Shepherd with million dolor smile – Kashmir Singh Rana

I have been visiting Chandrataal lake in Spiti for quite a few years now, and every time I visit this place, it throws more and more pleasant surprises on me. No doubt nature is always at its best in this region.

But what keeps me equally happy and amazed at chandrataal is my friend for last 3 years, a Shepherd by profession, caring and tending 450 sheep and goats, leading the pack and always smiling.

I met him in 2015, introduced by another friend Jamaica who runs camps there. First time when I met Rana ji, he invited us to his shack, typical known as “thatch”, but with walls made of stone and a plastic sheet on top. A wood stove inside, which kept that small hut really warm and cosy.

Tea made from fresh goat milk, endless discussion and stories of wild animals, leopard and crossing the high passes went on till late night.

Since then, I am meeting him every year, and he hasn’t changed a bit. What was most inspiring for me was that his two sons are very well settled with government jobs, he always had the option of staying at home and living a relaxed life. But he choose to continue his shepherd life.

I asked him

“Rana ji, why are you coming here every year, walking all the way, risking your life? You have grand sons, well settled home, you can live a relaxed life”

He said:

“Sir mae ghar bethta hoon to bimar ho jata hoon, mountains are my medicine” [ “I get sick when I stay at home too long, mountains are my medicines”]

If you are every visiting chandrataal, do say hello to him, a tea will always be complimentary 😀 . And his stories of crossing hampta pass so many times while coming up from mandi side and then going back will amaze you.

 

Spiti in Winter : February 2018 – Book Now

About Spiti

While summers might be a most popular season in Spiti, winter is something very difficult to explain in words, when it happens in Spiti.
With the white gold all around the valley and life taking a stop, its gives the visitors an opportunity to experience the nature in slow motion.
Only way to access Spiti valley in winter is via Shimla and that do gets quite adventurous when it snows.
Life takes a halt and valley becomes absolutely beautiful and different.
About

Know about Spiti

Spiti

What’s in it for you?

  • 1. Beautiful views and vistas
  • 2. Access to some unique and unseen places, based on the weather condition.
  • 3. Live snowfall, if we are lucky.
  • 4. Unlimited photography
  • 5. Enjoying the local cuisine.
  • 6. Unlimited photography mentor ship by YellowPeaks team
  • 7. An overview session on Basics of Photography and Adobe Lightroom.
  • 8. Understand and experience the life in winter and challenges faced.
  • 9. A fully managed trip, with no hassle of worrying about logistics.

Itinerary

Coming soon

Inclusion

  • Local Transport in SUV/MUV for the whole trip plan from Chandigarh to Chandigarh
  • All governments’ fees and taxes for normal journey within Spiti.
  • All basic meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), morning and evening tea.
  • Daily need of water. Accommodation on twin sharing basis, in 3 star or equivalent hotels/Home Stays.
  • We will share list of all accommodations after you complete the registration and confirm with payment.

 

Exclusion

  • Flight or travel expenses to reach India and Chandigarh.
  • VISA expanse if any Travel or medical Insurance.
  • Vehicle, Fuel and Breakdown maintenance for Self drive vehicles.
  • Any fine or challan to be paid by the driver or participants in actual to authorities.
  • Any medical emergency or rescue cost.
  • Photography equipment of any kind.
  • Hotel and Other costs added to the trip, in addition to proposed plan, due to road blockage, Political unrest or landslide, has to be paid on actual basis, by participants.
  • Any tips and gratuities to staff. Extra meals, visits and activities not indicated.
  • Items of a personal nature, including alcoholic beverages, laundry and telephone calls.


Terms & Conditions

  • All the participants should have a valid passport or a government ID
  • We will request for a scanned copy of the same during the registration process
  • Photography is restricted for some of the areas and objects like bridges, Army camps and office, some for the restricted zones Please ask before taking a picture of or with an Army personnel or local.
  • Final decision on the logistics, plan, options remains with the trip organizer. All need to abide with the proposed plan, unless there is need to change the plan under unavoidable conditions.
  • Spiti in winter is highly unpredictable, and plans can change due to snowfall. We might have to change plans and locations while on trip, based on situation.
  • While Kaza will have proper hotels with limited duration room heating, most of the stay arrangements in remote areas will be with guest houses and home stays. We will ensure it’s clean and hygienic, but room heating will be very limited.
  • We will need a copy of an ID proof issued by government organization for permits and other processes. You need to carry the same ID all the time during the trip.
  • You are responsible for keeping Spiti clean and we would need your help to bring back all our garbage back to base where it can be disposed of properly.
  • Winter is tough time not just for humans but for local wild life. Do not disturb or provoke wildlife for the sake of a good picture.

 

Cancellation Policy

  • 75% Refund for cancelling the trip 8 weeks before the start date 50% Refund for cancelling the trip 4 weeks or less, before the start date
  • In case of the trips getting cancelled due to unavailable circumstances, we will refund the money after deducting the administrative changes

FAQs

Q: What will be the expected temperature and weather?
A : Day temperature will hover around -5 to -10 degree Celsius, while night temperature can go down to -20 and at some places to -30 degree.

Q: Roads remains open in winter?
A: Yes, most of the roads inside Spiti region remains open, there could be a blockage due to snow fall, but gets cleared in a day or so.

Q: What is AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness)?
A: AMS is result of sudden exposure to reduced air pressure and lower oxygen level at high altitude. General symptoms are Headache, Fatigue, Nausea, and Loss of appetite, sleeplessness, heavy breathing. Descending down and inhaling oxygen can cure it faster. That is why we recommend to spend at least two days in Leh, so that you get some time to acclimatize.

Q: What are the precautions for photography gears?
A: You don’t need to worry much about the professional gears much, they are built to sustain such extreme weathers. For basic gears, just keep that battery at warm places like inner pocket and avoid sudden transition from cold to warm places. Battery tend to drain faster in colder conditions

Q: I had no time to prepare, can I buy warm cloths in Kaza?

A: No, we suggest you buy it at home location and try it out couple of times

Q: Is there some trekking involved in this?
A: No

Q: I have medical history related to breathing, blood pressure or anything significant, Can I travel at such height and low temperature?
A: Please consult your doctor for the same.

Q: What about the phone connectivity
A: Only BSNL works with no guarantee of tower working.

 

For more details

Download Brochure

Limited seats available

Book Now

12 Villages – Spiti Summer Exploration – 6-13 May 2017

About Spiti Valley

A valley in the middle of mountains, home for some amazing villages, lakes, Monasteries, peaks and wild life. Situated at North Eastern part of India, in state Himachal Pradesh, its a beautiful but rough high altitude mountain desert.

Beautiful in all seasons, Spiti gets into it’s full form in summers when you can expect to see some green in the desert Accessible through roads only, from either Shimla side or Manali side.

Know about Spiti

Spiti

What’s in it for you?

  • Beautiful views and vistas through 12 amazing villages in Spiti valley.
  • Access to some unique and unseen places/villages, based on the weather condition.
  • Unlimited photography
  • Enjoying the local cuisine.
  • Unlimited photography mentor-ship by YellowPeak’s team.
  • An overview session on Basics of Photography and Adobe Lightroom.
  • Understand and experience the rural life in Spiti.
  • A fully managed trip, with no hassle of worrying about logistics.

Itinerary

06-May Saturday – Chandigarh to Kalpa

  • Start the long drive from Chandigarh to Kalpa, passing through the beautiful mountains towns of Shimla, Narkanda, Rampur and Karcham dam.

07-May Sunday – Kalpa to Kaza

  • Time to leave Kinnaur and enter Spiti valley. Driving by Nako, Tabo and Dhankar. Night stay at Kaza

08-May Monday – Kaza to Kibber

  • Drive from Kaza to Kibber, explore around Gete and night stay at Kibber.

09-May Tuesday – Kibber to Langza

  • Lets move to another beautiful village Langza, but not before exploring Hikkim and Komic.

10-May Wednesday – Langza to Demul

  • A beautiful hidden village is the target of the day, and if time permits, a walk towards Lallung village.

11-May Thursday – Demul to Gulling

  • Our last beautiful village of the trip, a beautiful home stay, local food

12-May Friday – Gulling to Kalpa

  • Gulling to Kalpa, time to head back home

13-May Saturday – Kalpa to Chandigarh

  • Last day drive

Inclusion

  • Local Transport in SUV/MUV for the whole trip plan from Chandigarh to Chandigarh.
  • All governments’ fees and taxes for normal journey within Spiti.
  • All basic meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), morning and evening tea.
  • Daily need of water, to be filled in reusable bottles to avoid excessive plastic bottles
  • Accommodation on double sharing basis, in 3 star or equivalent hotels/Home Stays.
  • We will share list of all accommodations after you complete the registration and confirm with payment.
  • Banners and Stickers
  • Walkie Talkies in each Self Drive vehicle.
  • Toilet Tents for ladies.
  • Support Vehicle for the whole trip.
  • Just in case if you need a single occupancy room, it will be at extra cost and we need to know it well in advance.

Exclusion

  • Flight or travel expenses to reach India and Chandigarh.
  • VISA expanse if any Travel or medical Insurance.
  • Vehicle, Fuel and Breakdown maintenance for Self drive vehicles.
  • Any fine or challan to be paid by the driver or participants (in Self drive cars) in actual to authorities.
  • Any medical emergency or rescue cost.
  • Photography equipment of any kind.
  • Hotel and Other costs added to the trip, in addition to proposed plan, due to road blockage, Political unrest or landslide, has to be paid on actual basis, by participants.
  • Any tips and gratuities to staff. Extra meals, visits and activities not indicated.
  • Items of a personal nature, including alcoholic beverages, laundry and telephone calls.
  • Anything else not mentioned in the inclusions
  • A refundable security deposit of INR 5000 for the Walki-Talkie, to be paid by one of the participants from each Self Drive car. In case of Loss or damage of handset, appropriate amount will be deducted from security.


Terms & Conditions

  • All the participants should have a valid passport or a government ID
  • We will request for a scanned copy of the same during the registration process
  • Photography is restricted for some of the areas and objects like bridges, Army camps and office, some for the restricted zones Please ask before taking a picture of or with an Army personnel or local.
  • Final decision on the logistics, plan, options remains with the trip organizer. All need to abide with the proposed plan, unless there is need to change the plan under unavoidable conditions.

 

Cancellation Policy

  • 75% Refund for cancelling the trip 8 weeks before the start date 50% Refund for cancelling the trip 4 weeks or less, before the start date
  • In case of the trips getting cancelled due to unavailable circumstances, we will refund the money after deducting the administrative changes

FAQs

Q: How do I know more about Spiti

A: Please go through our page http://yellowpeaks.com/spiti

Q: What will be the expected temperature and weather?

A : Day temperature will hover around 15-20 degree Celsius, while night temperature can go down to 10 degree.

Q: Roads remains open in Summer?

A: Yes,but its always unpredictable and needs to be tracked

Q: What are the precautions for photography gears?

A: You don’t need to worry much about the professional gears much, they are built to sustain such extreme weathers. For basic gears, just keep that battery at warm places like inner pocket and avoid sudden transition from cold to warm places. Battery tend to drain faster in colder conditions

Q: I had no time to prepare, can I buy warm cloths in Spiti?

A: Not recommended, better plan an buy in advance, worst case we will help ypu get it from Spiti but the availability is not guaranteed.

Q: Is there some trekking involved in this?

A: No, only casual walks through the places for photography

Q: I have medical history related to breathing, blood pressure or anything significant, Can I travel at such height and low temperature?

A: Please consult your doctor for the same.

Q: What about the phone connectivity?

A: Only BSNL/MTNL works beyond Kinnaur and in all Spiti region

Q: What kind vehicles will be used for the trip, will they have snow chains if required?

A: We have the trusted Utility vehicles lined for this trip. For the snow drives, vehicles will have snow chains. Drivers are experts in driving under snow conditions.

 

 

For more details

Download Brochure

Limited seats available

Book Now

 

Chandrataal – July and August 2017

About Chandrataal

Alot has been said and written about Ladakh, but it still remains unexplored at many sectors.
Every corner and turn will lure you to stop and click pics. Will invoke artistic and philosophical side of yours.
June is the perfect weather to explore Ladakh, with pleasant temperature during day time and manageably cold during night.
While Ladakh is a high altitude desert, you will find amazing variety of flora, fauna and wild life

Know about Spiti

Spiti

What’s in it for you?

  • 1. Beautiful views and vistas
  • 2. Access to some unique and unseen places, based on the weather condition.
  • 3. An interesting plan specially designed by us after 10 years of travelling to Ladakh.
  • 4. Enjoying the local cuisine.
  • 5. Unlimited photography mentor-ship by YellowPeaks team.
  • 6. An overview session on Basics of Photography and Adobe Lightroom.
  • 7. Even if you are joining as solo traveller or rider, you will never feel alone.
  • 8. A fully managed trip, with no hassle of worrying about logistics, you just sit in Taxi, drive your vehicle or ride your bike

Itenarary

 

Coming up soon

Inclusion

  • Local Transport in SUV/MUV for the whole trip from Manali to Manali
  • Accommodations on twin/Triple sharing basis, in 3 star or equivalent hotels/Home Stays. We will share list of all accommodations after you complete the registration and confirm with payment.
  • All governments’ fees and taxes for normal journey
  • All basic meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), morning and evening tea.
  • Daily need of drinking Water (To be filled in reusable bottles to avoid too much plastic)
  • Complete Medical Kit (Basic medicines for Adults and Kids) with Oxygen Cylinders.

Exclusion

  • Flight or travel expenses to reach India and Manali.
  • VISA expanse if any Travel or medical Insurance.
  • Vehicle, Fuel and Breakdown maintenance for Self drive vehicles.
  • Any fine or challan to be paid by the driver or participants in actual to authorities.
  • Any medical emergency or rescue cost.
  • Photography equipment of any kind.
  • Hotel and Other costs added to the trip, in addition to proposed plan, due to road blockage, Political unrest or landslide, has to be paid on actual basis, by participants.
  • Any tips and gratuities to staff. Extra meals, visits and activities not indicated.
  • Items of a personal nature, including alcoholic beverages, laundry and telephone calls.
  • On Rent at Leh Bicycle – good for local Leh adventure, Motor Bike, Jackets and other accessories


Terms & Conditions

  • All the participants should have a valid passport or a government ID
  • We will request for a scanned copy of the same during the registration process
  • Photography is restricted for some of the areas and objects like bridges, Army camps and office, some for the restricted zones Please ask before taking a picture of or with an Army personnel or local.
  • Final decision on the logistics, plan, options remains with the trip organizer. All need to abide with the proposed plan, unless there is need to change the plan under unavoidable conditions.

 

Cancellation Policy

  • 75% Refund for cancelling the trip 8 weeks before the start date 50% Refund for cancelling the trip 4 weeks or less, before the start date
  • In case of the trips getting cancelled due to unavailable circumstances, we will refund the money after deducting the administrative changes

 

Call/Whatsapp us for more details

 +91-9910036654, +91-9968266654

 

 

For more details

Download Brochure

Limited seats available

Book Now

White snow covered Spiti in Winter- February 2017

Dates : From 18th February 2017 to 25th February 2017

 

Background

Spiti, known as the “Land in the middle”, lies between Tibet and India, boasts for having one of the highest inhabited village in the world, highest post office in the world and some unique mountains, rivers and lakes. Approachable through Shimla side, via Kinnaur and from Manali side via Lahaul.

While Spiti valley is considered as travelling destination for summers, this places can get much more beautiful in winters. As part of  this exploration, we will try to observe the places, nature, life that goes during harsh winter.

Winter in Spiti in winter is not an easy going exploration, with temperature plunging to -15 degree Celsius, limited resources and roads getting closed. It needs alot of planning, local resources, and a good team to make sure that we do this trips safe and still enjoy it to the fullest.

 

Caution (Read before you decide to join):

  • This is not a regular season trip, we will be exploring Spiti in one of the most off season, hence you will not be in your comfort zone at all.
  • We will have to alter our plan based on the the weather conditions at that time, at no cost we will put the group into any sort of risk.
  • Stay options will be very limited.
  • As the temperature will be below freezing point, water pipes will be completely frozen, hot water for daily needs will be provided in buckets. Be prepared to use dry toilets at most of the places.
  • As its a highly unpredictable trip, we will keep the group small and will close it soon, on first come, first serve basis.

 

Day wise Plan:

Date Plan Night Stay at
18-Feb-17 Saturday Shimla to Kalpa Kalpa or Recong Peo
19-Feb-17 Sunday Kalpa toKaza Kaza
20-Feb-17 Monday Kaza – Kye – Kibber – Chicham walk – Kaza Kaza
21-Feb-17 Tuesday Kaza – Lancha – Kaza Kaza
22-Feb-17 Wednesday Kaza – Attargu – Dhankar – Gulling Gulling
23-Feb-17 Thursday Explore around Gulling Gulling
24-Feb-17 Friday Gulling to Kalpa Kalpa or near by possible options
25-Feb-17 Saturday Kalpa to Shimla Drop at Shimla

Note : We might have to change the plan based on the weather conditions

 Route

 

 

Expected Weather Conditions:

  • Minimum Temperature : Around -15 degree celcius
  • Maximum Temperature : Around -5 degree celcius
  • Sunrise : Around 7:00 AM
  • Sunset : Around 6:00 PM
  • Snowfall expected on few days

FAQ:

Q: Where is Spiti?
A : Spiti, known as the “Land in the middle”, lies between Tibet and India, boasts for having one of the highest inhabited village in the world, highest post office in the world and some unique mountains, rivers and lakes. Approachable through Shimla side, via Kinnaur and from Manali side via Lahaul.

Q: How do I know more about Spiti
A: Please go through my Spiti page

Q: What will be the expected temperature and weather?
A : Day temperature will hover around -2 to -10 degree Celsius, while night temperature can go down to -15 and at some places to -20 degree.

Q: Roads remains open in winter?
A: Yes,but its always unpredictable and needs to be tracked

Q: What is AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness)?
A: AMS is result of sudden exposure to reduced air pressure and lower oxygen level at high altitude. General symptoms are Headache, Fatigue, Nausea, and Loss of appetite, sleeplessness, heavy breathing. Descending down and inhaling oxygen can cure it faster. Fortunately as we are ascending gradually before we reach Kaza, we should be good.

Q: What are the precautions for photography gears?
A: You don’t need to worry much about the professional gears much, they are built to sustain such extreme weathers. For basic gears, just keep that battery at warm places like inner pocket and avoid sudden transition from cold to warm places. Battery tend to drain faster in colder conditions

Q: I had no time to prepare, can I buy warm cloths in Kaza?

A: Not recommended, better plan an buy in advance

Q: Is there some trekking involved in this?
A: No

Q: I have medical history related to breathing, blood pressure or anything significant, Can I travel at such height and low temperature?
A: Please consult your doctor for the same.

Q: What about the phone connectivity
A: In most of the areas, BSNL is the only network, after we cross Spillow.

Q: What kind vehicles will be used for the trip, will they have snow chains if required?
A: We have the trusted Utility vehicles lined for this trip. For the snow drives, vehicles will have snow chains. Drivers are experts in driving under snow and cold conditions.

 

Cost:

28,000 INR Per Person for individual participants. (Confirmation against full payment only).

26,500 INR Per Person if joining as team of two people , together.

25,500 INR Per Person if joining as team of four people, together.

500 USD for Non Indian participants

Please call us at 9910036654 or 996826664 or write to us at rajiv@yellowpeaks.com for more details

 

Refund Policy:

  • 60% refund in case of cancellations 4 weeks before the exploration. No refund after that
  • In case of initial plan getting cancelled due to the bad weather, we will execute an alternate plan.
  • In case the alternate plan is also not possible, we will refund the money after deducting the minimal administrative charges.

 

Inclusion:

  • Local Transport in SUV/MUV for the whole trip plan from Shimla to Shimla.
  • All governments’ fees and taxes for normal journey within Spiti, Non-Indians will have to pay little extra for the fees.
  • All basic meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner), morning and evening tea.
  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis, in limited availability during winter, standard hotels or guest houses. During our trip we might end up in triple sharing, if only we have to change our plans due to weather conditions.

 

Exclusion:

  • Flight or travel expenses to reach Shimla.
  • Travel or medical Insurance.
  • Any medical emergency or rescue cost.
  • Anything not mentioned in included section.
  • Winter cloths and accessories.
  • Tips and phone calls.
  • Photography equipment of any kind.
  • Hotel and Other costs added to the trip due to road blockage or landslide, that has to be paid on actual basis, by participants.

 

Other T&Cs

  • Spiti in winter is highly unpredictable, and plans can change due to snowfall. We might have to change plans and locations while on trip, based on situation.
  • Most of the stay arrangements in remote areas will be with guest houses and home stays. We will ensure it’s clean and hygienic, but room heating will be very limited with no or limited running water. At places we might only have dry toilets.
  • Photography is restricted for some of the areas and objects like bridges, Army camps and office, some for the restricted zones..
  • Please ask before taking a picture of or with an Army personnel or local.
  • We will need a copy of an ID proof issued by government organization for permits and other processes. You need to carry the same ID all the time during the trip.
  • You are responsible for keeping Spiti clean and we would need your help to bring back all our garbage back to base where it can be disposed off properly.
  • Winter is tough time not just for humans but for local wild life. Do not disturb or provoke wildlife for the sake of a good picture.
  • Final decision on the logistics, plan, options remains with the trip organizer.

 

 

 Cloths

Upper Body
Layer 1  : Warm Inner
Layer 2 : Body fit sweater, I use a ultra warm but thin, high neck sweater
Layer 3 :  Warm Fleece, thick one
Layer 4 :  Down Jacket, this is absolutely must

Quick Notes:

For last few years, I am using the 100% merino wool inner, and with that, you can remove “Layer 2” completely. Though 100% merino wool inner are almost 3-4 times the cost of normal inner. ONN and few other companies are selling genuine 100% merino wool stuff.

Down or duck feather jacket is a guarantee for warmth, but a good quality synthetic foam filled jackets will work as well, just keep an extra layer of inner in that case

The important point to note is, that the layers of cloths should allow the free movement of limbs and blood circulation. Don’t go for tight fits.

Lower Body
Layer 1 : Warm Inner, I again use 100% merino wool lower
Layer 2 : Foam Filled Lower, I have a synthetic foam filled paint, which is pretty loose.

Quick Notes:

If your foam filled pants are little larger, you can wear a fleece pants between inner and pant, if you feel cold in two layers.

We can get the foam filled pants custom stitched in Delhi, if we have 3-4 orders, I did that few years back

Hands
Layer 1 :  Thin Inner layer fleece gloves, Decathlon sells it for 300 Rs I guess
Layer 2 : Water Proof thick gloves, again you can buy the same from Decathlon.

Two layers of gloves will keep your hands cozy, if not warm.

Feet
Layer 1 : Nylon Socks: pure nylon socks will keep the humidity out
Layer 2 : Woolen Socks, get those thick woolen socks
Layer 3 : Good quality shoes, with double layer of socks , you will need a size bigger shoe, don’t worry, a size bigger shoes works well once you use them with single layer of socks in summer. Quechua forclaz 500 are quite famous, but your regular trekking shoes will also work.

See the point is, no layers of socks and shoes will make your feet warm in that kind of cold, all you need to target is that your feet and fingers don’t feel cold.

If your feet start feeling cold, just walk a bit and you should be fine.

Head
Balaclava, that monkey cap, is the best inner layer

You can use muffler for covering neck, my jacket has a neck restraint, which is foam filled and covers the neck
Thick woolen cap, that covers your ears completely

Sun glasses are must

Other Stuff

A towel, I prefer that thin “Parna” type towel as it gets dry quickly

 

Medicines and Toiletry

SPF 60 sun lotion, very important, and good quantity.

Mustard oil, another very important item, it will be cold and almost zero humidity, skin will dry up very, and only the the pure mustard oil will not freeze at that temperature.

Toilet Paper Roll, you will need that, I guarantee 😀 , we will buy and keep few in our vehicles. You can buy it from Kaza market

Rest of the medicine list is for your reference and as per your requirement

Diamox

Cheston Cold
Oxyflocin
Crocin
Paracitamol
Soframycin
Anti alergic
cough/cold
Anti vomiting
Brufin

 

Camera and Electronics

Camera and Lenses
Batteries, keep few extra, cold reduces the performance of the battery by 30-40%. I will share the tricks to handle cold.
Extra Memory Cards
Tripod
Charger
Solar Charger
Torch
Tent light
Head Light
Extra AA Battery

Other important essentials

Sun Glasses

Rubber water bottle, used for warming up sprained body parts, works very well for warming up the quilts as you get inside for sleep for the night, it’s works awesome if your feet feel cold, just put one near your feet inside quilt and you will be cozy.
Extra Power Glasses (if you wear power glasses)
License/Personal IDs/Debit/Credit Cards etc
Hot Flask 500ml or 1 Ltr, I carry boiling water in it
Hot Flask 1 ltr, carry lukewarm water for drinking, water will freeze in non-insulated water bottles in minutes, plastic bottles will not work
Nutrition Bars of your taste, just to munch in between
Dry Fruits mix, just for emergency, not necessary though, I carry it when I travel alone

 

Good to have

Chemical warmers: my experience is mixed with them, it works good when you insert them in gloves or socks, while you are inside room.

Phone Connectivity in Spiti Valley

Updated : July 2017

 

If staying connected with the outer world is important for you while you are travelling to Spiti valley, following table will help you prepare better. I always carry a BSNL/MTNL Postpaid with me along with Airtel Postpaid.

 

In Spiti valley, only BSNL (both prepaid and postpaid) works in roaming.

 

Table below is based on my usage and experience and it keep changing frequently in terms of new areas added or no signals because of no power or any landslide breaking the cables.

 

So plan your connectivity needs in advance, complete or delay any urgent communication before or after the trip.Data speed is 2G right now, but work is progress of the 3G cabling.

 

Note : I have no association with Airtel, BSNL or Reliance Jio, this is my experience based on what I am using right now.

Tashizom Guest House – Kibber

Stayed there twice and I loved it both the times. Situated at the entry of the Kibber village, Spiti, its gives  wonderful view of whole Kibber village and Chicham village on the other side of the gorge.

 

I love their family room which is huge, with a traditional sitting arrangement, a bukhari, a book corner. Other rooms are equally fantastic. Most importantly toilets are cleaner compared to other options.

 

It has a decent size dinning hall, with few facilities like music system, computer, printers etc.

 

Visit [custom_button style=”btn_small btn_type6″ icon=”icon-sign-in” target=”_self” href=”http://yellowpeaks.com/spiti”]Spiti Page[/custom_button] for more information on Spiti valley.

 

Tashizom Guest House - Kibber-8 copy

 

Tashizom Guest House - Kibber-7

 

Tashizom Guest House - Kibber-6

 

Tashizom Guest House - Kibber-5

 

Tashizom Guest House - Kibber-4

 

Tashizom Guest House - Kibber-3

 

Tashizom Guest House - Kibber-2

 

Tashizom Guest House - Kibber-1

 

 

People of Spiti Valley

Some of the most friendly people in the world, people of spiti valley are always ready to help locals and visitors. Mainly following the Buddhism religion, people here are very hard working and fight against the harsh weather and difficult demographics.

 

In my many trips to Spiti, in every village I have stayed, the level hospitality that I received is just incomparable to any other places.

 

Visit [custom_button style=”btn_small btn_type6″ icon=”icon-sign-in” target=”_self” href=”http://yellowpeaks.com/spiti”]Spiti Page[/custom_button] for more information on Spiti valley.

 

Gete Village-3

 

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Lake the Majestica – Chandra Taal

Situated right at the heart of Himachal Pradesh, Spiti, India and at an altitude of 4300 meters is this beautiful and magical Chandra Taal Lake. You get the surprise of your life when you see a beautiful colourful lake right in the middle of nowhere.

 

Best Time to Visit:

It’s connected to Batal – Kaza road through a gravel road of around 25 kilometer, and accessible from June till October, and remains snowed out during winter. Driving is the only option to the lake, other than trekking from Kunzum.

Stay:

Generally private camps are up by early June and stays there till late September. Camping area is situated 4 kms before the lake, and you can also pitch your own tent.

No camping is allowed around the lake to preserve the lake and ecosystem.

You also have option to stay at Losar village which is 60 km from the lake, with little better resources and phone connectivity. Some other options are PWD guest Houses at Batal and Losar.

How to reach

Driving by road is your only option as of now, and either you drive your own car or hire taxi from Manali, Shimla or Kaza. You have two options to reach the lake, either from Manali side or Shimla side, and routes looks as follows:

Route 1: Manali – Rohtang Pass – Gramphoo – Batal – Chandra Taal

From Delhi and self-drive, your plan should look like this:

Day 1: Delhi – Manali or Naggar

Day 2: Manali – Chandra Taal

Day 3: Explore around Chandra Taal

Day 4: Lake – Manali

Day 5: Manali – Delhi

If you are travelling by bus from Delhi, this is how it can look:

Day 0: Overnight bus journey from Delhi to Manali,

Day 1: Taxi pick you up from bus stand, and drive to Chandra Taal

Day 2: Explore around Chandra Taal

Day 3: Lake to Manali and then overnight bus to Delhi, reaching Delhi early morning of Day 4.

Route 2: Shimla – Narkanda – Rampur – Wangtoo – Powari – Nako – Tabo – Kaza – Rangrik – Losar – Lake

For Route 2, you can refer to my Spiti page for the plan and other relevant details

While Route-1  take a day less to reach the lake, but it takes you up to 4300 meter much faster and can trigger Acute Mountain Sickeness, while Route-2 take a day longer, much longer drive but acclimatizes you much better.

Also the roads from the Manali side is much worse than Shimla side, though there are bad sections on both side.

If you are just planning to visit the lake and short of time, choose Route-1. If you are on a longer holiday and planning to visit other areas of Spiti, go for Route-2.

Refer to the map for all route details.

Map

Print

 

Driving your own vehicle

If you are driving your own vehicles, it’s recommended to have a vehicle with higher ground clearance. Though hatchback and sedans can do it, but will have tough time on some of patches on both the routes above. Section between Batal and Chandrataal base camp is all gravel broken jeep track, prone to landslides.

Your only fuel options are at Manali, Kaza and Reckong Peo (refer to map).

Make sure your vehicle is serviced and in best of its form as the roads can break the vehicle to any extent.

 

Photography

There are plenty of opportunities of photography around the lake, sunset and sunrise are the best time of lake. Sunrise is much more quitter without any wind, hence you get the best reflection in the still lake. Winds start picking up around 10 Am.

Nights are for some astro photography as you get the clear sky with billions of star over your heads. September is the best time for milky-way and shooting star captures.

There are plenty of opportunities for wildlife photography around the lake.

 

Other Significant things

  • While days are warm, night can really get cold at the camping area, hence prepare well and carry enough woollens for night photography.
  • If you start showing the signs of AMS, immediately get down to either Batal or Losar, you will lose around 400 meters which can significantly help in improving your health.
  • Drive early in the morning when there is less water flowing through the nullahs and you will have less trouble crossing them.
  • There is no mobile connectivity at the lake area. You get some weak phone signals at Gramphoo, satellite phone at famous dhaba at Batal, and then mobile signals at Losar.
  • Keep the camp area and lake clean and bring your waste back to places where you can dispose it properly.

 

 

Spiti

 

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Crystal clear water of the lake

 

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Sunset is equally beautiful

 

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Camping Area

 

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Keep your gears ready

 

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Magical show of Light and Shadows

 

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amazing ripples of lake

 

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Peaks around the lake

 

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Copyright © 2015 Yellow Peaks. All Rights Reserved. All images are copyright of Yellow Peaks, and can not be reproduced in any form

Land of Yaks

Traditionally a Land of Yaks and mules, Spiti region was always dependent on them for transport, farming, milk product and many other daily needs. With the time and better facilities, things are changing and a lot of Yak’s responsibility is not taken care by machines. but its still a most sought after.

 

Milk from female Yalk (Churis) is very nutritious and used for many milk products. I recently tried this milk curd with roasted barley powder and the taste by awesome.

 

Yaks are very well adapted for the harsh environment of high altitude mountains and hence survive very well in the mountains of spiti.

 

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