This article is in continuation of the The Road To Kaza article in which I started my journey from Manali. It also mentions some of the considerations before starting the journey. The road to Spiti valley or I should say off-road is the one most memorable and full of adventure. We were all very exhausted from the journey of Day 1. That night in the shared hall of one of the many dhabas, I had the best sleep I have had in months. This was partly because we were very tired and majorly because we were away for the digital world that was always awake. There was no network, no distracting messages or even calls, no “one last video” before going to sleep. Everything was simple, everything was still.
The Refreshing Morning
I woke up to the mesmerising sound of the river flowing nearby and the strong winds hitting the side of our tarpaulin roof. At around 6 in the morning, the sun was still at the horizon slowly rising up from behind the mountains. I spent the next hour at the riverbank gazing at the sparkling water with golden hue from the rising sun. There was a soothing calmness and a wonderful melody in the turmoil of the flowing river.
We had our breakfast at the same dhaba before continuing our journey forward. Although we had previously completed a few bike trips in the past, we were not very used to riding in such extreme conditions. We started the bikes to heat up the engines and melt the thin layer of ice that formed on it overnight. While the breakfast was being prepared, we planned for the next part of this journey. The next stop was Losar via Kunzum La.
The Journey Continues
The road from this point was pretty much filled with patches of sand and gravel. As we started our journey on day 2, we knew it would be more difficult and harsh than the previous day. One of my acquaintances had taken this trip about a month before us and had to turn back due to broken swing-arm of his bike. We were also a bit worried about the same, since there is not even a single puncture shop, let alone a repair shop in the entire route. While riding, we enjoyed the stunning scenery which was getting even more beautiful by the passing kilometre. Driving on this [off] road to Spiti valley was an amazing experience, you forget your biggest life problems and just want to get lost in the surrounding. It took us around 20-25 minutes to reach the Kunzum La, which was around 12.5 KM from Batal.
Kunzum La connects Lahaul valley to Spiti valley, and is at a distance of 79 KM from Kaza. The road to Spiti valley from Batal consists of multiple sharp hairpin curves and is mostly unconstructed. This dangerous terrain had costed a lot of experienced riders their lives in the past. It is therefore almost customary to take a round around the Kunzum Mata temple on your bike to wish for safe journey ahead. We took a round around the temple, wished for a safe journey ahead and continued with the journey. The 15 KM long trek to Chandratal also diverges from here and one can take a little detour which adds a day or two in the trip. We decided to skip this detour since our trip was only for 5 days and we couldn’t extend it. We continues our journey to Losar after some water break.
Batal to Losar is around 30 KM and took us around 1 hours via Kunzum La. A stone ark with “Welcome to Spiti Valley” written on it marked our arrival in the Losar village. There are not many shops or homes around here but the scenery sure gets unrealistically beautiful. Once we entered Losar we had to cross a checkpoint where it is mandatory to register our details with the officials. We asked the person in-charge about the roads ahead and he helped us with the information on road conditions and terrain. We filled in our details and continued with our journey.
Chicham Bridge and Kibber
Next stop is the Chicham bridge which is around 1 hour drive from Losar (around 36 KM). Chicham bridge is famous since it is the highest suspending bridge of Asia at about 4100 metres above sea level. This bridge completed in 2017, connects Chicham village to Kibber village and reduced the travel distance between the two villages. We stopped for a few minutes to and click some pictures of the iconic bridge and hydrate ourselves.
After crossing Chicham bridge our next stop was Kibber, which was around 6 KM from Chicham. We decided to take a break there for lunch and let our bikes cool down a bit. After around an hour of rest and food we geared back up and started for the next major resting point, the Key Monastery.
Key monastery is around 30 min drive from Kibber. The aura of this place is just out of this world. From the first sight of the monastery to the time we set foot inside the it, the calm we felt was just mesmerizing. As we walked inside the monastery we were greeted by a monk who offered us some herbal tea. The amazing herbal tea gave us the much required energy boost. The monk then showed us various ancient painting and sculptures, and told us about the significance of the place.
We then tried meditation in the special meditation rooms, used by the monks to calm their senses. We spent hours at the monastery and still felt that it was not enough. It was soon going to be dark and we had to get to the Kaza city before sunset or it would be difficult to drive in the pitch dark. We finally reached Kaza at around 6:30 PM, and got a nice accommodation to stay for the night.
This concluded our day 2 of the trip. Stay tuned for the next day in my journey as we explored the highest post office in the world situated in the Hikkim village. If you like this article then hit the like button and share with your friends! Signing off for now 🙂