Kinnaur & Spiti Roadtrip with a 2 year old baby


Himalayan Monal
Day 5: Even though we were keeping the pace of the trip slower than usual with the kid with us, this was supposed to be a long day. The plan was to visit Dhankar Monastery in the morning and reach Kaza by afternoon. In the second half of the day, we planned to visit Hikkim, Komic, and Langza villages. Late in the evening, the plan was to explore the Kaza town.
So, we left pretty early and decided to have our breakfast at Dhankar itself. Dhankar monastery is not very far from Tabo but the climb involves a winding road with many hairpin bends. The monastery itself is hanging on a steep cliff and offers a stunning view of the confluence of Pin and Spiti rivers.


Road to Dhankar Gompa


Hairpin bends on the way to Dhankar Gompa


Dhankar Monastery (Gompa)


The confluence of Pin and Spiti rivers

We reached Kaza well before lunchtime. We had booked the HPTDC hotel which is on the outskirts of the town. After quickly checking into our hotel, we decided to head towards Hikkim. Hikkim has the highest post office in the world and it is quite an experience to post a letter to your family from there. We did that too. Komic is just 3 Kms ahead of Hikkim and is known to be the highest village in the world connected with a motorable road. It is a dirt road, but all cars and motorcycles can do it. Even the ones with a low ground clearance.


Kaza town from the road to Hikkim


Vast meadows on the way


The highest post office of the world at Hikkim


Komic - The highest village of the world connected with a motorable road


Road from Komic to Hikkim


Komic Village

After having our lunch at Komic, we headed straight to Langza which is a slight detour on the road back to Kaza. The blue skies were gone by now and weather had become cloudy.


Langza village

We were a bit tired when we reached back to Kaza but still, we had the spirit left to explore the town. So, we drove to a bend near the town and explored the market on foot for the rest of the evening. We had our dinner included in our stay, so we decided to head back to our hotel to eat. One suggestion. Do not include your dinner when booking HPTDC Kaza. Not that the food was bad, but you will be served with typical north Indian food like chapati, paneer, and dal. Instead, we recommend that one should try some authentic Spitian cuisine when in Kaza as there are plenty of options for that in the market.

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Gaurav Talan
You can contact us on insta @himalayan_monal
Kanchan, Gaurav & Advika (@himalayan_monal) • Instagram photos and videos


Himalayan Monal
Day 6: We had this day to our leisure. The plan was to visit Key (or Kye or Ki) Gompa and nearby villages of Kibber and Chicham. Since we had some time to explore, we ended up visiting Tashigang and Gette as well.
Key Gompa has been one of my favorite places in the world since I last visited it in 2010. It was quite a refreshing experience visiting it again with family this time. There is a small school within the monastery complex. A yoga class was being conducted when we entered. We decided to join the kids in that class for some time. Key Gompa is not my favorite place because of its unique design and stunning views from there, but also because of the hospitality of the lamas there. We were offered a hot Spitian tea inside the monastery and were shown all its chambers with patience and personal touch. We hiked for half a kilometer from the monastery on the train to Gette for that panoramic view of the monastery with Spiti river in the backdrop.


Yoga lessons at Key Gompa


Monastery complex


Key Gompa

We crossed Kibber and the newly constructed Chicham bridge to reach Chicham village. The village was not connected with the road until 2017 when Chicham bridge was constructed. We were exploring the village and its fields on foot when we met a farmer. She was working on her pea crop when Advika also joined her to help. Looks like both of them enjoyed each other's company. We were strolling in the fields when, to our surprise, it started snowing. In summers! And started to snow so hard that we had to seek shelter in a nearby house where we were offered some tea as well.


Chicham village


A new friend in the village


Farming lessons


Chicham village

We left Chicham and reach back to Kibber around lunchtime. We decided to have our lunch in Kibber and tried some local cuisine. While having our lunch, we got to know about some hidden lakes in Gette and immediately decided to explore them. The lakes require a bit of trekking from the main road. Though there were supposed to be three lakes, we could only find two.


Kibber village


Kibber village from the road to Tashigang


A lake in Gette


Trek to Gette lakes


Twin lakes


Road to Gette


Key Gompa while going back to Kaza in the evening.

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Gaurav Talan
You can contact us on insta @himalayan_monal
Kanchan, Gaurav & Advika (@himalayan_monal) • Instagram photos and videos


Himalayan Monal
Day 7: This was one of the most exciting day of the trip. This was the day when we will visit the mighty Kunzum Pass, standing tall in front of the Bara Sigri Glacier, which is the largest glacier in the state of Himachal Pradesh and the second longest glacier in the Himalayas after Gangotri glacier. We had our booking at Nomad's cottage in Losar and specially booked the glass rooms overlooking Losar village. There are two routes to go to Losar from Kaza. One is the old route going Rangrik and another one the new road passing through Chicham. Both the roads meet near Kiato just a few kms before Losar. We decided to go through the old route via Rangrik and come back through the new one via Chicham. Initially, our plan was to cross Kunzum Pass and reach Manali but since it had snowed heavily that year, the Batal-Gramphu road was closed due to snow. Nevertheless, we were glad that we were able to visit the Kunzum pass as that was also closed until a few days ago.


Kunzum Pass


Bara Shigri glacier in the backdrop




Our very own snowperson


Road from Kunzum pass to Batal


The road between Loasr and Kunzum pass is rough and includes many water crossings. Its is recommended that you attempt this stretch with caution and only in daylight.

After spending a leisurely day at Kunzum Pass and playing in fresh snow, we headed back to Losar. It was now the time to pan the return journey. If we could cross the Batal-Gramphu stretch and reach Manali (which was just 125 kms away), the return journey could have been much shorter. But alas! Weather gods did not permit us. Instead, we now had to travel the entire stretch through the same route we came, which was way longer than the route through Manali.


Glass room overlooking Losar village


Glass room, Nomad's Cottage, Losar

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Gaurav Talan
You can contact us on insta @himalayan_monal
Kanchan, Gaurav & Advika (@himalayan_monal) • Instagram photos and videos
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Himalayan Monal
The way back!

Day 8:
Since our original plan of completing the circuit through Manali could not be realized due to heavy snow accumulation on Batal-Gramphu stretch, we had to go back the same way we came. Initially, we planned to drive all the way to Kalpa from Losar, but it could have been a very long drive in the hills and I was not in a favor of driving after dark in these remote areas. So, we decided to halt at Nako for the day. However, since we were going back through Chicham-Key route, we decided to take another hike to Key Gompa-Gette trail. It was all sunny and bright and we also decided to visit Demul village. Demul is a detour of some 20 Kms from Lidang on Kaza-Tabo highway. Even though this road was tarred, it was as steep as it could get. You won't be able to apply second gear even for a moment on this route and even in first gear, your car will struggle to climb. Getting down on this steep road is another task altogether! Do not attempt to drive to Demul if you are new to driving in the mountains.


Chicham Bridge


On top of the ridge, before Demul

Demul is a pretty village that sits on the other side of the ridge and the views are different from the ones in Spiti valley. We were lucky enough to spot many Bharal (Blue Sheep) on the way to Demul. We planned to have our lunch in the village but there were no people in the village at all. Apparently, there was a local festival in some other nearby village where all the villagers from Demul had gone. So, we ended up exploring a village with no people in it.


Bharal/ Blue Sheep


Demul village


Demul village

We reached Nako in the evening and stayed in the same guest house we stayed a few days back (Hotel Lake view). Nice view of Nako lake from there. Do try their Thupka if you stay there.

Day 9: We woke up and spent our morning in leisure at Nako. Our destination for the day was Sarahan. We left Nako and expected to reach Sarahan pretty early. But all doesn't go as we plan. First, we had to stop before Pooh for a couple of hours because of blasting for road widening work. Then there was a massive traffic jam near Jeori because of a landslide. On top of it, it was raining hard and GPS was also not working well. We could not find the proper way to Sarahan and instead took a dirt road to reach there which had actually become a muddy road in that rain. After some struggle, we finally reached Sarahan and decided to visit Bhimakali temple the same day. It was still raining when we reached. Initially, we waited for the rain to stop but when there were no signs of it stopping, we went to pay a visit to the temple while it was still raining.


Bhimakali temple, Sarahan

Day 10: Instead of taking a usual route via Jeori, we decided to take an alternate route. We took the Sarahan-Bushahar-Mashnoo-Kothi-Rampur road which was a bit longer, but more beautiful. Also, it passed through many tribal villages and had no traffic at all. A beautiful waterfall on the way surprised us. We even attempted a little hike along a rivulet on this road.


A small hike on the way


A village on Sarahan-Bushahar-Mashnoo-Kothi-Rampur road


A waterfall on the road

We reached Shimla early in the afternoon and decided to spend the day on the mall road. It was summers and peak tourist season, so it was really crowded in Shimla that day. Nevertheless, we had our mandatory ice cream, visited a book fair, and spent some leisurely time at the ridge.


The ridge, Shimla


Crowded Shimla!

Day 11: This was the day when we were to reach Delhi. So we decided to start late and spend some more time in Shimla instead. We had our lunch near Chandigarh and left the Himalayas behind us!

Brief Itinerary (with altitude in meters):
Day 1:
Delhi (225 m) - Shimla (2276 m) - Matiana (2470 m)
Day 2: Matiana (2470 m) - Narkanda (2708 m) - Rampur (1021 m) - Reckong Peo (2290 m) - Kalpa (2839 m)
Day 3: Kalpa (2839 m) - Pooh (2735 m) - Nako (3616 m)
Day 4: Nako (3616 m) - Sumdo (3072 m) - Gue (3623 m) - Tabo (3280 m)
Day 5: Tabo (3280 m) - Dhankar (3827 m) - Hikkim (4440 m) - Komic (4587 m) - Langza (4290 m) - Kaza (3667 m)
Day 6: Kaza (3667 m) - Key Gompa (3830 m) - Kibber (4120 m) - Chicham (4140 m) - Gette (4270 m) - Kaza (3667 m)
Day 7: Kaza (3667 m) - Kunzum Pass (4590 m) - Losar (4085 m)
Day 8: Losar (4085 m) - Demul (4338 m) - Nako (3616 m)
Day 9: Nako (3616 m) - Pooh (2735 m) - Sarahan (2165 m)
Day 10: Sarahan (2165 m) - Shimla (2276 m)
Day 11: Shimla (2276 m) - Delhi (225 m)

Thanks for reading!
Gaurav Talan
You can contact us on insta @himalayan_monal
Kanchan, Gaurav & Advika (@himalayan_monal) • Instagram photos and videos
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