White Spiti Valley in March – Itinerary, Road Conditions & Updates
I always had dreamed of experiencing White Spiti Valley in pristine white colors of snow with white river beds midst its beautiful wide valleys. Finally, in the first week of March 2014, I did get a chance to realize this dream of mine as I went on a trip to White Spiti Valley buried under a carpet of snow all over.
I already knew that most of the sightseeing places within Spiti Valley will be closed, whatever open would be bonus for me, food/stay will be hard to come by or fundamental availability, and no doubt that living up there under (–)15 degree Celsius with harsh conditions would not be easy piece of cake.
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Let's quickly dive into the details:
Weather Conditions in Spiti in March
Well, the conditions lived up to the expectations, harsh and unforgiving but vistas under white snow carpet in Spiti Valley were WORTH the pain we went through. It was not just the harsh conditions of winters BUT above all, the road conditions over Hindustan – Tibet Highway, especially in Kinnaur Valley were no less than a Death Highway…
Shooting Stones, Massive Landslides, Knee Deep Slush, few Gushing Water Crossings, Car Wreckage ON and OFF the roads… and WHAT NOT… It was one hell of an adventure drive to Spiti Valley from Kinnaur Valley over NH-22 (now known as NH-05) or Hindustan – Tibet Highway.
At this time of the year when the snow melts and bring those massive glaciers down. Also, just in case you are interested to know more about the differences between Hindustan – Tibet Road & NH – 22, I will suggest that you do read one of my previous article Hindustan – Tibet Road or Road to Spiti Valley | An Introduction
Spiti Valley is an offbeat destination. There are no questions about it. The younger sibling…
Though I am going to write a detailed Travel Tale and reviews of the Himachal guesthouses I stayed, just before that would like to share what itinerary I followed, the route I took and the updates on road conditions for reaching these places.
My Trip Itinerary for Kinnaur – Spiti Valley Trip in March
Well, I had 9 days in hand for my White Spiti Valley trip including a couple of buffer days and I followed the itinerary as below:
Day 1: Started the drive from Delhi – Ambala – Zirakpur – Solan – Shimla – Kufri – Narkanda – Rampur – Jeori. Stayed at PWD Rest House at Jeori.
Day 2: Resumed the tough drive from Jeori to go through Bhawanagar – Tapri- Powari – Akpa – Puh – Khab – Nako Stayed at IPH Guest House at Nako.
Day 3: Completed the final leg of the drive to Spiti Valley from Nako – Sumdo – Tabo – Kaza In between, check out Nako Lake in the morning and Tabo Monastery on the move to Kaza. Stayed with dear friend Tsering at Sakya Abode / Snow Lion
Day 4: Rest Day at Kaza. I went on to explore Ki – Kibber and then drove back to Attargoo, diversion to Pin Valley for taking some pictures of the valley.
Day 5: Went on to explore Lingti Valley that is Lallung – Rama Villages and then in the evening went on to explore Dhangkar Monastery overlooking the confluence of Spiti and Pin Rivers
Day 6: Nothing was stuck in Kaza owing to snowfall and deadly road conditions
Day 7: Nothing was stuck in Kaza owing to snowfall and deadly road conditions
Day 8: Weather cleared a bit, raising the hopes of getting out of Spiti Valley and Kinnaur Valley, especially. Started early in the morning, went on through Kaza – Tabo – Nako – Khab – Puh – Powari – Jeori. We had to stop near Powari at Pangi Nalla as there was a piece of road that had sunken. A new road was cut through the mountain to pass us through. Then, I struggle with knee-deep slush and finally, reached Jeori to stay at the same PWD Rest House.
Day 9: Completed the final part of the trip from Jeori – Rampur – Narkanda – Shimla – Solan – Zirakpur – Ambala – Delhi, sweet home.
Overall, it was quite a thrilling experience with every day coming with a new kind of experience and snow galore over there in Spiti Valley in March 🙂 … You should look at my article on a winter trip to Spiti Valley.
Road Conditions for Delhi – Shimla – Kinnaur Valley – Spiti Valley
Following is the breakdown of road conditions for the trip from Delhi to Shimla to Kinnaur to Spiti Valley in March:
Jeori – Tranda – Bhawanagar: Mostly good roads with some patches of poor ones.
Bhawanagar – Wangtoo – Karcham – Shongtong – Powari: Poor roads at most places with deep slush stretches and bumpy rides.
Powari – Pangi Nalla – Ribba – Akpa: Horrible roads, almost like a death way with many landslides and shooting stones points. Near Ribba road was sinking at a couple of places. Pangi Nalla just ahead of Powari was extremely horrible.
Akpa – Jangi – Tinku Nalla – Spillow – Puh – Khab: Mix of Average and Poor roads with few landslide points.
Khab – Ka Loops – Nako: Good roads mostly.
Nako – Malling – Chango – Shialkhar – Sumdo: Nako – Malling was bad with a landslide point just before malling. After Malling to Shialkhar, it is a mix of good and average. After Shialkhar to Sumdo, a mix of poor and very poor with a good KM stretch of Shooting Stones when nearing Sumdo.
Sumdo – Hurling – Tabo: Mix of average and good roads.
Tabo – Shichiling – Lingti – Atargoo – Kaza: Tabo to Shichiling was very scary and horrible with about 6-7 KMs of a stretch where we had constant Shooting Stones. In the latter half of the day, this part if very dangerous and especially when it is snow melting season. From Lingti to Atargoo to Kaza is a mix of average and bad roads.
Kaza – Ki – Kibber: Mostly good roads barring only a few stretches. Very scenic too.
Lingti – Rama – Lallung: Lingti to Lallung – Demul is a dirt track and the presence of snow at many places made some stretches bad otherwise average road conditions much like any other dirt track.
Shichiling – Dhangkar Monastery: Good roads mostly being well tarred.
Phone Signals on Road to Spiti Valley with Data Connectivity
I was carrying Airtel Postpaid, BSNL Postpaid and Vodafone Postpaid and following was the signal status for all three of them:
All three were working mostly through the route Delhi – Shimla – Rampur – Jeori – Bhawanagar – Karcham – Powari – Akpa – Spillow
Both Airtel and Vodafone were dead just near Spillow and ONLY BSNL worked after Spillow till Kaza
After Powari till Spillow via Akpa, the signals of both Airtel and Vodafone were going ON/OFF and after Spillow as said above, completely gone.
BSNL was also active in Ki and Kibber as well along with GPRS Data
Data Connectivity was always available wherever the signals were present though it was mostly 2G in the first half and towards the remote places of Kinnaur and Spiti, the data was just merely GPRS/EDGE based.
Other Important Updates for Spiti Valley Trip in March
The fuel pump at Powari is no longer operational. You should consider the new petrol pump at Tapri for refueling before going towards Spiti Valley. After the Tapri petrol pump, you will find the next fuel station at Kaza then. Otherwise, if you miss Tapri, you can go towards Peo as a diversion after Powari, just in case you are short on fuel.
There is an SBI ATM in Kaza. The Bank has also installed POS as well just in case of emergency, and if you have SBI Cards, then you can debit Rs 1000 at a time from that POS.
Toll Amounts on the Route
Panipat Toll Plaza: Rs 30
Karnal Toll Plaza: Rs 105
Ambala Toll Plaza: Rs 34
Himalayan Expressway Toll Plaza: Rs 26
Green Tax Barrier at Himachal Pradesh border: Rs 60
I will start sharing the detailed Travel Tale of this White Spiti Valley Trip, the reviews of the properties I stayed and places at which I ate food, very soon. You can always look at my winter Spiti trip itinerary for planning such a trip.