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Lahaul and Spiti Drive – 2017

  • Date: 16th July to 24th July, 2017
  • No of Participants: 16
  • Driving on one of the most treacherous roads in India – Kinnaur Road
  • Cross the green lush Sangla Valley as the sunset
  • The breathtaking views at the end of hikes
  • Overview
  • Participants
  • Participant Diaries

“Gorgeous mountains, flawless cold desert valley, captivating culture, contagious warmth, beauty exuding from every quarter… Spiti… is a journey to Soul discovery!!”

We are back after concluding our third expedition to Lahaul and Spiti. Summer time is a drive to Spiti time for us. You can even say that Summers and Spiti are synonymous to us now! We consider Spiti valley a blessing for us, as it was the first fixed departure expedition that we led when we started Adventures Overland and currently it’s the only self-drive expedition that we do in India.

The expedition started on a great note as the group got to enjoy the perfect essence of Himalayan culture by attending a wedding with almost around 700 people in attendance in the same hotel as the one we were staying in Narkanda. Thanks to the host of the wedding, because of whom we got to sample some of the best local delicacies at the very first day of the drive.

Next day we had a surprise planned for all the participants. While en-route to Sangla, we stopped at Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant, which is a 1,000 megawatts (1,300,000 hp) run-of-the-river hydroelectric power station on the Sutlej River in Kinnaur district. Our team procured special permissions for all the participants to visit the hydropower plant and see how the plant captures the energy of falling water to generate electricity.

By now, if you know us, you would know that we love picnic, mudding, hiking, star gazing, dancing on the streets or any other crazy adventures we can come up with. The next day we went trekking together for 12 KM through the woods of Sangla valley to enjoy the beauty of nature and bond with each other over with an old school style picnic with pre-cooked meal. Somethings never go out of style and picnic is definitely one of them.

On the 4th day of the expedition, we drove to Chitkul, the last inhabited village on the Indo-Tibet border. On the banks of Baspa river, nested in the lap of high mountains, Chitkul has its own charm. The group even got photo op at “The Last Dhaba of India”.

The next day we drove from Sangla – Nako – Tabo, crossing one of the most arduous, treacherous road, which pumped the adrenaline in the group. While few cars got hit by small stones, but we managed to pass through the carved road on rocky patches of mountain with positive spirit to reach our destination for the day – Tabo. As anticipated, the weather was amazing and the setting was perfect for enjoying some star-gazing session with the group. None of the participants had previously visited Spiti valley and was enjoying this sojourn.

On the 6th day, crossing bumpy roads we started our drive from Tabo to Kaza. The scenery, as is usually the case when driving on mountain roads, was dramatic. After a few twists and turns, we arrived at the hilltop Dankhar Monastery. Dhang or dang means cliff, and kar or khar means fort. Hence, Dhankar means fort on a cliff. Dhankar Monastery was strategically built at the highest location in Spiti Valley (3894 mts). Post our visit to the monastery, we continued our drive to Kaza, the administrative centre of Spiti. En-route the participants offered extra snacks to the road workers who brave the high altitude. We even offered lift to people who were hitch-hiking their way and exchanged travel experiences, which made the drive even more enjoyable.

We took a day out to explore the villages around Kaza, which are believed to be the highest in the world. We drove to Komic, which is one of the highest motorable villages in the world and offered us a scenic view of snow laden peaks. Next up, we visited Hikkim, which houses the highest post office in the world, from where all the participant send postcards back home. We even visited the Key Gompa which is located on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,166 metres (13,668 ft) above sea level. We were lucky enough to witness an ongoing festival and saw Chham (mask dance) by monks which are very popular and an integral part of festivities here.

The next day we drove our way back to Manali, while navigating many small streams. One that was particularly difficult to cross was ‘Chotta Dhara’. The distance of around 200 KM took us around 14-15 hours. The highlight of the day was when the group reached Kunzum Pass, which offers spectacular views of Bara-Sigri, the second longest glacier in the world. We all did our prayers at the Kunzum Devi Temple and payed respect to the goddess before continuing our drive to our final destination – Manali.

We can never get bored of this place. Soon we’ll lose count of how many times we have been to Spiti Valley but we’re in love with this stark high-altitude alpine land!

yash-gupta

Name – Mitrajit Chatterjee
City – Kolkata
Profession – Service
Ever been on a Road Trip – Yes, North Bengal
3 Travel essentials – Comfortable Wea, Songs, Cigarette
Fav Music – Melody and Ghazal
5 Places in your Bucket List – "Leh Ladakh, Kailash Mansarover, Drive to Burma, Bhutan, Europe"
Celebrity Travel Partner –  Gul Panag & Sunny Leone

 


chandrashekhar-kulkarni

Name -Sagar Varma
City – Mumbai
Profession – Self employed
Ever been on a Road Trip –Yes, Mumbai to shirdi
3 Travel essentials – Camera, Gps and music.
 Fav Music – Kishore Kumar / R. D. Burman songs.
5 Places in your Bucket List – Mumbai to London, USA west to east
Celebrity Travel Partner –  Aamir Khan

 


yash-gupta

Name – Manoj Kumar Jha
City – Ranchi
Profession – Retired
Ever been on a Road Trip – Yes, Bhutan
3 Travel essentials – Sunglasses, Wallet, Music
Fav Music -Hindustani classical
5 Places in your Bucket List – Canada, Kenya safari, golf at St Andrews
Celebrity Travel Partner – Anirban Lahiri

 


chandrashekhar-kulkarni

Name – Aseem Soni
City – Gurgaon
Profession – CEO, Modern Foods
3 Travel essentials – Easy Clothes, Music, Food
Fav Music -Rock to Bollywood
5 Places in your Bucket List – New Zealand, Spain, Denmark, East Africa, Indian Safaris
Celebrity Travel Partner – My Wife 🙂

 


yash-gupta

Name – Sundaresan
City – Mumbai
Profession – Banking
3 Travel essentials – Music, Good company, and good scenery/landscape
Fav Music – Ecelectic Mix across languages, and across ages & genres, Trance, Indian instrumental
5 Places in your Bucket List – East Europe/Central Asia, Yellowstone national park, Amazon rain forest, West Indies
Celebrity Travel Partner –  Sadhguru

 


chandrashekhar-kulkarni

Name – Vijay Kumar
City – Chennai
Profession – Business consultant
3 Travel essentials – Vehicle accessories, water and communication
 Fav Music – Hindi / Tamil popular music
5 Places in your Bucket List – Egypt, Europe trip and Kenyan safari
Celebrity Travel Partner – Finance expert

 


yash-gupta

Name – Ravinder Kumar Sharma
City – Gurgaon
Profession – Businessman
Ever been on a Road Trip – Yes, Delhi to Badrinath
3 Travel essentials – Camera, Snacks, Songs
Fav Music – Mukesh, Rafi and Kishore
5 Places in your Bucket List – Antarctica, Africa, Patagonia, Afghanistan, Russia
Celebrity Travel Partner –  Navjot Singh Sidhu

 


chandrashekhar-kulkarni

Name – Archana Sharma
City – Gurgaon
Profession – Home Maker
Ever been on a Road Trip – Yes, Delhi to Badrinath
3 Travel essentials – Sunglasses, Camera, Music
Fav Music – Mukesh, Rafi and Kishore
5 Places in your Bucket List – Antarctica, Africa, Patagonia, Afghanistan, Russia
Celebrity Travel Partner –  Priyanka Chopra

 


chandrashekhar-kulkarni

Name – Rajat Asawa
City – Mumbai
Profession – Entrepreneur
Ever been on a Road Trip – Yes, Leh
3 Travel essentials – Sunglasses Music Lots of food
 Fav Music – Hip Hop
5 Places in your Bucket List – Paris, Amsterdam, New York, Vegas, Rome
Celebrity Travel Partner – Scarlett Johansson

 


yash-gupta

Name – Neeta Soni
City – Gurgaon

 


chandrashekhar-kulkarni

Name – Sanjay Shah
City – Mumbai

 


yash-gupta

Name -Jasmine Shah
City – Mumbai

 



 


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