Spiti Valley is a cold desert mountain valley located in Himachal Pradesh, India. The name “Spiti” means “The middle land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India.
It was around 8 PM when my friend took a bus to Reckong Peo from Delhi Kashmiri Gate (560 Km) then it reached Chandigarh around 1.15 AM where I boarded the same bus. Next, it arrived at Shimla in the morning around 5 am where it took a halt of 30 mins and the driver also got change to take the bus further into the mountains. We knew that it would be a long and tiring journey but with lots of beautiful memories. After a few hours of drive, the bus was stopped at Dhaba for tea and breakfast. As the journey was going smooth, the mountains were getting bigger n bigger but the best way to overcome such a tiring journey is to have maximum sleep during the drive. That’s how we covered the maximum of our distance while sleeping. In the afternoon we stopped for lunch at another Dhaba and had our delicious lunch there which helped us to restore our energy for the rest of the trip. Further after 01 hour of drive, suddenly our bus got punctured also due to which we had to take another rest while the driver was replacing the punctured tire. After 01 hours of repair work, our bus again started the journey to Reckong Peo.
Finally, we reached Reckong Peo Bus Stand at 3 PM and find out a place to stay near around bus stand so that we would be able to get the next bus to Kaza on the next morning from Bus Stand. After getting fresh in the homestay we went out for a stroll and to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding majestic Kinner Kailash Range. We came back around 7.30 PM after having dinner nearby our homestay. Next, it was a bus around 5.30 AM for Kaza therefore we left homestay around 4 AM to get the tickets. But it was a time when we missed our first bus but learned some important facts at that time about the bus to Kaza from Reckong Peo which are as under.
- There are two buses that operate between Reckong Peo to Kaza
- First Bus leaves at 5.30 AM and Second Bus Leaves at 9 AM
- First Bus Comes from Shimla and Second Bus Comes from Rampur
- These buses accommodate first those who already have seats in the bus from Shimla/Rampur and the first bus is usually the most crowded.
- Booking for Second Bus Starts at 7 AM
So these were facts that we were not aware of and it become a totally crazy situation with overcrowding and people were ready to pay extra for tickets. We weren’t expecting such overcrowded ticket booking so end up missing our first bus and waiting for another bus at 9 AM.
At 7 AM booking for the next bus started and we got it easily this time two hours before the bus leaving time hence we went for some good breakfast for another very long journey of around 240 KM up to Mud Village, Pin Valley.
It was beautiful weather with a clear blue sky and a white shinny Mighty Kinner Kailash range of the Himalayas. We came back and got the seat to start the journey into the land of a lama. After a few hours, the lush green mountains started to turn into a barren land of rocks and mountains. We again started to take sleep to cover the maximum distance while sleeping. Now the bus stopped at Spello for 30 Mins for Breakfast, after which the wheel again started to roll into the mountains along with the Satluj River. A few more Kilometers after the Bus crossed the Khab Sangam Bridge which is a confluence of the Spiti and Satluj Rivers. So far roads are pretty awesome and we were astonished to see such amazing roads in such an extreme environment, our salute, and huge thanks, to all those people who are putting in continuous effort and making travel easy to such remote places. Now after a few more minutes, we stopped at Nako where we had our lunch with delicious Momo’s. After this, we crossed Malling Nala, Sumdo, and Tabo. Most of the bus got empty at Sumdo and the journey was getting more and more beautiful with snow-capped mountains, river and the sun was going down. This journey was getting beautiful and memorable with the stunning views and awesome feeling of being in such a wonderful environment. This was a feeling which is difficult to describe but easy to be felt.
Now after this we were aware of the bus for Mud Village from Kaza which leaves Kaza at 4 PM and is the only cheap option for going up to Mud Village. Hence we discussed about this with the driver also and he assured us that we will catch the same bus in the middle at Attargo Bridge as he told about us to the Bus driver who was driving the bus to Mud Village on the phone. We found ourselves blessed with such amazing kind people and found our next bus around 5.30 pm standing at Attargo Bridge while waiting only for us. This was the kindest moment, Thanks to such lovely people, we found our last bus for the day to the dream village and valley. Mud village is 34 Km (Approx) from Attargo Bridge and it took us around 2.30 hours to finally reach Mud Village which is the last village in the valley.
As the bus was overcrowded and carrying locals from different villages in the valley with bad road conditions and a super chilled evening. It was going through approx 10-12 villages while taking and dropping locals. That’s how we reached Mud Village at 8 PM in the night, but luckily we got one of the beautiful and comfortable Namkha Homestay. It was a wonderful as well as tiring journey altogether. But after having tasty food and getting some energy back, we started planning that how to reach Dhankar Monestry from Mud Village after lunch on the next day. It was already too much late for such a remote village we tried to figure out an option to do it by private taxi but no success and we only left with the single option of early morning bus at 6 AM up to Attargo Bridge otherwise we might have messed up our further plans. Although it was highly undesirable for us and disappointing too, but all happens for some good reason if you keep your efforts high. Therefore we left the dreamy and most beautiful village unexplored at 6 AM on the bus with sadness.
Now we started to see all the towering snow-capped mountains of Pin Valley which we missed in the previous evening and the civilization which is still untouched from the rest of the world. During winter the lowest temperature in Pin Valley can drop up to Minus 40 Degree Celsius and the entire valley remains cut off for up to half of the year. It is situated at 3800m and next to the Pin River originating from Pin Glaciers. In such a harsh environment people live only with traditional methods without any external help. It is a tough place to live and survive with local farming in the summers. This village is also most popular among hikers due to Pin-Bhabha & Pin-Parvati Pass Trek during summers.
After 2.30 hours we reached Attargo Bridge, from where we needed to go 15 KM (approx) towards Tabo to reach Dhankar Monestry. Now the real fun of the trip begins because there was no transport option available as we missed another bus for that and we decided to walk towards nearest village i.e Lingti Village where we had our breakfast and discussed with locals about a taxi for Dhankar Monestry but no such option was found. Then decide to hitchhike as much as possible and after waiting for 30 mins we finally found a tempo driver who was ready to drive us up to Shicling Village from where it was only 8 KM till Dhankar Monestry. After hop on Tempo in the back, we discovered the best or most blissful moment of our trip with wide-open majestic spiti valley and pure fresh air of cold desert which was giving us goosebumps and creating memorable feeling. After a few minutes of exceptionally awesome ride hop off from tempo at the gate of Dhankar Village (8 away) near Shicling village. But after waiting for more than 01 hours we found nothing to take us towards Dhankar then we decided to ask again from the passerby as there was no one to help us anyway, then another Tempo driver stopped who told us that we can get a taxi from Shicling village and he can take us there. We again hop on with him but this time he asked his local friends also for such a ride and told us that he can be our last resort if we found nothing in the village. Hence we started asking locals for taxi up to Dhankar Monestry up and down as we already planned for a bus ride from Richling to Kaza. With God grace, we found another kind soul who was ready to take us up and down upto Dhankar Monestry within Rs 800/-. We agreed to take a taxi and reached Dhankar Monestry (3897 m height) in 30 mins approx. It is a village with Monestry, Fort embedded in the mountain, and also Dhankar Lake (01-hour hike). We visited Monestry and Fort with a complete guided tour by our driver ji. His friend in Dhankar also offered us tea and told us lots of interesting facts about the village. It was quite impressive hospitality from the locals.
Our day was already going pretty awesome so far then after coming back from Dhankar Village Driver Ji again offered us lunch at his beautiful house. We entered his beautiful village house with a complete local vibe where he had many cute baby goats. It was a wonderful time we spent with amazing hospitality and kind nature. Beyond this, he also arranged a taxi for us up to Kaza (23 Km) with his relative without any cost. Now it was already around 5 PM when we reached Kaza and then we found our hotel (Mangalam Guest House) near Kaza petrol pump at Rs 1000/- per night. Now after getting fresh in the room we took s stroll in the Kaza market, had our dinner, and found a scooty for ourselves for the next day sightseeing (Hikkim, Komic, Langza, Key & Kibber) at Rs 800/- per day. Next-Day we got our scooty around 8.30 AM, filled our tank at Rs 200/- and left the Kaza for Hikkim (15 KM) at around 9.30 AM. It was a thrilling experience to drive first time at such extreme heights with scooty which seems not reliable much nevertheless it was a powerful scooty which took us both up to Komic even on the bad road without any hiccups or trouble.
Hikkim is known for World’s Highest Post Office at an altitude of 4400 m. People usually come here to send a postcard to their loved ones and taking selfies with the landmark. We also followed the same custom and wrote the postcards to our loved ones.
After this, we drive ahead(3 KM) for Komic Village (4587 m) which is the highest motorable village in the world. This village also has a monastery and a restaurant where we had our yummy hot chocolate. Now the road was smooth till Langza so we decided to drive up to Langza (10 KM).
Langza is situated at 4400 m in height and is famous for the gigantic Buddha statue. Now after spending some time and enjoying the beautiful landscape and surrounding environment we came down with the same route (bad road) as another route was blocked due to repair. It was again a thrilling ride due to the extreme conditions till we reached to the main road safely. Now we went towards Key Monestry (27 Km approx from Langza). Key Monestry is the largest monastery in the valley and is situated at the height of 4166 m. After visiting Key Monestry we went to Kibber Village (7 KM away), situated at 4270 m in height. Although further, we had a plan to visit Chicham Bridge which connects Kibber and Chicham village. It is also known for being the highest Suspension Bridge in Asia. But after such a tiring day, we were completely exhausted and not feeling well that’s why we decided to come back to Kaza to end the wonderful thrilling day with peace and happiness. As we wanted to have delicious food in the night hence after returning our scooty we went straight to The Himalayan Cafe in the market and had our tasty dinner there.
The next day was our return to Delhi and for which we were again blessed to be able to return from Manali via Losar & Kunzum Pass by Shared Tempo Traveler at Rs 1200/- per person. As we were the first batch for whom Kunzum Pass was opened recently for the season. We found ourselves super delighted and lucky as it’s going to be a shorter ride with astonishing landscapes. Now we were again going through dreamy landscape till Manali. It was a super awesome memorable feeling with the picturesque landscape which is again difficult to describe. Every bit of the corner of the road was keeping us awake, thrilled, and excited with astonishing views. I wish I could describe it but it is more than a picturesque landscape, it was an eternal moment and a blissful feeling.
We left Kaza at around 7 AM and reached Manali around 3 PM. Then we took our bus to Delhi and left for our homes with eternal beautiful moments and blissful memories for a lifetime.
Thank You, Spiti
Lots of Love for Spiti.