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Thread: Incredible Himachal-The Complete Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul-Jalori Loop >

  1. #16
    Kaza-Langza-Komic-Kaza-Dhankar-Pin Valley[again]-Kaza, Oct 7, Tuesday
    We start early morning on Oct 7 to go to the remote very high altitude villages of Langza, Komic and Demul. These are totally off beat places, remote and awesome vistas. We could not proceed till Demul as it was cut off from the Komic side due to snow and slush and had to return after going halfway.

    On way to Langza, Komic, and Demul - nil tourists, empty twisty roads, maximum remotenes

    Towards Langza-Comic from Kaza

    What luck, saw Bharals, the main food for snow leopards

    At Komic with a population of around 30, the monk and this villager were all who were there. They spontaneously offered tea over here, and refused to take any money for it. Humanity among all the hardships.

    Komic stop, the upper road goes to Demul

    Fantastic views again when coming down from Komic to Kaza

    We then again went down to Kaza and crossed it to go to Dhankar Monastery, i.e., we again went back towards the Tabo side. This should have been done going to Pin Valley but because of the good weather we skipped Dhankar that day.

    On towards Dhankar Monastery

    Soil formation at Dhankar

    View from top of Dhankar Monastery

    Pin Valley mesmerized me and from Dhankar, again attempted Pin Valley. Had to return from Sagnam due to very bad weather condition. We also gave lift to some local people from Sagnam to Gulling and we all had animated discussions about life and people. Good that we missed Dhankar that day and was able to go till Mudh with clear skies. Pin Valley has very finicky weather after noon time and should be done in the first half itself.

    So there ends 2 days in Kaza and tomorrow we make the journey from Kaza to Manali via Kunzum and Rhotang Pass through some stunning landscapes and roads, especially the Losar-Gramphoo stretch.


  2. #17
    Kaza-Losar-Kunzum Pass-Batal-Chhatru-Gramphoo-Rhotang Pass-Manali [Vashisht] -->> Oct 8, 2008, Wednesday

    Woke up lazily though the urgency should have been there. Coming up is another very challenging journey and the subsequent pictures just convey some part of it. Anyway, after a big breakfast and full tank of diesel [again pumping manually but this time the attendant did it] we set forth for the big journey.

    We met one backpacker, "Karan from Chandigarh", out in Mudh, he was there for last 1 month, searching for Ibex in the mountains. Well last night, when coming back to Kaza, he for the bigger experience was on roof top box portion of the truck. Now the truck driver on seeing some overhead wires braked suddenly and he was thrown from the top to ground. He had a fracture/sprain and anyhow the local doctor did some splinting on a wooden plank, and advised him to go to Manali for better x-ray facilities.

    Well this was what we heard when we suddenly met him at Kaza late evening and he was in some pain even with painkillers. Luckily he met us as otherwise he would have done a cramped local bus journey which no doubt would be very painful and tiring and also did not have enough money at the fag end of his tour now to take a personal taxi. So he hoped in with us and shared quite a few facts about local places and people, as we chatted through the long journey. He separated from us at Vashisht, Manali, where he took one of the backpackers hotel that is near the temple whereas we took one midway up where parking was available.


    At Kunzum

    Wanted to go to Chandratal or at least go some part of it but the road was completely closed with huge snow at the very entrance of the road itself. Thought then to ask for more information at Batal but then:

    Batal "dhaba" was completely gone

    A "lunch" break at Chaatru, it was snowing outside by then - the hot Maggi was the much welcome food

    After driving through ice and rain towards


    Rhotang Pass, a very touristy site, the respect that one gets at Kunzum was totally missed over here.

    And they have seen it enough times.

    Safari Dicor LX 2.2 VTT-TMT 2wd at Rhotang Pass

    The road from Rhotang to Manali through Marhi and Golaba again very scenic but the road condition was still bad.

    Reached Manali late evening and as we sat down for the day we all recalled the magnificient journey that we had, a deep sense of satisfaction on completing the Spiti loop successfully.

    But then the journey was still not over. We now stay at Manali for another night and then we do the back journey to Shimla and Delhi via Banjar-Gushaini-Bathad-Jalori Pass


  3. #18
    Continuing with the previous post pictures

    Safari Dicor LX 2.2 VTT-TMT in action [Kunzum to Rhotang]

    Canon S3 IS roof cam videos, hand was super numb in minutes

    Going towards Kunzum Pass

    Driving towards Gramphoo after crossing Kunzum

    Drive through ice and rain while approaching Rhotang from Kunzum


  4. #19
    We spent another day in Manali, just resting and relaxing and seeing some great views from the hotel and then in night going for a stroll in Mall Road and ended the night with some most uselessly cooked food in the so called reputed Shere-e-Punjab.

    View from the hotel room in Vashisht

    Anyway next day, Oct 10, we set for Mandi where the Safari had to go for servicing. Met another govt official driver with a 4wd 3.0 Safari and seeing all the dirt and mud, asked me if I worked in the hydroelectricty department and was roaminig around in the hydroelectric project tunnels!!!

    When with a night's rest at Mandi and late start from the hotel we had a rough plan to go to Gushaini by Tirthan river or go till where the road ends, most likely at Bathad.

    We passed Gushaini and then wanted to check out Bathad. The road is all gravel and narrow, and with a full sized Tata HPSTC bus on the other side, a couple of close but well measured backing ups were done.

    Gravel Road from Gushaini to Bathad, Kullu district

    Son was very excited with the journey through Aut tunnel

    Bathad has a circuit house but was disappointed by the views and general scenery of both Gushaini and Bathad. Thought the denseness would be like what we find in the North Bengal forest stops. We then made a return journey from Bathad to Gushaini to check out a place, Sai Ropa, again by side of river Tirthan, that we skipped while going.

    And what a place is that. The rest house is very well located among the pine trees and the feeling was great. Spot booking was done and kitchen rented. The gas cylinder that we carried was used fully and some good home food in the night we had again.

    Rest house at Sai Ropa

    And the pine trees

    and then a walk along the backyard of the rest house

    The day went by roaming around the Tirthan river and taking a walk along the road, having jhal muri[puffed rice] and mungfali on the balcony, having fantastic views. Sai Ropa is the best stop to place if one wants to experience both the Pine trees and the Tirthan River.

    Tirthan River by Sai Ropa

    Next day we have a big, big overnight journey and that too with a stops as we cross some very virgin forests and Jalori Pass - we travel from Sai Ropa to Mathura.


  5. #20
    Sai Ropa-Shoja-Jalori Pass-Sainj-Narkanda-Shimla-Kalka-Delhi-Chata, Mathura

    Start time from Sai Ropa at 1 pm and Reached hotel in Mathura district at 7 am [including stops and flat tire repair]

    After a lazy start to the day, we truly start to make the return journey. The plan was to take Allahabad at night, after 10 pm, and thus calculated that we have to be at Delhi side in the early morning of that day.

    Again the journey was through some beautiful pin forests and as well as challenging as we take up the steep climb to Jalori pass [all 1st and sometimes 2nd gear]. The road condition towards Jalori Pass from the Shoja side is almost gravel rather than that from the Shimla side.

    At Jalori Pass

    After crossing Jalori Pass, a short break

    At Sainj we get up on the NH22 highway again and the back journey goes through Narkanda and Shimla. Just between Sainj and Kingal, at around 5 pm, as I take u-turn on an up incline, suddenly the SUV moves sideways and the steering became tight and hear tyre flapping sound, and in a second the worst fear comes up, we have a FLAT TYRE. First lot 2.2 LX has tubed tyres.

    Well it happens just at the start of the incline. Cant park over here. Go slowly up the incline with the flat and make the turn and change over, still at a incline. Take out all the heavy luggage the jack had to go to a modified position. It was hard, hard work with fading evening light, and the Safari tyres are heavy. But again, just to appreciate the wonderful people of Himachal, around couple of local drivers stopped to ask if I wanted help. Told me the situation was under control and thanked for their goodness.

    Repaired the tyre at Kingal and we lost around 2.5 hours because of all that. An oblong stone of around 2.5 inches was inside and was totally flushed with the tyre surface and as I parked with a flat tyre, the rotations made the tube have 3 punctures.

    And then the journey again started and continued all through night, crossed Shimla through the city itself as the bypass is quite round about, and then was at Delhi around 6 am, got lost at the Ashram crossing and went a few kms forward before again going back to take the road towards Faridabad and Mathura. Just after crossing the Delhi/UP border at around 8 am, looked out for a hotel and stayed. Glad that I ultimately made up to here as definitely wanted to take on Allahabad at night, had a big breakfast and promptly went off to sleep at around 9 am.

    Morning near Delhi border

    With intermittent sleep, got up at around 5 pm, evening. With luggages packed and a full tank of diesel we start the long return journey, from Mathura to Kolkata. Crossed Allahabad in a jiffy as we went through the city around 230-3 am.

    Somewhere before Varanasi, felt very sleepy, stopped at a local tea shop that opened up around 530 am. There was a local temple and as the morning chants came out we took a longish tea break. And from there we took another break at the Reliance A1 in Bihar for lunch and another break at Shaktigarh for some tea and langcha --reaching home, Kolkata, at around 630 pm on Oct 14, 2008, Tuesday.


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