Kaza-Manali A Different Feel

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Day 1 The conquest of Jalori

Day 2 Chitkul- The last village of India

Day 3 Kinnaurified

Day 4 Welcome to Spiti-First View

Day 5 Sky villages of Spiti

Day 6-10 Pin Valley Mud Suprise

Spiti-Manali story

I was now backpacking ( it was around 30+ kg now)  but had no clue what path to follow .  I  figured out  2 options; First one was to catch a bus from Kaza to Hamirpur, which was a 24 hrs long journey while the other option was the other route from Kaza to Manali which was officially not open yet, so no vehicles were actually crossing it but few were going upto Kunzum top , batal and chandertal. I was with Roushan (a riding partner I met at a stop called Nako on the way) and a canadian couple (as reffered to in above post ) John and Manda and we were planning to visit Chandertal and then to continue towards Manali a shorter way to reach home. But the problem was we only had one Tent with us and two sleeping bags and the Canadian couple was without both tent and sleeping bags. So we tried to arrange that in Kaza but wasn’t any luck. Now plan was to get a cab till Kumzum top and from there we would head towards Manali on foot and would look for some vehicle on the way.

Key monestary seen from Spiti-Manali highway

Beautiful curves of Spiti Valley

As per plan we hired a Cab in the morning and took a four hours cozy ride to Kunzum Top. It was fun. Roushan had different plans from Kunzum top, so he decided to head towards Chandertal and I decided  to opt out and cover it on my way back instead. So Roushan left towards Chandertaal and we started the on foot journey towards Batal, a small halt on the way to Manali after Kunzum top.

Temple and Prayer flags at Kunzum Top

Kunzum Top Panorama of temple and Chortens

It was an amazing experience walking on the deserted roads as the road was blocked still and it took around 4 hours to reach Batal.A cloudy day with chilly winds blowing . It  was a real nice day to call off at Batal as we were quite tired after the 12 kms walk. We reached the Batal accommodation at around 6 pm and were welcomed by the owner of the Tents who is pitching the tents there from last 37 yrs .He had loads of stories to share and we had enough time to listen to the adventurous stories. We spent a long time talking and sipping goat milk tea.
2 more Isrealies coming from Chandertal joined us after a hour or so. They were also heading towards Manali so now things were clear that we had to walk 60 more Kms before we could get a vehicle to Manali or if we were lucky enough, we could get a vehicle on the way. So we called the day off around 9 as it was freezing cold outside. My thermometer showed 4 degrees inside the tents. We decided to move early in the morning at around 5 so that we could reach some safer location in time.

Lovely summit and Glacier remains seen from Kunzum Top

John and Manda descending one of the shortcuts

View while descending towards Batal from Kunzum top, one can also see the Chandra river flowing

On June 10, what else on can ask for in Summers

Next day all woke up around 5:30 and we were ready to move around 6:30 after having Bfast and tea, thanks to the tent owner and his family. We started the day at a good pace but I was bit slower than the others since I had blisters on my feet (coz of that glacier mud particles left in my shoes). It was fun while walking on barren roads with no vehicle and Civilization along with lots of snow and beautiful surroundings.

While walking towards Chota Drra

And its another fun to have on snow, Snow Slide

Machine at Rest and no man at Work

Walking on barren roads at High altitudes is a different Experience

And the Fun continues and more interesting

 

We walked 12 kms and met a few Gaddis from Palampur who were on their way to grasslands around Chandertal.

 

Sheeps in mountains, trademark of Himalayas

Mr. Gaddi In Spiti

Lovely heavenly views of Spiti valley

Another treat for eyes

I was surprised to see a White Gypsy on our way. I was so happy to see a vehicle and as it came closer, I asked for a lift . The driver stopped and found that vehicle belonged to the DM of Kaza , and was going towards Keylong to give updates about pin valley situation. Since the vehicle could not house all of us, I made myself clear that I would get in for sure, and rest can decide on who would accompany me but to our surprise, the DM offered help as he had asked another vehicle from Keylong to rescue him in case his vehicle gets stuck near that hurdle on the way but his driver managed to cross his 4×4 gypsy by putting boulders over the glacier snow. So now everyone could get a vehicle for their travel. The rest of guyz waited for the vehicle and meanwhile I  got into the Gypsy.

DM Kaza- My saviour

Some views cant be explained in words

Nearing Gramphoo yet another Sheep herd

Within 3 hours we reached Gramphoo and this filled me with joy as now I could get home the same day. The only hurdle was Rohtang Pass and the tourist flood there. On my way I had the famous mutton rice at the only Dhabha at Gramphoo and then waited for lift or some other mode of transport till Manali or Rohtang top. It was drizzling there but luckily I found an empty cab and the driver agreed to drop me till Manali in just 300 rupees. I was enjoying the pleasant weather and saw traffic for first time after 30 hours. Reached Rohtang top at around 2:30 and then the shit happened. A long traffic jam till the next 5 kms and the reason was again the famous Rani nullah. It was a long slow wait and we reached Manali at 8:30.

Spiti valley view while ascending towards Rohtang

Jai ho HRTC

Black tarmac and white snow and lots of fog

Snow walls at Rohtang Top

The Great Popular Jam of Rohtang

Panoramic view from Rohtang towards Manali

There was no direct bus to Hamirpur from there so now again I had 2 options. Either spend another night in Manali and take a bus the next day or take a bus till Bilaspur and pray to find another to Hamirpur.
I got a bus till bilaspur HRTC of Kullu Depo and believe me seats were so tight that a 6’3 guy like me in no condition could fit on any seat on the bus. It was a real pain ride till Mandi and i was now in no shape to travel further in the bus. So i left the bus in Mandi and planned to hire a cab till Hamirpur. The driver quoted 2k  but since I had no option I agreed and reached home around 3:30 AM.

Panchmukhi Hanuman ji in Hamirpur clicked around 2:30 AM

Aaahh! A long yet another unforgetable experience of my life.

2 Comments

  1. kshitij jassal

    sir, you are one of my favorite photographers in the world!
    i love your photography, the eye you have to look through the lens. commendable!