Struggle of Kunzum Pass – Batal – Gramphu Road | Ladakh Mega Meet

24

The Journey so far…

We woke up early morning as we had to traverse the Kunzum Pass to Gramphu route on this last day of the trip for most of us. I was already nuts thinking about the struggle we have to go through again in the car that did not have a torsion rod 😀 😀 … It is surely going to be a challenge to travel through BatalChota Dhara road which is nothing but a river bed. However, we first need to go through Kunzum Pass to Batal.

The Road to Manali from Rohtang Pass
The Road to Manali from Rohtang Pass
Day 11 | Losar – Kunzum Pass – Batal – Chatru – Gramphu – Rohtang Pass – Manali

We planned to have breakfast at Chandra Dhabha, Batal with Dorje Uncle and hence, left Losar by 7 AM in the morning. It was quite cold as we begun the bumpy drive back to Manali over Kunzum Pass from Losar. Soon our heads started to bang with each other and we were fully awake, holding on to each set of handle we could 😉 … Finally, the driver spoke that he was able to connect with his taxi owner and has asked him to come over with mechanic from Keylong 😀 😀 … Wow !! what a good news and in fact the signal at Losar were only available for 10 minutes as we reached and vanished but we were so happy to listen that he was able to get through in those 10 minutes only 🙂 🙂 … Nevertheless, it will take some really good time for the taxi owner to reach and get the torsion rod replaced and hence, we decided to prolong our breakfast at Batal.

Soon we reached Kunzum Pass, clicked few pictures and it was damn cold. Many of us had decided to head to home from the latest Volvo on this day itself including me and hence, we did not took the de-tour again to Chandratal to see the magical reflections of this moon lake. Of course, the bumpy ride was another reason to it. We reached Batal and Dorje Uncle was all up and ready preparing paranthas and stuff. We handed over the remaining medicines to him by writing the names and usage of them with a marker. This might help someone in need who may be traveling over this route. He was happy to see our efforts of DoW Causes and such gestures. But, more or less they were quite tiny in front of his brave service he has been offering to this region and helping numerous tourists in need every other season. Kudos !!

An early morning at Kunzum Pass
An early morning at Kunzum Pass

After a tummy filled breakfast, we resumed our journey towards Chota Dhara – Chatru and believe me, every rock coming below the tyres were just throwing us up, almost hitting the head on top of the car. It was such a struggle and there were no signs of owner or mechanic coming on the way. There went few water crossings and finally when we were nearing Chatru, we got to see a Gypsy coming our way and driver shouted that "Saab aagaye !!" and we asked him just to stop and let him come, no more bumps our body can take 😉 😀

This begun a stoppage of an hour almost as the mechanic replaced the torsion rod and driver’s Saab was contemplating that how come he broke this very rod again and again as we all joked together 😀 😀 … We asked him to get it surveyed his driving skills with Chevrolet, he he he 😉 😉 … Anyways, thanks to the guy who came all the way from Keylong just to get this torsion rod done for us. We thanked him, resumed the journey to Chatru – Gramphu in some good speed now and better comfort, of course. The struggle had eased out and there were less bumps. We crossed Chatru in no time and at Dorni Nalla we met couple of young adventure enthusiasts with all white faces as the boy asked "Sir, Chandratal kitna door hai?? (How far is Chandratal??)" … Looking at their white faces, I reluctantly told "Bhai, abhi to door hai, about 50+ KMs!! (It is a bit far bro, about 50 odd KMs)" … They looked more nervous and again asked "Aise road par paani aur hai?? (Are there more water crossings?)" and again I replied "Bhai, abhi shuruat hai 😀 😀 (It’s just a start bro)"… And he did not believe, replied "Aap Jhooth bol rahe hoo (You are lying to me)" 😀 😆 😆 … I said OK, have fun then 😉 😀 !!

As we said good bye to Spiti Valley
As we said good bye to Spiti Valley

Actually, the main bad stretch starts after Chatru only with water crossings and almost river bed type roads. Till Chatru from Gramphu, the roads are still manageable. Anyways, we soon reached Gramphu where signals were restored and I immediately called home to report that I am coming tonight only. They all were excited and we moved after having a cup of tea each at Gramphu dhabha. The roads from Gramphu to Rohtang Pass were in good shape, unlike season time. This made our progress faster and the taxi guy was in full mood now as it seemed a familiar road to him unlike Spiti roads 😉 😉 … He was cruising and within no time we were at the top of Rohtang Pass.

Clouds building up post Rohtang Pass
Clouds building up post Rohtang Pass
Some views at Gramphu
Some views at Gramphu

Some views at Gramphu

Some views at Gramphu
Ahh… Those tarred roads to Rohtang Pass
Ahh... That tarred road to Rohtang Pass

Those tarred roads to Rohtang Pass
Rohtang Pass
Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass
A view from Rohtang Pass
A view from Rohtang Pass

I had never seen Rohtang Pass so deserted with lovely tarred roads on either side of it. I always have seen it as a filthy pass, with lots of litter and a kind of market always running there for tourist rush. This time it looked raw and pristine, thanks to the order of the court to ban all such activities at Rohtang Pass and preserve its nature/fragile ecosystem surrounding it. We started rolling down and saw similar state of Marhi as well. Since, the roads were very good all the way till Manali, it did not took much time for us to reach there.

Driving into the clouds at Rohtang Pass
Driving into the clouds at Rohtang Pass
Manali, as seen while descending from Rohtang Pass
Manali, as seen while descending from Rohtang Pass
The loops to Rohtang Pass
The loops to Rohtang Pass
The Deserted Marhi Settlement
The Deserted Marhi Settlement

The Deserted Marhi Settlement

The Deserted Marhi Settlement
As we left Rohtang Pass behind…
As we left Rohtang Pass behind...
And we move further closer to Manali
And we move further closer to Manali

I rushed to the HPTDC Office to cancel the tickets we earlier booked and got us the new tickets in place of them for today. Then rushed to the hotel where Sourabh, Nabeel and rest of the people would be staying as we Delhi guys leave in the evening itself. They stayed at the branch of the Hotel Triveni, Sissu only which looked quite fine to me. We settled the bills with the drivers, thanked them for our safety delivery 😉 😉 … We did not have much time, just 1 Hr, before the HPTDC Volvo leaves around 3.30 PM. We all went to the market and had lunch together, one last time. It took ages for food to come and we gulped it as fast we can but still had to leave in between after bidding adieus to Sourabh, Pradip, Mainak, Sahil and Nabeel. These 5 stayed there for one more day at Manali and had fun of paragliding at Solang Valley next day before they returned to their respective homes across India. Me, my 2 cousins and Jiwesh left in the Volvo while Shakti left at night for Hoshiarpur.

I was tired, so by evening, we were sleeping like anything. It was plain old Volvo journey from Manali to Delhi as we reached in the early hours and I took an auto back home where family was already awake, waiting for my arrival.

This marked the END of this EPIC ADVENTURE of Ladakh DoW Mega Meet 2013 These 15 odd articles, summing up the entire mega adventure helped me re-live those moments I spent with all others who attended this first mega meet by DoW and these loving memories will be cherished forever deep in our hearts. Thank you each one of you for being part of this Mega Meet and I am sure that you must had enjoyed every bit of it. We did travel to far flung places in Ladakh but most importantly we travelled Responsibly 🙂

Have you even been to such a mega adventure?? If yes, how about sharing the story with me too. BTW, as this year DoW Mega Meet 2014 is approaching, the anxiety levels have started rising as over 50+ confirmations are already there for yet another Mega Adventure by DoW for Social Causes in Spiti Valley this year 🙂 🙂 … You can read about it here: Hidden Gems of Spiti Valley | DoW Mega Meet 2014

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You can call me an Avid Traveler, a Day - Night Dreamer and a Passionate Lover of Himalayas who has a high zest for driving whilst exploring new places in Himalayas & sharing back those Himalayan Travel experiences with the other fellow Travelers... I am in love with Spreading Smiles in Himalayas through DoW Causes & currently enjoying life as Happy Traveling Soul at DoW Community. You can read more about me in detail at the link here ...

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24 Comments

  1. Sir,

    What is the status of kunzum pass now. Is it open to traffic.

    We want to travel from kaza to manali on 30th June 2015. Pl let us know is it possible ?

  2. Thanks for sharing this awsm journey. can you please let me know the Road status of Manali Batal Kaza road. I am planning trip to kaza via 4 vehicle in mid week of Oct. Is it good to travel. Waiting for your reply at earliest….

  3. Umangjeet Pahwa on

    Kudos to your efforts Dheeraj sir, the way you have been documenting so much about lahual, spiti and leh, has helped me clear lot of doubts and make a plan accordingly. Can I join you on 3rd August, even though I was not able to register for DoW 2014 Mega Meet

    • Bhai where will you join us on 3rd August? Are you talking on DoW Mini Meet? If yes, for sure why not bhai. It is not dedicated for Mega Meet, rather it is a regular monthly meet we do for our DoW Community. Read complete detailed article at the link: DoW Mini Meet | Aug 2014

    • Smriti, there will surely be rains disrupting the journey and of course Kunzum Pass to manali road is no child’s play. There will surely be struggle.

  4. Mukul Kansal on

    thnku sir 🙂 and sir at dat tym road to chandertal will be open??… bikes can go upto chandertal lake??…. and sir finally if we go via shimla route….how much risky is dat road during dis period…..?

    • Mukul, it should be open by that time and if you can drive carefully bike can be taken about 13 KM to the road and then rest 1 KM or about 800 Mtrs you need to walk after the last motorable point. Mukul, traveling from Kinnaur Valley, risk will always be there no matter what day you travel.

  5. Mukul Kansal on

    really a nice trip and nicely written…..sir can u plz tell us if d roads beyond rohtang pass to spiti are open??
    we r hoping to travel on 2-3 july……

    • Thanks a lot Mukul, glad you loved the DoW Mega Meet adventure 🙂 … Currently the roads to Spiti from Manali has not been opened, may open in a week or so.

      • mukul kansal on

        thnx for replying sir….sir we r planning to leave on 4th july from shimla route….is it safe in terms of landslides areas like malling nala ….and kinnaur valley…i mean to say road conditions will be good around dat tym….

        • Mukul, if it rains then road conditions will be very bad and will pose slush stretches. Malling will be in swing but it has tamed now to quite an extent, so don’t worry much about it. Just take it as things come up. I think in a day or two Manali to Kaza route will also open.

  6. It was really the best experience u guys must have…I culd’nt join last year….but definetely b a part of this Mega meet 2014.

  7. This was one epic journey.. and is now available to all of us as a guide to explore … thanks.

    • Thank you so much Prasad bhai and yeah, finally it completed and I will try to complete my back log now as soon as possible for other trips I had in between 😀

  8. Dheeraj bhai congrats and thanks for this well narrated epic tale and stunning pics. . . And yes its true that anxiety level is very high while i am Preparing myself for spiti mega meet.

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