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Old 6th April 2013, 10:13   #1
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Default Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti

Delhi -Kullu - Rohtang - Keylong - Gramphu - Kaza - Pooh - Rampur - Delhi

Day 1-2 (Delhi-Ambala-Kullu-Manali-Rohtang-Keylong): 600 kms+
Starting off the 3rd phase of my field visit for Himachal, we were little circumspect about how to divide the journey. So, the first leg started off smoothly, we zipping past Ambala in 2.5 then another 1.5 hours to Bilaspur, where I took over the wheels. The line of traffic was heavy till Bilaspur, after which my BEAST zoomed off, crossed the Aut tunnel and we were into Kullu soon. Staying at the Panchayat Guest House, we drove late next morning to Manali and then hit the traffic snarls enroute Rohtang, at the Solang X-over.Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_2000.jpg
The drive upto Rohtang, via Marhi, was a treat to the eyes, greenery ensconced with views of the snow that we were about to cross. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_2069.jpg

Alas, but the Rani Nullah had one of its seasonal landslides and we were stuck up at a narrow stretch for nearly 3 hours. Thanks to Monty and his two friends (aboard a Tata Marina bound for Ladakh), we had a fresh cooked Omelette. Soon, the road opened, and the BEAST did one of its first offroading in the slushy mud before Rohtang. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-dsc04097-2.jpgI loved it, crossed Rohtang top – saw the “Ye Ishq Hai” stretch as it looked in the movie - from reel to real. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-dsc041042.jpgThen we started descending into Lahaul Spiti, the road turning from good to bad to worse, till we reached Khoksar, and then onto Keylong which we reached by 10 pm odd. Off to rest after a hard day’s drive…

Day 3-4 (Keylong & around – Kaza via Kunzum): 200 kms over 8 hrs
We woke up in the morning to see the snow at catching distance and the sound of the river Bhaga in the backdrop. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_2165.jpg
Having spent 2-3 days on the field in Keylong, we zipped off to Kaza, and refueled at the Tandi filling station (the last one before Leh on the Ladakh route, there is no pump for next 265 kms they say); and I decided to tank up my jerry can. This place was just after the river sangam of the Chandra and Bhaga - the precursor of the River Chenab in J&K.Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_21492.jpg Fully loaded, we drove through beautiful landscapes of the Lahaul region, and swooshed through a glacial stream which splashed water all over the body, to clean it up, head to toe. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-dsc_1165.jpgDiaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_21852.jpgI numbed my fingers from the freezing water. At Gramphu (the T point for Lahaul-Spiti-Rohtang), we gave a lift to a Japanese couple, on a sojourn through the Buddhist places in India. The next 3-4 hours were the most grueling and the most encaptivating, with the landscape changing its hues from green – brown – rocky greys with remarkable ease. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_21962.jpgWe crossed atleast 4-5 hilly streams, with water running through at a good speed and potholed rocky roads with ½ to 1 feet height. Godspeed, I uttered and went through…

The landscape was grueling, majestic and had a touch of beauty and god’s grace to it. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_22062.jpgI saw a patch of water, and got our in-house amateur photographer ‘Matt’ to set up a photo opp for my BEAST. And lo and behold, here’s one of my favourite pics, just as they do it in the TV ad. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_2211.jpgThen on, we crossed the Bhaga to ascend the Kunzum Pass, which strangely had lesser snow than Rohtang, even being 500 mts more than the more famed ‘Rohtang’ pass. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_22212.jpgWe descended sharply into Spiti valley through Lossar, where we saw the black waters of the Spiti river originate. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_22252.jpgDiaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_22302.jpgWe soon passed via the moonscapes, the table-top expressway and the Death Valley (as my boss recalls it now) to soon reach Kaza. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_22382.jpgWe also saw the highest petrol pump in the world at Kaza (3,740 mts ASL).Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_2310.jpg
Day 5-6 (Kaza-Kibber-Tabo-Nako-Pooh): 300 kms+
This work is exciting and exhilarating, exciting as it takes me to uncharted places and exhilarating as it demands the most, obviously, one would be found panting for Oxygen at a height of 4800 mts. This was Kibber, which, till recently was the highest inhabited village in Asia. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-dsc041452.jpgThe mention of this fact in the Lonely Planet, has led to a mushrooming of homestays there. We spent the noon doing our work, and then pushed off back to Kaza, bypassing the 1,000 year old Kih monastery on the way. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_2305.jpgNeedless to say, my back needed some massage after so much of driving. But the vening vistas helped relieve some of the pain. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_2257.jpgAnd I got 1.5 hours of rough handling by my masseuse and I was wondering whether the origin of Reiki had something to do with this experience . Next morning we pushed off to Pooh, via Tabo.
Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_2313.jpgThe sand structures are huge massifs and the roads turn from decent-worse-bad-good. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_23182.jpg
Tabo is one of the most distinctive monasteries in India, we did have a look at the not-so-imposing building of the monastery, within which are hidden some of the finest relics of Buddhist culture. Next came the road to Pooh, for which we passed by the beautiful town of Nako, with its small lake. Having reached Pooh, we were ushered into the vantage point guesthouse which had amazing views of the Indo-Tibet mountains. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_2340.jpgWe had some of the most amazing night shots there, over these mountains. Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-dsc041522.jpg Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-dsc041482.jpg
Day 7-8 (Pooh-Karcham-Rampur-Delhi): 700 kms+
Having spent 2 days at Pooh, we were to push off for Delhi. 6 days gone without any risk, disaster may have been waiting to happen on the 7th day, that too, while backing off on an inclined road in the middle of the town. In summary, my car would have toppled on the Left side, due to a miscommunication with a local. What an hour it was, we trying to build up a stone base below the wheels to prevent it from turning, and then, with the help of a hill driver, some towing and pushing by a motley group of 10 odd men, saved my BEAST from getting bruised. We started off, only to stop about 50 kms ahead, where our beloved Border Roads Organisation was doing some road blasting to create wider space. Matt even captured the blast on his Iphone. Then, from the dusty trailsDiaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-img_2354.jpg, we suddenly hit upon the most beautiful patch of Himachal, the Kinnaur region near Sangla. Wide roads in the green hills, where we were breezing past at over 90 kph. Passing the Karchham Hydel ProjectDiaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-dsc025412.jpg, we decided against Sangla for the time being, concentrating on reaching Rampur by evening.
Next morning, we decided to leave by 7:30 odd, and that we did, picking up speed on the way to Narkanda. Soon, we were past Shimla in 2.5 hours. Passing Solan and Timbertrail, we hit the latest kid on the block – the magnificent Himalayan Expressway, which bypasses the towns of Parwanoo, Kalka and Parwanoo. It is one of the best things to have happened to Indian highways, and the driving experience is an out of the world experience here. Boss took over the wheels just before Zirakpur and soon, we were hit by the torrential gusts of the monsoon. The Zirakpur freeway was overflooded and we were wading through a feet of water soon. Splashing through the puddles, the BEAST trudged on.
Soon, the rains became thunderstorms and took the form of a gale, the force being evident by the bent torso of the trees. We passed off Karnal, Panipat easily though, and hit a snarl then near the Murthal flyover. By gosh, the water started soon as the flyover started descending, and one after other, we could see7-8 cars stuck in the water, either broken down or having a smashed rear bumper or bonnet. Boss slowed down, while, on the opposite side, a braking motorcycle caused a car to suddenly brake. However, the car behind was not quick enough. As a result, it banged into the rear of the 1st car, causing it to jump over the 3 mts divider and rushing into the face of incoming traffic. Thank are to the stars, that no one got hurt as the traffic was slow. We then pushed ourselves into a steady pace and proceeded to Delhi, bringing the rains with us. Tired but also contented, we then prepared ourselves for the future - days to be spent in the concrete jungle in Delhi, awaiting for our next chance to trudge back into the hills.
Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti-dsc041212.jpg
The CAST
BOSS: Abhishek
Photographer: Matt aka L.K.
Driver: Me
BEAST: my 4 year old Safari (the second love)
Atithidevo Bhava: our Jap friend

Next on the palate???, keep waiting…
~~---------~~

Last edited by biplav : 6th April 2013 at 15:24. Reason: Photographs not uploaded
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Old 9th April 2013, 19:49   #2
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Default Re: Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th April 2013, 12:47   #3
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Default Re: Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti

Whoa, that was indeed written like a diary entry! The first pic is just awesome, such a dreamscape. The picture of Safari splashing in the puddle also look cool.

Planning to visit the area myself sometime soon. BTW, when did this trip happen?
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Old 10th April 2013, 14:08   #4
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Default Re: Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti

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Originally Posted by lordofgondor View Post
Whoa, that was indeed written like a diary entry! The first pic is just awesome, such a dreamscape. The picture of Safari splashing in the puddle also look cool.

Planning to visit the area myself sometime soon. BTW, when did this trip happen?
This happened in July: the rite time shall be May - Sept
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Old 13th June 2014, 11:05   #5
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Default Re: Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti

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Originally Posted by biplav View Post
Delhi -Kullu - Rohtang - Keylong - Gramphu - Kaza - Pooh - Rampur - Delhi

Day 1-2 (Delhi-Ambala-Kullu-Manali-Rohtang-Keylong): 600 kms+
Starting off the 3rd phase of my field visit for Himachal, we were little circumspect about how to divide the journey. So, the first leg started off smoothly, we zipping past Ambala in 2.5 then another 1.5 hours to Bilaspur, where I took over the wheels. The line of traffic was heavy till Bilaspur, after which my BEAST zoomed off, crossed the Aut tunnel and we were into Kullu soon. Staying at the Panchayat Guest House, we drove late next morning to Manali and then hit the traffic snarls enroute Rohtang, at the Solang X-over.Attachment 1069823
The drive upto Rohtang, via Marhi, was a treat to the eyes, greenery ensconced with views of the snow that we were about to cross. Attachment 1069824

Alas, but the Rani Nullah had one of its seasonal landslides and we were stuck up at a narrow stretch for nearly 3 hours. Thanks to Monty and his two friends (aboard a Tata Marina bound for Ladakh), we had a fresh cooked Omelette. Soon, the road opened, and the BEAST did one of its first offroading in the slushy mud before Rohtang. Attachment 1069825I loved it, crossed Rohtang top – saw the “Ye Ishq Hai” stretch as it looked in the movie - from reel to real. Attachment 1069826Then we started descending into Lahaul Spiti, the road turning from good to bad to worse, till we reached Khoksar, and then onto Keylong which we reached by 10 pm odd. Off to rest after a hard day’s drive…

Day 3-4 (Keylong & around – Kaza via Kunzum): 200 kms over 8 hrs
We woke up in the morning to see the snow at catching distance and the sound of the river Bhaga in the backdrop. Attachment 1069827
Having spent 2-3 days on the field in Keylong, we zipped off to Kaza, and refueled at the Tandi filling station (the last one before Leh on the Ladakh route, there is no pump for next 265 kms they say); and I decided to tank up my jerry can. This place was just after the river sangam of the Chandra and Bhaga - the precursor of the River Chenab in J&K.Attachment 1069832 Fully loaded, we drove through beautiful landscapes of the Lahaul region, and swooshed through a glacial stream which splashed water all over the body, to clean it up, head to toe. Attachment 1069828Attachment 1069829I numbed my fingers from the freezing water. At Gramphu (the T point for Lahaul-Spiti-Rohtang), we gave a lift to a Japanese couple, on a sojourn through the Buddhist places in India. The next 3-4 hours were the most grueling and the most encaptivating, with the landscape changing its hues from green – brown – rocky greys with remarkable ease. Attachment 1069830We crossed atleast 4-5 hilly streams, with water running through at a good speed and potholed rocky roads with ½ to 1 feet height. Godspeed, I uttered and went through…

The landscape was grueling, majestic and had a touch of beauty and god’s grace to it. Attachment 1069831I saw a patch of water, and got our in-house amateur photographer ‘Matt’ to set up a photo opp for my BEAST. And lo and behold, here’s one of my favourite pics, just as they do it in the TV ad. Attachment 1069833Then on, we crossed the Bhaga to ascend the Kunzum Pass, which strangely had lesser snow than Rohtang, even being 500 mts more than the more famed ‘Rohtang’ pass. Attachment 1069834We descended sharply into Spiti valley through Lossar, where we saw the black waters of the Spiti river originate. Attachment 1069835Attachment 1069836We soon passed via the moonscapes, the table-top expressway and the Death Valley (as my boss recalls it now) to soon reach Kaza. Attachment 1069837We also saw the highest petrol pump in the world at Kaza (3,740 mts ASL).Attachment 1069838
Day 5-6 (Kaza-Kibber-Tabo-Nako-Pooh): 300 kms+
This work is exciting and exhilarating, exciting as it takes me to uncharted places and exhilarating as it demands the most, obviously, one would be found panting for Oxygen at a height of 4800 mts. This was Kibber, which, till recently was the highest inhabited village in Asia. Attachment 1069839The mention of this fact in the Lonely Planet, has led to a mushrooming of homestays there. We spent the noon doing our work, and then pushed off back to Kaza, bypassing the 1,000 year old Kih monastery on the way. Attachment 1069840Needless to say, my back needed some massage after so much of driving. But the vening vistas helped relieve some of the pain. Attachment 1069841And I got 1.5 hours of rough handling by my masseuse and I was wondering whether the origin of Reiki had something to do with this experience . Next morning we pushed off to Pooh, via Tabo.
Attachment 1069843The sand structures are huge massifs and the roads turn from decent-worse-bad-good. Attachment 1069844
Tabo is one of the most distinctive monasteries in India, we did have a look at the not-so-imposing building of the monastery, within which are hidden some of the finest relics of Buddhist culture. Next came the road to Pooh, for which we passed by the beautiful town of Nako, with its small lake. Having reached Pooh, we were ushered into the vantage point guesthouse which had amazing views of the Indo-Tibet mountains. Attachment 1069845We had some of the most amazing night shots there, over these mountains. Attachment 1069846 Attachment 1069847
Day 7-8 (Pooh-Karcham-Rampur-Delhi): 700 kms+
Having spent 2 days at Pooh, we were to push off for Delhi. 6 days gone without any risk, disaster may have been waiting to happen on the 7th day, that too, while backing off on an inclined road in the middle of the town. In summary, my car would have toppled on the Left side, due to a miscommunication with a local. What an hour it was, we trying to build up a stone base below the wheels to prevent it from turning, and then, with the help of a hill driver, some towing and pushing by a motley group of 10 odd men, saved my BEAST from getting bruised. We started off, only to stop about 50 kms ahead, where our beloved Border Roads Organisation was doing some road blasting to create wider space. Matt even captured the blast on his Iphone. Then, from the dusty trailsAttachment 1069849, we suddenly hit upon the most beautiful patch of Himachal, the Kinnaur region near Sangla. Wide roads in the green hills, where we were breezing past at over 90 kph. Passing the Karchham Hydel ProjectAttachment 1069850, we decided against Sangla for the time being, concentrating on reaching Rampur by evening.
Next morning, we decided to leave by 7:30 odd, and that we did, picking up speed on the way to Narkanda. Soon, we were past Shimla in 2.5 hours. Passing Solan and Timbertrail, we hit the latest kid on the block – the magnificent Himalayan Expressway, which bypasses the towns of Parwanoo, Kalka and Parwanoo. It is one of the best things to have happened to Indian highways, and the driving experience is an out of the world experience here. Boss took over the wheels just before Zirakpur and soon, we were hit by the torrential gusts of the monsoon. The Zirakpur freeway was overflooded and we were wading through a feet of water soon. Splashing through the puddles, the BEAST trudged on.
Soon, the rains became thunderstorms and took the form of a gale, the force being evident by the bent torso of the trees. We passed off Karnal, Panipat easily though, and hit a snarl then near the Murthal flyover. By gosh, the water started soon as the flyover started descending, and one after other, we could see7-8 cars stuck in the water, either broken down or having a smashed rear bumper or bonnet. Boss slowed down, while, on the opposite side, a braking motorcycle caused a car to suddenly brake. However, the car behind was not quick enough. As a result, it banged into the rear of the 1st car, causing it to jump over the 3 mts divider and rushing into the face of incoming traffic. Thank are to the stars, that no one got hurt as the traffic was slow. We then pushed ourselves into a steady pace and proceeded to Delhi, bringing the rains with us. Tired but also contented, we then prepared ourselves for the future - days to be spent in the concrete jungle in Delhi, awaiting for our next chance to trudge back into the hills.
Attachment 1069851
The CAST
BOSS: Abhishek
Photographer: Matt aka L.K.
Driver: Me
BEAST: my 4 year old Safari (the second love)
Atithidevo Bhava: our Jap friend

Next on the palate???, keep waiting…
~~---------~~


Awesome Picture ! Lucky you.

I've heard one needs a permit or "PASS" while crossing rohtang and beyond. Is that so ? Please advise....
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Old 13th June 2014, 12:02   #6
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Default Re: Diaries of a Traveller : To the magical land of Lahaul - Spiti

Yes, you required it 2 years back when I went. However, this year on, the Leh admin has removed permit requirements for innerline areas. Suggest that you check whether Himachal has also done so or not.

Even then, getting it is rel. easy, you get it on the spot (just have to give the traveller names and the vehicle nos.)

Best, B

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidashish View Post
Awesome Picture ! Lucky you.

I've heard one needs a permit or "PASS" while crossing rohtang and beyond. Is that so ? Please advise....
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