We have already talked about How To Travel to Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur and How To Travel to Spiti Valley from Manali and now if you compare these two routes, there are certain definitive advantages and disadvantages of each one of them. In the last article I talked about 5 Reasons to Travel Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur Route, looking at the advantages one gets when traveling this treacherous and longish route to Spiti Valley. In this article, I will talk about the 5 Reasons to Travel Spiti Valley from Manali Route 🙂 …
1. Lesser Time to Reach Spiti Valley: Compared to road to Spiti Valley from Shimla, the road to Spiti Valley from Manali is not that shorter in distance but definitely in time taken to traverse the route. As it is apparent in the below Altitude v/s Distance graphs for both the routes, the difference in distance between Delhi – Shimla – Kaza (791 KMs) AND Delhi – Manali – Kaza (772 KMs) is just mere 19 KMs. However, you can reach Manali that is 570 KMs of drive within a day or about 12 Hrs journey from Delhi due to mostly excellent and wide roads leading to it. Next day, remaining 202 KMs can be done to reach Kaza by evening. However, as discussed in previous article you have to brave the AMS as the altitude difference is abrupt while we travel this route as apparent in graphs below. But, if you are short on number of days and road to Spiti Valley from Manali is open, better run through it to save a day for you and also fatigue levels. You can always descend to Tabo to control the AMS by starting 2 Hrs early from Manali.
2. Less Susceptible to Landslides: I understand the road between Gramphu and Kunzum Pass is very treacherous but an experience plus beauty in itself. Moreover this route from Manali is less susceptible to landslides as compared to roads in Kinnaur Valley especially in monsoons. On this route the major hurdle is used to be slush around Rohtang Pass, about 10 KMs each side of it and water crossing between Kunzum Pass and Gramphu. If you leave early from Manali, these water crossings are manageable but in Kinnaur Valley, monsoons wreck havoc and there are many number of zones where constant shooting stones and slides happen, major being Malling Nalla ahead of Nako. And this is time window when this route from Manali is open and can be used to reach Spiti Valley. You can enter the rain shadow region as quickly as possible by risking the rains just for a couple of days, almost a day less than traveling to Spiti Valley from Shimla. I know this is arguable but still personally I will prefer going to Spiti Valley from Manali in rainy seasons as compared to Shimla side.
3. Ease of Accessibility: Well, the route from Manali to Spiti Valley is also easily accessible using the public transport when compared to route to Spiti Valley from Shimla or Kinnaur. There are daily buses that runs between Manali and Delhi and one can take overnight bus to reach Manali. You can take a Volvo run by HRTC or HPTDC to Manali from Delhi and then HRTC buses ply buses on Kullu – Manali – Rohtang Pass – Kunzum Pass – Kaza route. There are two HRTC buses which runs between Manali and Kaza every morning, as soon as road to Spiti Valley via Manali get open in the season, mostly in mid-June. These buses run from Kullu to Kaza via Manali and it reaches Manali around 4.45 AM and leaves at 5.00 AM. Ticket to Kaza will cost you only about INR 250 approximately per person. Further more, if you want to reach Tabo, there is an HRTC bus that runs from Kaza at 2 PM to Chango which can drop you to Tabo for the night stay on Day 2, which helps in better acclimatization. However, when compared, the buses are not that frequent when you enter from Kinnaur and even Reckong Peo has a daily bus from Chandigarh. Hence, from Delhi, you need to hop onto 3 buses to reach Kaza from Kinnaur side as I am not sure if there is a direct bus to Reckong Peo from Delhi.
4. Cheaper in Budget: Now, since we know that Spiti Valley is easily accessible from Manali side by public transport, using HRTC buses one can reach Kaza in cheapest means with overnight halt at just Manali. While coming from Shimla to Spiti Valley, you will end up paying more for transport plus you will be staying on the route for 2 nights which itself will increase the lodging expenditure. Hence, the route to Spiti Valley from Manali is cheaper as well when compared with route from Shimla – Kinnaur side.
5. Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass: If you are one of those like me who is fascinated crossing over various high altitude passes, then it has to be route to Spiti Valley from Manali as you will be crossing Rohtang Pass (3980 Mtrs) first to enter Lahaul Valley from Kullu Valley and then you will cross Kunzum Pass (4551 Mtrs) to enter Spiti Valley from Lahaul Valley. Running over these passes is a kind of a feeling in itself!! 🙂 🙂
I hope this short series of two articles on both the routes to Spiti Valley will help all of you who are in a bit of confusion choosing among these two routes i.e. Spiti Valley from Manali side v/s Spiti Valley from Shimla – Kinnaur side. Now, you can weigh the advantages of both these routes and decide which one suits you the best given the circumstances, which direction to take if interested in complete circuit, etc.. in order to Travel to Spiti Valley.
Have you ever been to Spiti Valley through Hindustan – Tibet Highway or via Manali? If yes, please share your view points, suggestions or inputs as comments below, it will help other fellow travellers to plan their own journey too.
Are you planning to go to Spiti Valley via Hindustan – Tibet Highway or Manali? If yes, please feel free to ask any queries or doubts you have regarding the your plan either in comments section OR in the DoW – Himalayan Travel Community & Forums. I will be happy to reply and discuss them with you. Looking forward to your responses 🙂