Spiti - Three amateurs' ride to the land of the Buddha; of amazing landscape and great people!

supriyfale

RiderByChance
21 May - Chail to Sarahan

As decided we went to breakfast to the Palace. The breakfast was nice and the coffee was excellent.

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On the way to hotel we met a black dog who guided us to the gate as we went through the trail rather than the main road. He was however chased away by other dogs at the entrance though he managed to scramble and stay at the entrance. We took a small piece of breakfast thinking we will offer it to him since he had been so friendly. But could not find him when we came out. He must have been chased away in our absence by the other dogs.

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We went back to our rooms, did our packing, and left Chail at around 10 am. Today’s destination was Sarahan and Sushil had managed to book us a PWD rest house there.



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We took the Kufri road as Shimla road is normally crowded. We stopped briefly for the amazing view of snow clad mountains as we descended from Kufri and joined the main highway. After clicking some snaps and stretching our limbs, we carried onward from there and reached uneventfully to Narkanda.

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I knew that HPTDC had a hotel there so we decided to go to lunch. We had our lunch which was good but the service was much delayed. maybe because we had reached there at lunch time and the staff was serving other guests who were staying there. We also noticed a lot of flies there, which required constant attention to keep them away from our food.

Here we met a group of people from Mumbai who inquired about our ride. They were kind of amazed to know that were just three of us riding to Spiti which is considered a dangerous terrain. Anyway they wished us good health.

On our way to Sarahan we saw fresh cherries being sold by the road side and stopped to get some. The vendor who was selling the cherries was on another stall and came to his stall where we had stopped to buy the cherries. His friend left his stall for a minute within which a monkey grabbed a box of cherries and fled.

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We bought a box for 150 rs and left. The cherries were fresh and tasty. We stopped again for sugarcane juice around 5 pm and spend some time to relax.

There were two rooms booked at the PWD Sarahan for us. Upon enquiring we were told that the PWD rest house was 5 kms, away on the top. But when we reached there we were told that it was a circuit house and the rest house was 5 KM down where we had made the enquiry. We went back and reached the rest house only to find the care taker missing. We asked the two girls passing by and they told us that he will come soon. He did arrive in some time but informed us that the rest house is under construction and there were no rooms available.

It was already dark and we had to stay somewhere. We noticed that there was a hotel just opposite where we could stay for the night if needed. I requested the caretaker whether he can arrange some rooms at the forest rest house which was just adjacent to the rest house. He readily called up the forest rest house caretaker and as luck would have it he had two rooms. We thanked him and went there and settled down. It was beginning to get cold.

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We went for dinner to the adjacent restaurant which we had seen earlier. We had a simple dinner of chapati and dal and came back to our rooms. By then it was really cold and we have to use all the blankets that were available.

Tomorrow we go to Chitkul.
 
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supriyfale

RiderByChance
22 May - Sarahan to Chitkul

We slept well and woke up at 6 am. When we came out of our rooms we saw the beautiful vista of snow clad mountains covering all the view. It was amazing. Since it was very cold, I longed for a cup of tea. We asked the caretaker for tea while we enjoyed the view. Veena, meanwhile, took some pictures of the various rose plants in the garden.

Around 7:30 am we went around town for a stroll. On the way we inquired at the restaurant that we had dinner last night about breakfast and we were informed that breakfast will be served at 8 am. So we walked down to the town for a while. There we saw a huge brown dog but since he seemed friendly, Veena offered him the paratha we had packed earlier in Chail. He ate the small paratha piece hungrily but we did not have more. He was a sheep dog but getting older.

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After a while we came back to the restaurant and had parathas (again!) for breakfast. On the way we met two small school kids in a shop where we had stopped to get some things.

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We then went back to our rooms to do the packing and were all set by 10:30. We bid goodbye to the caretaker and started on our way.

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Today we had to reach Chitkul, which I had heard was a very beautiful place.

We crossed the towns Tapri and Kharcham on our way the later being a site for a huge dam part of the Kharcham-Wangtoo Hydroelectric project. This dam has however tamed the mighty Sutlej to a normal river as it deposits most of its capacity in the dam. I personally think that dams have made the terrains ugly as the rivers lose their grace once they appear from the other side of the dam. But...

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As we reached Sangla it was past noon and we were hungry. We found a small roadside restaurant and ordered hot dal and rice, which we had with some curd that we got from a nearby shop. After a good lunch we left Sangla around 2:00 PM. The roads started to deteriorate after that and our speed reduced. The scenery though got more and more beautiful.

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We entered the Tukpa valley around 2:30 PM. The scenery was becoming more and more beautiful in direct contrast with the road. Snow clad mountains were all around us and we stopped for some photographs.

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At 4:30 PM, ten kilometers before Chitkul, we reached a military checkpoint where we had to make entries for ourselves and our bikes as Chitkul was a border town.

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The chill in the air was getting colder. After clicking a few photographs we were on our way.

At 5 PM we reached Chitkul. We saw a hotel on the right side and I inquired for rooms. They had decent rooms for a reasonable price but it was a bit away from town. So we continued onward. I had heard about Samaa resorts and called them. The lady however said they were fully booked. As we went ahead, I saw a PWD rest-house on the left and entered the driveway.

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The caretaker told us that rooms were available but if some online bookings come, we will need to adjust elsewhere. Considering that it was already past 5 PM we thought it unlikely there will be further online bookings. However, we still went to see the rooms which he had built on his land and was keen to rent us. We did not take his offer though and asked him to give us the rooms at the rest house. We told him that in case someone really comes with a booking we would shift to his rooms or adjust in one room.

We also asked for heater which he offered for Rs. 250 per room.

After unloading and unpacking our luggage and after a hot cup of tea, we went for small a walk around the town. We went a few hundred meters but since the temperature was dropping and both Sushil and Veena not feeling so great, we returned.

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psrinivasan631

New Member
22 May - Sarahan to Chitkul

We slept well and woke up at 6 am. When we came out of our rooms we saw the beautiful vista of snow clad mountains covering all the view. It was amazing. Since it was very cold, I longed for a cup of tea. We asked the caretaker for tea while we enjoyed the view. Veena, meanwhile, took some pictures of the various rose plants in the garden.

Around 7:30 am we went around town for a stroll. On the way we inquired at the restaurant that we had dinner last night about breakfast and we were informed that breakfast will be served at 8 am. So we walked down to the town for a while. There we saw a huge brown dog but since he seemed friendly, Veena offered him the paratha we had packed earlier in Chail. He ate the small paratha piece hungrily but we did not have more. He was a sheep dog but getting older.

View attachment 772947

After a while we came back to the restaurant and had parathas (again!) for breakfast. On the way we met two small school kids in a shop where we had stopped to get some things.

View attachment 772948

We then went back to our rooms to do the packing and were all set by 10:30. We bid goodbye to the caretaker and started on our way.

View attachment 772949

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View attachment 772951

Today we had to reach Chitkul, which I had heard was a very beautiful place.

We crossed the towns Tapri and Kharcham on our way the later being a site for a huge dam part of the Kharcham-Wangtoo Hydroelectric project. This dam has however tamed the mighty Sutlej to a normal river as it deposits most of its capacity in the dam. I personally think that dams have made the terrains ugly as the rivers lose their grace once they appear from the other side of the dam. But...

View attachment 772953


View attachment 772954

As we reached Sangla it was past noon and we were hungry. We found a small roadside restaurant and ordered hot dal and rice, which we had with some curd that we got from a nearby shop. After a good lunch we left Sangla around 2:00 PM. The roads started to deteriorate after that and our speed reduced. The scenery though got more and more beautiful.

View attachment 772957

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We entered the Tukpa valley around 2:30 PM. The scenery was becoming more and more beautiful in direct contrast with the road. Snow clad mountains were all around us and we stopped for some photographs.

View attachment 772959

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At 4:30 PM, ten kilometers before Chitkul, we reached a military checkpoint where we had to make entries for ourselves and our bikes as Chitkul was a border town.

View attachment 772956


View attachment 772961

The chill in the air was getting colder. After clicking a few photographs we were on our way.

At 5 PM we reached Chitkul. We saw a hotel on the right side and I inquired for rooms. They had decent rooms for a reasonable price but it was a bit away from town. So we continued onward. I had heard about Samaa resorts and called them. The lady however said they were fully booked. As we went ahead, I saw a PWD rest-house on the left and entered the driveway.

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The caretaker told us that rooms were available but if some online bookings come, we will need to adjust elsewhere. Considering that it was already past 5 PM we thought it unlikely there will be further online bookings. However, we still went to see the rooms which he had built on his land and was keen to rent us. We did not take his offer though and asked him to give us the rooms at the rest house. We told him that in case someone really comes with a booking we would shift to his rooms or adjust in one room.

We also asked for heater which he offered for Rs. 250 per room.

After unloading and unpacking our luggage and after a hot cup of tea, we went for small a walk around the town. We went a few hundred meters but since the temperature was dropping and both Sushil and Veena not feeling so great, we returned.

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Glued to this log super narration superb clicks --- just roll on --- I am glued

Sent from my Moto G (4) using Tapatalk
 

supriyfale

RiderByChance
23 May - Chitkul to Reckong Peo

As I went to his room in the morning Sushil was already up and sitting on the bench outside. Apparently he has not slept very well. After completing our chores we went for breakfast in the village around 8 am. There we saw few small restaurants selling local dishes and the usual parathas. Further down the lane we saw Samaa resort and its adjoining restaurant. Since it had a good ambiance, we decided to have our breakfast there. The place was quite full with vehicles from as far away as Maharashtra and Gujarat. We saw similar places coming up nearby which looked equally good. Though Chitkul is a small place, one can still find a place to stay if you reach little early and have time to search for an accommodation.

We ordered sandwiches, poha and coffee. The food was just about ok and there were a lot of flies, so not a very good experience over all.

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Here a little incident happened regarding our bill, which was quite interesting. After paying the bill I checked the amount returned and found that the person had returned us more money so I went back inside to return the extra money. As we were relaxing outside planning to go to the river, the person who had originally prepared our bill came and said that the owner is asking for me. I was intrigued so I again went in. This time the owner, a middle-aged Sikh guy, said that in fact we had been grossly undercharged :(. The person who prepared our bill put the price of a single dish whereas we had ordered more. So our total bill almost doubled from the one given to us earlier :roll:.

Anyway, after this incident we decided to take a small stroll to the river. The water was cold but it felt nice as the morning sun was warming the rocks besides. We spent some time on the river and started on our way back around 10 AM. We passed a village school next to the river and some tourist tents. It was an idyllic setting for a school next to the river but it must be very cold here in the winters.

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Today’s we planned to go to Kalpa so we left the lodge around 11:30 AM. The roads were bad and we had a slower ride. On the way we saw a group of vultures around a dead animal. This was the first time I was seeing vultures in the wild so did not know how they react to people, especially if they think of us disturbing their meal.

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We waited for some time watching them from a distance and plan our actions. Eventually I asked Veena to put the camera in a video mode and I slowly made way toward them, Sushil behind me. As our bikes approached, they scattered and were not hostile as we comfortably crossed their area or interest.

When we reached Reckong Peo, the town before Kalpa, it had started raining. After experiencing cold for the last two days, we did not want to spend another night in the cold. We however continued our way to Kalpa, stopping for a couple of time to ask directions of the locals.

We eventually reached Kalpa and seeing an HPTDC hotel, we stopped for inquiry. They did not have rooms, but we decided to have our lunch there. After placing our order, I went to a nearby hotel that I had seen earlier to inquire about rooms. They had rooms but it seemed a little costly.

After a good and relaxed lunch, and consulting among us whether to stay or go down to Peo (as the town in normally called), we decided to go back. Kalpa was getting colder. Once we reached Peo, we saw a building that had a government "feeling" to it. So we stopped for inquiry. We were informed that it was a Sarai and the caretaker had gone to the market but return in a while. Sushil spoke to him over phone and he said he will be back in a while. We decided to wait.

The person returned after a while and Sushil and Veena went to speak to him and see the rooms in case they were available.

They returned with a smile as we got the rooms at incredibly low price even to our already low price standard :). We then rode our motorcycles inside the compound and parked them.

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As we unpacked the luggage, Veena went upstairs. The room was basic but good enough for a night’s stay. The caretaker brought us hot tea in a while, and we were energized.

Later Sushil and I went to the market to get some plastic covers for our bikes and some medicines. The caretaker had shown us a shortcut to go to the market. While returning it was pitch dark and the path was not visible at all. We managed to reach to our place after asking a few locals.

We had a simple dinner prepared by the caretaker’s wife as he stayed with his family in the same premises.

Finally, after a long and tiring day we went to sleep. It was cold and we were relieved that we did not stay at Kalpa which we were sure would be much colder. Tomorrow we had to go to Tabo, which is quite a long distance away considering the slow pace we travel with.
 
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rdp

Well-Known Member
22 May - Sarahan to Chitkul

We slept well and woke up at 6 am. When we came out of our rooms we saw the beautiful vista of snow clad mountains covering all the view. It was amazing. Since it was very cold, I longed for a cup of tea. We asked the caretaker for tea while we enjoyed the view. Veena, meanwhile, took some pictures of the various rose plants in the garden.

Around 7:30 am we went around town for a stroll. On the way we inquired at the restaurant that we had dinner last night about breakfast and we were informed that breakfast will be served at 8 am. So we walked down to the town for a while. There we saw a huge brown dog but since he seemed friendly, Veena offered him the paratha we had packed earlier in Chail. He ate the small paratha piece hungrily but we did not have more. He was a sheep dog but getting older.

View attachment 772947

After a while we came back to the restaurant and had parathas (again!) for breakfast. On the way we met two small school kids in a shop where we had stopped to get some things.

View attachment 772948

We then went back to our rooms to do the packing and were all set by 10:30. We bid goodbye to the caretaker and started on our way.

View attachment 772949

View attachment 772950

View attachment 772951

Today we had to reach Chitkul, which I had heard was a very beautiful place.

We crossed the towns Tapri and Kharcham on our way the later being a site for a huge dam part of the Kharcham-Wangtoo Hydroelectric project. This dam has however tamed the mighty Sutlej to a normal river as it deposits most of its capacity in the dam. I personally think that dams have made the terrains ugly as the rivers lose their grace once they appear from the other side of the dam. But...

View attachment 772953


View attachment 772954

As we reached Sangla it was past noon and we were hungry. We found a small roadside restaurant and ordered hot dal and rice, which we had with some curd that we got from a nearby shop. After a good lunch we left Sangla around 2:00 PM. The roads started to deteriorate after that and our speed reduced. The scenery though got more and more beautiful.

View attachment 772957

View attachment 772958

We entered the Tukpa valley around 2:30 PM. The scenery was becoming more and more beautiful in direct contrast with the road. Snow clad mountains were all around us and we stopped for some photographs.

View attachment 772959

View attachment 772955

View attachment 772960

At 4:30 PM, ten kilometers before Chitkul, we reached a military checkpoint where we had to make entries for ourselves and our bikes as Chitkul was a border town.

View attachment 772956


View attachment 772961

The chill in the air was getting colder. After clicking a few photographs we were on our way.

At 5 PM we reached Chitkul. We saw a hotel on the right side and I inquired for rooms. They had decent rooms for a reasonable price but it was a bit away from town. So we continued onward. I had heard about Samaa resorts and called them. The lady however said they were fully booked. As we went ahead, I saw a PWD rest-house on the left and entered the driveway.

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View attachment 772963


The caretaker told us that rooms were available but if some online bookings come, we will need to adjust elsewhere. Considering that it was already past 5 PM we thought it unlikely there will be further online bookings. However, we still went to see the rooms which he had built on his land and was keen to rent us. We did not take his offer though and asked him to give us the rooms at the rest house. We told him that in case someone really comes with a booking we would shift to his rooms or adjust in one room.

We also asked for heater which he offered for Rs. 250 per room.

After unloading and unpacking our luggage and after a hot cup of tea, we went for small a walk around the town. We went a few hundred meters but since the temperature was dropping and both Sushil and Veena not feeling so great, we returned.

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