Padharo Mhare Desh! Rajasthan is calling tourists and I couldn’t stop myself. Their colorful ads, rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisines, attractive attire, and everything became a reason for my Jodhpur trip. After a long 6-month break, my husband & I decided to embark on a bike trip to Jodhpur.
We started our journey at 6 am from Ghaziabad, which is around 633 Kms from Jodhpur. Taking only a few tea & snack breaks, we reached Jodhpur around 6 pm. It took us almost 12 hrs to complete the journey. The highway is smooth and offers scenic views on entering Rajasthan.
What I love the most about Rajasthan is the ‘sunset’. I have not seen a sunset in any other part of India as dazzling and as astounding as I have witnessed in Rajasthan. I am sure I am yet to witness many more, but these are the best so far. On entering the Jodhpur road, we were welcomed by the setting sun.
I booked a room at Bijolai Palace, which is nearly a km away from the city. It is situated close to the Kaylana lake. The look-&-feel of the resort has a tinge of ethnicity as well as modernity. Some parts uphold the magnificence of a palace while some boosts contemporary look. The main attraction of the resort was the terrace restaurant which offers a lake view. Apart from all the positives, the only negative was the ‘not-so-friendly’ staff.
We went to the railway station road for dinner and tried Daal Baati with some chilly garlic sauce and buttermilk. It was undoubtedly yum! And then, we walked around the market area to get the true essence of the city. It’s beautiful, colourful & undoubtedly lively.
Next day, we checked out of the hotel at 10 am and left our baggage at the reception because we had to visit Mehrangarh Fort, which is one of the largest forts in India. The fort is royal and offers a marvelous display of bravura. One has to walk a lot to see every part of the fort. It took us more than 4 hrs to embrace the splendor of the fort, to click photographs and to turn the chapters of the past.
It is quite enthralling to feel how the Maharajas, Ranis and their workers used to live in the fort, which offers a full view of the Jodhpur city. They had their celebration halls, discussion rooms, bathing rooms, waiting rooms and many other big separate rooms decorated creatively. They were more advanced than us, considering the resources and technological limitations they had.
We toured the fort and got free around 4PM and then we had onion kachoris and cardamom tea. Kachoris were okay, but the tea was mind-blowing. I am a tea lover and it’s always a treat for me to get good tea. It refreshes me. The tea seller made a special tea for us, knowing we are a tourist, and I really appreciate their warm gesture. Small things altogether create a huge impact.
After having tea & snacks, we started our journey to another beautiful place, which is some 70 km ahead of Jodhpur. It is Osian Village (spelled as Osiyan). Just as we got close to the village, we were again welcomed by striking sunset and a beautiful rainbow. We clicked a few pictures and continued toward the village.
We booked a night stay at Camp Thar. On the straight road of Osian village, there is a railway crossing on the left that takes you to Camp Thar. Just as we passed the railway crossing, we started seeing sand dunes. We were overwhelmed and mesmerized to witness sand dunes for the first time. A lot of activities happen in that area like jeep safari, camel ride, biking on the sand dune etc.
After crossing that happening area, we moved for around 3 km to reach Camp Thar. The property is huge, well-built and bordered by fort-like walls.
It offers camps as well as rooms. The rooms are spacious and even they are given a feel of camp. The interior is decked with white net curtains and white fabric having a golden print for the fairyland touch.
I would recommend staying at Camp Thar if you wish to spend a night or two away from the hustle bustle of city life. But, if you want to enjoy the most, then make sure you take your group of friends because there may not be many guests in the camp. Tourists, other than from Rajasthan & neighbouring states, are not well aware of Osian village.
Osian village is also named as the ‘Khajuraho of Rajasthan’ for its beautifully carved temples showing great art. The village has around 18 temples and ruins of around 100 temples dating back to 8th century. The most popular temple is Osiyan Mata temple which is also known as Sachiya Mata Temple. A trip to Osian village is incomplete without visiting this temple.
If you don’t have time to visit Jaisalmer to enjoy the Thar desert, you can visit this unexplored place in Rajasthan to have a similar kind of experience under budget.
Unlike the desert of Jaisalmer, you will find vegetation, small bushes, and trees amid the desert nearby Osian village. The land is fertile and not completely deserted. So, go fully prepared not to have too high expectations of a typical desert.
We enjoyed the folk dance at night and Sufi songs well sung by Rajasthani bhai-sa. The person attending us in the camp was very cordial and treated us well. We would like to visit the place again, but in a group, as it seems to be a lonely planet and we felt that we could have enjoyed the place more with friends.
After fully enjoying the night by dancing & rejoicing in Rajasthani style, we left the camp for home at 8 am. We had breakfast in the village and just after that, it started raining. We waited for 10-15 mins but then, we sensed it’s not going to stop.
Wearing raincoats and securing our gadgets, we continued our return journey, enjoying the rain showers all through the day. We also realized that it’s not safe to ride a bike at night on a highway, especially in the rain. So, we decided to avoid driving at night time on highways.
Wet & tired, we reached Ghaziabad around 12 am. We had tea and maggi in dinner, prepared by Chef Husband. And then, recalling the beautiful journey, we slipped into bed for a good night’s sleep.
Spiti Valley is an incredible virgin paradise which is admired for its cold desert mountains, remoteness & rich cultural heritage. Situated in Himachal Pradesh, Lahaul Spiti displays a world completely different from the other parts of the state. A trip to Spiti is not just any ordinary trip, it is a complete personality & perception transforming journey.
Leh Ladakh has been a favourite destination of bikers, but nowadays, Spiti Circuit is gaining popularity. Some may even prefer Spiti circuit over Leh Ladakh because the journey to this inspiring land is equally thrilling, but it is still an untouched beauty.
A Bike trip to Spiti will allow you to enjoy nature in every form as you pass through mountains of mud, aqua green & blue rivers, ancient monasteries, old-fashioned habitations, and even get to see fossils.
Best Month to Visit Spiti Valley
There is a difference in touring the Spiti Valley and Spiti Circuit. You can visit Spiti Valley via Shimla all year round and return through the same route. But you need to know the opening dates of Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass to complete the Spiti Circuit. The roads get closed during winters and they are accessible only after clearing the snow. Spiti temperature drops to minus in winters.
It depends on the month to visit Spiti Valley with what you are going to be welcomed – Snow or Greenery. September is the best month (concerning weather & road conditions) for Spiti Circuit as the water streams on the roads are at their lowest. It is the best time to visit Spiti as you bid goodbye to the monsoon & you are yet to welcome the chilly winds & snow. September to October first week is a safe bet. We did Spiti Circuit in the first week of October.
On the contrary, if you are keen to enjoy the sight of snow-capped mountains, then you can do Spiti Circuit in June after the opening of Rohtang Pass. Get ready for adrenaline rush adventure as the snow starts melting in May-June which gives a way to water streams & water crossings on the road. To enjoy the scenic beauty, you have to take the challenge of riding on deteriorating roads.
Spiti circuit in July and other months of monsoon should be avoided as there are many landslide prone areas on the way. It’s not advisable to do Spiti Circuit in monsoon.
How to Plan Spiti Trip
To begin with, you must first decide whether you want to enter from Shimla & exit from Manali or vice versa. Shimla to Manali route is preferable as it becomes easy to acclimatise to high altitude. Another benefit is that you don’t need a permit to enter Spiti from Shimla, which is mandatory if you enter from Manali. Check the status of Kunzum Pass & Rohtang Pass before you plan your Spiti Trip. It is also advised to keep Spiti Circuit map to know where to look for help in case of emergency. Make a note of available petrol pumps, mechanic shops, mobile network in Spiti Valley, ATM on the route and Homestay in Spiti Valley. The complete detail of all requisites and know-how required during Spiti Circuit is available at the end of the blog.
Spiti Circuit Itinerary
Here is a Spiti Circuit Itinerary that we followed to reach Lahaul Spiti from Delhi and return back via Chandratal – Rohtang Pass – Manali.
Day 1: Delhi to Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh – 410 Kms – 12 Hrs Approx.
We, a group of 4 friends on 2 bikes, started our journey from Ghaziabad at around 6 AM. After having breakfast at a Dhaba near Murthal, we crossed Shimla at around 12 PM and reached Narkanda at 6 PM. Narkanda is the most preferred night halt for bikers. You can easily get hotels in Narkanda if you reach on time. You can book HPTDC Hotel Hatu in advance from the website http://hptdc.nic.in/ohrs/PublicPages/PubHome.aspx if you are looking for a decent room. For a night, it costs around Rs.2500 to Rs.3200. There are a number of budget hotels in Narkanda too. A delay can reduce the chances of getting good hotels in Narkanda, so make sure to be on time.
Day 2: Narkanda to Kalpa – 175 Kms – 6 Hrs Approx.
We left Narkanda early in the morning to reach Kalpa before sunset. Road condition is good till Rampur but it gets tricky after Karcham dam. Road to Sangla & Chitkul diverts from the dam. You can spend a day in Chitkul also. The detail of the Delhi to Chitkul drive is given here https://tripohlic.com/2017/11/03/delhi-narkanda-sangla-chhitkul-kalpa/
As we have already been to Sangla & Chitkul, we skipped it this time and continued towards Reckong Peo to reach Kalpa. Due to some ongoing construction work, the road is in a bad condition after the dam, which gets better from Reckong Peo till Kalpa.
Welcome the sight of beautiful snow-capped mountains from Reckong Peo and they will follow you till Kalpa. Have some thukpas in the small market of Kalpa and enjoy the sight of Kinnaur Kailash. You can also visit the famous Narayan Nagini temple in Kalpa & Chandika Mata temple. There are limited staying options in the market area. Search for a room that offers the view of Kinnaur Kailash and if you are lucky enough, you can witness the changing colours of the peak that happens at different time on a clear day.
Day 3: Kalpa to Nako – 100 Kms – 5 Hrs Approx
We bid goodbye to Kalpa at 11 AM. After Kalpa, the road gets a bit scary till Pooh. The pathway shows no sign of habitation having rough mountains, dangerous inclines, sharp cuts and road full of potholes.
A few kilometers before Nako, you start getting the feel of Spiti as you ride through hairpin bends and narrow roads. The sight of bold standing scary mountains of rocks changes to mountains of sand, stretched mud plains and a good road to ride bike.
We reached Nako around 4 PM and stayed in a guest house. There was no electricity in Nako for the last 2 days and our mobile phones had no battery and we could not charge it because of no electricity.
You get only the BSNL network in Nako, that too at selected areas. We requested a local to make a call, standing near a pole, which was the only area to catch network. That was the most enjoyable night of our whole Spiti Trip as we did candle light dinner & danced like crazy in no lights. Well, one can enjoy in limited resources if the company is good.
Day 4: Nako to Dhankar via Gue & Mud Village – 210 Kms – 9 Hrs
While having breakfast at a restaurant, we met a foreigner couple – Coni and Inna. At that time, we were strangers but later on, we became friends as they met us all through the journey at different destinations.
This was one of the hectic days as we tried to cover Pin Valley National Park, Mud Village & Gue (in limited fuel). Knowing that our destination is same, Hemant Khatmuria, a solo rider from Delhi joined our group when we were leaving for Gue at around 7 AM.
There was news of stones sliding at Sumdo, which is a landslide prone area. BRO was working with heavy machinery to clear the roads of continuously falling stones. They stopped us for around a half & hour for clearance work and asked to cross the area one by one, maintaining some distance between the vehicles.
After crossing Sumdo, there is a diversion – the left goes to Tabo & Dhankar which was our stoppage for the day and the right goes to Gue village. It’s an off road 8 Kms drive to Gue. It’s a less populated village with a few families residing there and one may not even see a single person in the village.
The Gue Mummy in the Gue Monastery is a 550 year old, well-preserved mummy of a monk with teeth, nails and intact skull, which looks amazing! And yes, we met the same foreigner couple in Gue village.
Coming back from Gue, we continued towards Tabo and then reached Mud Village, which is in Pin Valley. Again, it is a less populated village with a few eateries. We had our lunch in the Mud village & dropped the plan to visit Pin Valley National Park as we were short of time & fuel. We managed to reach Dhankar Monastery at around 6 PM & stayed there.
There are two monasteries – the old one & the new one. Staying option was available in the new one. The best part of staying in Dhankar Monastery is beer on the menu, which surprised us all. Singing, dancing & rejoicing, we spent the night to wait for the next beautiful morning.
Day 5: (Dhankar to Kibber via Langza, Hikkim, Komic) – 97 Kms – 6 Hrs
We woke up around 9 AM and got ready after breakfast at 11 AM. We were surprised to find Coni and Inna in the same monastery. We exchanged greetings and then left the monastery with good memories for Langza, which is famous for fossils of prehistoric aquatic creatures.
This village above 14,000 ft is believed to be submerged under the Tethys sea, some millions of years ago, and the fossils of marine animals in this area justify the same. You will find ladies, young boys & girls selling fossils. You can yourself locate them under the rocks; I found a few. However, carrying fossils is illegal.
Crossing the area, we moved towards the world’s highest village with roads, Komic and the world’s highest post office in Hikkim. The roads are smooth, narrow and confusing. It’s a pleasure to drive on these roads.
As per our itinerary, we had to reach Kaza for night stay, but as we got late, we decided to stay in Kibber after visiting the epic Key Monastery. There are a very few staying options in Kibber village. It is better to stay in the Key Monastery if you are planning to spend a night in the Kibber.
There were no lights & no people on the road when we reached Kibber village. It became difficult for us to search a hotel in Kibber. After a little struggle, we got just one room in a Homestay with a shared bathroom. We had no choice but to agree with it. However, later on we got to know that we are sharing our bathroom with none other than Coni &Inna. It was a surprise for all of us to meet again. We offered them drinks and had a good conversation in the night.
Day 6: Kibber to Kaza – 19 Kms – 2-3 Hrs
Waking up at 10 AM, we got ready for Kaza which was some 19 Kms down Kibber. On reaching Kaza, we searched for a mechanic to fix a punctured tyre of our friend’s bike. You can easily get a mechanic, chemist shop and restaurants in Kaza.
The beauty of Kaza works as a magnet to pull the creative people from all over the country and abroad. They have made Kaza quite a happening place.
Entrance of Hotel Deyzor
Collection of fossils
After fixing the tyre, we rested in a hotel. It was then, one of our friends started feeling uneasy and his nose began to bleed. A pharmacist suggested us to take him to a doctor, but our journey-mate, Hemant, suggested taking a puff from oxygen cylinder which he was carrying with him and luckily, the puff from the oxygen cylinder made him well. We enjoyed the night and were super-excited for the next day to Chandratal.
Day 7: Kaza to Chandratal via Kunzum Pass – 55 Kms – 6-7 Hours
This day we actually realised we are doing Spiti Circuit. Crossing Kunzum pass, Chota Dhara, numerous water streams and sliding over wet boulders – every tidbit gave us an amazing experience. The road to Kunzum Pass is all up and down with muddy narrow cuts, pebbles & stones – all in all challenging. But it is worth putting the efforts to behold the mesmeric beauty of Chandratal Lake. The closer you get to the lake, the narrower roads become.
We stayed in a camp for Rs.800 per person at Chandratal. Camps are located 2.5 kms before the Chandratal lake as camping is not permitted near the lakeside. From the camp area, bike can go up to 1.5 kms and then you have to trek for 10 mins to reach the lake. It is an average trek leading to an awe-inspiring view of the Chandratal Lake. Keep clicking pictures until you don’t get the best one for facebook cover pic (as I got mine).
After clicking numerous pictures and beholding the exquisiteness of the place, we came back to the camp. The road before the trek is also not in a good condition, so you can trek all the way from the campsite to the lake if you love trekking, otherwise skip it.
We played carom & ludo in the camp, did bonfire, had dinner and spent a memorable night in Chandratal with many stars twinkling in the sky. This was one of the hectic days, but the deadliest one was awaiting us.
Day 8: Chandratal to Manali – 140 Kms – 8 Hrs
We left Chandratal around 10 AM and we were the last one to leave the place, being lazy souls. However, the rest was worth taking as we had the bumpiest ride this day. The nightmare road begins after Chatru with river-bed type roads, boulders and water crossings. There were actually no roads on the Batal Gramphu stretch. I suffered a bad backache going through the bouncy camel rides.
We were relieved on reaching the Rohtang Pass as we rode over buttery smooth roads after many days. Snow showers welcomed us on Rohtang road and disappeared after a few minutes.
On reaching Manali, Hemant continued his journey towards Delhi while we decided to stay for a night in Manali at our previously visited hotel to recollect memories.
Day 9: Manali to Delhi – 540 Kms – 14 Hrs
We took the most stupid decision of our whole trip this day. We left the hotel at around 11 AM for Delhi and took a break to get some bike repairing work done. It wasted a hell lot of time and we managed to leave Manali only after 4 PM. It was the scariest ride for all of us as we were exhausted and hell sleepy. The tiredness of the complete Spiti trip was pushing us to take rest, but we kept riding throughout the night.
Taking many stops at Dhabas for tea to stay awake, we managed to reach Delhi by 7 AM. On reaching Delhi, we realised that Delhi is such a noisy city. We felt to have come from a different planet and Delhi seemed overcrowded where life is running too fast. We felt disconnected and discomforted with the hustle bustle of city life.
It took me at least a week to get back to my normal self, but I still can’t get over the incredible feeling of being in Spiti, staring at the mountains, admiring the clear sky, the almighty snow-capped peaks and swiftly flowing rivers.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND ON SPITI TRIP
Petrol Pumps after Shimla
• Narkanda – Must top up here
• Rekong Peo
• Kaza – Do not forget to top up at Kaza as the next petrol pump is at Manali.
You should preferably top up at Narkanda, Rekong Peo and Kaza. We missed at Rekong Peo and faced the consequences. We bought petrol in black from a shop located in between Nako & Sumdo. Ask the locals for petrol if you get trapped in such a situation.
When you are on Spiti Circuit, you need to keep in mind where to find a mechanic. It is also advisable to carry your own tool kit, especially air filling pump & puncture repair kit, because at many places, there is no mechanic shop. Pooh to Kaza stretch has no shop, but you can get a plenty of options of mechanic in Kaza. After Kaza, mechanics will be available in Manali.
ATMs in remote villages may or may not have cash. So, it is advisable to keep sufficient money with you. Especially after Kalpa, you should keep a good amount of cash. We withdrew money from an ATM in Kalpa and we were successful at the third one, after unsuccessful attempts at two ATMs with ‘No Cash’.
Phone Network in Spiti
You will face network issues in Sangla & Chitkul and to almost all places after Kalpa in case of mobile network other than BSNL. Only BSNL/MTNL works in Spiti Valley including Sangla, Chitkul, Nako, Tabo, Kaza and they too remain on & off throughout the Spiti trip. Airtel provides the second best connectivity, but even that won’t work after Kalpa. You can ask the locals for the pay phona e.
No network connectivity is available at Chandratal, Kunzum Pass & Batal.
Medical Facility in Spiti
You are advised to carry a first aid kit including medicine for headache, body pain, fever, nausea, stomach ache, cough, cold, bandage & so on. Besides this, medical facilities are available in Narkanda, Reckong Peo, Chango, Tabo, Kaza & Kiato (Gramphu Batal Kaza Road).
Homestays in Spiti
Do not worry about hotels and homestay in Spiti valley. Be sure to reach before the night and you will get many options for accommodation in Spiti. At many places, locals offer their home for a night stay, so do not hesitate to ask locals if you don’t get a hotel.
(PS: The time taken to travel a distance depends on an individual’s speed, weather & road conditions at that time. So, consider the mentioned driving time as indicative only).
For any other query related to Spiti Circuit, feel free to comment below.
Delhi – Shimla (350 KM) – Narkanda (65 KM) – Rampur (68 KM) – Karcham (60 KM) – Reckong Peo (58 KM) – Kalpa (3 KM)
The realization of inner strength and passion is equivalent to second birth. I was born again in the land of adventurers when I discovered my love & passion for biking. I don’t drive instead I am a pillion passenger. But, I found wings added to my soul when my husband and I, headed onto unfurl the beauty of Himachal Pradesh on our trip to Sangla, Chitkul & Kalpa. Our decision to travel alone on the bike came after our group of friends said ‘No’ to us, being hectic for them. Even then, we thought to take a dip in the ocean of adventures.
Packing our bags & safeguarding ourselves with biking gears, we left Delhi at around 6am. The scorching heat of June compelled us to take a break before Chandigarh for Lime water & snacks. We took the second break near Solan for buttermilk (Chhach). Crossing Shimla at around 12pm, we reached Narkanda by 5pm. Narkanda is a small beautiful town, spreading its own magnificence. We checked-in to Hotel Himalaya Inn on the main chowk, which was priced around Rs.1200. There is only one shop in Narkanda to enjoy Thukpa (special Indo-Tibetan hot noodle soup made with mixing vegetables). North Indian food is easily available in hotel & market.
We left Narkanda at 9 am to lose our spirits in the serene beauty of Sangla & Chitkul. We crossed Karcham Dam at around 1pm. The road condition is moderately bad after the dam, though it’s worth driving through the treacherous road to reach Sangla. Remembering the long & bold standing mountains still give me goose-bumps. Sangla & Chitkul, both encompasses uniqueness in their beauty. While Sangla has mountains just aside you, Chitkul gives you a perfect landscape that you might have drawn in your drawing books in childhood – A river flowing amid snow clad mountains & greenery covering the valley with a few cottages.
We stayed a night in Sangla & left for Chitkul the next morning at around 9 am. It was cloudy and the weather predicted rain in the evening, so we decided to reach Kalpa before it starts raining as we were not sure of accommodation in Chitkul. We reached Chitkul around 11 am and enjoyed the beauty for 2 hrs and left for Kalpa. Though, we now regret we could have stayed a night in Chitkul instead of heading to Kalpa. The beauty of this last village on the Indo-Tibetan border is untouched.
There are some budget accommodation options in Chitkul that you can book after reaching the place. Post lunch, we headed towards Kalpa and reached the place at around 6 pm. The majestic views of the mighty Himalayas welcomed us & took away all the stress. It’s a very small village with a few eateries outside the hotel.
My heart just melted away with the stunning sight of Kinnaur Kailash, the Shivlingam, which keeps changing its color throughout the day. It looks the most beautiful in the early morning hours. Some of the places to visit in Kalpa:
Suicide Point: It is situated around 3 Kms away from Kalpa. You can even trek to suicide point with a group of friends. It is a place having a dangerous trench and vertical slopes and gives a sight of apple orchards.
Sapni Fort: It’s a seven-storey high fort situated in Sapni village in the vicinity of Kalpa. The fort is a pleasure to the eyes of Art lovers, rich in architectural grandeur & a witness to the glory of the past.
Sangla, Chitkul & Kalpa are some of the unexplored places near Shimla that must be explored by travel enthusiasts.
After enjoying the beautiful sight of Kinnaur Kailash, we took a night halt in Narkanda and enjoyed the cool weather with a chilled beer in Hotel Hatu by HPTDC. The same moment we decided our next trip to Spiti Valley after seeing the mesmerizing picture of Dhankar Monastery on a wall in the hotel.
You can always trust hotels by Himachal Pradesh Tourism. They are neat, clean and well-maintained.
We left Narkanda early morning & reached Delhi in the night. Disheartened and dull, we put an end to our 5-day adventurous Trip to Himachal Pradesh and promised ourselves to come back again on a more thrilling expedition.
If you are bored of travelling to Shimla, then must visit these unexplored places near Shimla.