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Old 23rd October 2011, 18:38   #616
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Default Re: HumbLeh'd II (Indo Polish Himalayan Expedition to Ladakh & Himachal Pradesh)

Absolutely fabulous travel writing this, and some simply stunning photographs to go with it. Rated 5 stars.

Question - if one were to do just the Lahaul-Spiti circuit, then apart from the places you visited while in Kazaa, what else is a must-do?
And what should be the preferred route/itinerary to do the same? Sorry, I know this is quite off-topic, but couldn't resist this question after seeing/reading the wonderful vistas on offer there.

OT: no_enthu_da looks to be a man of steel, with just his bermudas and flip-flops on some of the coldest motorable places on Mother Earth.

Last edited by aryasanyal : 23rd October 2011 at 18:42.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 21:11   #617
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Originally Posted by aryasanyal View Post

Question - if one were to do just the Lahaul-Spiti circuit, then apart from the places you visited while in Kazaa, what else is a must-do?
And what should be the preferred route/itinerary to do the same?
In the Lahaul-Spiti circuit, I guess we visited every place there was to see, except that we could not go to Chandra Tal. Chandra Tal is worth an overnight stay in tent camps.

Ideally, you should do the circuit as Delhi-Shimla/Chail-Kinnaur Valley-Kaza-Manli-Delhi. If you were to drive direct from Delhi without stopping over in Kinnaur Valley, you should reach Kaza in fastest 2 days and a little more leisurely 3 days, by stopping over at Narkhanda/Rampur and Nako/Tabo.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 21:28   #618
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In the Lahaul-Spiti circuit, I guess we visited every place there was to see, except that we could not go to Chandra Tal. Chandra Tal is worth an overnight stay in tent camps.
Probably Sarahan could also be added for a drive
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Old 23rd October 2011, 23:07   #619
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Ideally, you should do the circuit as Delhi-Shimla/Chail-Kinnaur Valley-Kaza-Manli-Delhi. If you were to drive direct from Delhi without stopping over in Kinnaur Valley, you should reach Kaza in fastest 2 days and a little more leisurely 3 days, by stopping over at Narkhanda/Rampur and Nako/Tabo.
HVK sir, thanks for the route suggestions. Another question that immediately springs to mind is the appropriate time to visit. Since this travelogue details the great difficulties faced by you in August, do you suggest a pre-monsoon (May-June) or a post-monsoon (late September-October) time frame to visit the valleys?
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Old 23rd October 2011, 23:14   #620
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HVK sir, thanks for the route suggestions. Another question that immediately springs to mind is the appropriate time to visit. Since this travelogue details the great difficulties faced by you in August, do you suggest a pre-monsoon (May-June) or a post-monsoon (late September-October) time frame to visit the valleys?
You can visit Kinnaur Valley & Spiti Valley anytime during the year. However, consider the following issues:

- Spring time is a great time with lots of greenery and flowers. Rivers will be full with melting snows. Roads will be good, although some sectors can be very bad too

- Winter time is avoidable in Spiti Valley because it is snow-bound, most hotels are closed and almost all nearby places non-motorable. Places in Kinnaur Valley like Chitkul are also under snow

- During winter, you cannot complete the loop since the road beyond Losar will be closed and it will not be possible to drive on to Manali (only during Jun-Oct)

- Monsoon rains can be very bad during Jul-Aug
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Old 23rd October 2011, 23:18   #621
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hv, actually monsoon ceases to matter once you cross Kinnaur region. Spiti hardly gets any rain, or even snow. That said, in winters road do turn icy, and temp drops below -10 too!

September is actually a great month because rohtang and kunzum are less crazy, and weather is warm.
Flowering season in the high altitudes usually comes post may, as April is still cold and most places are snowbound.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 23:25   #622
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hv, actually monsoon ceases to matter once you cross Kinnaur region. Spiti hardly gets any rain, or even snow. That said, in winters road do turn icy, and temp drops below -10 too!

September is actually a great month because rohtang and kunzum are less crazy, and weather is warm.
Flowering season in the high altitudes usually comes post may, as April is still cold and most places are snowbound.
Yes, I love September too, rains in KInnaur V mostly over, lots of greenery and no crowds anywhere. You can go anywhere in KInnaur or Spiti, roads are at their best.

aryasanyal, don't be deterred by the bad roads, it cannot get better than this!
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Old 23rd October 2011, 23:30   #623
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You can visit Kinnaur Valley & Spiti Valley anytime during the year. However, consider the following issues:

- Spring time is a great time with lots of greenery and flowers. Rivers will be full with melting snows. Roads will be good, although some sectors can be very bad too

- Winter time is avoidable in Spiti Valley because it is snow-bound, most hotels are closed and almost all nearby places non-motorable. Places in Kinnaur Valley like Chitkul are also under snow

- During winter, you cannot complete the loop since the road beyond Losar will be closed and it will not be possible to drive on to Manali (only during Jun-Oct)

- Monsoon rains can be very bad during Jul-Aug
Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
hv, actually monsoon ceases to matter once you cross Kinnaur region. Spiti hardly gets any rain, or even snow. That said, in winters road do turn icy, and temp drops below -10 too!

September is actually a great month because rohtang and kunzum are less crazy, and weather is warm.
Flowering season in the high altitudes usually comes post may, as April is still cold and most places are snowbound.
Thanks a lot, HVK sir and Tanveer!
So to narrow it down from what you both mentioned, September should be the best time to do the loop.
So hopefully by then, all the scary water crossings in this thread (on the Kazaa - Jispa stretch) should have become placid. Am I correct?

Also from adc's great Ladakh travelogue, mid-September to mid-October came across as the best time to visit Ladakh as well (I believe Tanveer had put it across regarding September there as well).

So for folks hard-pressed for time, year-on-year September trips to Kinnaur-Lahaul-Spiti and then to Ladakh seems to be what we should look forward to.

Edit:
Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
aryasanyal, don't be deterred by the bad roads, it cannot get better than this!
You mean those mean water crossings as well?!!
Oh well!

Enough . Back to this incredible journey of passion and endurance.

Last edited by aryasanyal : 23rd October 2011 at 23:33.
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Old 24th October 2011, 01:00   #624
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You mean those mean water crossings as well?!!
Oh well!
The spiti loop has two types of water crossings, perennial and seasonal.
Seasonal ones are active in April/May when the snows melt, and are usually ferocious.
The perennial onces change volume little bit over the year, and completely freeze by november.
Mid sept means that seasonal ones are dry, and others have little water, esp in the mornings.

That said, there is one after losar(towards kaza), which often gets to 2 feet of water when its at full spate. and then there are countless ones on Gramphoo kunzum road.

In September, you should probably be able to make the route in a car too, with careful driving of course.
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Old 24th October 2011, 08:56   #625
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The spiti loop has two types of water crossings, perennial and seasonal.
Seasonal ones are active in April/May when the snows melt, and are usually ferocious.
The perennial onces change volume little bit over the year, and completely freeze by november.
Mid sept means that seasonal ones are dry, and others have little water, esp in the mornings.

That said, there is one after losar(towards kaza), which often gets to 2 feet of water when its at full spate. and then there are countless ones on Gramphoo kunzum road.

In September, you should probably be able to make the route in a car too, with careful driving of course.
As Tanveer, says, water crossings and land slides are normal in this NH22 & Kaza-Manali route. Malling NUllah has been tamed recently, it used to be the worst in the KInnaur Valley sector, immediately after Nako towards Kaza. Similar, the water crossing that he mentions is the Hanse Nullah, which is really bad in the earlier months of summer. September is one of the best months - dry weather, very little snow melt, repaired roads. Remember that facilities throughout remain very poor and you are very much on your own if something happens to your car. Happily, there are regular share-a-seat Sumo taxis plying on the Kaza-Manali route so I guess you have something to fall back on. Kinnaur V and Spiti V are doable for anyone, but Lahaul V from Kunzum la downwards towards Gramphoo/Manali is only for the hardiest. IT is also a long journey - whether you are going from Kaza to Manali or Keylong - with absolutely no facilities in between (except Losar which has some small hotels) unless you want to count the tea shops at Batal, Chota Dara & Chhatru.
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Old 24th October 2011, 10:56   #626
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For those of you who may be confused as to the roads leading to Leh, here is a summary:

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The MANALIRoute
Delhi-Ambala-Ropar-Mandi-Manali-Rohtang Pass-Gramphoo-Keylong-Baralacha la-Sarchu-Lachulung la-Pang-Tanglang la-Upshi-Leh, approximately 1100 kms

The KAZARoute
Delhi-Ambala-Shimla/Chail-Narkhanda-Rampur-Powari-Nako-Tabo-Kaza-KUnzum la-Gramphoo-Keylong-Baralacha la-Sarchu-Lachulung la-Pang-Tanglang la-Upshi-Leh, approximately 1450 kms

The SRINAGARRoute
Delhi-Ambala-Ludhiana-Jalandhar-Pathankot-Udhampur-Jawahar Tunnel-Srinagar-Sonmarg-Zoji la-Dras-Kargil-Leh, approximately 1350 kms
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Old 24th October 2011, 11:50   #627
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Lalu, Kaushik - amazing pictures!!!
Not being able to click pictures on my cam has been compensated for by you guys' photos!!

HVK Sir - I need to take travelogue writing tips from you! Brilliant narratives of everything we faced!!

Quote:
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OT: no_enthu_da looks to be a man of steel, with just his bermudas and flip-flops on some of the coldest motorable places on Mother Earth.
3/4th pants are comfortable for driving; and I didn't want to wear anything longer than those in the plains!

however, not covering up fully can land you in trouble at high altitudes and cold regions. I realized this only at Tanglang La top, when a bad headache hit me and i had to hand over the wheels to JP (who drove on till Leh).

This headache was NOT about acclimatisation.
It was all about foolhardiness!!
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Old 24th October 2011, 13:31   #628
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3/4th pants are comfortable for driving; and I didn't want to wear anything longer than those in the plains!

however, not covering up fully can land you in trouble at high altitudes and cold regions. I realized this only at Tanglang La top, when a bad headache hit me and i had to hand over the wheels to JP (who drove on till Leh).

This headache was NOT about acclimatisation.
It was all about foolhardiness!!
Ok - so you are mortal after all.

This is actually a very important point to consider while on the hills whether in the Himalayas or in the lower Shivaliks - never give an opportunity to the climate to get to you.

Having grown up on the hills during my childhood, this was a constant reminder from all the elders. I see that it still holds good everywhere.
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Old 24th October 2011, 15:58   #629
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@ HVK, laluks, KSM-Vtec, no_enthu_da, doctorque, anku, Yogen, TS, NJ, JP, DB, SS two days of fabulous driving through some of the harshest terrain known to mankind! Take a bow all you GUYS!

@akaush and JeepCaptain, I guess both of you must be sharing the same anguish that I am going through, not having done this wonderful drive from Kaza to Leh!

@HVK, fantastic and detailed write up, @ laluks & KSM-Vtec, fantastic photographs! Thank you guys!

@no_enthu_da, I'm sure in your next drive to the mountains, we won't be seeing any 3/4th's, comfort be damned!
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Old 24th October 2011, 16:46   #630
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@ HVK, laluks, KSM-Vtec, no_enthu_da, doctorque, anku, Yogen, TS, NJ, JP, DB, SS two days of fabulous driving through some of the harshest terrain known to mankind! Take a bow all you GUYS!

@akaush and JeepCaptain, I guess both of you must be sharing the same anguish that I am going through, not having done this wonderful drive from Kaza to Leh!

@HVK, fantastic and detailed write up, @ laluks & KSM-Vtec, fantastic photographs! Thank you guys!

@no_enthu_da, I'm sure in your next drive to the mountains, we won't be seeing any 3/4th's, comfort be damned!
BolBolero, Absolutely right. I really missed this part of the Expedition. Wish I didn't had to rush back to Cochin!!
It was indeed a Hair rising Adventure by HVK and rest of the team!! Kudos to you all.!

Amazing write up by Lalu & HVK and Excellent pics by Lalu & KSM Vtec.

I am going back next year to do this sector from Kaza to Leh via Kunzam La and back via Sach Pass. Anyone wants to joine me?
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