Road Trip India
Spiti by road is an incredible experience and can be done throughout the year. In summers it can be a complete road trip starting from Delhi – Shimla – Rampur – Kalpa – Tabo – Kaza – Chander Tal – Manali – Delhi and in Winters Delhi – Shimla – Rampur – Kalpa – Tabo - Kaza – Nako – Kalpa – Shimla – Delhi.
We chose Wanderers for our road trip. They have the best skill to show you around. The jeeps they use are connected with each other along with a mobile kitchen made out in a jeep as well. Additionally, Wanderers team also has the sleeping arrangement on top of the jeeps in form of Roof Top Tents and so they are the best choice for a road trip anywhere.
We started from Delhi for our trip to Spiti in summer of 2015. Our destination for the first night was a quiet town of Rampur. We made it to Rampur by early evening. The drive so far was absolutely convenient and the roads were great other than some part after Narkanda for about 30-40 kilometers but the rest was fine. Rampur is beautiful hill town with HPTDC (Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation) hotel and kitchen available. That is where we stayed and went to HPTDC kitchen and bar to eat. Drinks are remarkably cheaper at the bar for the ones who are fond of alcohol (but they don’t offer expensive options).
Next morning we started for Kalpa. All along the highway, the work for dams are in progress and the roads are not in a great condition. It took us longer than expected because of the roads but the view was great so no complaints on that. We reached Reckong Peo from where the uphill drive (and diversion) for Kalpa starts. Kalpa is another magnificent small town and is usually surrounded with snowcapped peaks.
There are a lot of hotels along the way up and quite good. To make our road trip to Spiti a memorable one, Wanderers team arranged for a nice property for our stay. We had a buffet arranged for us along with bonfire arrangements and we all had a good time. Night in Kalpa can get really cold and it snows in Kalpa as well. So one needs to take precautions accordingly. It started snowing while we were there and by the next morning, our car parking had 4 inches of snow. Gladly, wanderers team have a 4WD in all their jeeps so the activity of getting the jeeps out of snow was more of fun than stress. Our next destination from here was Tabo. We drove past through Nako straight to Tabo. Tabo is a small town right by the highway. It is extremely famous for its 1000 year old/ancient monastery called Chogskhor Monastery. We went to the Monastery next day in the morning and it was definitely one of the best experiences I ever had. I was extremely excited and happy to be there. They don’t alow the camera inside the main hall but one can click pictures from outside and its great nonetheless. After visiting the monastery, we carried on with our drive to Kaza. It was a short drive and we were in kaza. The town has loads to offer, from cafes serving Tibetan cuisine to ancient Monasteries to explore. We explored some of the Cafes that evening and made friends with a lot of people around. It is not surprising to get to meet a foreigner speaking in hindi. It all happens here in Kaza. The next morning, we started for Ki Monastery and Dhankar Monastery. It was a magical place to see. The lama showed us around and it was just amazing. One can also take a visit to Dhankar Lake. We then followed to Kibber village. It is the highest motor able village in the world. There are some home stays as well as small restaurants in Kibber. It is a beautiful white village and a must see place when in Spiti.
Out next destination was Chandra Tal Lake. Through Kunzum Pass via losar one diverts to Chandra Tal and it is something one can just not afford to miss. There is a camping arrangement available but Wanderers team and their vehicles are just perfect for a road trip to spiti. We camped on our own there and had a memorable time. The view of the lake is mesmerizing as well. The roads leading to Chandra Tal are not too great though. The photographers in the group went early in the morning to click the pictures of Chandra tal at the time of sunrise and they clicked some mind blowing shots of Chandra tal. From Chandar Tal, we started for Manali the next morning. It wasn’t really a long drive from here. We got back to the highway (which was not in a condition to be called a highway) but thanks to the 4wd and experience of Wanderers team, we made it in the evening to Manali. At Manali we felt like come back to civilization. Which, I personally, did not like much coming back to the busy town of Manali. But once back, we had old manali to explore. We went to the cafes there and had some delicious food and enjoyed the music.
This was our last night as the next morning; we were to start for Delhi. The road back was in amazingly good condition (it felt so especially after coming back from the rough terrain of Spiti region. Made it back to delhi and thanked the Wanderers team for their assistance and team work. Wanderers team gifted us all a souvenir that we were happy and pleasantly surprised to get. A week later, we also got CD of pictures and videos that we would cherish a lifetime.