Posts Tagged With: Reckong Peo

Spiti Valley – The Plan

Spiti 3

The motive behind this post is to give a brief idea about Spiti & its villages and also to help in planning Spiti Valley trip.

Namate & wannakkam to the 4 brave people who decided to join me in this trip :-p . I had planned for a solo trip but was never confident to do it alone. Somehow god almighty came to know about my fears and sent me 4 angels to join this trip :-p. (In FB language “Feeling blessed”). So first came Sudeep, and I got enough confidence to include a small trek in the itinerary(Chandratal trek). Then came Uma,(my travel soulmate 🙂 ), my confidence doubled, included 4 day trek to the itinerary(Left Bank Trek). Then came my chaddi buddy :-p- Yo, who has the same likings about Spiti as me. And now the latest addition being Dhanno, adding spice to our trip :-p. My confidence has now boosted so much that I feel I could cover entire Spiti by foot :-D. Naaaa…Just kidding!

About
Spiti Valley is a desert mountain valley located high in the Himalaya mountains in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India.

What Makes Spiti So Special?

Vigin Lands – The valley and surrounding region is one of the least populated regions in India making it the ideal place to explore virgin lands of Himalayas.

Oldest Monateries – Ki Monastery and Tabo Monastery in Spiti are one of the oldest monasteries in the world and a favorite of the Dalai Lama. Exploring the architectures of Monastery and understanding its history will give more insights about Spitians.

Way of Life – Spiti is summer home to hundreds of semi-nomadic Gaddi sheep and goat herders who come to this valley for grazing their animals from the surrounding villages and sometimes as far as 250 km. They enter the valley during summer as the snow melts and leave just a few days before first snowfall of the season.

Trekkers Paradise – As there are many places around Spiti which is uninhabited, gives a great scope for anyone willing to trek these valleys and get lost in the natural beauty of  mountains, rivers and valleys around.

So LETS GET LOST!

Why I chose Spiti?

I remember meeting an Australian during a trip to Pangong lake where he answered a question we asked him about what does he like about trekking in such treacherous mountains of Ladakh, his answer has remained with me ever since – “He said, being around such massive mountains and rivers makes him realize how insignificant we humans are in this world!” Reading about Spiti made me feel that I could have such an experience in these valleys.

Okay now that’s the emotional side of me which pushed me to choose this place, but the “icing on the cake” is – This place can be covered even with a shoestring budget like mine(Yipeeeeee), hence finalized on this destination. 🙂

Now after all the crap I explained above, lets get to business 😐

The Plan

Have a look at the map below, all the yellow stars are the villages of Spiti we plan to cover. (Not all, but most of them will be covered).

Route

The 4 red boxes in the map- There are 2 ways to enter Spiti, one from Manali side(this is open from July-Oct only) and other is from Shimla (opened most of the times). Spiti has 2 main villages, one is Reckong Peo(popularly known as Peo) & other is Kaza- all villages we plan to visit in Spiti lies between Peo & Kaza. Refer map – Peo is closer while traveling from Shimla while Kaza is closer while traveling from Manali.

Out of 5, 4 of us are entering from Shimla, so our first village in Spiti would be Peo while for Uma, as she is entering from Manali, she will need to reach Kaza first instead.

Good news for the people entering from Shimla is our itinerary also includes the train journey by the famous Kalka- Shimla rail which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the World Heritage Site Mountain Railways of India. {Sorry Uma 😦 }

Lets traverse through the map to understand how we plan to cover Spiti.

Home–>Delhi–>Kalka–>Shimla –>Peo —> Kalpa&Roghi—>Nako—>Tabo—>Kaza—>Ki-Kibber—>Chandratal–>Back to Kaza–>TrekORBustoKomic–>TrektoDemul–> TrekToDhankar–>BusBacktoKaza–>Manali–>Delhi–>Home

Trip Duration – Delhi to Delhi – 21st Sep – 4th Oct.

Check out the image below to understand “Altitude” at which we will be traveling :

Spiti graph

Anyone starting from Shimla has less chances of getting AMS as compared to one entering from Manali as from Shimla the altitude gradually increases giving enough time to acclimatize.

Pros & Cons of Bus Travelling

Advantage

The good thing about traveling to Spiti is that almost all the main villages can be covered by ST bus. This will also reduce the overall travelling cost :-D. The hotels are also at a nominal rate, we are not booking any hotels in advance, plan is to go there and negotiate.(& even modify itinerary according to our wish!)

Downside

The only down side of traveling using bus in Spiti is – if we happen to miss a bus, the next bus will be only the next day! There is only one bus each day that connects Spiti from Peo to Kaza, which is famously called the “KAZA BUS”. But of course we could hire a vehicle (or hitch hike) in case we miss, but that would then increase the overall cost 😐

Understanding Bus Schedules:

Starting from Shimla, there are many buses from Shimla to Peo – So no worries for 4 of us.

From Peo to Kaza- Only one bus per day goes in this route. We will have to take this place to go to any village in Spiti as all yellow starred villages on map lies between Peo & Kaza.

Starting from Manali to Kaza – Only 2 buses per day(5am,5.30 am) – Uma u need to take one of these bus.

Kaza to Peo – Only one bus per day.

Bus Time Table

I made the bus Time Table below with the help of references from various sites online, there are chances of variation in rate & timings as the info might not be as of 2014.

BusTimings

Detailed Itinerary

19Sep2014 – Leave from Bangalore for Delhi, train starts from City Junction @19.20 & Bangalore Cantt @ 19.30.

21Sep2014- Reach Delhi at 10.30 am, our tickets to Kalka from Delhi is in waiting list which is @ 11.05am from NDLS itself. Incase the tickets don’t get confirmed we will catch a Kalka bus from Kashmiri Gate ISBT stand. Reach Kalka by evening/night & stay there.(Hotel Lotus near Kalka station, Rs 700 per night).

22Sep – We need to catch train to Shimla @12.10 pm from Kalka Station, it reaches Shimla by 17.20. Have evening snacks, go to Shimla bus stand, catch Peo. Now there are 2 alternatives:
Plan A- Get down at Rampur (4-5 hrs journey from Shimla), stay at a hotel for the night. Catch morning bus from Rampur to Peo(4 hrs journey) & then from Peo to Kalpa(45 min journey).
Plan B -Do a night journey and reach Peo by morning(8-9hrs journey) & then catch another bus from Peo to Kalpa(45min jpurney). Being an Ordinary bus, the journey might not be comfortable but depends on everyone’s will if all are fine we can go ahead.

23Sep – Reach Kalpa, stay at Chini Bunglow(have spoken to them about our arrival & blocked 2 rooms – Rs 600 per room). We will explore Kalpa along with Roghi(if possible). Enjoy the beautiful views of Kinner Kailash-A 6500 mtr mountain considered as sacred by both Hindu and Buddhist Kinnauris. Also these villages are famous for there Apple orchards and best part is Sept is the season for apples :-D. Lets steal some apples 😉

24Sep-  Again we have 2 alternatives:
Plan A -Stay in Kalpa or Peo, hire a cab & visit Chitkul & Sangla nearby to Kalpa.
Plan B – Hire a cab to Peo bus stand(Rs 600) & then take morning bus at 6.30 am from Peo & reach Nako by 12:00 pm afternoon. Check out a place to stay. Explore Nako village, Nako lake & any nearby locations as suggested by the locals.

25Sep –  If we choose Plan A, we will catch morning bus from Peo @ 6.30 am & reach Tabo by evening 4pm.
If we choose Plan B – We will take shared jeep from Nako and reach Tabo in the morning. Once we reach Tabo, we will explore the oldest of the Buddhist monasteries, nicknamed as “Ajanta of the Himalayas”, founded more than a millennium back in 996 A.D. Nearly 36 almost life-size clay statues perch on the walls of the assembly hall. Behind the assembly hall, there is a three-fold gallery again covered with the wall paintings that depict the life of Buddha. These paintings are in highly preserved conditions and always remain in dark.(We need to carry tourch).

26 Sep – If there are no morning buses from Tabo to Kaza, we will hire a shared jeep to reach Kaza. Then check-in to a hotel & post lunch we can hire a cab to visit Ki monastery & Kibber village. We will also visit the ecosphere office at Kaza to gain more info about our 3-day “Left bank trek”. {Ecosphere is a social enterprise which is a collaborative effort of the local community of Spiti and professionals from diverse backgrounds, effectively spanning the bridge from the general to the niche.}

27Sep – We will keep most of our heavy luggage at the hotel we stayed & take only things we require for trek. Catch morning bus at 5:00 am going towards Kullu. Dhanya will be leaving this day for home & Uma will be joining us for the rest of the journey. Dhanya will be taking this bus upto Kullu, while rest of us will get down at Batal where we will meet Uma by afternoon. After lunch we will hitch-hike and reach Chandratal. Plan is to stay back in the tents near this lake but we will need to bargain a lot for renting them.

28Sep – Hitch-hike and come back to Battal, catch the Kaza bus in the afternoon (which halts at Battal for lunch). Reach Kaza. We will arrange a cab for us to be taken to Komik Village & Stay there for the night.

29Sep – This days trek will take around 6-7 hrs, can be graded as medium tough. Reach Demul by evening. Demul is said to be a very beautiful village. Some trekkers suggest for an extra day halt at this village. Guess we can’t have this liberty because of time constraints. 😦

30Sep- Demul to Lallung, 5 hrs trek. We need to take care of crossing a bridge just after we reach a village called Sanglung, if we miss this bridge we wont be able to reach Lallung. Khabric Guesthouse at Lallung is good as suggested by a trekker online. While in Lhalung, we could visit monastery nearby.

1Oct- Trek to Dhankar, a 4-5 hrs trek. After visitng nearby places in Dhankar(Monestary,fort,lake), we need to hitch-hike to go to a village(around 8km away) called Shichiling from where we will get our evening bus to Kaza. Stay overnight at Kaza.

2Oct- Take bus from Kaza to Manali, stay at Manali for the night.(Hotel New Adarsh, Nr. to bus stand – Costs close to 700/room, haven’t booked anything, we can go there and checkout).

3Oct- Take bus from Manali to Chandigarh in morning, catch early morning train from Chandigarh station to home @3.15 am on 4th Oct.

Dhanya’s Exit plan :
27Sep – Take the morning bus to Kullu at 5am from Kaza, reach Kullu by evening/night.Stay overnight at Kullu.
28Sep – Take morning bus from Kullu to Chandigarh (8-9hrs) & take night flight at 19.00 to Bglr.

Uma’s Trip Plan :
24 Sep – Night train to Delhi from Mumbai.
25Sep – Reach Delhi by 6.30 pm, have dinner and catch 10.00pm bus from Kashmiri gate ISBT bus stand to Manali.
26Sep – Morning 10am, reach Manali, stay there for the night. Book the tickets in advance for next days Kaza bus.
27Sep – Catch Morning Kaza bus at 5 am or 5.30 am, meet us at Battal Dhaba. Have heard, the Kaza bus stops here for lunch.

Cost per day per person should not be more than Rs 800. But on the days we have to hire a cab, or do long bus journeys, the cost might go to Rs 1000-1200. As per our itinerary, 24Sep, 26-27Sep, 2Oct can be the day where we might end up spending more.

Uncertainties:

1> Chances of getting a confirmed ticket on 21st Sept from NDLS to Kalka is very minimal. So we will  mostly be taking bus to Kalka.
2> The 3 day trek we are doing can be done the other way round also. ie., Dhankar-Lallung-Demul-Komik, The advantage being that we can skip the cab hire to Komik on 28th Sep & go to Dhankar directly from Battal by the same bus. But we will take advise from ecosphere before deciding on this.
3> The 1st Oct day seems very hectic in the itinerary, if we can arrange for a simpler alternative we will go for it. But this we can decide once we are in Kaza & get more information from locals.

Once back from our trip, will be able to give more detailed information about treks, bus timings, Spiti & more.

Refer the links below for more info.

References:

Wikipedia & Wikitravel

About Spiti Valley – I found the below 2 sites really good for getting a lot of information about Spiti.
http://www.solobackpacker.com/
http://devilonwheels.com/

Online HRTC bus bookings :
http://www.hrtc.gov.in/hrtctickets/Availability.aspx

BusTimeTable :
http://hpkinnaur.nic.in/HRTCTT.htm

Left Bank Trek Details :
http://www.indiamike.com/india/himachal-pradesh-f29/kaza-langza-komik-demul-homestay-t135326/
http://bushahrtimes.com/archives/454
http://ajourneydiary.blogspot.in/search/label/Spiti%20Valley

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