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Old 26th June 2012, 14:02   #16
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Default Re: Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sach.sri View Post
beautiful pictures - it would have been bliss after the heat of Jaipur . Specially like the pic of the mountain with last rays of the sun. Great going - bring it on!
Thanks Sachin, mountains are always nice and refreshing

Quote:
Originally Posted by girishglg View Post
@deky very well paced TL indeed with those stunning pics of the mountains and roads! Top ratings!

Must say have been glued to this one from the last few days now and looking forward eagerly for the rest of it ( mean Border and Wildlife part ) as and when you put them down! Cheers!

With a drive so fresh, it actually serves as a very good updated guide for others on the route and stay options.

If possible please do a brief summary of the routes, stay options and road conditions at the end!
Thanks, will do

Log Contd...

07/06/2012 - Samdu - Kaurik - Lepcha -Samdu - Tabo - Kaza - Kee - Kibber - Kaza

Part 1

Today would be a long day hence we were up and ready by 0930 hrs. There were lots of places to see, lots of things to do plus I wanted to keep my resolve of not driving in the dark hence a conscious effort was made to start as early as we could.

In the first part of the day we were supposed to go to Lepcha, the last Indian post on the broder with Tibet, then on our way back we were supposed to take a dip in the Sulphar spring that was at Samdu and then proceed towards Kaza. While going to Kaza we would be taking a slight detour towards Pin Valley, see the areas around Mud, and there take a decision either to stay at Mud or go to Kaza.

Last night at the party the CO had offered us an official vehicle to take us to Lepcha. He realized that we were in a Sedan and since the road is under construction at some places he thought it would be wise to use a Gypsy. I was happy giving our car a rest. So by 0930 hrs we were off to the post.

It would be a 45 minutes drive to the post. We would be passing the village of Kaurik on our way to Lepcha. Infact earlier, on our way from Narkanda on the NH22, we had seen so many milestones marking the distance to Kaurik that we had started to wonder where was this place as it was not appearing on any itinerary previously done by travelers? Now we had realized that Kaurik was the last village, just 5 kms inside, on the Indo-Tibetan border. After the war of 1962, this village was shifted from here and relocated just before Tabo at a place called Chandigarh. Kaurik is deserted now, except a few BRO workers who use the village for shelter no one else lives here.

On our way up we encountered our first major road block. There was a landslide the previous night and about 50 mtrs of the road was under a huge mountain of mud. Though JCB machines were working on it from both the sides but it still took them about an hour to clear that section. Luckily it was only mud and no huge rocks or else it would have taken them much longer to clear and we would most probably have to cancel going to the border.

Going after the initial hiccup was quick and within no time we were at ITBP check post Kaurik. Actually roads also got better and here we must have traveled on one of the smoothest sections of the road on our complete trip. At ITBP check post, we were quickly briefed about the surrounding area, how the natural rivers and ridges form the IB, the various border posts on the Indian side, the weapons, the life of a soldier etc etc.

The IB was still about 5 kms away from here. The last border post of Lepcha actually sits on the IB that runs on a ridge was visible from here. Over the years I must have visited at least 6-7 final frontiers (LOC’s and IB’s). On my KMY I have also walked across the IB into Tibet , but every time I see the IB/LOC/LAC the excitement and the thrill is unbelievable.

At Lepcha it was no different. The border post was on a ridge and after 2 feet of the post was a fall of about 100 feet and then a river and then Tibetan villages. The area after 2 feet of the post all belonged to Tibet. It was interesting to talk to the officers and soldiers there and hear about the advancements the country has made in terms of electronic surveillance. It was also heartwarming see the high moral of the soldiers and the spirit with which they guard our boundaries. And without divulging much it was also very funny to hear that it’s just not the opposite country that needles us…. after all you need two hands to clap.

So after spending 30 minutes at the post, laughing with the guys, listening to their stories, enjoying hot tea and snacks with them it was time to give them a hug and head back to Samdu. On our way back we had to stop again at the same landslide area as the slipping sand from the mountain sides had created more obstacles and was being cleared. Luckily we were clear in 10 minutes but unfortunately we had wasted enough time earlier that we decided to go straight to Kaza and give the Sulphar springs a miss at this time.

At Samdu we thanked our hosts and were on our way. We still had not decided if we would be spending the night at Mud or at Kaza.

Pics from the day so far

The morning was nice and bright. The peaks visible in the morning
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09825.jpg

The road leading to Kaurik, as visible from Sumdo
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09829.jpg

The Tibet side from Sumdo. The snow mountain is in Tibet
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09830.jpg

The lobby of the mess
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09833.jpg

The formal sitting. Displayed are the various trophies that this unit has won in adventure activities. It is also noticeable that this unit has more than 10 soldiers that has scaled the everest
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09835.jpg

The initial mud road to Kaurik
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09841.jpg

Firing range for small arms
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09844.jpg

Not very far from the border
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09846.jpg

The mud slide being cleared
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09850.jpg

More snow capped mountains on the Tibet side
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09847.jpg

Samdu at a distance, visible from the land slide area
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09852.jpg

Road got much better after the landslide area
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09860.jpg

The deserted Kaurik village on the plateau
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09863.jpg

Reaching Lepcha
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09863a.jpg

We are looking in Tibetan territory now
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09869.jpg

Tibetan village as seen from the last post
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09865.jpg

A close up of the village
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09866.jpg

Some more spying on the movement in the village
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09867.jpg

Being explained about the topography of the area
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09868a.jpg

I was so engrossed in talking to the men that I forgot to take a usual panorama shot of the area. Hence I have put 3 pics side by side to give you some idea of how the IB runs from where we were standing
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09871aa.jpg

A final pic of us at the post before we left
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09875.jpg

NOTE: - Kaurik and Lepcha are not open routes for travellers. But I do believe that permits are indeed issued at the DC's office for those who are interested in visiting this area. I believe showing keen'ness and a nice smile does the tricks for permits. Some people have also gone to the army TCP at Sumdo and have requested and requested and requested the officers there and have been allowed till Kaurik without permits. Its definitely worth the try.


Rest Of The Day ....To be contd……
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Old 26th June 2012, 16:00   #17
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Default Re: Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...

This is just awesome!!!. deky, I see you have thing for borders (If you remember, I had asked you for a picture of the border which was shown in your Mansarovar yatra travelogue). You can count me as one of your fans. I just love the way you narrate the story and the pictures then complement the story very well.
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Old 26th June 2012, 16:50   #18
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Default Re: Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...

Excellent travelogue again Deky !!! Your writing skills continue to amaze me. Every time i read your travelogue I feel like i have actually visited the place. Thanks for your efforts in putting the experiences in words and pictures for us.
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Old 1st July 2012, 14:34   #19
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Default Re: Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...

Quote:
Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
This is just awesome!!!. deky, I see you have thing for borders (If you remember, I had asked you for a picture of the border which was shown in your Mansarovar yatra travelogue). You can count me as one of your fans. I just love the way you narrate the story and the pictures then complement the story very well.
Thank you for all the kind words. Yes, I dont know why but the IB's excite me all the time.!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by heman_369 View Post
Excellent travelogue again Deky !!! Your writing skills continue to amaze me. Every time i read your travelogue I feel like i have actually visited the place. Thanks for your efforts in putting the experiences in words and pictures for us.
Thank you so much

And I apologise for the delay in the next post, I was out travelling, but here is the next part

07/06/2012 - Samdu - Kaurik - Lepcha -Samdu - Tabo - Kaza - Kee - Kibber - Kaza

Part 2

After saying our good byes and carrying some packed food for Aira we were on our way to Kaza/Mud. The road was was mostly broken tarmac at most of the places but at some places it was pretty smooth as well. Within one hour of us starting from Sumdo we had reached Tabo.

Initially we had planned to visit Tabo on the return journey, but since we were hungry as well, we decided to have a quick look at the monastery and also have our lunch too. The original monastery is apparently more than a 1000 year old and is well kept by the monks there. The newer part of the monastery is under renovation. The monk there took keen interest in showing us around but we were in a hurry so we finished the tour as quickly as we could. We had our lunch at one the guesthouse restaurants there and were ready to leave.

We decided that as we still had time, we will go to Mud, have a look around the Pin Valley and then return back to Kaza for the night. But luck had something else instore for us. News of a flash flood in Pin Valley slowly started to trickle in, but people there were not sure to what extent the damage had been done. We thought of keeping our options open and moved ahead.

Little ahead we saw a local registered Maruti stopped by the mountain side and taking photographs of something. As we drew in closer I realized that there was a pair of Blue Goats (Bharals) grazing on the mountain slopes above us. I was pretty excited seeing them as well and we too stopped for pics. The pair instead of looking at us kept on looking at the mountain top in between grazing. I thought maybe there is a predator around and hence they were keeping a look out for it. But that was not the case, actually later I saw a young fawn standing on top of a rock and it seemed that the Bharals were keeping an eye on them as they grazed. Suddenly there was a lot of dust that started to fly from the mountain slopes and then we saw a few more fawn running up and down the slopes in a playful manner. With all the running around the fawn were causing a mini landslide and small rocks started to come down rumbling on the car. It was time to move on.

Just before Attargo, the junction from where one takes a left for Pin Valley, we flagged down a taxi and asked him about the condition of Pin Valley. He told us that the road before Sagnam (Pin valley) has been washed off in yesterday’s flash floods and the valley is in accessible as of now. So there was no point in going there. So we decided to go straight to Kaza.

The Spiti valley was turning out to be beautifull. It was getting much wider than the valley’s we had crossed before and the landscapes, though very dry but were varied and beautifull to look at. The road continued to be broken but at one place where it got smooth I had the first driving error resulting in a slight problem.

Actually, after leaving from Tabo I was making sure that we reach Kaza before sun down. So at one stretch of beautifull black top road I tried to increase my speed. I saw a piece of small stone lying in the middle of the road but at that speed ( was about 50kmph) I decided that its best not to swerve the car around the stone, but to go over it. I was pretty sure that the stone was very small and would not hit the cars under body. But I was so wrong in judging or maybe the stone jumped up and hit the car (I think it was the later) and what followed next was various types of banging sounds that started to come from beneath the car. The stone must have hit somewhere below and must have bounced of the under body a few times before finally passing under it. I immediately stopped the car as it was time to inspect for damages.

While stopping I could engage the gears hence that meant that the gear box was fine. On stopping I found that there were no leakages under the car hence neither the radiator nor the petrol tank had started to leak. I waited a little more for the car to cool down and went under the car as far as I could. There was a big dent on the exhaust pipe coming out of the engine, but luckily it was not broken. I thanked my stars for this narrow escape and moved on. The car also sounded fine and luckily no emergency lights cropped up on the dash board.

By 1700 hrs we reached Kaza and checked in a hotel. We still had 2 hours of sunlight left so we decided to make a quick trip to Kee and Kibber. The drive to these places was good as the roads at most of the places were well tarred. The views as we went higher towards Kibber got better and better. The village of Kibber offered a 360 degree view of the high mountains around.

By 1900 hrs we were back in the hotel and it was time to rest.

Pics so far.....

The views of the valley after Sumdo
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09882.jpg

The beautifull landscapes
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09883.jpg

The road leading to Tabo
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09885.jpg

A broken bridge
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09886.jpg

Passing Hurling village
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09888.jpg

Tabo at a distance
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09891.jpg

Entry to Tabo
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09894.jpg

The golden Chorten at Tabo
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09895.jpg

Aira enjoying rotating the prayer wheels
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09898a.jpg

The entrance to the 1000+ yr old Monastery
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09899.jpg

The mud chortens
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09901.jpg

The caves in the mountains where the monks used to live in olden days
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09902.jpg

A water collection well in the premises
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09903.jpg

While we wait for lunch
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09913.jpg

Bharals on mountain slopes
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09921.jpg

Grazing
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09926.jpg

Then we notice a fawn on the hill top
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09931.jpg

They were playing causing a mini mud/rock slide
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09935.jpg

On closer look we realized there were 4 of them
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09936.jpg

The wide Spiti valley
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09938.jpg
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09943a.jpg

Various rock formations
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09940.jpg

I tried to trek into one of these crevasses, but due to rubble slipping under the feet it was very difficult
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09950.jpg

Kaza at a distance
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09955.jpg

Entering Kaza
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09959.jpg

Pics from Kee and Kibber to be contd in the next post....
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Old 1st July 2012, 14:41   #20
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07/06/2012 - Samdu - Kaurik - Lepcha -Samdu - Tabo - Kaza - Kee - Kibber - Kaza

Part 3

Pics from Kee and Kibber

Village of Kee
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09962.jpg

The monastery at Kee
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09963.jpg

Approaching Kibber
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09969.jpg

The gravel road close to Kibber
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09972.jpg

The loops that lead to Kibber
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09974.jpg

Kibber
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09976.jpg

A panorama of Kibber and surroundings
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09976a.jpg

Back to Kaza
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09982.jpg

End of the Day....Next day to be Contd..
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Old 2nd July 2012, 18:09   #21
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08/06/2012 - Kaza - Hikkim - Komic - Lanza - Kaza

Today was a day to explore Kaza and the villages around. We had decided to visit the villages of Hikkim, Komic and Lanza during the first half of the day. Come back to Kaza, have lunch and just rest in the hotel after that.

We went to Kaza town for breakfast and found a shop called German Bakery. The baked breads smelled nice and we decided to have breakfast and coffee there before proceeding for our trip. The different type of breads and croissants were indeed very nice and we had a hearty breakfast there. At the bakery we started chatting with a Belgian Couple and we decided to take us along for the sightseeing trip.

No sooner we got on the road for Hikkim, driver error number 2 happened. I went too close to the mountain side and did not realize that there was a sharp stone on the edge and the stone ended up cutting the side wall of the front left side tyre. There was no way we would get a new tyre in Kaza, so the only way was to stich the tyre and get a tube fixed inside. So after putting in the spare and taking the car down back to Kaza and getting the tyre stitched and a tube fixed we were ready to move again.

All this while I had been very patient and very carefull in driving on the hills but one stupid mistake or you may call lapse in concentration on my part had resulted in this incident. I was pretty disappointed with myself as it was totally my mistake.

To avoid any more incidents like this we moved on slowly. The road was pretty bad and what made matters more worst was that we took a wrong turn and instead of doing Langza – Komic – Hikkim we were doing it the other way. We took the route that will take us to Hikkim first. This route had a steep ascent with non-existent roads and I would say at this height with 4 adults and 1 kid on board my car was losing on power majorly. I was wondering if I had made the correct decision by getting my car here and also if it was right to give the Belgian couple a ride

But slowly and steadily we climbed up and finally reached the village of Hikkim. The views from Hikkim changed the mood completely. It was awesome to see the vistas all around. Suddenly the whole trip here was looking worth the effort.
Next we reached Komic . The views from here were also breathtaking. We wanted to have a look at the monastery but unfortunately it was closed. It was time for lunch and we were rather hungry. I approached a place that looked like shop and asked if they could give us anything to eat. They offered us Maggie and Dal & Chawal. Except Aira we were all happy having dal chawal. So at a height of about 14,700ft, this was the highest part of our holiday were we had a meal.

This actually turned out to be the monastery kitchen and the monks had made the Dal & Chawal for themselves so they refused to charge us anything for it. Even on our insisting they did not charge us a single penny. My respect for the locals went up even higher with this.

Then it was time for Lanza and after a quick stop there for photographs we came back to Kaza. Since we had already wasted a lot of time in getting the tyre repaired in the morning, we did not have much time left in the evening to explore Kaza, so we just had Dinner and retired for the day.

Tonight would be our final night at Kaza and then we start our return journey back home.

Pics for the day


Filling in fuel in the morning at Kaza
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09983.jpg

At German Bakery
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09991.jpg

I decided to work and cook my own omelet. Just the way I like it cooked
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09986.jpg

The main street at Kaza
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09992.jpg

While Parul shopped, Aira found a way to keep her busy
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09994.jpg

Getting the tyre repaired
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09998.jpg

Finally we moved again. View of the valley and Rangrik
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc09999.jpg

The condition of the road. Actually this was the good part hence I could stop. At bad patches I did not even dare to stop
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00001.jpg

The views as we went higher
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00002.jpg

Some ruins
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00003.jpg

Village of Hikkim
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00004.jpg

A photo op with snow capped mountains in the back ground
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00008.jpg

View from Hikkim
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00010.jpg

Aira enjoying the views
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00011.jpg

Approaching Komic
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00012.jpg

A panorama from Komic
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00012a.jpg

Aira enjoying her Maggie
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00016.jpg

Another view
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00017.jpg

Going to Komic Monastery
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00018.jpg

Pastures
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00020.jpg

The road got a bit better as we got towards Lanza
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00022.jpg

Beautifull Landscapes
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00026.jpg

The village of Lanza
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00027.jpg

Budha Statue at Lanza
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00029.jpg

Monastery at lanza
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00031.jpg

Returning back to Kaza
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00032.jpg

End of the Day…Next day to be contd!!
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Old 5th July 2012, 17:38   #22
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09/06/2012 - Kaza to Pooh

Today we would be retracing our steps and would be restarting our journey back home. Our night halt today would be at Pooh and in between we had planned to visit Dhankar Monastery.

The morning was nice and bright and the views of the peaks and the surrounding area were breathtaking in the bright sunshine. After checking out of the hotel we went to German Bakery for breakfast and again met the Belgian couple there. They also decided to come along with us till Dhankar.

The monastery was closed by the time we reached, but the drive was nice and the views we got of the valley below were breathtaking. From here we could see the confluence of the Spiti River and the River coming from the Pin valley and the difference in colour was very noticeable. Spiti was blue and the Pin river was almost black due to the debris it was carrying because of the flood.

We dropped the Belgian couple back on the highway at Sichling and got moving towards Pooh. The drive was more or less uneventful except for the fact that we got stuck in a huge sand storm near Hurling. The car was being bombarded on the side with sand, stones and pebbles of all sizes. But luckily we were very close to a village so took shelter there. We wanted to eat something but nothing was open so we decided to have the cup noodles we were carrying. Luckily a nice gentleman provided us with hot water from his house.

After the storm stopped we carried on and by evening we were at Pooh. Our hosts met us just before Pooh and lead us to our accommodation. We had dinner and called it a day.

Pics from the day

Mountain peaks visible in bright sunshine from the hotel at Kaza
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00033.jpg
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00034.jpg

It was bright in the morning and the monks were enjoying the sunshine too
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00035.jpg

Town of Rangrik visible from the hotel in Kaza
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00036.jpg

Starting our return journey
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00040.jpg

Dhankar at a distance
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00043.jpg

Mother and daughter having fun
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00044.jpg

Aira wanted to take our photograph
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00047.jpg

The entry gate to Dhankar
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00049.jpg

Dhankar Monastery
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00051.jpg

Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00053.jpg

The confluence of Spiti and Pin River. Notice the difference in colour
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00054.jpg

Rainbow coloured clouds
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00064.jpg

A sand storm that we managed to avoid by taking shelter at a village
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Aira enjoying her cup noodles
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At Chango
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00068b.jpg

The loops
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00073.jpg

Different shaped mountains
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00074.jpg

Village of Tabo at a distance
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The road ahead
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00080.jpg

Ka Zigs that lead to Khab
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Just before Khab
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Dubling Bridge
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Finally reached Pooh
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Our hosts met us with tea and lead us to our accommodation
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Had dinner and slept
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00109.jpg


End of the day…Next day to be contd
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Old 13th July 2012, 12:46   #23
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10/06/2012 - Pooh to Chail

Morning at Pooh was one of the brightest mornings we have had so far. And it was also pretty warm when compared to the previous mornings we had. Suddenly it dawned on us that our holiday was getting over. There were still a lot of snow clad mountains around us but somehow the morning chill was missing.

We had a long day today as we had decided that we will try and reach Chail by the evening, so that the next day’s run to Delhi will not be so long. We packed our bags, had breakfast, clicked a few photographs of the surroundings and moved on.

As we moved, vegetation started to appear on mountains and the barren mountains were now replaced with green mountains. It started to get warm as well so the car’s A/c was switched on after a week of enjoying the cool weather of the mountains.

The going was slow as the roads after Pooh were not that great but we did try to make up on the lost time on the amazing roads around Spello to Akpa. But soon the bad section of the road along the dam site from Kassang bridge to around Bhavanagar reduced our speeds to a crawl. But this being our return journey we had expected this so the going was not that painful.

Just before before Jeori we decided to have lunch at the same Dhaba we had stopped while going. It was not because the food was great there or something, it’s just that it had a car wash available and I badly wanted to give my car a nice scrub.

While we were having our lunch the weather changed dramatically and clouds appeared from nowhere and it strated to rain. So much for cleaning the car!! But I was still happy that the car looked much better than before.

As soon as we started from Jeori, I saw an animal that looked like a mongoose cross the road just about 50 mtrs ahead of me. I stopped and then there was another one that followed it, crossed the road and disappeared in the thicket along the road. I got off the car with my camera as this mongoose looked completely different than the mongoose I have seen before. There was a local Lady that was passing by and also saw the animals. I asked her if it was a mongoose, she said that it was something that she has not seen before in the last 60 years and it was definitely not a mongoose as they are not of that colour.

I saw the pair again jumping up and down the rocks below the road and clicked some photographs. Only to be told later that, they are Himalayan Weasels and is indeed a rare sighting.

The drizzling continued for a while, so the going was slow but the good thing was that the roads were good and was wide. The sad part was that we were leaving the hills behind and getting closer to the plains. At Narkanda we were greeted by 2 rainbows, that did get some cheer for us, but that was only like a consolation prize.

It was already getting late and by the time we reached Chail it was 2200 hrs. We had no hotel booked in Chail, and we had decided that since it would be our last day of holiday we will stay in the best hotel available at Chail. So we decided to head towards Chail Palace. The rates at palace turned out to be 50% more than what we had budgeted and that too after a 10% of good will discount by the manager. Sheepishly we rushed out faster than we had rushed in.

The search for a hotel was hampered because of a power cut in Chail. The complete area had turned dark and whatever hotels there either did not have rooms or those which had rooms did not want to serve us dinner as there was no electricity.

Giving up hope we thought of going towards Kanadaghat and trying our luck there. Atleast, it being on the highway we would get something to eat. But then we spotted a resort called Maple resorts and thought of giving it a final try.

Believe me; we got the best treatment that can be offered to any guest staying in a hotel. The manager was very courteous and after he realized that we had a hungry 4 yr old with us he even opened his kitchen, called his cooks and waiters and asked us to order whatever we wanted from the menu. Even the waiter was excellent and showed his willingness to serve us even at that hour. This was really heartwarming as everything, including the cooking of the food was done in emergency lights. The rooms were also great and only after we had settled in the room properly and the manager made sure we had everything available that was needed in the room he went off to sleep.

Happy and satisfied, we slept!!!

Pics from the day

Early morning pictures from our accommodation at Pooh
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00111.jpg
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00127.jpg

More mountain peaks
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00112.jpg

Our accommodation
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Half a moon
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00140.jpg

Starting from Pooh
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00141.jpg

The road ahead running along the valley
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00147.jpg

A temple en route that also serves as a rest point for travellers
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00150.jpg

Kinner Kailash Range
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00152.jpg

Double lanning starts here (also notice the dusty car)
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00153.jpg

A tunnel construction for Hydel Power under process
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00156.jpg

Around Akpa Greenery was in abundance
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00157.jpg

Excellent roads after crossing Akpa check post
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00158.jpg

Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00159.jpg

We shall miss the hills!!
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00163.jpg

A trolley system to transfer goods across the valley
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00167.jpg

Kinner Kailash Range as seen from Peo
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00169.jpg

The most defining image of the cliffs in Spiti/Kinnaur
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00186.jpg

Rare Sighting of Himalayan Weasels
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00192.jpg
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Car wash
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00194a.jpg

and a nice scrub
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00194b.jpg

And then it rained
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00194c.jpg

The last views of the snow capped mountains from Synge
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00198.jpg

Hills through a rainbow
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00212.jpg

The rainbows
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00212a.jpg

A panorama picture of the rainbow
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00212b.jpg

The beautiful hotel we checked in at Chail
Spiti Drive, June 2012 - Family, Friends, Border Posts, Wildlife and more...-dsc00216a.jpg


11/06/2012 - Chail to Noida

Today was the last day of our holiday. The plan was simple; we had to start as early as possible from Chail so as to beat the Delhi evening traffic. We were staying at my cousins place in Noida tonight.

After breakfast we thanked the hotel staff for being so kind and helpful, paid our dues and started riding down hill. We met the NH22 at Kandaghat and from there on we realized that we had left the peace of the mountains far behind and were now amidst the band of people rushing to their destination.

Its not easy to switch back to the city mode of driving after coming being away from it for almost 8 days. I had to stop my car and and had to soak in the environment to kind of acclimatize to it. So while I watched the cars zoom past, jostling to go faster than the other and fighting for every inch of space on the road, Parul decided to shop.

We filled the left over space in the boot of the car with local delicacies from the hills to be given as gifts like all kinds of achaar, different flavours of Himachali Wine, mushrooms etc etc. While they took space in the boot, the car cabin was filled with lots of boxes of local fruits like cherries and peaches and plums and green almonds.

NH22 was really tough to drive on with so many people and so many cars. Even though the roads were good but the average speed wouldn’t have been more than 15kmph from Kandaghat till we joined NH1 on Ambala. But we were in no hurry, we wanted to enjoy whatever was left of our holiday, we just kept chatting, kept eating the cherries and kept enjoying the drive and each other’s company till we finally reached Noida at 2000 hrs.

After spending the next day in NCR we headed back to Jaipur on the 13/06/2012, thus finally bringing a great holiday to an end.

All good things come to an end but the memories linger on forever. I feel very lucky to be born in India that has such amazing sceneries to offer, such amazing and warm people who are willing to help you out even if they have nothing much to offer and also lucky to have such a wonderful family that shares almost the same interests with each other.

Thank you all for reading.

The End!!
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Old 29th March 2013, 14:14   #24
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Deky-bhai,

That's one short, crisp and fluent T-Log. Do accept my gratitude for sharing this in such vivid details, as also my congratulations of doing this with such aplomb and tenacity, with your wife and lovely daughter. Special mention must be made of Aira as well, who took to the hills so valiantly after the initial hiccup and clearly enjoyed every minute of the next few days way up in the Himalayas.

You inspire people like me to take this route which I never have, and I most certainly will now, having seen such a splendid trailer of the same through the eyes of your camera, and visualizing it through your words.

Thanks again. Wonderful stuff!

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Old 29th March 2013, 16:33   #25
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.

All good things come to an end but the memories linger on forever. I feel very lucky to be born in India that has such amazing sceneries to offer, such amazing and warm people who are willing to help you out even if they have nothing much to offer and also lucky to have such a wonderful family that shares almost the same interests with each other.

Thank you all for reading.

The End!! [/quote]

Just went thru your TL at a stretch and it has ignited the desire to retrace your route. Could you please share the route you followed ( with distances between the places) and the hotels you stayed in with the contact nos / details. I would especially appreciate if you could share the contact details for the FRH at Sangla.

Looking forward to more such TLS
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Old 30th March 2013, 01:08   #26
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Excellent TL and pictures Deky. I see that the picture you took of Nako is Taken right on the Malling nullah curve. Actually when you say of raging torrents there you are talking about the older axis when the road used to go through Yangthang. The upper part of Malling was chosen specifically for the lesser width of the nullah but it is almost another spoilsport as the stretch where you clicked the picture from is highly landslide prone. Another axis is being completed that will bye pass Malling over the crest of the hill and join at Sumdo. Plus Spiti is a sub division not a district and the reason you see Kaurik written every where is the fact that the road you traveled on is also known as the Hindustan Tibet Road from Ambala to Kaurik. It was good that you took the no.2 rather than your sedan on those roads.

But amazing pictures and you could have tried out the return via Kunzam-Rohtang-Manali. The roads are just a shade worse but doable in a sedan. But then maybe the next holiday?

Dont know if you noticed but Khab is the confluence of the Satluj and the Spiti Rivers and earlier the bridge was further up into the gorge before a raging Satluj took every thing away one night. You wont believe it, but if you recollect the start of the Sangla Valley along the Baspa river, once there used to be a hill ridge that had a PWD guesthouse built on it at the confluence of the Baspa and the Satluj until that fatal night when the river reclaimed everything. Plus before that night the approach to the Sangla used ot be on the left bank rather than the right bank it is now on at Karcham.

Last edited by wanderernomad : 30th March 2013 at 01:15.
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Old 1st April 2013, 16:37   #27
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Originally Posted by rajneeesh View Post
.

Just went thru your TL at a stretch and it has ignited the desire to retrace your route. Could you please share the route you followed ( with distances between the places) and the hotels you stayed in with the contact nos / details. I would especially appreciate if you could share the contact details for the FRH at Sangla.

Looking forward to more such TLS
Hi, The itinerary is on the first page of this thread and the distances between the places and lots of other information including accommodation, fuel availability restaurants etc etc can be found in HVK (a member here) log book here.

I just took a print out and kept the pages with me.

We stayed at Maple resorts (Chail), Hotel Shahenshah (Chitkul), Kaza Hotel dont remember the name now and Hotel Kinner Kailash (Kalpa).

The rest of the places was Army Accommodation.

Oh and the FRH at Sangla was booked by a friend who had some contacts with the Forest Department in Himachal, so I have no idea about the number. Sorry!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Excellent TL and pictures Deky. I see that the picture you took of Nako is Taken right on the Malling nullah curve. Actually when you say of raging torrents there you are talking about the older axis when the road used to go through Yangthang. The upper part of Malling was chosen specifically for the lesser width of the nullah but it is almost another spoilsport as the stretch where you clicked the picture from is highly landslide prone. Another axis is being completed that will bye pass Malling over the crest of the hill and join at Sumdo. Plus Spiti is a sub division not a district and the reason you see Kaurik written every where is the fact that the road you traveled on is also known as the Hindustan Tibet Road from Ambala to Kaurik. It was good that you took the no.2 rather than your sedan on those roads.

But amazing pictures and you could have tried out the return via Kunzam-Rohtang-Manali. The roads are just a shade worse but doable in a sedan. But then maybe the next holiday?

Dont know if you noticed but Khab is the confluence of the Satluj and the Spiti Rivers and earlier the bridge was further up into the gorge before a raging Satluj took every thing away one night. You wont believe it, but if you recollect the start of the Sangla Valley along the Baspa river, once there used to be a hill ridge that had a PWD guesthouse built on it at the confluence of the Baspa and the Satluj until that fatal night when the river reclaimed everything. Plus before that night the approach to the Sangla used ot be on the left bank rather than the right bank it is now on at Karcham.
Oh Wow, thanks for all the inputs, lots of things I was not aware before but am happy to know them now.

Kunzum had not open by the time we had started our return journey from Kaza so it wasnt an option. If it was open, I may have tried the loop.

Had to take the No 2 as I wanted to give my car a rest. But even if I had not taken it I think my car would have done pretty well till Lepcha!!

Thanks & regards
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Old 1st April 2013, 20:02   #28
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Oh Wow, thanks for all the inputs, lots of things I was not aware before but am happy to know them now.
OK staying onto the information grid here is some more.
Did you visit the Nako Monastery? It is the oldest monastery in the region.
And the entire left bank onwards from Kazigs is the Great Himalayan National Park and they have been trying to build an all weather road there for the last 20 odd years but the stones are so hard that they have made but little progress.
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Old 5th April 2013, 02:38   #29
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Wow! Deky superb travelogue! and I especially love your daughter's cheerful demeanour in all the pics (but quoting Samurai from one of your previous travelogues - you don't need pics, your writing is enough).

Do you think this trip can be done via public transport - local buses and share taxis which are generally common in the hills. I am just a single person so no point taking vehicle.
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Old 6th April 2013, 12:41   #30
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Great Himalayan National Park and they have been trying to build an all weather road there for the last 20 odd years but the stones are so hard that they have made but little progress.
Some high ranking Govt Official I met at Sumdo said that the all weather road via Pin Valley is almost complete. The CO of the unit at Sumdo did not know about it so I really dont know how authentic is the information

Quote:
Originally Posted by manolin View Post
Wow! Deky superb travelogue! and I especially love your daughter's cheerful demeanour in all the pics (but quoting Samurai from one of your previous travelogues - you don't need pics, your writing is enough).

Do you think this trip can be done via public transport - local buses and share taxis which are generally common in the hills. I am just a single person so no point taking vehicle.
Thank you for your comments. Well we met a lot of travellers, especially foreigners who were bag packing and using public transport to travel within Lahaul & Spiti. They said it was pretty simple and a very economical way of doing it.

So if they can do it I am sure so can you

Good luck!!
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