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  • Writer's pictureAayush Sharma


Updated: Oct 1, 2023

College was coming to an end, it was May 2019. Me and my friend Raghav decided to plan a trip to the Spiti Valley. After researching how to reach Spiti and also how to commute over there, I warned Raghav that this trip is going to be a bit adventurous, not an easy one. Also, I told him that it would take us two days to reach Spiti since we were going to take the route via Shimla, not Manali. The route via Manali was closed due to the presence of heavy snow in Rohtang. Although the Manali route is shorter than the Shimla route. We reached Shimla early morning (6-7 am) by overnight Volvo bus which we booked through the red bus application. To book bus tickets, redBus is highly recommended. Our bus to Reckong Peo was also an overnight trip and the departure time was 8 pm. So we had almost half a day in Shimla and instead of booking a room or something we went to New Shimla to our friend’s Massi (Aunt) house. She was such a sweet host, we did breakfast there and also kept our rucksacks. We had enough time to roam on the Mall road of Shimla and that is exactly what we did. By late evening, we went to the Shimla bus stand and got seated on the bus for Reckong Peo. This overnight journey was crazy, the roads were so bumpy, and also there were a lot of local passengers who were traveling without booking. When your bus experience goes from Volvo to HRTC, it is a big downgrade.

After an adventurous and almost sleepless overnight bus journey, we reached Reckong Peo by 6-7 am. It was so cold in the morning that we had to wear an extra sweater under our jackets. We planned to stay in Reckong Peo for one night and then the next day we’ll leave for Kaza, Spiti Valley. From the bus stop, we hired an alto to reach Kalpa where our stay was, at Hotel Snow Hill View. After taking some rest we decided to go on a trek for Chaka Peak, the route was from just behind our hotel. Chaka is a camping area from where you get to see a proper view of Chaka Peak. Sadly, we got lost while trekking, and also Raghav got his leg injured because of which we had to return after 2-3 hours of trek. The trek was beautiful and we clicked a lot of pictures too. After coming back, Raghav stayed in the room and I went to the market area and a monastery. By late evening I went for a long walk from my hotel to Suicide Point and then to Roghi Village. Long walks in the mountains are so pleasant, and the air in which we breathe is so clear and fresh. While coming back, I took the local bus and reached the hotel at dinner time. We called the day off a bit early because after the trek we were quite tired and also during the last night we were traveling on the bus and couldn’t get proper sleep.

To reach Kaza from Reckong Peo, there were two options either we take hrtc bus or a shared tempo/jeep. We found a 9-seater sumo. A bus is cheapest but we chose comfort over price. Bolero driver charged us 600Rs each. The road trip from Reckong Peo to Kaza was so magical, the journey was full of scenic beauties. It took us around 6 to 7 hours to reach Kaza, Spiti. We already knew the place where we had to stay, Lhasa homestay. So after reaching Kaza we directly went to Lhasa Homestay and booked ourselves a stay for 3 nights. In Spiti Valley, there are various villages:- Chicham, Kee, Langza, Komic, Hikkim, Kibber, Dhankar, etc. After booking our stay we planned the itinerary for 2 days and how we are going to explore these villages. We found a guy Tanju who owned a brand new Baleno and after negotiating with him, we booked him for 2 days where he will take us to every village mentioned above. After sorting out everything like our stay and how we gonna commute, we started roaming around in Kaza, the marketplace, and cafes.


We started the day early and called up Tanju. The first place where he took us was Chicham Bridge. This bridge is known to be the highest bridge in Asia. It is around 4100 meters in moisture sensitivity level. We didn’t go into the Chicham village because of a shortage of time and also we had to cover other places too. We clicked some pictures and spent around 15-20 minutes. Tanju was such a great guy, he kept us entertained since he was a local from Spiti only so he knew a lot of things about that place.


From Chicham we planned to visit the Key Monastery, so we went there through that route which crosses Kibber village, one of the highest villages in the world. It is also acclaimed as the second-highest motorable village in the world. There is a wildlife sanctuary in Kibber which is present on the bank of the Spiti River and this sanctuary is the only cold desert wildlife sanctuary in India.


The next stop was the Key Monastery (Kye Gompa), it is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training center for Lamas. I consider it to be one of the most beautifully constructed monasteries. Also, there is a teaching center where a lot of students come and gain an education. This place is so peaceful that it feels like you have found all the peace you were searching for.


In Langza, there is a gigantic statue of Gautam Buddha overlooking the Spiti Valley. We clicked a lot of pictures there. Then we went into a tea shop near the statue where I tried the local tea of Spiti containing sea buckthorn leaves. Also, we met a girl, Nivedita a lone traveler from Mumbai. We shared our experiences of the ongoing trip. Our next two destinations were common – Komic and Hikkim, so she hitch-hiked with us from Langza.


Komic is the world’s highest village which is connected by a motorable road at 4587 meters. It was our hard luck that Komic Gompa was closed so we couldn’t go inside, we just clicked pictures on the doorstep. There was a Monastery known as the Tangyud Monastery where the body of a rare snow leopard was preserved. And to be clear, no one killed the leopard, the reason was natural death and monks decided to preserve the body. Afterward, we had lunch in “World’s highest Restaurant”. At one point I started believing that everything in Spiti is tagged as “highest in the world”.


Hikkim is famous for the world’s highest post office that is situated there. For memory, all of us sent a postcard from there to our homes. There was a small shop where you can buy a postcard and other souvenirs. Also, there were fossils that were way too old. After clicking pictures we left for our stay and while going back we dropped Nivedita in the middle of nowhere because she wanted to go on foot. We were afraid but she was confident enough to go on her own. I have never seen such a brave and fearless girl. Respect to her.

For the second day, we only had one place on our itinerary and that was Dhankar. We had our return journey to Rampur for the next day early morning. We booked two seats for a 12-seater tempo traveler as it was a comfortable and the only budget-friendly option.


While going to Dhankar, Tanju told us that on the way to Dhankar, we will cross Lhalung village. I said why not we make a stop here in Lhalung and also see the Lhalung Monastery which is considered to be one of the oldest monasteries of Spiti. That’s what we did, we made a stoppage of 10-15 minutes and clicked some pictures. The word “Lhalun” means the land of gods and also it is believed that Lhalung devta is the head of all the devtas of the valley.


We reached Dhankar and Tanju took us to a shop where we had our breakfast and coffee. While sitting I and Raghav decided to do the trek first and then after the trek, we will visit the Dhankar Monastery. Trek to Dhankar Lake was fun but the terrain was a bit rough and also the oxygen level decreased with increasing altitude. I didn’t face any serious problems but yes I did feel that my oxygen level was lowering gradually. If someone has any kind of breathing problem, I won’t recommend this trek to that person. It hardly took 1.5 hours to reach the lake. The moment we reached the top and the view we saw was magical. Bluewater surrounded by snowy mountains, it was heaven. All my tiredness got washed away after seeing the mystical Dhankar Lake. I think these challenges are nothing in front of the view. Just sit back there, relax, and adore the view. After returning from the trek, we visited the Dhankar Monastery. It was magnificent and beautifully constructed. Here the body of a Himalayan Ibex was preserved. We also saw the meditation rooms in the monastery where I noticed one thing the ceilings of the rooms were very low. Tanju told us that this was because earlier the monks were very short.

After returning from Dhankar, we were back in Kaza. It was the time when Tanju parted ways. He became a very friend of ours in this journey. There were no mobile networks in Kaza, only MTNL was there and that’s why we used Tanju’s mobile to call home. He also gave us a local tour of Kaza. This is what traveling is all about, meeting new people from all over and experiencing their culture.

We spent our last night in Spiti and the next day early morning we left for Rampur. It was a very long journey which took almost 13-14 hours. Generally, it takes around 8-9 hours but due to landslides on our way to Rampur, the journey time increased. We reached Rampur around 7-8 pm and from the Rampur bus stand, we took the hrtc bus to Shimla. And then finally we reached Shimla around 11 pm. It was a long hectic journey of around 17-18 hours. Now we were in a dilemma whether we rent a place to stay or not because we had our return journey booked for Delhi for which only 6-7 hours were left. We reached the Shimla bus stand by 11 pm and the bus for Delhi was at 6 am. So there was no point in booking a hotel room just for a few hours, that’s why we spent the night at the bus stop only. First time experience of spending a night at the bus stop.

After having an early morning breakfast near the bus stop, we boarded our bus to Delhi and that’s how our trip ended. Spiti Valley is a heaven on earth and I think every mountain lover should go on a road trip to Spiti Valley.


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