Published: February 28th 2007June 30th 2006
Typical enterance gate found just few miles before any town in the valley
Road Tripping in Kinnaur & Spiti
After relaxing in Dharamsala we needed a bit more action, therefore arriving at Manali and hearing about the Kinaur & Spiti tour sounded just the perfect option.
While Kinnaur is a green valley rich of vegetation, Spiti valley is a high desert in the Himalayas. During winter it is totally cut off from civilization incurred by the snow blocking the road passes. Ancient Buddhist culture, similar to nearby Tibet, exists in the region which is part Himachal Pradesh - one of the least populated states in India. The roads are terrible, dusty and bumpy, traverse over precipice cliffs and high passes need to be crossed - hair-raising experience, no doubt.
Although public transportation is available, it's not frequent nor comfortable, so we hired a jeep plus driver for 10 days with 7 other Israelis and set off. We passed through remote villages in Kinaur such as Sangla, Chitkul and Kalpa with some spectacular mountain views and met the friendly locals wearing their funny hats. The highlight was the sacred Mt. Kinnaur Kailash we could see clearly from Kalpa. There, we also met a French couple traveling throughout the world on bikes! They were
Mt. Kinnaur Kailash
Kinnaur Kailash, a mountain sacred to Hindus, as seen from our guesthouse porch in Kalpa
50 years old and were already 2 years on the road when we met them. They said they plan several years more. They started in Europe, crossed the middle east, got harassed in Iran, then arrived India. Their story left our jaws wide-open.
Crossing Kinnaur the vegetation started to dwindle and gradually became desert-like till we found ourselves in Spiti valley. The road became even worse and the valley below deeper. The contrast between the desert land, the snowy peaks high above and the roaring rivers down below was mesmerizing. We arrived the village of Mud, very remote and untouched where the people were extremely friendly and the children, amazed by our presence, enforced us to take their pictures, which we did joyfully.
Crossing Rohtang Pass (4000m) we came down 40km through endless road bends. Rohtang literally means "pile of corpses", an encouraging name, isn't it? We finally arrived the Kullu Valley and back to Manali. The Title
is taken from Talking Heads song 'Road To Nowhere'.
There are more photos below