Delhi-spiti-Delhi : Manali, Himachal Pradesh Travelogue by vamankini



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A write-up of my trip from New Delhi to Manali via Shimla, Sarahan, Kalpa, Kaza, Tabo, Rohtang Pass

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Route = Delhi-Shimla-Sarahan-Kalpa-Tabo-Rohtang pass-Manali-Delhi
Kms Home to Home = 1700 kms
Petrol = 94 lt
Days = 7
Car = Santro

No of persons - 2
Photos at -Picasa
Videos at -

Day 1 - 15 August 09
The day started early at 0545 hrs,kicked off from R K puram and directly took the ring road to get out of the city.I day celebrations meant that there would be enough blockades and check point on all exit points.Entered the NH -1 by around 0615 and then continued till the chandigarh by pass.Had breafast at hotel next to the big bazzar -mall on the highway. The roads were good till here. As soon as i branched on to the road which was towards shimla NH22, the grinding started.The NH took turns and I reached Shimla by around 1330 hrs. We were stuck in the traffic snarl till around 1600 hrs and then headed out on the NH22 again . Hit Rampur by 1900 and sarahan by 2045.All through out the sutlej river was flowing brown in colourWhat they say is true , HILL DRIVE AND NIGHT DRIVE ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS AND NEVER TO BE DONE TOGETHER.thanks to a maruti 800 which was going in the same direction at sarahan. else .......God knows what. Found the HPDTC property. ah forgot to tell you. it was raining and i was doing a hill drive in the night. what a combination. The car was parked , the rooms checked and we checked in at that hotel. the service was good saw a lot of bikers. Hmm bikes = cycles.
The food was good, and the room was awesome. It was a cottage, with attached clean bathroom with hot water running. They had a bar and all types of cusine. Retired for the night.

Day 2- 16 Aug 09
Next morning was great as I found the view from the window to be one of the best . all sides were mountains, i could see the tiny road that i took to come up and the fog covered mountians all over. there was no snow as it had already melted away. Now the crucial call had to be taken, do we stay for a day at sarahan or move to kalpa. Called up Aucktong Guest house at kalpa and decided to move the same day.Had lunch, decided to have a chicken cutlet with FF (bad decision, it was based on the veg cutlet served for Breakfast).Rolled out at around 1300 hrs. you have to come down all the way to NH22 ,alomost 12 kms and then continue ahead on NH. realised that i dont have much cash in case of an on the way, stopped at an ATM (rare commodity). This SBI atm was there as there are lot of Hydro electric projects going on in this belt. they are drilling thru mountains,making roads and god knows what all . one thing is for sure ,10 years from now we might have all the electricity required for running our country .but we will lose the natural look of this area.So head out now and see all this when its still there.Reached reckong peo by 1700 and then took the steep climb to kalpa and checked in by 1745 hrs. Washed down the car as she needed a bath very badly. The old aucktong guest is now converted into a hotel and its being mananged by someone else. But no complaints, clean, silent, nice and cheap also. We decided to stay on for a day in kalpa.There was no mobile service provider here other than airtel and bsnl
Day 3- 17 Aug 09
Slept till late and woke up to see the view from balcony -for the firt time- peaks with snow patches were visual. The beauty is something out of the world. spent the day wandering around in the proximity. there is nothing to do out there other than live the peaceful moments of life and watch the scenic beautyslept early as we decided that we will move out the next day to tabo and tabo is far .yes FAR
Day 4 -18 Aug 09
Started the journey from kalpa at around 1000 hrs and climed down to reckong peo. while comming to reckong peo we had topped up the tank at the powari cantt nearby. so fuel was not an issue at the moment. we headed out on the NH once more. The scene was changing with every turn. the colour of the mountains was changing with every turn that i took. The roads were bad at times. we slowly inched towards tabo and when we reached tabo,it appeared to be the most unexpected thing. it was a bit cold up there and we found accomodation in the monastry. this was great. the resturant run by a couple inside the monastry was great. The soup was nice. the momos were filling and tasty. we retired for the night and decided that we need to start pretty early. maybe by 6.
Day 5 - 19 Aug 09
we were hit by chilled winds as we drove out of the monastry at dot 6am. The drive to kaza was nice, with a occassional view of the snow patches on the mountains . We reached Kazaat around 8ish and the only pump ,rather it was the highest location for a retail outlet in the world. the outlet was of IOC and the rate was same as delhi, below 50rs. topped up the tank and moved on. This drive was meant to take us thru various passes and then thru the rohtang pass and then to manali. we didnt have any reservations or any booking. so were free to move as we wanted . this drive was the best till now. the drops on some points would send a shiver down my spine and we had to work the heater of the car for majority of the time. Officially around 75 kms of this drive, there are no roads. only a dirt track. but we found it ok. either sutlej or one of its branches would also keep up company on one side of the road. we would come down some hill to almost the river bed level and then go up to such heights that would make you dizzy to look down to the riverThe snow capped mountains would come close and then new ones would appear at a distance. we managed to take a few snaps and videos.The final approach to rohtang pass was the best. but soon as we reached rohtang pass. all hell broke loose. BRO is trying to make the road into 2 lane and now is "NOWAY". The state of the road is very bad, its slushy at some places. we would have bumped against a 100 stones as we cant see them embedded inside the slush. A lorry lay by the wayside upside down. it was really bad . i was thinking that challenges of crossing a stream and negotiating turns are over when i reached r-pass. but, this road had it all, really bad state of affairs. came down the rohtang pass manali road by evening and moved on to book a hotel on yatra. ah reliance started working from rohtang pass. so we could check the rates of various options and then book. headed to a swiss cottage 2 kms from mall road. a quiet, nicely done place. we had booked the place for 2 days. had our fill soon after the descesed at a restaurant while booking for the accomodation. So just ordered soup and went to sleep and i needed a rest badly after doing that rohtang pass route. Well deserved i say
Day 6 -20 Aug 09
Nothing much . shopping and local sight seeing at manali and retired for the night
Day 7 -21 AUG 09
Started by around 7.30 and aim was to reach chandigarh by lunch time. but then, had a problem with brake liners of the rear wheel. The liners had worn out and the piston rather wheel assembly was stuck to one side and was causing the liners minus the graphite to rub on the drum. so go the brake issolated and headed out to mandi. the nearest hyundai service center was at mandi 45 kms. reached mandi, those guys did a good job, changed my rear liners and the assembly on one side. topped up the brake fluid. checked my hand brake. filled some coolant and i rolled out. Hit the outskirts of delhi by around 2100 hrs and i am thankful for that as else i would have been stuck in the traffic jam that happened as it had rained in delhi. ConclusionThis is definitely not for the weak hearted, as some off the drops can give u heart attacks. some of the crossing ( across water flowing over round big stones on the so called roads) can give u the jitters. but i recommend that you should include it in the 10 things to do before you die list and do it .hmm that reminds me . have to look for 9 more things.Had carried SATGUIDE. was of not much use. Infact they dont have maps after kalpa. so plan to give them the data from my logger. maybe they can build the raods. Tried my hand at some off road things, but realised its too risky with a vehicel with such low ground clearance. The fuel efficiency has impressed me . Got 17+ on an average. the one thing that you should buy if u plan to do this kind of route. pick up the travel guide from outlook. they have turn by turn info on this. nice job there..
need more info mail me at vamankini at

Hope you enjoyed reading my travelogue.

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This Travelogue 'Delhi-spiti-Delhi' was posted by vamankini on Monday, August 24, 2009.


vamankini lives in Mumbai(Maharashtra).
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4 Comments on 'Delhi-spiti-Delhi'
A travelogue about a trip to Shimla, Sarahan, Kalpa, Kaza, Tabo, Rohtang Pass
On 10/21/2009 8:06:20 PM chawlarachit said...

Hey! nice one.. did you actually travel to Spiti Valley or till Manali?.

On 10/21/2009 8:03:43 PM chawlarachit said...

Hey! nice one.. did you actually travel to Spiti Valley or till Manali?.

On 8/27/2009 4:23:28 PM Bob Symn said...

Really liked your travelogue, how much the whole trip cost...

On 8/25/2009 9:25:15 AM Mukesh Miyan said...

Excellent read, and am really surprised you did it in a Santro...Thanks a ton for sharing this. .

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