A Detailed Itinerary for Visiting Spiti in Winters

by Vargis.Khan

Continuing from the previous article providing information on most important factors that you need to kind in mind while planning a trip to Spiti Valley in winters, in this article I will lay down a sample itinerary that you can follow for your visit to Spiti in Winters. The way I have worked my way through this travel plan is keeping in mind that you do not travel too much or too less on any given day while covering all the major tourist attractions in Spiti valley. Not everyone can of course follow this itinerary to the last detail but it should be sufficient to at least get you started in drafting your own travel itinerary.

In my opinion, a minimum of 9 days is required for a complete Spiti experience. Any less than this and you will be traveling a bit much on certain days. The most important aspect to consider while traveling to Spiti is that it is not the distance that matters but the road conditions. At several stretches, the total kilometers count will not be that high but the nightmarish roads will limit your speed down to a mere 20-25 kilometers per hour, thus increasing the travel time.

spiti in winters

Spiti in Winters

The route from Manali to Spiti remains closed throughout Winters so you have no other choice but to start from Shimla and return via the same route. Apart from going through the itinerary, I recommend that you also take a look at the article at the link below, detailing several important factors that you must prepare for in order to ensure a safe trip. Information on accommodation in Spiti in Winters is also covered in this article.

Also read: How to Plan a Trip to Spiti Valley In Winters

Your final itinerary will depend on several factors like what is your mode of travel, where are you traveling from, how many days you have in hand, if there is a budget limitation etc. but for the sake of this article, I would assume that you are traveling by your own vehicle and starting from Delhi. If you are planning to travel by public transport, I would strongly advise against it as the availability of public transport services in Spiti in winters is scarce.  You should either travel by your own vehicle or hire a private taxi. Depending on the number of days you have, you can add or remove destinations from the suggested travel plan. If you are not starting from Delhi, then the journey on first and last day will change; it of course can also mean that you may have to add additional days here if you are traveling from farther from Delhi.

Itinerary for visiting Spiti in Winters

Day 1 – Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda
Day 2 – Shimla / Narkanda to Sarahan
Day 3 – Sarahan to Sangla / Kalpa / Reckong Peo
Day 4 – Sangla / Kalpa / Reckong Peo to Tabo
Day 5 – Tabo to Kaza
Day 6 – Kaza
Day 7 – Kaza to Nako / Pooh
Day 8 – Nako / Pooh to Rampur
Day 9 – Rampur to Shimla / Delhi

As I mentioned above, you will be covering on the same route for going to Kaza and returning back home.  I have tried to keep the destinations different though to ensure that you do not stay at the same place while coming back home that you did on your way to Kaza. Continue to read below for a detailed explanation of this itinerary.

Day 1 – Delhi to Shimla / Narkanda

Start early from Delhi. Up until Chandigarh it is a long monotonous rive. Take the Himalayan expressway just before Chandigarh towards Shimla. For Day 1, you can either chose to stay at Shimla or continue towards Narkanda which is about 2-3 hours’ drive from Shimla. However, the roads around Shimla, Fagu, Kufri and on the way to Narkanda may close temporarily owing to heavy snowfall. Drive carefully as this region does get a lot of snow.

I personally prefer to stay at Narkanda rather than crowded Shimla but in Winters, Shimla too becomes quite a beautiful place with all the snow around. Depending on your own choice and time taken to reach here, you can stay at either of these places. Shimla is a famous tourist destination and you can see the local market, mall road, Ridge in the evening. Narkanda is just a small village but with tremendous scenic beauty.

Narkanda is famous for Hatu Peak which is the highest peak in the region. Friend of mine tried to reach there while visiting Spiti in January and almost had a fatal accident. Please do not attempt this and come back to Narkanda some other time to visit Hatu. The entire steep drive to the top of the peak is covered with snow or at least black ice at several places in winters. The road too is quite narrow and even a slight misjudgement will see you falling down the valley.

Total duration of the journey will be anywhere between 8-10 hours depending upon your breaks and speed.

Day 2 – Shimla / Narkanda to Sarahan

Start a bit early if you stayed at Shimla on Day 1 for the night. Take the road towards Rampur and a little after Narkanda, you will get your first view of Sutlej river. Have your lunch at Rampur and from there, continue towards Jeori. At Jeori, leave the highway and take the 16 kms long bifurcation towards Sarahan, a small but beautiful town famous for Bhimakali temple, dedicated to the mother goddess Bhimakali. There is also a bird sanctuary at Sarahan that is worth a visit.

Total duration of the journey will be between 6-8 hours.

Day 3 – Sarahan to Sangla / Kalpa / Reckong Peo

From Sarahan, descend back to Jeori and continue towards Karchham. At Karchham, take the diversion towards Sangla. You can however only drive till the village of Sangla as the road beyond to Chitkul remains closed in Winters. Karchham is the site for a huge dam on river Sutlej that you cross as you drive by. Sangla is famous for Nages god temple and Kamru Fort.

Now from here, you have two options. You either stay at Sangla or return to continue to Reckong Peo or Kalpa. Only problem with staying at Sangla is that if it snows overnight, then you will get stuck here for a day or two until the road is cleared. If you are OK with this, then by all means spend the night at Sangla.

If however you would not take this risk, then return once again to Karchham and from there, continue towards Reckong Peo. From Peo, if the road is open, then reach all the way till Kalpa and spend the night there. If the road however is closed then stay at Reckong Peo.

Reckong Peo is the last place that you will find a gas station until Kaza so ensure that you tank up here. Your phones will also go out of network beyond Peo so do give a call home and let your folks know.

Total journey till Kalpa, if you went to Sangla as well and returned, will be about 8-9 hours.

Day 4 – Sangla / Kalpa / Reckong Peo to Tabo

Depending on where you stayed, journey back to the highway and continue towards Pooh. You will be required to registered yourself at the check post at Pooh and from there, the road conditions will get a little better.

See the confluence of Spiti and Sutlej rivers at Khab. The bridge at Khab also offers a great view of Leo Purygal Peak.  You will cross the small village of Nako where you can take a lunch break. Nako is famous for a small lake which will be completely frozen like rest of the Spiti in winters. Do not stay here as you will be doing that on your way back. For now, continue driving towards Tabo.

A few kilometers before Tabo, you will come across a cemented gate on your right and road heading towards Gue village. This site is famous for a 650 year old Mummy located here and is worth a visit. From the gate, it is an 8 kms drive to the village. The temple where the Mummy is placed is on a hilltop and is hard to miss once you have reached the village. You can also ask any of the locals and they can point you in the right direction. There is however a high chance that this road may be closed during winters. After visiting the temple, drive back 8 kms to the highway and continue towards Tabo. Primary attraction at Tabo is the Tabo Monastery which is said to be over a thousand years old. Just before Nako is the much dreaded and famous Malling Nallah which too will be frozen in winters. Road around this nallah will be very treacherous and slippery so extreme caution is advised.

This drive too will take about 8-9 hours.

Day 5 – Tabo to Kaza

Destination for today will be Kaza but you will be visiting the village of Dhankar as well on the way. Primary attraction at Dhankar are the two, Old and new, Dhankar monasteries. It will take 4-5 hours at most even if you were driving dead slow with a lot of breaks in between.

Day 6 – Kaza

Spend at least one day in Kaza to enjoy the natural beauty around, the white Spiti in Winters. If you have time, you may stay here for another day and take a journey towards the small villages of Kibber and Komik. The nearby Key Monastery too is worth a visit. Road towards these villages too may remain closed in Winters. The only way then to go here is on foot. If you decide to do that, please do not attempt to walk alone and take a local guide. Also make prior arrangements for your stay overnight at either of these villages as walking back the same day to Kaza will be next to impossible.

Day 7 – Kaza to Nako / Pooh

Kaza is as far as you can go as rest of Spiti in Winters remains closed. You will start your return journey today via the same route that you took to reach Kaza. You can stay for the night at either Nako or Pooh, both of which have a PWD guest house. Approximately 6-8 hours of journey depending on where you stay.

Day 8 – Nako / Pooh  to Rampur

As you would already have seen most of the tourist attractions while on your way to Kaza, limit your number of breaks this day. Start early if you stayed at Nako for the night and reach all the way till Rampur. This will be a long journey that can take up to 8-10 hours till Rampur.

Day 9 – Rampur to Shimla /Delhi

Last day of the journey that you can either break at Shimla or make it all the way straight to Delhi. If you stayed at Shimla, it will be about 4-5 hours of travel. Until Delhi however, it will be anywhere between 14-15 hours.

This will sum up your 9 days journey to Spiti in winters. If you have time, you can spend more days at any of the destinations. Do keep in mind that in winters, this itinerary will have a lot of ifs and buts to it, depending on the weather so do not restrict yourself to 9 days. Keep at least 4-5 days of buffer in hand. It is highly probable that the roads may get snowed out overnight and you will have no choice but to spend next couple of days in the same town. The travel time I mentioned too is in ideal situation but can be more or less depending on road conditions, weather and your driving skills.

I hope this information on vising Spiti in Winters was helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below and I would be glad to answer.

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Pawan Ranta July 23, 2020 - 12:45 pm

Great log Vargis. Stay at PWD resthouses is not guaranteed. I suggest that you include other options too. Thanks

Vargis.Khan July 25, 2020 - 8:36 pm

Thank you Pawan.


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