Spiti Valley Sprint | Feeling Shimla to Kinnaur Valley

7

The Journey so far-

Day 1 – 5th October, 2011 | Shimla – Rampur – Powari – Ribba

After a good buns and nice sweet sweet tea, we were heading towards Rampur which was our next stop for the brunch as the dhabha had Fagu didn’t offer much scope for complete breakfast. As we continued till Theog the road conditions were not that great and frankly was not enjoying the ride so far due to beating sunshine 🙂 … Just before we reached Narkanda, the road started to improve considerably and then it was like a smooth run to Rampur where I took a break and my cousin Dhruv took the wheel for good 2 Hrs upto Rampur. I was asleep finally and didn’t know what happened for about an hour or so. When I woke up I said, it was treat to see Satluj has joined us very near to the road. This meant couple of photo breaks and also that Rampur is nearing. At about 12 PM were there at Bhushahar Regency, HPTDC Rampur. When we went inside they told they do not have anything and will resume the kitchen services after an hour or so. But, Café Satluj, HPTDC was few meters ahead, so we went we did on our last trip to Kinnaur Valley. The difference between Café Satluj, HPTDC and Bushahar Regency, HPTDC is that which the former is a Bar cum restaurant while latter provides accommodation and has restaurant but NO bar 🙂 …

A lonely house near Narkanda…
A lonely house near Narkanda
He wanted a much needed profile photo :D…
Narkanda
Narkanda looking calm and soothing…
Narkanda
Cutting through the hills… The River Satluj…
The River Satluj
The other side of Satluj…
The other side of Satluj River
Running along the side walls…
Hindustan Tibet Highway
Perhaps I am wondering how much we have covered so far :)…
Dheeraj Sharma on the way to Spiti Valley

Guys at Café Satluj took too much time to serve the meals but we were happy to watch the drama between a finicky old foreigner lady and his guide… Not sure why that lady was upset but perhaps because they (old lady and their group) didn’t get the permits to Kinnaur-Spiti valley due to holiday 🙂 … Nevertheless, in about half-hour we had our brunch served at the tables and next half an hour it took to take it down 😀 … Finally, satisfied we were about to move for the final run of the day… But, even after various confirmations in between with the entire group about the nature daily calls and other freshen up activities while we were watching the drama, Saurabh said: “I will come in 2 minutes”. We said OK and went to sit in the car, the clock ticked 1.20 PM and still there were no signs of Saurabh 😯 … We went down in the loo to confirm, he again said “two minutes” but the whole procedure took about 20-25 odd minutes when he finally showed up… But thank god he did eventually, we had to understand and also we were glad he was not hungry again 😆 …

As the river Satluj comes next to your side near Rampur…
River Satluj near Rampur
An empty glass…
An empty glass at HPTDC Cafe Satluj, Rampur...
Our usual meal spot… HPTDC Cafe Satluj, Rampur…
HPTDC Cafe Satluj, Rampur

Time was running for us and Puh was still more than 100 KMs away. It looked unlikely that we will reach Puh today so we decided to go as far as possible and may be make Jangi as our destination for the night halt. The Kinnaur Dwar welcomed us to Dev Bhoomi… Then, there were few trademark Kinnaur – Spiti pictures along the carved mountains and the roads or the ledge… We crossed Bhawanagar in no time and it refreshed our memories again of the last trip when no one offered accommodation to us and had to sleep in the car in front of a hotel at Kalpa right in the middle of the night 😀 … This time we didn’t need one, so we zoom past the town. As the roads black Tar from roads started to become invisible we assumed that we have entered the JayPee Dam Projects area around Wangtoo, Tapri, Karcham… This time one of the road after bridge from where we took left last year towards Kalpa had been changed and this led us to the confusion where we hit the barrier of some Dam project. The security guard said that that part of the road is now under Dam and we need to go straight on the other side of the bridge. That road will connect us back to Peo road. I guess all this happened between Wangtoo and Karcham but cannot recall the exact locations… Nevertheless, as soon as we entered that part of the road, the road conditions further deteriorated and up to Reckong Peo there were some really narrow landslide zones which required great caution and care. I let everyone because many idiots just keep honking even if you are driving at 40+ in hills 😯 though the roads left us drive not more than 20-25 🙂 …

The roads less travelled…
Hindustan Tibet Highway
Making its way… through the mountains…
Hindustan Tibet Highway in Kinnaur Valley
Hindustan Tibet Highway in Kinnaur Valley
Hindustan Tibet Highway in Kinnaur Valley
Perhaps he desperately wanted to be in frame with the background :D…
Dhruv at Hindustan Tibet Highway in Kinnaur Valley

Finally, we crossed the diversion to Reckong Peo on Hindustan Tibet Highway and it was like 4.15 PM types. In between, we refueled at Powari petrol pump for the second time in the day (first at Narkanda). Though we had fuel but Powari Petrol station is one that should not be missed because then after Powari one can find Petrol only at Kaza about 180+ KMs type. So, when you plan Spiti then do not miss Powari Petrol pump to tank up the fuel. Getting back to the story, well now were finally into the unknown zone which we had not travelled before. We abandoned our last trip to Spiti at Kinnaur due to a massive landslide at Puh. The road from Powari to Akpa was in one hell of a shape, perhaps the ugliest of the all we had today. The progress was pathetically slow and sunlight had started to fade… May be some portion of the speed was taken up due to the unfamiliarity of the roads as it was the first time I was driving on it… Puh was good 50+ odd KMs left and it was unlikely now and hence we were looking for either Jangi or Ribba only. Finally, it took about an hour to drive through that pathetic 18 odd KMs from Powari to the diversion on the right hand side that takes you to Ribba. We knew there was a PWD Rest House at Ribba and even after having horrors on the last trip with PWD Rest Houses, we wanted to still check them out 🙂 …

Sunlight is still intact and its far way to go…
Hindustan Tibet Highway in Kinnaur Valley
Hindustan Tibet Highway in Kinnaur Valley
The reservoir of Karcham Dam (I guess)…
Hindustan Tibet Highway in Kinnaur Valley
Only single vehicle allowed on all bridges from now on…
Hindustan Tibet Highway in Kinnaur Valley

Ribba, is a small village located about 2KMs from the main highway and had full of apple orchards… There were trucks all over down on the highway near Ribba diversion and as many of them were present on the sides of Ribba village. Yes, it was the apple season and they all were waiting for their turn to get loaded. Since, the connecting road was too narrow just as I though what will happen if some truck will come from the other side and bingooo … there was one right on the next blind curve. The guy was really nice and adjusted to our needs accordingly and helped us pass after 3-4 back-forth sessions… sigh of relief. It was almost dark now by the time we reached PWD Rest House. The doubt was still hanging over the head, will we get the room this time.

Well, this time we were a little more confident as there was no girl with us. The caretaker (nice person: Saikalaan) after smiling, telling ifs and buts, finally agreed may be seeing fatigue written all over our faces. The prime concern for him was food that how he will prepare the food for so many guests… We convinced that first we won’t ate too much and second that we will cook something or the other ourselves. He agreed and happily gave us one room… Without wasting anytime, we parked the car and took our luggage inside to straighten the legs and the backbones one the bed… After about half an hour, Dhruv and Saurabh went to the local shop and got lots of Maggie(s) and cooked them in kitchen. I don’t like Maggie much so ate little portion of it and went on to relax mode. We still had one room only and it was not sufficient for 4 of us to sleep on one bed after such a long drive… But, we held on to ourselves till we were done with the dinner (Dal Fry, Rice, Mix Veg and Chapatis) prepared by Saikalaan. Finally, before going to bed we managed the other vacant room from Saikalaan and for which we thanked him in a good manner 😉 … It was finally the end of a long long Day 1 and I still cannot recall how and when I went to the sleep 😀 …

The Journey ahead-

End of this part!!!

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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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