Often it is essential that you chuck everything and just embark on a journey. Being caught in a hectic lifestyle, we get so engrossed in the daily drama called life that we forget to just live sometimes. Being a fan of the mountains, I did spend a fair amount of time exploring Darjeeling and Nainital with my family and family friends during my childhood (and that embedded a deep respect and admiration for the majestic mountains) but as I grew up, those trips got shorter and fewer in between due to academics and professional pursuits. Soon, it was time for me to imagine solo trips or a trip with buddies but thanks to competitive exams and then job, these became distant dreams.
I came across Spiti Valley while surfing the net for a project and one of my school friends posted pictures of this heavenly place and instantly I knew that I have to go there. Soon, I and my friends were planning a Spiti road trip. Spiti Valley is a mecca for trekkers and backpackers. Our research told us that Spiti is located 12500 ft. above sea level (and that excited me) and the weather is very cold. Another interesting fact is that the name means middle land and rightly so as the Spiti Valley is the land between India and Tibet. The snow clad peaks, the promise of solitude and abundant fresh air made our decision easy. We latched strongly on to the spiti valley trip plan for summer. Though I strongly wanted a winter wonderland trip, the trekking part needed a lot more stamina so we settled for a summer road trip with a few camping jaunts in between.
A memorable road trip – Move over Zindagi Na Milegi Dobaara!
Firstly, we checked out the entire google gallery to get a feel about the place and then we read about the accounts of people who took the trip. We planned to reach Delhi first and then start our road trip from there. After a two hour plane ride to Delhi and checking out, we went to the nearest car rental outlet and rented a car out.
You can consider renting a car from Delhi since the charges are on the lower side as we found. You may also go on the journey from Delhi to Spiti Valley in your own car with buddies if you genuinely love spending time behind the wheel and live in Delhi.
5 Days Trip To Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh
A 12 hour drive from Delhi took us to the quaint village of Sarahan. We reached there around 12 pm in the noon and immediately set off to explore the village. The Bhima Devi Temple was a must visit and even though I am not much of a believer, the temple setting and the cloud covered valet did leave an impression on me. It was a beautiful scene. We gorged on momos and thukpa for our dinner and checked in at the local hotel for the night.
Early morning we set off for Chitkul where we were to camp for the day. This last village of India situated at the Indo-China border is a beauty unto itself. Before setting up shop, we decided to explore the village and it is a gem! The locals were friendly and greeted us with warm smiles. Some even offered us accommodation given we were a bunch of city kids but we declined for we had to harden up! So they treated us with lunch. We then took a stroll at the market and brought some food for the night. Our decided camp site was near the Baspa River. As it was around sunset when we returned to the site, we decided to set up the camps first and then enjoy the last view of the day beside the river. When night fell, we were blanketed in solitude with just the sound of the river. The endless stars above created a perfect setting for a dinner date with friends.
After a hearty breakfast and with really heavy hearts we left for our next destination, Kaza. We decided to skip Kalpa and reach Kaza which is about 15 hours from Chitkul. This was the longest part of our spiti road Trip – and the most important one too. We did stock up on some munchies and water from Chitkul before leaving. Till Kalpa it was all about scenery and we did occasionally stop to take some pictures. We stopped for lunch at a hotel in Kalpa and gorged down North Indian cuisine of roti and chicken bharta, washing it down with butter tea. On the way we did stop at two famous spots. One, the Nako Monastery which is famous for its intricate architecture and Two, Gue Monastery to pay homage to the 600 year old mummy of a monk.
Once we reached Kaza the first thing we did was restock on petrol. There is a petrol pump near the Mangalam Guest House where we checked in. It was around 12 pm that we reached Kaza (the night ride was easy and slow). We decided to stroll around a bit and a local suggested Café Sol to us for lunch. The food was amazing! The lady treated us well with waffles and pancakes. Then we set off for Langza – the highest village in the world in the afternoon. It is an hour’s drive from Kaza.
Situated at 14200 ft. above sea level, the village of Langza is a sight to behold. We reached there at around 4 pm and were the last to visit Key Monastery and gape at the architecture. By 9 we returned to our rooms to call it a night. The next day, we embarked on our return journey.
I remember the scene from Yeh Jawani Hai Diwaani where Naina decided to listen to her heart and go on the trip that was being taken by her school friends. The instant decision changed her life. While I did not find love nor did any fancy dances at the valley, I did find myself falling in love with myself. The Baspa River and its solitude, the view from Langza or the food we ate or the silence when we travelled the Kalpa to Kaza route at night, these helped me find bits about me which I lost while growing up. We did mess up a bit, especially with the timings which made us skip quite a few sights but I guess it is destiny’s way of telling us that we are to return again.
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