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Old 7th August 2015, 12:00   #31
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Default Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

wonder full write up... i had covered kaza from Hyderabad in 2013 with my family in my rexton. You are correct when you say leh circuit is easy compared to kaza.
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Old 7th August 2015, 12:57   #32
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Default Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

WOW! I read the entire thing at one go, mesmerized by the photographs and the narration. This is truly an epic trip, and I'm surprised at how tough the i10 proved to be. Great going! Rated 5 stars.
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Old 7th August 2015, 22:31   #33
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hiii

excellently well written .. u bought back memories .. and grt pics .. where did u stay at pin valley ?

regards
sumit
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Old 8th August 2015, 06:53   #34
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Default Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

Even Hyundai wouldn't put its i10 to such a test.

Mainly because it needs more courage than fuel.

Hats off man.
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Old 8th August 2015, 09:27   #35
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Default Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

Quote:
Originally Posted by maverick1741 View Post
Every couple of years, I get this irresistible itch to do something crazy, something outlandish on my travels.
Yes, this would definitely fit the definition... I've advised a number of aspirants against attempting this trip in a hatchback/sedan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maverick1741 View Post
When we reached Batal, I was thrilled that the worst was over and it would be comparatively easier from now on till Manali. I WAS SO WRONG!

When you speak to the cab guys and the locals about going from Kaza to Manali via Kunjam and Rohtang, they only speak about how difficult Kunjam is. They never mention that the drive from Batal to Rohtang is even worse!

The drive from Batal to Chhatru via Chhota Dhara is covered on a track. No surprises here. But unlike the track on both sides of Kunjam, this one is a nightmare.
Any talk about Kunzum is in the early / late season when there's the possibility of snow/ice (been up once a day after opening in June, and twice in October); Otherwise I've never seen it overtly challenging. But I confess I was eagerly scrolling down through your posts to see what became of you on the Batal-Chhatru stretch. Believe me, THAT is the part being talked about these days. We were out there last week. Pulled out a stuck Tavera. Tried to pull out (from both ends with our 4x4 Bolero Camper) a Traveller van which had its front axle lodged between two stones under the water. Finally left him there in the rising waters, and heard a Tata 407 pulled him out later. An Innova was next in line and they, too, got stuck, but we were gone by then. On the way back a few days later, another Innova... Saw Bulleteers turning back to Manali there, or, coming from Kaza, anxiously asking us how many more of these crossings there would be (and they were only getting started!). We had the Camper, and lightly-loaded 500cc Bullet, and my Impulse, and we managed, but can't say it was easy. The only ones getting through without much trouble will be the Tata Sumo/Spacio's and Mahindra Pickups/Campers/Thars/etc & (of course) Gypsies. Been a lot of a-typical precipitation out there this season causing huge snow-melt/washouts and sometimes the road is just not passable at all, even in the 4x4's (seeing the conditions, we all kept saying we'd never want to do this in anything but a 4x4 / good bike).

I'd applaud you (definitely an amazing effort), except that I really don't want to encourage anyone else to try it. You're fortunate that nothing critical got damaged underneath (oil chamber itself looks pretty vulnerable). Getting stuck out there on that desolate stretch might've been the last straw for your spouse, and precluded the possibility of any future travels that might be deemed "adventurous" (the luxury hotel at Palchan was an excellent idea).

Definitely an unforgettable escapade, and nice photos, too.

-Eric
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Old 8th August 2015, 09:48   #36
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Default Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

@ringoism
Thanks alot for the sharing the valuable information about the route. I had nurtured a long cherished desire to travel on this stretch but mostly have been discouraged from attempting it due to the pathetic road conditions. Just wanted know what one can expect if the trip is planned in the first week of October. Are the snow melt streams passable during that part of the year.

Regards.
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Old 8th August 2015, 14:55   #37
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Cool Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
We were out there last week. Pulled out a stuck Tavera. Tried to pull out (from both ends with our 4x4 Bolero Camper) a Traveller van which had its front axle lodged between two stones under the water. Finally left him there in the rising waters, and heard a Tata 407 pulled him out later. An Innova was next in line and they, too, got stuck, but we were gone by then. On the way back a few days later, another Innova... Saw Bulleteers turning back to Manali there, or, coming from Kaza, anxiously asking us how many more of these crossings there would be (and they were only getting started!).
-Eric
Whoa! That sounds scary.
I agree I was INCREDIBLY lucky. Kunjam had opened only 3 days before so the whole stretch was in relatively good condition. And the entire stretch was bone dry except the water crossings which were pretty tame as it hadn't rained. But I agree - I could have got stuck pretty bad.

I have this tattoo on my hand that says it all:
A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti-fullsizerender.jpg
I'm planning to add "And incredibly lucky" to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
I'd applaud you (definitely an amazing effort), except that I really don't want to encourage anyone else to try it. You're fortunate that nothing critical got damaged underneath (oil chamber itself looks pretty vulnerable). Getting stuck out there on that desolate stretch might've been the last straw for your spouse, and precluded the possibility of any future travels that might be deemed "adventurous" (the luxury hotel at Palchan was an excellent idea).
-Eric
I agree wholeheartedly. And to set the record straight - Anyone attempting this stretch in a hatch - DON'T! With Zoomcar, renting a SUV is cheap and easy and you'll drive more relaxed. Trust me, I haven't prayed for a long time the way I prayed throughout that stretch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringoism View Post
Definitely an unforgettable escapade, and nice photos, too.
-Eric
Thank you Ringoism. Feels good to be appreciated.

And did I mention - This was a Hyundai i10 Automatic Transmission!
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Old 8th August 2015, 16:03   #38
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Default Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

Many thanks for the comments and the encouragement!

BTW - the wife read all of these and she thinks all of you except Ringoism are nuts ! She was expecting someone to berate me for trying such a "stupid stunt" (her words not mine). Makes my case for a trip in September to the NE (Jalpaiguri - Sikkim - Bhutan - Arunachal - Meghalaya) stronger!
Ringoism - You got me in trouble mate

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShashankM View Post
A crazy family trip and an excellent narrative.
That's what i would like to call your trip in all good sense. Something that many of us would like to go on.

Can you tell us more about the other trips that you done with your i10.
I am also planning for a 2500 km trip towards this month end.
Thanks ShashankM.
The i10 was my only car from May'11 till Dec'11. Have done Kasauli (multiple times), Lansdowne (multiple times), Nainital, Manali and Bikaner (multiple times). No complaints whatsoever. She gives me about 14 on the highways without AC, 12 with AC. Done 43,000 kms in 4 years (23,000 in the first 18 months before I got the Honda City AT in Dec 2012 after which the i10 is mainly used by the wife for local errands) and not a single complaint about the car. I have more faith in the i10 than I have in the HC AT.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SajiNSalin View Post
I was planning to drive to Kalpa and return because of the uncertain condition of the road, but Chandra Taal is very much on my mind. After reading your travelog, I feel I can proceed to Manali via Losar. Thanks for sharing information about the route.

I would like to follow your route from Narkhanda to Sangla and proceed to Dhankar Gompa, Kaza and perhaps stop over in Batal with a trek to Chandra Tal and then onwards to Manali. I will be using a Dzire (older model) and plan to do the drive around September 16th.

What would be the climatic conditions and the road conditions, especially after Losar? Can I expect reduced water crossings because of the onset of winter? Also please let me know decent places to stay in Sangla and any sort of accomodation in Batal and Chatru or beyond.
Saji
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssambyal1980 View Post
@ringoism
Thanks alot for the sharing the valuable information about the route. I had nurtured a long cherished desire to travel on this stretch but mostly have been discouraged from attempting it due to the pathetic road conditions. Just wanted know what one can expect if the trip is planned in the first week of October. Are the snow melt streams passable during that part of the year.
Regards.

Batal to Chandrataal is about 14kms. That's gonna be one helluva trek at that altitude. Drive instead.

Sangla - Stay at Cafe 42 just after the main market. Hands down the best place and food there. But book in advance as they only have 2 rooms.

Batal / Chhatru - Suggest you aim for Manali the same day. No options there that I could see there except your own tents.

And I suggest you seek opinions from experts on the forum regarding road condition in September / October. It would be just after the monsoons and might be really tough. I'd gone in June as I though that would be the driest part of the year when the passes would be open. September and October is after the monsoons - don't really know.

Also, I suggest you don't do it in a Dezire unless you're okay to the idea of turning back where stuck. Take an SUV instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by predatorwheelz View Post
WOW! I read the entire thing at one go, mesmerized by the photographs and the narration. This is truly an epic trip, and I'm surprised at how tough the i10 proved to be. Great going! Rated 5 stars.
Thank You predatorwheelz.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swsumit View Post
hiii
excellently well written .. u bought back memories .. and grt pics .. where did u stay at pin valley ?
regards
sumit
Sumit - Pin Valley we stayed at:
A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti-img_0315_2.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by kkg View Post
Not a normal i10 but an i10 AUTO. I guess many of us would like to know how she performed in hills and the FE you got.
Thanks mate. The i10 gave me an average FE of 10.32. This again is based on Tank Full to Tank Full calls. And this was without AC from Rampur till Manali. And most of the drive after Kalpa was in L at 20/30 kmph and most of the stretch from Kaza to Rohtang was on 2 at 10/20 kmph.

Regarding performance - The i10 is built like a tank. Never felt out of power or that she's struggling. Given how well she behaved I'm now thinking of taking her on the Leh circuit next year!
Even during the trip, and even after the radiator support broke, the lady made no unnatural noises. And after coming back and a service + repairs - no niggles, no rattles. It's as if nothing happened. It's a bloody strong car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by arvi86 View Post
It is indeed a relief to go out driving without knowing where the day would end. I would love to do something like that but still haven't gathered courage to attempt one though.
Thanks arvi86. To do such a trip I guess what one needs is a lot of time and a supportive co-passenger (Brownie points with Wife earned!) Do one - you won't regret it.
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Old 8th August 2015, 22:55   #39
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Default Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

@maverick

Thanks alot sir for taking out time to respond to the queries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maverick1741 View Post
BTW - the wife read all of these and she thinks all of you except Ringoism are nuts !
Absolutely agree with Maam. Only crazy adrenaline junkies like us would dare to try out such misadventures. Nonetheless, in the same breath would also like to say that safety comes first and always and one should have immense respect for mother nature.

Would specifically like to appreciate your strong sense of humour along with the cool attitude that you support, which I believe is a must have, to see one through the challenges, which such kind of road trips throw up from nowhere. I will definitely keep your valuable experience and advice in mind during my planned sojourn to Spiti.

Here's again hoping to hear a lot more from you about your future adventures. Wish you safe and happy drives all through. Keep posting.

GODSPEED
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Old 9th August 2015, 01:17   #40
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Default Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

Spiti circuit in an I10 Auto

Nothing but sheer respect for you considering mine keeps bottoming out in Bangalore humps and pot holes that I would have never in my life dared to even think of going anywhere on such treacherous roads. Nice write up with the tongue firmly in cheek and stunning pictures. Thanks for sharing your adventure.
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Old 9th August 2015, 09:41   #41
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Default Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

Maverick1741,

A truly incredible TL with pictures to match. After having done Ladakh last year Ihave been thinking about the next trip in June 2016. Your TL takes Spiti to the top of the list.

It would be great if you could enclose an excel giving the distances, stay & food options, fuel pumps etc from the point of view of a family.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 10th August 2015, 10:40   #42
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Default Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

Planning such trips in a vehicle with low ground clearance calls in for installation of sump guard, to be on the safer side. The sump is the most vulnerable point underneath the engine, which can take hits. A nasty hit on sump can puncture it, resulting in engine oil leakage and that's something which nobody wants in the midst of long journeys on desolate stretches.
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Old 10th August 2015, 11:13   #43
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Default Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

Brilliant expedition to the valley with the family & the standout thing is you did it in your i10 . Some of the terrain in your pictures is simply mind boggling. Well captured.
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Old 11th August 2015, 15:55   #44
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Default Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

A lovely writeup of a what must have been a thrilling trip im sure. I had done the Spiti trip in 2103 in Obelix (my Fortuner).

The route i had taken was
Delhi-Simla,
Simla-Sarahan,
Sarahan-Sangla-Chitkul,
Chitkul-Puh, Puh-Nako-Kaza,
Kaza-Kunzum-Gramphoo-Keylang-Jispa,
Jispa-Leh

..and back to Delhi via Rohtang Pass and Manali.

Must say that you did it in an i10 is commendable indeed! I had done it in a 4x4 Fortuner and still had my heart in my mouth at a few places along the treacherous road around Chota Dhara till Gramphoo.

Here are some pics of that stretch:
A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti-432.jpg
A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti-433.jpg
A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti-435.jpg

A leisurely picnic after Chota Dhara
A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti-448.jpg

I plan to go to Spiti soon this year. The pull is too strong.

Last edited by Manuuj : 11th August 2015 at 15:56.
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Old 13th August 2015, 17:25   #45
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Default Re: A Hatchback and an epic 2000 kms road-trip to Spiti

Very nice summary. What a travelogue, that too in i10 AT! Rating 5 stars. Lot of valuable information you have provided, along with beautiful pictures.

Spiti is one location which tops my bucket list of "yet to explore places".

These days many are avoiding Leh-Ladakh for various reasons, and exploring Spiti-Lahaul valleys instead.
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