The Journey so far…
I woke up well in the morning, dozing off the fatigue of last day and having dreams of crossing Nako and reaching Tabo by evening to see snow all around myself. It was warm night and Jeori village was quiet too with chants of prayers in the temple in front. I took a quick bath as I knew after this place we need to work hard to get a bucket full of water for next week or so 😉 😉 … After a while both Sany and Shikha were awake too and we all were ready to leave by 8.00 AM from Jeori.
Day 2 | Jeori – Wangtu – Tapri – Akpa – Puh – Khab – Nako
We settled bills with Pritam ji and thanked him for all the help. He was a very nice person and asked us to call him just in case we have any trouble getting accommodation anywhere in Kinnaur in PWD Guest House and assured if there are no bookings, he will ask the caretaker there to let us in even in Chango or Nako villages too. It was a great moral booster for us because in terrain like these of Kinnaur Valley & Spiti Valley, these PWD Guest Houses located in remote villages comes to rescue big time when you are in difficulty or facing road closures. We thanked him for the help and took off finally at 8.30 AM, a little late from our schedule. We decided to reach Tapri first which was about 46 KMs from Jeori and have breakfast there.
Jeori to Nako is about 161 KMs and our target of day was Tabo, which is further 70 odd KMs ahead from Nako Village. This late start and cold conditions towards Nako and beyond will not be of help, I knew. Anyways, finally we were back on NH-22 and now the board welcomed us soon “Welcome to Kinnaur Valley – Dev Bhoomi”… Soon, the journey will enter into a whole new phase of driving over one of the most treacherous roads in the world… We crossed Bhawanagar and up to which the road conditions were decent. As we move towards Wangtu, the road conditions starts to deteriorate and pain started for us. After driving about almost 2 Hrs since morning, we finally reached Tapri around 10.30 AM. At Tapri, we ordered breakfast of Paranthas and butter buns, purchased some snacks for munching while driving in desolation. The breakfast at that Punjabi Dhabha of Tapri was quite nice with subji and butter buns turned out delicious too. So, in case you need to have food at Tapri, this punjabi dhabha is a nice, economic place which is just opposite to Police Station of Tapri. The tea was of machine made, which was quite a shock as none of us like it 😥 😥 … But, anyways nice hint to search for this Punjabi Dhabha as they only serve this machine prepared tea 🙂
Also, remember that smoking in public place in Himachal is banned and there is a fine which Police can enforce on you. A local was quick to spot one tourist and before a Policemen could spot from their Police Station Balcony, he advised him to throw it away :D… I was wondering if anyone of us used to smoke, it could have been second challan of second morning 😆 😆 … With this gag, we left Tapri further deep into the Kinnaur Valley on our journey to Frozen White Spiti Valley.
Tapri to Karcham is 9 KMs and further Powari is 13 KMs from Karcham. Karcham is the place where road bifurcates from NH-22 towards Sangla and Chitkul Sangla is about 18 KMs from Karcham and further Chitkul is 26 KMs ahead of Sangla. And Powari is the place where there is a diversion to Reckong Peo of about 7 KMs and further towards Kalpa which is 13 KMs from Reckong Peo. We were not interested in any of these places, so we had to by pass these diversions and keep going towards Akpa – Jangi – Puh – Nako road ahead of Powari. We reached from Tapri to Powari with some usual struggle especially near Shongtong Bridge. The roads are really worse here which is usually the case but it was new to Sany & Shikha in Himachal 🙂 … There was slush around Shongtong bridge diversions and some really bad roads at couple of places 😯 🙁 … Sany had started to feel the drive now. Finally, we crossed Powari, crossed the diversion of Reckong Peo and the first blockade awaited us… There was a major landslide at Pangi Nalla, which this year has been horrible all through till date 😥 😥 …
We just waited, waited, waited and even slept for sometime too 🙁 🙁 … It was 1 PM already, Tabo was still 160 KMs ahead and chanced of making it was unlikely now. Nako and Chango were seemed likely still as Nako was 90 KMs and Chango further 20 KMs from Nako. There were back to back landslides and some vehicles were actually stuck in between both the landslides 😯 😯 … Some vehicles moved to front and hence, we also moved our car in front. There was a huge rock placed on a small hill from where mud/debris was falling off in front of us. The problem was our car was in front and we were really scared at that time. There was a huge rock placed behind the car which forced us to park it in a bit wrong way, so we decided to move it away and park properly. It was hard for me to push it alone and equally sad to see no Kinnaur person came forward to help while the picture is different in Spiti belt 🙁 … Finally, Sany came out and we together pushed that huge rock aside. The car was then properly parked and a sigh of relief. After a while the passage was made through but road was completely nightmarish to drive. A section of road had sunken to some extent and we later realized that how come we just drove over it 😯 😯 … There was a silence for a while in car and inside us too 😀
We had resumed the drive but the road hadn’t improved much, was rocky and bumpy. Some narrow sections and some sharp stones. At a place near Akpa the stretch was that tricky and Duster refused to climb it in first attempt 😯 … Sany tried again, the tyre spun and again refused to climb 😥 … Then, he drove back, came in full momentum and it climbed finally but for sure there were some moments of anxiety always in driving over these treacherous roads of the world. We reached Jangi and entered our details at the ITBP Checkpost which all Indians must do because the Inner Line starts here. All foreigners need to submit their Inner Line permits at the checkpost. Then, again you need to enter the details at Sumdo Checkpost too as you enter Spiti Valley. Coming back, there was no one now on the road and we were running all alone on it, passed through huge Glaciers walls lying on roads around Moorang & Spillow which was really exciting 🙂 … We were nearing Puh and huge snow walls of Tinku Nalla welcomed us then. I thanked god, the road was open, as in general during this time Tinku Nalla can be notorious and we did not want to stuck during evening, again.
We reached Puh and we were feeling hungry, so we decided to have lunch at a small dhabha at Puh by the name Golu Dhabha. Well, that was some feast as the the women running this little Dhabha cooked some sumptuous chowmein and I was having it after so long time. It just tasted fantastic and we ordered one more plate just in taste. Even the paranthas with butter were so homely and fresh. We even had the food again at this Dhabha at Puh while coming back too. Very much recommended if you hungry while passing through Puh on NH-22.
Around 4.45 PM, we started from Puh into the desolation drive to Nako – Chango passing through the famous Khab bridge where the Sutluj River meets Spiti River to form a confluence and Ka Zigs or Kah Loops that makes you ascend almost 3000 Feet to Nako Village from Khab. This is my favourite stretch of Hindustan – Tibet Highway or NH-22 and I love the desolation here. While driving to Khab, we passed the Y-Fork where the upper road takes you to Namgia and further to Shipki La Pass that connects India with Tibet. I so badly wish to be there one day but now was not the right time. We reached the desolated Khab bridge and there was complete silence except the music of rivers flowing into each other to form a confluence. You can get to see the peak of Reo Purgiyal from Khab bridge too. As we the ascend through Ka Loops, the chill in the air started to penetrate the bones 😉 … The snow laden mountains begun to appear in front of us and the vistas were simply magical to sweep you off the feet. There comes the snow on road and we drove over the sections with snow on it and finally reached Nako Village with just a little day light left in the sky to hunt for a place to stay. Hence, decided to stay the night over at Nako, which in general I always avoid but there was no choice left and as in general the decision proved futile…
I hope you liked this part of the Snow White Spiti Travel Tale.
The Journey ahead…
Have you ever been to NH-22 or Hindustan – Tibet Highway or Nako Village? Or are you planning a drive to Spiti Valley over it sometime soon and have any queries? Do share, in either comments section below or in Itinerary Advice Forum of DoW Community with all other devils 🙂 🙂