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

Poplar trees waiting for another Spring
And here I was in Kaza, the town I was dreaming to visit during winters since my first visit to the Spiti valley. As all the hotels were closed and it is impossible to survive in concrete houses in -30 temperature, I was living with a family in mud house. It was nice and cozy. On the ground floor, there was a small room where Chaktap (Oven sort of) was installed in the middle. Everyone in the family sits around the Chaktap where we burn wood with kerosene oil. For the smoke, there was a chimney with an outlet on the roof.
Skating is the new game
Besides lazing around the warm oven, I used to go outside for meaningless stroll in the streets of Kaza with leafless willow trees. Rivers were frozen. Kids were muffled. Sometimes to the only liquor shop opposite to the bank ATM. tried to learn skating and failed miserably. Crossed over the frozen Spiti river many times. In between, captured some moments around the supreme solitude of Spiti's winter.

People crossing the frozen stream which flows in the middle of Kaza

Trailing over the frozen rivulet at Kaza

During winters, washing the cloths is the most challenging part and this lady was doing with the water flowing under neath the frozen rivulet.

Washing the clothes

must be wondering where is water which is buried inside (sort of)

Struggle for unknown waters

Water buried under the snow

Getting water was a challenge. Everyday...

An Experiment with patience

Cleaning snow was another daily ritual which kept me occupied every single morning. You will have to clear the snow off as soon as possible before it starts to melt on the mud-roof. It was always a race against the time.

Clearing off the snow

Clearing the roof

And at times, they posed with impish glee.

And they posed for me

Crossing over frozen Spiti turned out one of my favorite pass times. I used to slip on frozen surface and at times climbed against the snow-laden slopes.

A bridge

Precarious bridges

And there were complete white moments in the middle of the river.

The white beauty of a cold desert

Morning sunshine over the frozen river was surreal

Shining over the snow white landscape

And it was frozen in mysterious ways.

Here comes the spiti River

Keep wondering how thick the surface is and take the risk. I named it "the River game"

Over the frozen river

 

Rippling of a cold river

Yet, Water was an integral part of the river. As always.

The mild side of a river

And the random trails

Between Earth and Sky

And i walked to the other shore for the distant view of Kaza

Trail over a frozen river

On a sleepless night, I went out as snow stopped and temperature dipped to -30 degree. Tried to capture winter night without a tripod.

Night snow and sheer silence

An evening shot of winter sky and snowclad mountain

 

Night, Stars and fresh snow underneath

Snow continued again and the city of Kaza when it snows

Snowing in Kaza

 

Blizzard over kaza

 

Facing a day of snowing

Everyone embraces the harsh winter with sheer grace and dignity. All stay together in hard times.

Stay together in hard times

Even the lifeless objects stand strong

Long wait for water

In those winter days, I lost myself in the streets of Kaza or perhaps found again in a way

Streets of Kaza during winters

wow....i have to

wow....i have to shimla-spiti-lahaul-manali bike trip in August this year. but ji want to experience winters in spiti....how far can i cover spiti from shimla side if i go in bike? is it possible to cover whole circuit in winters? please throw some light

Hi, I am planning to visit

Hi,
I am planning to visit kaza in late november or starting of december on motorbikes with friends. Please guide me which route should we take and are the roads conditions suitable for motorbike. Any other precautions regarding staying & driving.
Regards
Vinod

Hi, I plan on spending the

Hi,

I plan on spending the new year in Kaza.

Questions:-

Does the Shimla-Kaza Bus service stay active during the winters(December-January).

What accomodation can I get in Kaza,assuming commercial places like lodges, dorms and guest houses are closed.

Bare minimum essentials to survive in this kind of cold weather without getting sick and ruining the trip.

 

Thanks,

Pradeep

Can i go on my own car. Plz

Can i go on my own car. Plz update and reply me on my mail.

Thank you

Hi I am going to visit Spiti

Hi

I am going to visit Spiti in month of December 2017 via Shimla route. Could u please provide me someone contact so that I can arrange for my transportation and honestly.

Ok.. sure will send you an

Ok.. sure will send you an email with details.

Hi Vishnu, If am already in

Hi Vishnu,

If am already in Kaza would i be able to book a cab for local sightseeing or travelling to Manali or Shimla. am looking at sometime in Sep.

Also could you share some info on homestays.

Yes. you can book cab for

Yes. you can book cab for Manali or Shimla. There are plenty of homestays in entire Spiti valley.

Hey Vishnu !! Nice

Hey Vishnu !! Nice Pics!!

Need your suggestion here ....

Am planning a week long drive to Kaza from Delhi starting Feb- 11th. My family (we are totally 6) would be accompanying me.

I have done this circuit two years back in a swift in the month of september. The winter spiti looks altogether different though.

1. With regards the snow an black ice, is feb mid any better than Jan mid- when you have been to kaza ?

2. I do not have any experience with big vehicles, so planning to rent a self driven Ertiga. Will there be any major issues with Ertiga during that point of year(feb mid) while on drive to Kaza?

3. Are these black ice too frequent? I mean from sarahan to kaza how far/ how long/ which patches do we encounter them?

4. And pls do pass on the number of local homestays in kaza and enroute too !!

 

1. With regards the snow an

1. With regards the snow an black ice, is feb mid any better than Jan mid- when you have been to kaza ?

I have been to Kaza in Mid Jan

2. I do not have any experience with big vehicles, so planning to rent a self driven Ertiga. Will there be any major issues with Ertiga during that point of year(feb mid) while on drive to Kaza?

I would not recommend you to drive on your own if you have never driven on snow/ice. It is very different than what you experienced in summers. better go using shared taxi or hire a local driver.

3. Are these black ice too frequent? I mean from sarahan to kaza how far/ how long/ which patches do we encounter them?

Black-Ice is pretty much everywhere on entire route.

4. And pls do pass on the number of local homestays in kaza and enroute too !!

I will give you a number which might be useful.

+- Vishnu

 

Hey Vishnu !! Nice pics

Hey Vishnu !! Nice pics !!

Need your suggestion here ! I am planning a drive to kaza with my family (totally 6 members), feb 11th to 18th . 

1. Will the roads be any better than whats seen in your pics ??

2. Have driven swift in spiti in the month of september, two years back. Planning to drive Ertiga this time(since i do not have experience with bigger vehicles). Can Ertiga do it at that time of feb ??

3. And please do pass on the contact details of local homestays in Kaza !!

1. Will the roads be any

1. Will the roads be any better than whats seen in your pics ??

I am not sure. all depend on snow situation this year.

2. Have driven swift in spiti in the month of september, two years back. Planning to drive Ertiga this time(since i do not have experience with bigger vehicles). Can Ertiga do it at that time of feb ??

Nope. its different than September

3. And please do pass on the contact details of local homestays in Kaza !!

can u give your friends

can u give your friends number with whom u stayed in kaza?

Sure. i will mail you that.

Sure. i will mail you that.

Omg.....this looks like

Omg.....this looks like haven.....I visited spiti valley in Oct 2016....and I fell in love with kaza.... I fell sick though so couldn't enjoy as much as I wanted.....  and didn't get the chance to see snow covered spiti valley.....you are so lucky you got to experience this......

Thanks for your comment. Keep

Thanks for your comment. Keep dropping by.

Hi Vishnu I am planning to go

Hi Vishnu

I am planning to go spiti on jan 26th. As you told hotels get closed during winters, can you help me with some contacts for homestay?

 

Thanks in advance

Harnav

I will send you a number

I will send you a number which might be useful.

Great photoblog Vishnu. Can I

Great photoblog Vishnu. Can I please get concern phone no. for stay in Kaza. I'm planning to go in January 2017. 

sure. will send you a number

sure. will send you a number which might be useful.

Hi, Thanks for sharing

Hi,

Thanks for sharing wonderful pictures.

 

We are group of freinds and planing to go upto Kaza in End January, 2017. Will it be accessbile.WE have 2-3 Toyota Fortunner with each carrying 3 passengers.

Our nightly halt is planned as following:

Day 1  Narkanda

Day 2 Reckong Peo/Kalpa

Day 3 Kaza

Day 4 Kaza

Day 5 Kalpa/Reckong Peo

Day 6 Narkanda

Day 7 back to Delhi.

 

Also i have found 2-3 hotels in Reckong Peo/Kalpa, what do you recommend will be ideal warm comfortable places to stay in following

Narkanda(Some nice resort)

Reckong Peo/Kalpa

Kaza. (Last time we stayed at Hotel Deyzor) and it was very comforatable.

 

Look forward to some feedback from your. we will be 8-9 people or 6-7 people.

 

Kind reagards

Raman

Accessibility will depend on

Accessibility will depend on snow situation. at times roads are closed for a week or so. sometimes for few days. but if you do not have any time bound plan then definitely you can reach. Itineray is very much doable considering road is open. Kalpa to Kaza in one day will be really a long drive.

With respect to resorts, I have limited knowledge. In Kaza, you will not find any hotel open so will have to go for a homestay or something.

Amazing write up and nice

Amazing write up and nice pics. Kindly share details for the honestly. Planning 3 rd week if January for 6 people.
Thanks

What exactly do you want ?...

What exactly do you want ?... I will send a number which might be useful with respect to transport and accommodation.

Hey bro! M planning a trip in

Hey bro! M planning a trip in first week January with two of my friends. Wts the worst case scenario?

 

In case it snows heavily then

In case it snows heavily then road might get blocked for sometime. may be for a month.

hI,  Planning to travel to

hI, 

Planning to travel to Spiti. We will be 2 people so will mostly opt for local trasnport and local homestays. Could you please share the details of the local homestay, and how much will they charge approximately? Also, Is it possible to go there using local transport. 

 

Can you also share your contact number so that i can discuss this with you in detail :) 

Long back it was 800 INR per

Long back it was 800 INR per day including everything. I will pass a number which might be useful.

Hi bro, i am plannig a trip

Hi bro, i am plannig a trip for Kaza too, can you help me with the number you have, if yes than that whould be a great trip for us. Smile

 

 

sure. will send the number

sure. will send the number which might be useful.

Hi Vishnu, I am planning to

Hi Vishnu,

I am planning to travel to Kaza in the last week of december, can you please send me some contacts for home stay?

The information will be of great help to me.

Thank you

I will do that.

I will do that.

Hi vishnu,   Great

Hi vishnu,

 

Great article.

 

I am planning a trip to kaza on 22 decembet with 3 of y fruends in a 4*4 duster. Can you please provide me eith the itenary to be taken and also for the home accomodation. It will be of great help.

 

Regards,

Ankit

There is no itinerary as such

There is no itinerary as such if you are planning in December. I am sure 4*4 duster will be able to negoitate the snow. I will send you the number for homestays etc. All the very best.

Hi Vishnu! Thanks for this.

Hi Vishnu! Thanks for this. The photographs are amazing. Planning a trip with a friend in the last week of December. Could you please help out with the contact details of your friend who can help us in finding accommodation? 

Sure. Abhinav. I will pass a

Sure. Abhinav. I will pass a number which might be useful.

Hi Vishnu Great post and

Hi Vishnu

Great post and pics. Came across it when I started my research for a trip into Spiti sometime in the next 3-4 months (winter).

You mentioned that you have a friend there who can help with basics like accommodation and meals (living and eating with locals in their home would be lovely) Is this friend still available in Kaza? If so, please send me his contact details, so I can take his advice and plan further for my trip.

Thanks in advance.

Mihir

 

Yes, my friend is based out

Yes, my friend is based out of Kaza. I will pass you his number. All the best for your trip.

Hi Vishnu, I am planning to

Hi Vishnu,

I am planning to travel to Kaza in the last week of december, can you please send me some contacts for home stay?

The information will be of great help to me.

Thank you

Sure. I will send an email.

Sure. I will send an email.

Hi Vishnu, Loved your

Hi Vishnu,

Loved your travelogue. I'm planning to visit Kaza by the end of Dec. Could you please share the details of the accomodation where we can stay at that time.

Thanks in advance!

 

 

I will send you a number

I will send you a number which might be useful.

Hey i and one od my friend is

Hey i and one od my friend is planning to visit the valley in march end. Can you mail me contact detail for local accom and local transportation. Thankyou.

Sure. I will send you the

Sure. I will send you the details.

Hi Vishnu, I'm so happy to

Hi Vishnu,

I'm so happy to read this post of yours. This is by far the best I have came across. 

I am planning to do it in Jan 2017 and have about 20 days for it, have some questions for the same if you could provide me your email Id ? I will be very thankful to you.

 

Regards

Prakriti Varshney

 

Good to know about your trip.

Good to know about your trip. will send you an email which might be useful.

Hey Vishnu, congratulations

Hey Vishnu, congratulations on your successful trip and thank you so much for sharing this experience.

I am planning a solo trip to kaza on 9th december.

Could you please provide me with contact deatils of the homestay ?

Stay healthy stay blessed.

Thanks for the wishes. will

Thanks for the wishes. will send you an email which might be useful.

Hi, great post....and lovely

Hi, great post....and lovely pics ...are these pics  of dec months..?

No. these photos are from

No. these photos are from Mid-January.

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