Few weeks back we shared a post about planning road trip to Spiti via Shimla and after multiple queries through our form, we intend to share day-wise plan and how we did it. What worked well and what could have been planned better from our side. This would certainly help you understand some of the finer details about the route, places for break, good places to eat on national highway 5 and places where you can night halts. This post shares some moments from road trip on first 2 days from Shimla to Nako. Let's check out, what all you can expect on this route and how we did it.
I know I have not been able to give much time to the blog because of other engagements in office and I want to focus on other priorities, but other guest-bloggers have assured me to bring at least one blog-post in a week.
So we started a little late from Shimla and Sunset moment encountered as we crossed Narkanda. We didn't have any plan for stay. This was an indicator to start thinking about the place where we want to spend the night. Rampur was one obvious option and there are multiple hotels in Rampur. Apart from Jeori was another we were thinking about. Both these places are part of Shimla region and Jeori us near to Kinnaur border.
This was our second break at the sunset point. Before that we had a tea break near Kufri. We could manage to book 2 rooms in one of the guest-houses in Jeori. Jeori has one HPPWD guest and 2 guest houses by Electricity department of the state Himachal. Overall experience of HPPWD guest houses is better and cost effective. If not available, there are some budget hotels in main market of Jeori. And in case of uncertainty, it's recommended to take a halt at Rampur.
Above photograph shows 2 men in Kinnauri dress and carrying devtas with them. This photograph was clicked from moving car. In hills, there is very high probability of finding smiling people and that makes your trip more joyful.
On our way to Jeori from Shimla, we came across various experiences and amongst the all I loved fresh cherries from Narkanda region. May is the time when good quality cherries are sold in the market. It's hard to find that size in Delhi. Size is quite big and they are juicy. We got one box for 200 Rs and in Delhi we a box for 250/300 with cherries of half the size. While coming back, all of us bought 12 boxes in total and could negotiate the price at 140 per box.
Just have a look t above photograph and try to imagine the scale. Notice these tiny multi-story houses on the hills and then try to imagine the real size of these step-fields and the hills. It's really hard to capture some of the things from hills which you can only experience being there.
After taking night break at Jeori, we started a little early and had our breakfast in Jeori market. We did this Road trip in a Santro and we had some interesting experiences which you would get to know as this post & series follows. Just after 10-15 mins drive we hit the border of Kinnaur district. Above photograph is clicked around the border, with welcome sign put by HWD department.
And here is the welcome gate for Kinnaur district and just next to it is a police stop, where you need to show some documents before entry.
It's usual to encounter these herds of sheep on National Highway 5. We were excited when we encountered in first time, but gradually it became a pain as you easily waste 15 mins if the leader of this heard is not an expert. Trained herd can manage traffic themselves as they know where to move and how to create path for vehicles coming from both the directions.
Here is the most famous place when we talk about Kinnaur. Most of you must have seen such photograph on internet, I just shot a vertical one. There are kilomters of such road when you drive through KInnaur and Spiti. All these roads are carved out of mountains and engineers know what kind of stone needs to be cut in which way. During our trip we also observed few machines which were being operated remotely through a huge remote connected with the machine through wires. Height of these roads are scary and hence such technologies are usually needed.
After moving ahead, we hit the place where Taranda Mata temple is located. All the vehicles stop here to take blessings of the Taranada Mata for safe & comfortable trip ahead. And vehicles coming back also stop to say Thanks :).
Another photograph of interesting roads of Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh.
While in Kinnaur region, we crossed various hydro projects and it was mind boggling to see the scale of these projects. There are plenty of projects around Nathpa, Wangtu & Tapri. I was little sad to see this state of mountains. It seemed like the geography of the region has transformed majorly in last 15 years. You drive along the Setluj river most of the times and these projects use water pressure of Setluj or try to create different water sources.
On our way, we stopped at Tapari as Sam had to join us from here. We had tea here and some of us also tried rice rajmah. There is a nice Dhaba at Tapari where most of the vehicles stop for food. It's just in the middle of market on left side.
While folks were having tea and waiting for another friend, I took a round of Tapari town. There is a huge Jaypee project across the river and on opposite side of the market.
And here was another group which was working on destroying the plants of marijuana. All of them were happy to get clicked.
There are various beautiful bridges like this on the way. This one was in Shongtong.
Most of these bridges on the way to Spiti can be found with thousands of prayer flags. And continuously flowing wind makes these prayer flags more beautiful.
Just look at above photograph. It was very interesting to see these huge houses hanging around these high mountains. And all these villages are not really connected by road, so lot of folks walk a lot everyday.
There is this huge waterfall or fast moving stream on the way and it's called Kashong khudd (Pangi Nala). The waterflow here is very fast and every vehicle closes the windows before crossing this bridge as lot of water can get into the vehicle.
Another photograph of same place. Please don't miss to watch the video in the bottom of this post which will give you the real context about the speed of water-flow.
Be aware about the petrol pump at Powari, if you don't intend to go towards Rekong Peo. Get your tank full as you will not find any other petrol pump before Kaza.
Varun moved to appropriate location for clicking photographs of this waterfall.
Above is photograph of Moorang fort.
If you notice in above photograph, vegetation has gone down in comparison to photographs shown above. That's what you experience as move closer to Spiti. Gradually you reach the land with no leaves around, only some patches of trees & grass which are maintained by villages or families in that region.
I am sure above photograph would give you a sense of the scale of things in Kinnaur and Spiti. There are people walking on the bridge but you can even see them in the photograph as they are very tiny in comparison to Setluj river and the huge mountains all around.
If you want to know more about transportation & petrol pumps on this route, please do check this post on other blog.
These dry terrains were very fascinating for my Travellingcamera and I kept clicking without thinking much about the compositions. After coming home I had to delete lot of photographs and the quality of views keeps increasing as you move ahead.
One needs to cross through Suru, Thachh, Karape, Sungra, , Chooling, Roghi, Raang, Barang, Telangi, Purbani, Akpa, Rispa, Moorang, Jangi, Spello, Pooh, Dubling, Khab, Ka and Yangthang to reach Nako from Jeori.
Above photograph is clicked near Pooh. Roads are narrow with river on one side and mountains on the other side. There are few places where you would find better road but mostly it's rough and narrow. A very skilled driver is needed for these roads. Apart from skilled driver, car should have appropriate tools and at least 2 extra tyres. We had only one, but we were lucky. There was one situation when we had used our extra tyre and had to drive for 38 km on a very rough road.
There were plenty of waterfalls all around and some of them were not even noticeable through naked eyes. During summers water flow was not much and some of the waterfalls had dried but in Monsoons this whole stretch much be looking fabulous with waterfalls all around. But these roads are riskier during monsoons.
Above is one of the dry waterfalls around Kinnaru region in Himcahcl Pradesh.
Above photograph is clicked near Khab where Setluj meets Spiti river. And this road is very scares which takes you up at very sharp inclination. And I just checked the map and it seems that National Highway no also changes to NH-505 from Nh-5.
A happy photograph after climbing up from Khab. The road taking circles on this mountain and our cameras wanted to take a break and compose some good shots. This was also the point when we started seeing snow covered mountains very clearly.
This was a unique sight where we noticed a green patch with dry mountains all around. These are apple orchards and apples produced in Kinnaur have very high value in international market. Most of the varieties are exported from Kinnaur.
If you want to read more about the road and a little better understanding of distances between the places mentioned in my blog, please check out this post on Ghumakkar.com.
We reached Nako before it gets too dark and now it was time to find a place to stay. There are various homestays and small guest-houses in Nako villages. We found a home-stay near the main road and one room costed us 400 Rs without food.
Here is how our rooms looked like. We needed cozy rooms to deal with the chill of Nako village. Nako is surrounded by snow covered peaks and hence it's quite cold during night, even in summers. We had to take out our warm cloths at Nako.
On the way, we realized that all the liquor shops were closed because of the supreme court orders although it was easy to arrange at higher price. So it was a better state of folks who had stocks in such remote areas. We had arranged one bottle of local wine. So it was time to enjoy the local drink of Kinnaur and then have food at our homestay. I think all of us called off the day at 10pm and we had plans to wake up early and walk to the Nako lake before sunrise.
If you have missed our ongoing series on Spiti Trip, do check out -
If you liked this post and found it helpful, I would request you to follow these things when traveling -
1. Manage your waste well and don’t litter Use dustbins.
2. Tell us if you went to a place and found it hard to locate a dustbin.
3. Avoid bottle waters in hills. Usually you get clean water in hills and water bottles create lot of mess in our ecosystem.
4. Say big no to plastic and avoid those unhealthy snacks packed in plastic bags. Rather buy fruits.
5. Don't play loud blaring music in forests of jungle camps. You are a guest in that ecosystem and disturbing the locals (humans and animals) is not polite