Monday, October 31, 2016

Spectacular Spiti

(Page 1)


Spiti Valley was one such place that had been in my wish list from a very long time. 

Before I start my experiences about Spiti, let me share a few words on how this magical journey was planned.

Myself and a few of my friends planned to do a Himalayan trek this year. Once all things were sorted out, we decided on the "Valley of Flowers" trek. Since this was a monsoon trek, we had to take some precautions before proceeding. 

For people who are not aware of this place, let me describe it briefly.

This is one such place in India which has been identified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Valley of Flowers National Park is an Indian national park, located in West Himalaya, in the state of Uttarakhand and is known for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers and the variety of flora. This richly diverse area is also home to rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, musk deer,  brown bear, red fox, and blue sheep. Birds found in the park include Himalayan monal pheasant and other high altitude birds.

More information about this place can be found online.

In total 13 enthusiastic people confirmed their reservations. Leaves were approved for most of us, and some were yet fighting for leaves which is a usual scenario in the corporate world :)
Based on the majority, we booked the flights that were scheduled to depart on Aug 5th (Bangalore to Delhi) and return on Aug 15th (Delhi to Bangalore). The interim transportation and accomodation bookings at GMVN (Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam - Ghangaria) was also made.

However, some of my friends started to cancel their participation once the days neared. At last only 6 of us proceeded with the journey.

On Aug 2nd, we got to know that heavy rains had lashed the Garhwal region, due to which many landslides caused had temporary road blocks. Though there was a news that it would be cleared by the time we go there, we did not want to take any risk.

Believe me, the entire travel had to be replanned within 3 days prior to our journey. Many logistics had to be handled, new place had to be jotted , transportation had to be re booked and finally cancellations of the old plan had to be carried over.

Thanks to my friends and uncle, who helped me in this plan because of which we had no hassles in the journey.
Since Delhi was our base destination, the only place that we thought of as an alternative was the ever charming and incredibly spectacular Spiti valley. 

The Team :

(L to R : Bhargav , Satish uncle , Venki , Dheeraj , Karthik (CG) , Arjun )

The itinerary:

Day 1 : Bangalore to Delhi (afternoon flight)
           Delhi to Manali (night bus)

Day 2 : Local sightseeing in Manali

Day 3 : Manali to Chandertal (halt at Chandertal)

Day 4 : Chandertal to Kaza (via Kunzum pass & Losar - halt at Kaza)

Day 5 : Kaza local sight seeing (Langza , Komic , Hikkim , Key , Kibber , Chicham  - Halt at Kaza) 

Day 6 : Kaza to Mudh village (Journey from Spiti valley to Pin valley - halt at Mudh)

Day 7 : Mudh to Tabo & Dhankar (halt at Kaza)

Day 8 : Kaza to Manali (halt at Manali)

Day 9 : Visit to Solang valley & Naggar
           Manali to Delhi (volvo bus)

Day 10 : Delhi local sightseeing

Day 11 : Delhi to Bangalore (early morning flight)

The Journey :

Day 1 : Aug 5th , 2016

The d-day finally arrived, and we were all set to venture for yet another Himalayan sojourn. We all met at KIA (Bangalore airport) to unbox the treasury called 'Spiti' and the first leg of our journey kick started within no time.

(L to R : Arjun , Satish uncle , Karthik (CG) , Bhargav , Venki)
Rains bid a farewell to us at Bengaluru.

Nandi hills and monsoon rains
We reached Delhi around 5.30 PM , and met a few friends before departing to Manali.

with Ritu and Deepanshu at Bikanerwala

The bus to Manali was scheduled to depart at 8.30 PM. However, many pickup points and the city traffic allowed us to hit the highway only at 11.30 PM.

Day 2 : Aug 6th , 2016

Early morning refreshment stop at Mandi, made us realise that we are in the foothills of the Himalayas. Rains welcomed us, and the weather was pleasant with greenery everywhere.

 Beas river and Beas valley 

The bus was supposed to reach Manali by 10 AM, but the weather and ghat section delayed our journey. We reached Manali by 2.00 PM 

Rakeshji (who was our driver for the rest of our journey) was waiting for us at the bus stand. He then dropped us to "Hotel Anupam" where we retired for the day.

After a delayed lunch by 4.30 PM , we started to roam around Manali. 

1. Hadimba temple 

Hadimba temple is a beautiful temple nestled in the pine forests of Manali. It is one of the major tourist destination here.

It is an ancient cave temple dedicated to Hidimbi Devi, wife of Bhima, a figure in the Indian epic Mahabhārata. The temple is surrounded by a cedar forest at the foot of the Himalayas. The sanctuary is built over a huge rock jutting out of the ground which was worshiped as an image of the deity.

This place is filled with corn vendors , traditional dress rentals , yak rides , photo rabbits among the others to attract tourists.

Also, a small temple dedicated to Gatothgaja , son of Bhima is located in the vicinity.

2. Manali mall road

Evening set in, and so was the drop in temperature. We then took a small stroll from the Hadimba temple to the mall road. Spending the evening in the mall road of Manali is a real good feeling every tourist must experience.

Manali Mall road is not an iconic high street, instead it is a crowded stretch housing the bus stand, taxi stand, ATM, market and the tourism office.  

Hotels on Manali Mall Road is not suggested for those looking forward to spend a quiet holiday in a hill resort.

If you are based in a hotel right in the town centre, you will have to compromise on the views.

Mall Road offers a decent mix of budget and value for money hotels in Manali. Since this area offers a better accomodation option to the travellers, it is well suited for those who want the comfort of a decent hotel at a good price. The area is again well connected to other parts of Manali and is a popular location for those looking for a good value for money on their accomodation.

The rest of the journey to Spiti and our experiences can be seen in my further blogs.

Do you know how beautiful Chandertal is ? Click on the link below

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