrived at Parwanoo, paid the toll of INR40/- and my journey in Himalyas began!

I had been twice to Shimla, so I stopped only once to click a photo of Shimla-Kalka railway line. The pride of India beautiful Kalka-Shimla Railways:

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2461.jpg

As it is sunday, the traffic is quite few, so I make it to Shimla by 5:00pm. A small break at Shimla was initially in my plan, but as Narkanda is still 70kms ahead of me I decided to move on.

A view of Lesser Himalaya after crossing Shimla:

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2470.jpg

It is the afternoon time and sun has started playing with mountains with golden colour. Even getting late to Narkanda could not stopped me from stopping numerous time for a few minutes and taking few clicks.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2478.jpg

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2482.jpg

The road condition become pathetic from Theog all the way to Narkanda. Mostly I have to drive in 2nd gear. Last year heavy downpour took heavy toll on this road, and it has become too bumpy.

Finally I make it Narkanda by 7:30am. Check out to a hotel just opposite to bus-stop, took a mountain facing room for 1000 bucks. As I have to park the gypsy near the highway, transfered all the spares and tool to my hotel room. Had my dinner in the hotel itself with butter chicken and nan.

From balcony, the sky looks nice with stars shining behind the mountains. It is pretty cold here, feels so good to be back to wollens after coming from souring heat of Gurgaon.

Wow. Journey into Himalayas gonna began from tomorrow.

Cheers!
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Old 6th June 2011, 01:10   #7
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

Awesome. I had a great mind to join you for this trip. Alas, it did not happen. Let the teasers flow.
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Old 6th June 2011, 17:07   #8
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

Quote:
Originally Posted by adc View Post
Most beautiful. You bring back memories of Hatu, Komic and Langza again and will be reliving those memories. Did you touch Pin Valley?
Yes, I went to Pin Valley. Didn't spend much time over there as the weather was very cloudy for photography, I had to rush to make it to Chitkul.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shivmarwaha View Post
+1 Awaiting more pictures and a complete travelogue. Teasers have done their job well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ukderebail View Post
Hriday, that is a wonderful experience of your Spiti valley, the photographs are exciting and so well composed, i am sure it will be great promotion for the place. Kudos. I am looking forward for more photos and travelogue description.
Thanks a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by abheekg View Post
Awesome. I had a great mind to join you for this trip. Alas, it did not happen. Let the teasers flow.
Thanks. Yeah, it didn't happen. Will make another trip sometime for sure. I am thinking of Gangtok by the end of this year, are you game for it?

Cheers!
Hriday
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Old 6th June 2011, 17:59   #9
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

Alone, you might be kidding. You've got an amazing travelouge in making Hriday. All eyes glued to this thread. Each and every pic is a visual treat and seeing the same place from perspective of different people is a great experience.
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Old 6th June 2011, 23:46   #10
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Default Day 2 Began!

23rd May, 2011 / Monday:

Narkanda: A lovely morning! A heavenly view from my bed which inspires to go ahead...

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2489.jpg

My plan is to go to Hatu Peak in the morning and then head for Sarahan. After having lunch at Sarahan, head to Chitkul. Lets see, how it goes!

After having breakfast with aloo parantha and a cup of tea, I started the day at 8:30am. Fuel indicator showing little less than half a tank, it should be enough to come back from Hatu peak, which is just 9kms away.

The road to Hatu peak was quite small also signboard was smaller than i expected, so once again I missed the road! There is none to ask as well, after moving some 4kms ahead, another vehicle let me know that I missed the road. Now what, U-turn!

The climb to the Hatu peak s qiuite uphill and narrow. On the signboard it says this road is doable by jeep or gypsy only! No problem, I got the later one. In no time, I have to engage the 4L and start crawling! Few of the U-turns were too narrow for my turning radius, where I have get into reverse to move ahead. I was lucky not to get any forthcoming vehicle.

It's 9:30am and I got the first glimpse of snow-capped mountain from Hatu Peak. The view from Hatu peak at 3400m is too mesmerising to describe in words!

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2500.jpg

A paranomic view:

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

The nice looking Hatu Devi Mandir, I hope it will more attractive after construction get completed:

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2496.jpg

After spending around 30mins, clicking and enjoying the beauty, I started coming down to Narkanda.

Fuel meter was reading very low by the time I got to Petrol pump.

A view of Narkanda from petrol pump:

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2514.jpg

After filling up tank-full at Narkanda, I start my journey, destination: Chitkul, the last village of India. On contrary to bad roads from Theog to Narkanda, the road from Narkanda to Rampur is simply excellent. Most of the time I am making around 40-50kmph.

Some thing is wrong. Strange sounds of metal rubbing coming out from left side of the Gyspy! Immidiately I stop the car, check the wheel! Oils pouring out from the left front wheel and also rubber buring smell with smoke coming out of it!

It is still 45kms to Rampur. Looking into the oil, it looks like gear oil rather than break oil. Whatever, I have to move on till I get to the next maruti service station. After driving 2-3kms ahead I found a workshop, but I have to wait for 20mins for the mechanic to come, he has gone bring diesel. I am not in a mood to take risk of driving 45kms with this conditions so I decided to wait.

20mins... 30mins... 1hr gone no sign of the mechanic, its 12o'clock now. The owner decided send a guy to find whereabout of him. Finally the mechanic arrived at 12:30, he opened the axel and confirmed that gear oil has gone and they don't have a oil seal to fix it. The owner adviced me to go to Rampur, which is the last place where I might get parts to servie the vehicle.

It's 1:00pm now, Chitkul seems beyond my reach for today, anyway, if I can't fix the problem I am going back to Gurgaon.

No matter what the situation is I can't stopped myself from enjoying amazing vista of Himalayas.

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2520.jpg

One self-portrait

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2524.jpg

The road goes parallel to mighty Sutlej river

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2527.jpg

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2530.jpg

By 2:00pm I arrived at Chuhubag, Rampur, get a authorised maruti service station "Highway Service Station" where they have the spares to fix the gypsy. But, I have to wait again as there is long que of vehicles. By 3pm they opened up the wheel and start working on it.

Front axel opened up:

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-photo0112.jpg

The guy working on my vehicle tell me it would be atleast 5pm to get the vehicle ready. I have also to change the bearings which delayed it by one hour. Finally, the gypsy is back to shape by 6:30pm and journey is on.

Now I have no option but to revise night halt at Sarahan which is 40kms away. Lets see, how much time it will take to there!!!


To be cont...

Last edited by hridayjyoti : 7th June 2011 at 00:10. Reason: Problem with attachement
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Old 6th June 2011, 23:58   #11
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

Interesting,my friends and i did a dash till Sangla from Delhi\Ambala in approximately 18hrs with lots and lots of breaks,this saturday.
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Old 7th June 2011, 08:03   #12
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

Fantastic journey and pics

3.5 hrs flat to fix the problem and change bearings is a super fast service
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Old 7th June 2011, 09:01   #13
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

Congrats on the Gypsy, a vehicle i always loved & wished for. Looking forward to the story of the entire journey.
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Old 7th June 2011, 13:55   #14
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Default Re: "Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley

Amazing! Great pics, which camera are you using? Is it a DSLR?
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Old 7th June 2011, 20:58   #15
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Default Sarahan..

It is 6:30 now and Zuki is back to shape, except for a much needed wash! But, I donít have time for it, getting to Sarahan is my priority now.

Road from Rampur to Jeori is quite good and by 7:10 arrived at Jeori. From Jeori there is a sharp right turn which goes to Sarahan. The road is small but in good condition, and goes through lots of village. As it was evening time, I have to look for the kids playing out there. On the way there is also an army cantonment, I feel very different whenever I pass by an army base, it is so discipline, everything always in order. Normally army base are photography prohibited, so I decided not to take out my camera.

When I reached Sarahan it was 7:40pm. Now, I have to find out a place for night stay. Itís getting peak season for Sarahan. I checked with the HPTDC hotel, where I got a offer of 25%+10% discount in a room and it was coming around 1300 bucks. But, when I checked the room I didnít see anything special (read no mountain view) to pay that much. So, I checked into a hotel named Sagarika for 600bucks with ok type of room with attached bathroom.

The main attraction of Sarahan is the Bhima Kali Mandir, which has built 3000years ago. By that time evening prayer was over and the mandir was closed, though the main gate will be open till 9:00pm. After having a cup of tea and long shower, I went to the mandir to click some photographs.

A nightscape of Bhima Kali Mandir in B/W

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2531.jpg

Inside Bhimakali Mandir. The set up reminded me of Jab We Met!

"Alone!!! You're Kidding!" A Gypsy week to Spiti Valley-img_2541.jpg

Before dinner I had a long talk with the people of the hotel, they were obviously surprised to see me going alone. One guy from the hotel has been to Kaza 2 days earlier, he informed that the Kunzum la is still closed and and there is no chance of opening before mid-June.

By the way, the hotel I stayed is a Bengali hotel; I had a good homely dinner with delicious sweets.

Before hitting the bed, now I need to work on my schedule, as I have lost as many as 6.5hrs today, also Kunzum la is closed, I need to come back by the same route.

My revised schedule: Tomorrow I am going to Nako, I will leave Chitkul as halt while coming back. From Nako I will go to Kaza, will stay there for 2 days. Then I will come to Chitkul for a night. Chitkul to Gurgaon seems far, so I might go to Kullu, via Jalori pass on next day and then back to Gurgaon!
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