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Old 26th January 2023, 09:08   #1
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Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA

Summers of 2022 were a big unleash after a 2 Year COVID blockade. We (My family) had already made a trip to Uttarakhand and my wife alongwith the kiddo wanted to spend some time with her parents in Jun first week and I never had a second thought to encash the opportunity . I set off for Jibhi from Rajdhani on my 2019 HEXA XTA.

To avoid the bad bad Delhi traffic, I set off early morning and was crossed Narkanda at around 1600h as I prefer to drive at mediocre speeds on the winding mountain roads firstly to tackle frontal traffic and secondly to enjoy the majestic views. I halted at some place just short of Kumarsain. Had a good night sleep just opposite to Delhi where the heat was just killing.

Next morning when I was about to cross Kumarsain; the T-Junction, onto the left of which was the road Jhalori Pass & the straight one went the gateway to Kinnaur Valley, I halted for a mandated hot cup of tea. There was still a lurk in my hear to go straight as I still had not been to Spiti Valley and my mind said take left as you had planned. As always, my heart defeated my mind and I decided to head to Spiti.

The only doubt that had was "Is my SILVERSTONE (as I call my Hexa) capable of taking the abuse?" But I moved on. I drove through Chitkul, Kalpa, topped up at Reckong Peo, went till the last motorable village of Pin Valley i.e. Mud, did my top up again at Kaza after visiting all the nearby attractions and finally moved towards Chandratal. The roads were all good till Kaza barring the one in Pin Valley which was a gravel, but easily manageable by even sedans barring a patch or two. But I knew the real challenge would be once I left Kaza for Chandratal and the track beyond Batal as I did keep an ambitious goal of going to Chandratal and then hitting Manali on the same day.

I cranked early morning at 0430 and I was on the base of Kumzum La by 0700. I started the climb and this was going to be the real test of character of my SILVERSTONE. I reached on top with comfort and nowhere I could sense that she found any difficulty to negotiate a bad patch. As I moved towards Chandratal there was a water crossing with around 2-2.5 feet water level and there was none on any of its banks, but shifting to Manual mode, I took the dare and she responded aptly. I reached the camping site before Chandratal well in time and the Police guy praised my car of its road presence. I was running against time as I wanted to negotiate all major water crossings before late afternoon to mitigate the rising water levels as my SILVERSTONE is two wheel powered. Pumped up by the Police man's remarks, I pulled the throttle a bit, as took the next hairpin bend, a sharp ground embedded stone pierced the FR tyre and there was a huge sound of leaking air from the tyre.

Luckily or Unluckily, there was space to park it keeping the other lane open. Those who've travelled on such isolated roads would know why I used the word UNLUCKY. I had the puncture kit with me along with tyre inflator, but the hole was large. I decided to put on the Stepney. I tried to remove the punctured tyre, but it was jammed and was not ready to come out. Vehicles and bikes crossed by me but none stopped. What if I have to stay here, I thought. I didn't have any sleeping bag or anything to eat. Finally after almost two hours of struggle an Innova Taxi stopped and the driver helped me, he even injured his thumb in the process, but we succeeded. My only cause of worry was that I had completely overshot the timelines that I had set to cross the water bodies enroute. It was already 1200. One option was to stay at Chandratal camps but I decided otherwise and moved on, as I was alone and this much risk was meant to be taken to term the trip as ADVENTUROUS.

I reached Batal at approximately 2 pm. Had a hot cup of tea and asked the local vendor as to whether it would be feasible to move ahead now. He blatantly told a big NO for 4x2 vehicles. Now was the last decesion dilemma as to "Do I move ahead or stay here" as no more vehicles were moving ahead. Having faith on my
SILVERSTONE, I decided to move again. This time my heart was beating at double the pace. The condition of the track was really bad, now was the real test of its character. I was inching forward as I didn't have any spare shoe for her now. She crossed each water body like the previous one and finally once I reached Gramphu in the evening, the sun was already set. It also started to pour down a bit, although a drizzle only, but loose rocks started tumbling down from the mountain side on to the track. This was the most difficult situation. The adventures were not ready to end only. They must be saying "First you chose us now we've chosen you". But God was kind that I hit Gramphu (the blacktop road head) without any mishap.
I finally hit Manali after dusk and stayed in Kullu for that night.

Posting some pictures from the trip to compensate for the poor writing skills.

P.S.
1. Such ventures to be tried on self only.
2. Wheels to be removed and tightened before such trips, if they're planned

Somewhere between Gramphu & Koksar
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-img_20220615_162521.jpg

This view just took my heart
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-img_20220716_000946.jpg

Bidding my Final Adieu to such lovely picturesque views
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-img_20220615_155827.jpg

Early Morning Views at Kumzum La
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-dsc_3066.jpg

A must picture at Kaza
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-img_20220614_090927.jpg

The depth of Mountains
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-img_20220714_213927.jpg

Langza Statue, a must
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-dsc_3010.jpg

Such Views
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-dsc_2984.jpg

Simple & Colourful
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-img_20220614_073105.jpg

Inside the Pin Valley National Park
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-img_20220614_080528.jpg

Basking in the Sun
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-img_20220613_162237.jpg

Taming the terrain
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-dsc_2916.jpg

A Night's view at Kalpa
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-img_20220612_210408.jpg

The Gateway to Spiti
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-dsc_2902.jpg

Mandatory Picture of Buddhist Flags
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-img_20220612_134023.jpg

Between Reckong Peo & Rakcham
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-dsc_2899.jpg

The beautiful Sangla Valley
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-dsc_2834.jpg

Last edited by Aditya : 28th January 2023 at 05:54.
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Old 28th January 2023, 05:53   #2
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Re: Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 28th January 2023, 12:18   #3
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Re: Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA

Breathtaking Photos.The writing was crisp and relevant enough for folks who have done this especially the road after Losar all the way past the chacha chachi dhaba especially in May with the snow and ice on the road.

How come no Chandrataal photos?
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Old 28th January 2023, 14:10   #4
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Re: Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA

That is a lot nice places in one go. Car looking great in the pics too. Would it not have been better to do the loop with more time or you prefer to do quick runs? This one must have been a marathon drive.
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Old 29th January 2023, 09:45   #5
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Re: Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA

That's a Great travelogue BattleHardened !

The narration is spot on and the pictures only add to the good storytelling ! The slight sense of uncertainty in your narration makes for good reading. You ought to write more often.

Good to know that the Hexa held up well. It's probably the most underrated, and most accomplished body on frame offerings from Tata. One gets to see numerous Arias, a precursor to Hexa, which are doing duty faithfully on the Leh & Spiti circuits. Another BHPian, Aditya Deane is using his Aria 4x4 to its full potential in Manali while here in the forum there are several Hexas going about their job silently and efficiently.

Being based in the Delhi NCR region you have the advantage of being close to the hills - both Uttrakhand and Himachal. It may be a good idea to explore the Kumaon region next which is blessed with its own set of beautiful vistas and landscapes, along with a liberal sprinkling of culture, history, tradition and architecture in the form of temples and quaint, mofussil little villages.

Here's hoping for more such engaging travelogues from you - happy exploring !


Cheers
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Old 29th January 2023, 17:54   #6
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Re: Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA

Loved the photos and the Hexa looks super majestic.
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Old 30th January 2023, 10:51   #7
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Re: Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA

A daring trip BattleHardened i must say ! Incidentally I am also a 2019 Hexa (2wd) owner and has been recently watching youtube videos of Chandratal. So i am somewhat aware of the road conditions and the water crossings and can understand the adventure you went through. Lets see when I can take mine to this beautiful but dangerous place.
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Old 5th February 2023, 08:56   #8
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Re: Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by vijayols View Post
Breathtaking Photos.The writing was crisp and relevant enough for folks who have done this especially the road after Losar all the way past the chacha chachi dhaba especially in May with the snow and ice on the road.

How come no Chandrataal photos?
Chandratal as described was all in a chaos. Was running short of time. Couldn't do justice to it. Nevertheless here are two pictures for the moon lake
Attached Thumbnails
Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-img_20220615_104425.jpg  

Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA-img_20220615_104122.jpg  

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Old 5th February 2023, 09:31   #9
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Re: Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by megazoid View Post
That is a lot nice places in one go. Car looking great in the pics too. Would it not have been better to do the loop with more time or you prefer to do quick runs? This one must have been a marathon drive.
Indeed. Lots of beautiful, mesmerizing views & totally different landscapes after every few miles. It was indeed a heavy driving capsule, but for the sheer love for driving in the mountains I could take this herculean task. You're absolutely right... If you really wanna have a relaxed trip, the number of days should enter double digits.
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Old 7th February 2023, 06:25   #10
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Re: Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironhide View Post
That's a Great travelogue BattleHardened !

The narration is spot on and the pictures only add to the good storytelling ! The slight sense of uncertainty in your narration makes for good reading. You ought to write more often.

Good to know that the Hexa held up well. It's probably the most underrated, and most accomplished body on frame offerings from Tata. One gets to see numerous Arias, a precursor to Hexa, which are doing duty faithfully on the Leh & Spiti circuits. Another BHPian, Aditya Deane is using his Aria 4x4 to its full potential in Manali while here in the forum there are several Hexas going about their job silently and efficiently.

Being based in the Delhi NCR region you have the advantage of being close to the hills - both Uttrakhand and Himachal. It may be a good idea to explore the Kumaon region next which is blessed with its own set of beautiful vistas and landscapes, along with a liberal sprinkling of culture, history, tradition and architecture in the form of temples and quaint, mofussil little villages.

Here's hoping for more such engaging travelogues from you - happy exploring !


Cheers
Thanks @Ironhide. I don't know weather you are being sarcastic or otherwise because this is my first travelogue. Indeed, would love to improve on my writing skills and would try to post more often. Kumaon is certainly on the cards. Was in Nainital, Mukteshwar in 2021 & back to Nainital in 2022 also, but I am planning the Munsiyari circuit by entering through Pithoragarh & exiting through Kausani, Ranikhet. The trip is long pending too. Let's see when do the bosses give me an opportunity to encash upon
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Old 7th February 2023, 08:43   #11
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Re: Solo Spiti Circuit in my Tata Hexa XTA

Where was the "The Gateway to Spiti" picture taken? The night's view at Kalpa picture is heavenly. ��
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