Wild (Part one): Photographic Chronicles of Solo Winter (January) Trip to Spiti

Cold breeze of January was gushing through the brief gap at the window beside the seat where i was hitting my head amidst half-sleep. Fortunately it was not foggy and at times i was listening to the occasional laughs of Lamas traveling with in the same bus. Next morning, I was in Rampur and bridge on the timid Sutlej welcomed me in the morning.

Bridge on Sutlej at Rampur

Inquired about the next taxi (or any sort of transport for that matter) to Kaza and none had any concrete answer. There might be a bus or taxi in next couple of days or may be not. Before leaving Delhi, I decided not to return back until I make it to Kaza so I was not at all restless with those hopeless answers. Indeed headed my way further onwards to Rekong Peo to live up to a promise from summers.

Enroute, bus stopped at Jeori.

Dreary day at Jeori

In a short while, I made it to Rekong Peo. Unhurried winter life in an overcast day

Street of Peo during Winters

Winter day at Rekong Peo

Wandered in the streets of Rekong Peo, stuffed my self with Chinese noddles and washed those down with Chai. Rekong Peo could not hold me for long and I reached Kalpa, little hamlet fronting mighty Kinnaur Kailash. Besides, I wanted to revisit the memory lane. Here is a rare glimpse of snow-white Kalpa which is mostly seen vivid, green full of orchards and apple trees.

Winter Scape of Kalpa

Snow around Kalpa Kinnaur

Heating the water pipelines in Kalpa

Kids Skating in Kalpa

Snow filled apple orchards and Kalpa

Kalpa Post Office during Winters

Snow in Hindu Temple Kalpa

 

Snow on the streets of Kalpa

On the way to Temple in Kalpa

 

Prayer Flags at Kalpa Temple

After white washing my memories, I descended back to Rekong Peo and strolled through the lanes of Peo. I also realized that there is no transport to Spiti for next couple of days so the only option was to either wait or ask for the ride in the Tempo traveler which was hired by lamas at Rampur but was fully occupied. With uncertainly ahead, I woke up very early and gotten down to NH-22 for a fortunate ride to Spiti. Amid scintillating smell of Deodar, mornings rays fell over the snow-capped mountains.

View of distant village from Spillow

Fresh Snow in Kinnaur Mountains

Breaking the dawn, mini bus arrived in the form of my last hope to reach Kaza. Lamas were generous to offer me little space in the aisle and were happy to see me as fellow traveler...Yet Again and Now along the shore of Satluj, I was heading to the wild, Spiti in Winters.

Spillow Kinnaur

 

To the shepherd

 

Now the another side of Sutlej with snow-filled banks which i came across while returning back from the magic land.

Snow filled embankment of Sutlej

 

Sutlej in Kinnaur during winters

Hey Do you know about hotels

Hey Do you know about hotels in Kalpa in Winters? Are restaurants and hotels open? Do they have water?

yes. some guest houses near

yes. some guest houses near bus stand are open and yes, they have water.

Hi Vishnu/Nitin, We are

Hi Vishnu/Nitin,

We are a group of two people planning to undertake a tour of the Spiti valley; from 25 Dec to 2 Jan. I was hoping you could help us with a few questions from your experiences. Below is our itinerary in brief: Day 1 (24/12): Leave by the Delhi-Recong Peo bus at 8:10 PM. Day 2 (25/12): Reach Recong Peo at 5:45 PM. Stay over for the night. Day 3 (26/12): Leave for Kaza by the morning bus (6:30 AM).Reach Kaza at 6 PM. Stay the night in Kaza. Day 4 (27/12): Visit Kibber, Kye Monastery. Return to and stay in Kaza. Day 5 (28/12): Visit Nako, Tabo, Schilling. Stay the night at Nako, if possible. Day 6 (29/12): Leave for Recong Peo. Visit Kalpa. Stay at Kalpa/Recong Peo. Day 7 (30/12): Head to Sangla and Chitkul. Stay the night in Chitkul, if possible. Day 8 (31/12):  Day 9 (1/1):  Day 10 (2/1): Head to Karcham to catch the bus back to Delhi. Day 11 (3/1) Reach Delhi. This itinerary leaves us with two days as buffer, if we get stuck somewhere due to snow/landslides. Also, it leaves us room to cover Pin Valley and Komic. We can also extend our stays at Chitkul/Kaza/Kapa by a day. Can you help us with the below: - Does the itinerary look feasible, or do you suggest some changes?  - Can you hep us with the home stays/hotels in Kaza, Nako, Recong Peo/Kalpa? - Can  we get tents for stay in Chitkul? - I am an asthmatic, though I normally do not face any trouble during winters. Also, I have been to Manali earlier and did not face any issues, though that was in April. Is it advisable for me to undertake this tour at this time? - Is it possible to cover Komic/Hikkim? - What are the temperatures likely to be like? We consulted a few websites, but each one forecast different temperatures.  - Can you help us with the woolens/jackets etc to be carried? Also, the kind of shoes that would be needed; should we bring snowboots? Eagerly awaiting your response. Your kind help will be greatly appreciated. Regards, Pulkit

Hi Pulkit, Spiti in winters

Hi Pulkit,

Spiti in winters are quite chellenging trail and definitely not for holidays. I doubt that bus from Rekong Peo to Kaza would be operational in December so i would suggest you to try something from Rampur. if lucky, you might get shared taxi to Kaza from Rampur. These taxis start at 3-4 AM in morning and reach kaza by evening.  If you are planning Spiti in winters then there is no such thing as itinerary. all depends on your luck and snow condition. If roads get blocked then it takes week to get those open so 1-2 buffer days would not be sufficient. sometimes roads had been blocked for month.

Coming on homestays, I think you can get it in Kaza, Kibber but hopefully Nako as well. There is no point doing camping anywhere. It is freaking cold. Temperature in night may drop to -35.

If you have not been to Spiti in summers or not having experience of extreme cold in high altitude places then i would not suggest you to go for this trip. You need to carry the best woolen cloths possible and very robust shoes (North face or Quenchua) to negotiate with cold and snow.

Chitkul will not be as cold as Spiti but still temperature will go below -10 something. I hope i am not discourging your plan but you need to consider all these aspects before heading to Spiti in winters.

+- Vishnu

You have the soul of the true

You have the soul of the true wanderer! Am happy to know that there are people like you who take to the road less travelled. Keep it up!

I am fortunate to see a

I am fortunate to see a comment from you sir. Thanks. You are truly an inspiration for travelers like me.

+- Vishnu

Awesome compositions and

Awesome compositions and photos!

Thanks Deepika. Keep dropping

Thanks Deepika. Keep dropping by.

Hi Vishnu,   We are planning

Hi Vishnu,

 

We are planning the trip to KAZA-Kibber Village from Delhi in between 2nd Jan -11 Jan 2015 .

 

Please suggest some tips and precautions we have to make while travelling to the trip.

 

Regards

Nitin

Hi Nitin, Reaching Kaza will

Hi Nitin,

Reaching Kaza will entirely depend on your luck. Road gets closed for weeks at times. In last January, it was closed half the time.

It will be very cold. Temperature in night will dip to -30 and if you are visiting Kibber, Komic then it might go well below -35, -40 degree.

Carry Sun glasses and sun screen because sun rays are really harsh. Keep your schedule flexible in case you get stranded for some days..

Rest is OK.. Laughing out loud

+- Vishnu

Hi Vishnu,   THanks for your

Hi Vishnu,

 

THanks for your feedback,

One more question: On the way to Pooh can we visit Sangla and Saharan Village at that time ?

and 10 days are Ok for KAZA in case we stranded there for one or two days?

With Regards

Nitin

Sangla and Sarahan should be

Sangla and Sarahan should be easy to reach.. 10 days are Ok but you can not say much about weather...

Very nice pic. Maneesh . i

Very nice pic. Maneesh

. i like theese pic. Want travel this place....

Nice.. Good luck...

Nice.. Good luck...

Looks gorgeous. Lovely

Looks gorgeous. Lovely captures!

Thanks Niranjan.. Keep

Thanks Niranjan.. Keep dropping by.

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