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Old 5th October 2016, 17:26   #16
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Default Day 7: Kaza to Manali

A long drive required an early start!
Departure from the retreat was at 6 am sharp.

The following is the Google map for the planned journey.
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-google.jpg

However, as per their own disclaimer, the indicated travel time seems to satisfy only academic interests!

After driving on non-existent roads for nearly two hours, we first reached Kunjom Top at an elevation of 15,000 feet. All travelers on the Kaza-Manali road stop at the Monastery for a while and pray (for a safe journey)!

Kujom Top!!
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-1.jpg
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-2.jpg
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-3.jpg
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-4.jpg

Since we had left early from Kaza, hot breakfast was arranged for us at the Kunjom Top.
It would be an understatement if I termed the hot Parathas tasty, they were simply out of the world!

Next on the itinerary was Chandratal Lake!
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-5.jpg

The lake takes its name from its crescent shape (like a moon).
Situated at an altitude of about 14,100 feet, the lake is spectacular with mountains overlooking the lake on three sides!

The drive to Chandratal Lake was one of the most challenging in our entire expedition!
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-6.jpg
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-7.jpg

After the 12.5 km drive, the last 1.5 km is not motorable and needs to be traversed by foot!
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-9.jpg
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-10.jpg

Nirvana or ecstasy? One of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen!

An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-cl01.jpg
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-cl02.jpg

Watch out sky, here we come!
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-cl03.jpg

Crazy Band of Brothers!
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-bandofbrothers.jpg

A magnificent panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding snow-capped mountains!
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-panoramic-view.jpg

The descent back to the main road was quicker, considering all the participants were tired and hungry!
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-lm1.jpg
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-lm2.jpg
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-lm3.jpg
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-lm4.jpg

Lunch at the local Chacha Dhaba, back on the highway!
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-lunch1.jpg
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-lunch3.jpg

Chacha has been provided with a Satellite Phone since he is the only respite to any stranded traveler in the middle of nowhere!

A pit-stop!
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-lm5.jpg

A grueling but extraordinary drive until Rohtang Pass!

An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-lm6.jpg
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-lm7.jpg


An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-lm8.jpg

The drive from Rohtang Pass to Manali was fraught with traffic and by then darkness had engulfed the area.

We finally reached and checked into the lovely Johnsons Cafe and Hotel at Manali! After a really long day, it was time to freshen-up dine and sleep!

Last edited by cpbopanna : 5th October 2016 at 20:06.
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Old 5th October 2016, 20:11   #17
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Default Day 8: Last day of the expedition at Manali!

View from our room at Johnsons Cafe!
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-manali.jpg

The start of a lazy day, with a nice breakfast

Restaurant opening into the lawns!
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-manali-johnsons.jpg

Since it was a free-day, each of us explored the township on our own, shopping around for leather jackets and quaint artifacts.
However, the group converged at an Italian Restaurant - Casa Bella Vista for lunch - comprising fresh, authentic, coal-fired Pizzas!

The expedition's last relaxed lunch!
An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition-cbv1.jpg

The expedition ended with an informal parting dinner - where contact details were exchanged.

Epilogue:
On 11-September-16, the convoy departed early from Manali to Chandigarh since most of us had late afternoon flights.
We drove in a convoy until we reached close to Chandigarh Airport where the vehicle drop-off point was located.
Mahindra's crew dropped each of us to the airport for our respective departures!

That was the end of the most-exciting, well-organized expedition I have ever participated in!

To give Mahindra Adventures and Hari Singh's team credit, I can emphatically state that the organization of the event was beyond my expectations.
The entire journey ran smoothly like a well-oiled engine and it was evident that the teams had worked endless days and nights leaving no stone unturned!

My respect for the Mahindra Scorpio has increased manifold!
Treat it with respect, and it shall definitely not fail you!
I would not dream of driving any milder vehicle on such terrain!

Disclaimer:
1) 100% of the videos and 95% of the pictures were captured in my camera.
2) Google earth pictures are of course downloaded from Google.
3) I have use a couple of pictures taken by my Spiti friends, one or two from the web!
4) All videos have been uploaded onto YouTube; but are unlisted!
5) I am neither an employee of Mahindra nor affiliated with the Company. participated in the expedition on my own!

Last edited by cpbopanna : 5th October 2016 at 21:17.
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Old 6th October 2016, 09:58   #18
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Note from Mod: Moving to Travelogues!

An excellent narration and great pictures.

Thanks for sharing!

Last edited by GTO : 6th October 2016 at 09:58. Reason: Bump
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Old 6th October 2016, 12:28   #19
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Default Re: An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition

This is a superb travelogue. I am sure you have enjoyed it. You have inspired me to participate in such an expedition.
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Old 6th October 2016, 13:20   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tejas.negandhi View Post
This is a superb travelogue. I am sure you have enjoyed it. You have inspired me to participate in such an expedition.
Thanks Tejas!
I enjoyed the expedition so much, that I have been over-inspired (if at all there is a term like that!)
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Old 6th October 2016, 15:29   #21
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Default Re: An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition

Wonderful narration and good pics. Did you faced the landslides at Sumdo? How long you guys had to wait for it to be cleared?
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Old 6th October 2016, 15:41   #22
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Default Re: An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition

Excellent travelogue. Inspires me to confirm that next year I have to do this trip.

Is it all Scorpios and with the pilot and sweep as Thar's or you have a choice of selecting Thar / Scorpio as your ride for the trip? do you think its advisable to bring a 2 year old kid for the trip ?

thanks
Siva
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Old 6th October 2016, 15:48   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justintime View Post
Wonderful narration and good pics. Did you faced the landslides at Sumdo? How long you guys had to wait for it to be cleared?
The land-slide was just before entering the Spiti Valley, I am not sure if the place is called Sumdo!


Quote:
Originally Posted by kshivaa View Post
Excellent travelogue. Inspires me to confirm that next year I have to do this trip.

Is it all Scorpios and with the pilot and sweep as Thar's or you have a choice of selecting Thar / Scorpio as your ride for the trip? do you think its advisable to bring a 2 year old kid for the trip ?

thanks
Siva
Thanks Siva

All the participants were provided Scorpios. The advance vehicle was an XUV. The lead vehicle was a Mahindra Legend and the float was a Thar. The media vehicles were Scorpios as well. The sweep was Getaway!

It is not advisable to have anyone below 18 or above 65 participate in the expedition!
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Old 7th October 2016, 12:42   #24
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Default Re: An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition

Dear cpbopanna,

I am well and truly jealous!

I have just lately become a proud owner of a Scorpio. Some day I would like to make a similar trip. What is your thought on a husband wife (both good drivers) combo doing some thing like this trip? Also, what kind of costs are involved in this?

Thanking you in advance,

Girish Mahajan
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Old 7th October 2016, 12:55   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GKMahajan View Post
Dear cpbopanna,

I am well and truly jealous!

I have just lately become a proud owner of a Scorpio. Some day I would like to make a similar trip. What is your thought on a husband wife (both good drivers) combo doing some thing like this trip? Also, what kind of costs are involved in this?

Thanking you in advance,

Girish Mahajan
Dear Girish,
Participating in the Spiti expedition with your wife makes sense, and since both of you drive, it'll be even better!
We had four couples in our expedition and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves, though in two cases (if I am not mistaken) the wives didn't drive!
The cost of the expedition (for a pair of participants) was Rs. 1.5 Lakhs + fuel costs (roughly 7 to 8 thousand). Add another Rs. 20k for return flight tickets from wherever you are based to Chandigarh.
You can therefore take it as approximately Rs. 1 lakh per head (all inclusive)
But believe me, it's worth every Rupee of your money!
Regards,
Bopanna
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Old 17th October 2016, 08:46   #26
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Default Re: An odyssey into the skies! Mahindra Adventure's Himalayan-Spiti expedition

Fantastic post ! Comes at the right time. I am planning to take my Pajero to Spiti. Should be fun
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Old 28th October 2016, 22:55   #27
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Default Re: Day 5: Nako to Kaza

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpbopanna View Post

A biker (part of a biking convoy) riding through the land-slide!
Attachment 1562762
One of the bikes (a Triumph Tiger was crushed in the land-slide, though the rider managed to jump out at the last minute and save himself!
This boy may be my neighbor from boy from Kutta. Mom did mention some incident similar to this.

Glad you folks were safe!

Maddy
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Old 28th October 2016, 23:07   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddy42 View Post
This boy may be my neighbor from boy from Kutta. Mom did mention some incident similar to this.

Glad you folks were safe!

Maddy
Thanks Maddy!
But what a small world, a biker and a jeeper both from Kutta driving/riding around the Himalayas at the same time!
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