Tourist Attractions In Spiti Valley & Its Vicinity

by Vargis.Khan

Enigmatic and enchanting are the two words that I use most to describe Spiti valley. It is a magical place indeed, full of wonders that are capable of inspiring awe out of anyone. The gradual transformation of vistas from lush green valleys of Kullu and Kinnaur to a barren wasteland of Lahaul & Spiti is magnificent. The experience of traveling on non-existent adventurous roads is beyond description. It is a journey that is a destination in itself. Every minute on the watch, every turn on the road will present you with something new. However there are a few places that are more capable of catching the eye than others, highlights of the journey that can be termed as tourist attractions In Spiti Valley. In this article, I will list down such places which in my opinion should be on “must see” list of anyone traveling towards Spiti.

tourist attractions in spiti

Tourist Attractions In Spiti Valley

Tourist Attractions In Spiti Valley & Its Vicinity

The most common way of completing a trip to Spiti valley is to start from Shimla and exit at Manali. I will cover this article the same way; starting from Shimla and listing down all tourist places in Spiti, gradually moving forward towards Manali. I am not keeping this article limited to only a handful of places within Spiti valley, but all tourist attractions on the circuit including Kinnaur, Spiti and Lahaul valleys. I will break it down in two parts; first part covering the particular famed spots and second part listing down all major towns / villages on the way.

Shimla: This will be the starting point of your journey and needs no introduction. Being the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, it is the headquarters for several administration works and one of the most popular hill stations of our country.  Some of the main tourist attractions of Shimla are the

  • Main shopping street known as “The Mall”
  • Christ Church: Second oldest church in Northern India, situated on The Ridge
  • Jakhu Hill: The highest peak around Shimla, at a height of 8,000 ft, offering a magnificent view of the valley around.
  • Shimla State Museum: Full of several ancient artifacts displaying the cultural wealth of Himachal Pradesh
  • Statue of Lord Hanuman at Jakhu Hill: This 108 feet tall statue stands at a height of 8,500 ft above sea level

Presidential retreat at Mashobra:  One of the two presidential retreats of our country is located in Mashbora; other one being in Secunderabad. Once every year, office of the President of India shifts here for some time.

Himalayan Wildlife Zoo at Kufri: It hosts several rare antelopes, felines and birds including the Himalayan Monal, the state bird of Himachal Pradesh.

Hatu Peak: Located near Narkanda and at a height of 12,000 feet, Hatu peak it is the highest summit in Shimla Narkanda region. Surrounded by dense forest, it presents an eagle eye view of the entire valley around and is also a good sunrise or sunset point.




The peak is about a 7 kilometers drive on a narrow road from Narkanda. You can take your car or motorcycle all the way up to the peak. There is a temple at the summit known as Hatu temple and dedicated to Mandodari, wife of Rawan.

Sutlej View Point: A few kilomters after Narkanda, you will get your first view of River Sutej. The place where ITBP has put up a board as “Sutlej View Point” is a good spot for photography.

Bhimakali Temple: Located at Sarahan, this beautiful temple is dedicated to the mother goddess Bhimakali.

Sarahan Pheasantry: Also known as Sarahan Bird Sanctuary, this park is worth a visit. It hosts  Monal, the state bird of Himachal Pradesh and a few other rare birds. Please note that the sanctuary remains closed from July to September for Bird mating season. If you are traveling in any month apart from these three, a visit is highly recommended.

Karchham Dam: A huge dam on river Sutlej located near Karchham. The Dam in itself presents quite a view.

Nages God Temple: A temple located in Sangla dedicated to Nages God.

Kamru Fort: Located in Sangla, it is one of the oldest forts in Himachal Pradesh.

Baspa River: As you travel through Baspa valley towards Sangla and Chitkul, you will be driving right next to River Baspa flowing through a lush green valley.

tourist attractions in spiti

Tourist Attractions In Spiti Valley

Kinnaur Kailash: Also known as Kinner Kailash, It is a mountain considered holy by both Hindus and Buddhists. The best view of this mighty peak is from Kalpa, especially at sunrise. A trek goes to the top of this peak through Charang La and is considered one of the toughest treks in Himachal Pradesh.

Shipki La: This will be your first high altitude pass of the journey if you can somehow by miracle manage to get permits to visit here. No civilian is allowed towards this pass at all. At an elevation of 18,599 ft, it is as of now the highest motorable pass in India, and probably in the world as well but that claim is anyways always disputed. To reach here, you need to leave the highway and go about 30 odd kilometers uphill just before Khab Bridge.

Reo Purgyil: At an elevation of 22,362 ft, it is the highest peak in all of Himachal Pradesh. You can get a good view of the peak from Khab Bridge if the weather is clear. If not from Khab Bridge, you will have to go up to Namgia village to get a clear view. Nako Village is located on the slopes of this mountain.

Confluence of Spiti & Sutlej Rivers: Just before Kazigs, you will come across the confluence of two mighty rivers, Sutlej and Spiti. A beautiful spot as these two rivers merge to become one.

Kazigs: Also known as Ka Loops, it is a series of hairpin bends before the village of Nako. These are quite similar to what you will see at Gata Loops while driving to Ladakh. One by one you climb up the loops and vistas keep getting better and the road below too looks quite scenic, like a crawling snake.

Nako Lake: A small man-made lake in the village of Nako. It is not much to look at during day time but try some photography around the lake at either dusk or dawn and you will be able to get some good shots.

Nako Monastery: It is an 11th century ancient monastery located in the village of Nako.

Malling Nallah: I am adding this as a tourist attraction but it is actually not. Mallling Nallah is an infamous stretch, a dreaded one for that matter. When in its full flow, getting across this nallah can make your heart jump into your mouth.

The Mummy of Spiti Valley: Yes you read it right. There is an actual mummy in Gue, a small village in Spiti. This mummy is considered to be over 500 years old and attracts quite a few tourists each year. Click on the link below to read about the mummy in detail. To reach here though, you will have to leave the highway and take a turn towards Gue, about 8 kilometers from the main road. After visiting the Mummy, you will come back to the highway and continue further.

The Mummy of Spiti Valley

Tabo Monastery: An ancient monastery believed to be over a thousand years old and one of the holiest. Many priceless collections of scroll paintings, manuscripts, well-preserved statues, frescos and extensive murals can be found here.

Dhankar Monastery: Also known as Dhangkar Gompa, it is an ancient monastery built on a 1000 foot high cliff overlooking the confluence of Spiti and Pin Rivers. Apart from its heritage, this monastery is also famous for this spectacular setting. “Dhang” means cliff and “Kar” means fort, hence the literal name of the place is “Fort on a cliff”.

Confluence of Spiti and Pin Rivers: A beautiful sight as both these rivers merge into each other at the small village of Dhankar.

Tangyud Monastery: It is one of the highest altitude monasteries in India, located on the edge of a deep canyon and overlooking the town of Kaza. It is built like a fortified castle in the small village of Komic (or Komik), at a distance of about 5 kilometers from Kaza.

Key Monastery: Also known as Kye Gompa, it is one of the largest monasteries in Spiti valley that also serves as a training centre for Lamas. It is believed to be over a thousand years old and has a vast collection of ancient murals and books.

Marine Fossils:  Nearby Kaza, the small villages of Kibber, Langza and Komik are famous for some ancient fossils that can be found here. It is not however something that you will come across at random. Villagers here keep these fossils to show and also to sell. Do not expect something amazing though, these fossils are more or less just some rocks with weird looking prints on them.

Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary: It was established in 1992, is India’s only wildlife sanctuary in cold desert and is home to several rare animals like Ibex, Blue Sheep, Red Fox, Tibetan woolly hare, Himalayan wolf, lynx, pika, Tibetan wild ass.




The most famous of all however is Snow Leopard. Kibber is located on the outer limits of the sanctuary and becomes a base in winters for people interested in spotting this rare, shy and beautiful large cat. It is also the base for the trek to Mount Kanamo.

Kunzum Pass: Your first high altitude pass of the journey, unless you have somehow managed to climb up to Shipki La in which case Kunzum will be your second. Connecting the valleys of Lahaul and Spiti, this pass is at an elevation of 4,590 meters, higher than Rohtang La. It remains closed from late October until early June.

Chandratal: A beautiful lake which is also the origin point of river Chandrabhaga. If you can manage to be around here after sunset, it is a perfect place for capturing some magnificent late night shots. This small lake is one of the key highlights of the journey to Spiti valley and a perfect camping spot. There is also a legend associated with this lake. Click at the link below to read in detail.

Batal: Gramphoo stretch: Another addition which is not really a tourist attraction but more or less a pain area in the journey. However, if you are of the adventure sort then driving on this small stretch of nightmarish road will be a journey you will remember. It has everything to make your life hell, from numerous water crossings, to slush, to rocks; put it all together and you are in for an adventurous joy ride.

Rohtang La: The mighty Rohtang La, the spot where you will cross over to Manali and finish your Spiti journey. The name of this pass literally means “a pile of corpses” which I believe attributes to the fact that a lot of people died while crossing it in ancient times. Expect to find snow at the top no matter which month you are traveling in. The vistas around from the top of the pass and even on the ascent/descent are quite breathtaking.

Tourist Places in Spiti Valley

Below is a list of all the towns & villages that you will be crossing while traveling from Shimla to Kaza or Vice Versa. Some of these places are off the main highway but none is way too far except for Chitkul for which you are required to take a diversion from Karchham.

Mashobra: A popular hill station noted for housing one of the two Presidential retreats in India, Wildflower Hall at Chharabra and Carignano, a beautiful picnic spot.

Kufri:  Famous for its popular ski track and a Himalayan wild life zoo; hosting rare antelopes, felines and birds including the Himalayan monal, the state bird of Himachal Pradesh.

Fagu: Another small hill station, known for its natural beauty.

Theog: Another small village en-route, known for its scenic location.

Narkanda: A major tourist spot known for its natural beauty and the nearby Hatu Peak. The place also has religious importance because of the Hatu Temple located at top of Hatu Summit. A lot of people break their journey at Narkanda for first day. There are several hotels here.

Rampur: Another major town on the route. Several hotels, petrol pump and mechanics available here.

Jeori: A small town from where you take the road that goes uphill towards Sarahan.

Sarahan: A beautiful place noted for its scenic beauty, Bhimakali temple and Sarahan Bird Sanctuary. A perfect spot to break your journey on 2nd day.

Karchham: A small town noted for the huge dam built on River Sutlej. This is also the place where a road towards Sangla and Chitkul bifurcates.

Sangla: A beautiful small town in Baspa valley. There are several hotels and an ATM here. Lot of tourists would prefer staying here rather than Chitkul.

Chitkul: One of the most beautiful hill stations I have ever been to. The entire setting of this village is just beautiful with peaks arising on three sides and River Baspa flowing down through the village. A perfect spot for some landscape and nature photography. Your cell phone will not work here but a satellite pay phone is available here to make calls. You can halt here for the night on 3rd day of your journey.

Reckong Peo: A major town on the way towards Spiti. It is more of an Army base and has several hotels, a gas station and ATMs. Foreign tourists need to obtain a permit from here before traveling any further towards Spiti.

Kalpa: A small town about 10 kilometers from Reckong Peo, noted for the magnificent view of Kinner Kailash peaks from here. Several budget hotels here and you can stay here on 4th day. This also will probably be the last town where you phone will work flawlessly, no matter which network you are on. As you cross Kalpa and continue towards Puh, your phone services will be a come and go before it completely dies.

Powari: A small village but there is petrol pump here in case you need to tank up.

Pooh: Also known as Puh, Poo and Spuwa, it is a small town noted for an ancient temple, the Lotsaba-bai-lha-khang, dedicated to Shakyamuni or Lord Buddha. Foreigners will be required to submit their permits here.

Akpa: There was a major landslide here in 1995 that claimed lives of over a 100 people including soldiers post which the Akpa Bridge was constructed.

Nako: Small village en-route noted for Nako Lake and Nako Monastery. If you are staying here for the night, try trekking a bit uphill and you will get a magnificent view of the green village amidst barren hills, a good spot for photography. Trekking up, you will also get an amazing sunset view. Perfect place to break your 5th day journey. If you are on a BSNL network, there is a high chance that you may get connectivity at Nako. Once you start descending towards Tabo, network will be gone for good until Kaza.

tourist attractions in spiti

Tourist Attractions In Spiti Valley

Sumdo: This is the village where Kinnaur valley ends and you enter the beautiful Spiti valley. Foreigners will be required to submit their permits at the check post here.

Kaurik: A few kilometers after Sumdo, a road on your right will take you uphill to what was once a small village of Kaurik. This entire village was washed out in flash floods in early 90s and no one has lived here ever since. Now all that remains are ruins of what were once homes. The road will end a little before the village and you will have to walk the last few kilometers. However, a permit is required to go to this village and even for this; the situation is pretty much same as Shipki La. It is next to impossible to get a permit for Kaurik because the Tibet border is just a few kilometers ahead of this place.

Gue: A small village about 8 kilometers from Shimla – Kaza highway, noted for a 500 year old mummy that was found and still located here.

Tabo: Tabo is famous for its monastery which is over a thousand years old and believed to be one of the holiest. The Dalai Lama himself has expressed his desire to live in Tabo after he retires.

Dhankar: Also known as Dhangkar, this place is noted for its ancient monastery and Dhankar Lake and confluence of Spiti and Pin rivers.

Kaza: Headquarters of Spiti valley, Kaza serves as base camp for trekking, mountaineering and tours directed to other parts of the valley. There is a fuel station here, several hotels, banks and a large hospital. It is the largest township and commercial center of Spiti valley.

Kibber: Also spelled as Kyibar, this village is located at a distance of about 16 kilometers from Kaza and is at an elevation of 4,270 meters (14,010 ft). It comprises of about 80 odd houses and has facilities like electricity, a civil dispensary, school and post office. Apart from the natural beauty of the place, this village is best known for a wildlife reserve known as Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary.

Komik: Also known as Kaumik and Komic, this small village is located within a short distance from Kaza. The name Komik literally means “Eye of the Snow Cock”. Located about 18 kilometers from and at an altitude of 15,027 feet, it is often called as highest village in the world or highest motorable village in the world, a claim which is of course disputed.

Gette / Tashigang / Langza / Hikkim: All these are small villages located at a small distance from the town of Kaza. An untarred road leads to these villages and a day visit is recommended. You may spend a night here but in order to do that, you must first arrange for your accommodation. There are no hotels in these villages and you will have to stay as a paying guest. If you are carrying a BSNL phone, you will get connectivity here.

Losar: Last village before you start climbing up Kunzum Pass. If you have a BSNL phone, there is a high chance that you may get connectivity here as well.

Batal: Just a small setting of Chadar tents and Dhabas that you will come across. There is however the facility of a satellite pay phone at one of the Dhabas in case you need to make any urgent calls.

Gramphoo: This is where the road from Spiti Valley merges with the Manali Leh highway and you will take the turn towards Rohtang top. There is a slight chance that your phone may work here if you are on BSNL or Airtel network.

Marhi: A group of restaurants as you start to descend towards Manali. It is a good place to eat if you are hungry.

Manali: And your journey finally ends at Manali, one of the most popular tourist destinations of our country which is also commonly terms as “honeymoon” spot of India.

I hope this information on tourist attractions in Spiti valley 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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35 comments

Spiti Valley Road Status 2020 | Road Status of Spiti Valley - Vargis Khan October 27, 2019 - 9:53 pm

[…] Tourist Attractions In Spiti Valley & Its Vicinity […]

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Pearl December 11, 2019 - 1:50 pm

Hello sir
I love the fact that this article not only concentrates on the popular tourist attractions but also accommodates the details of beautiful places on the way that often get ignored.
I’m an 18 year old from Shimla planning a road trip to Spiti valley with two of my friends.
Can you please suggest a mode of travel along with a rough itinerary or maybe write another article about teenagers travelling alone for the first time?

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Archit May 9, 2019 - 12:43 pm

Hi Varghis

Insightful article. I am planning a trip this June to Spiti Valley.
Do you have a detailed map of Spiti valley similar to one you gave in Pin Valley article? Will be really helpful.

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Vargis.Khan June 22, 2019 - 2:11 am

Hi Archit – Sorry I missed responding to your question. If you haven’t already gone to Spiti, please take a look at the post below for the road map.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/lahaul-spiti-road-map-distances/

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Sagnick Kundu March 27, 2019 - 8:17 pm

Hi Varghis, can you tell me whether I can get MTB cycles for rental in Kaza?

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Vargis.Khan March 28, 2019 - 1:33 pm

Hi Sagnick – Yes you can get mountain bikes on rent there.

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Rajesh March 18, 2019 - 9:55 pm

Hi Vargis,

Can you please provide iternery to cover Spiti Valley in six days. Starting point Shimla and Manali will be the exit point. Thanks in advance!

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Rajesh March 19, 2019 - 9:18 pm

Thank you very much Vargis..

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Vargis.Khan March 19, 2019 - 9:49 pm

You are welcome brother !!!

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aroop banerjee March 10, 2019 - 11:25 am

Hi Vargis,

Your entire guide is worth reading and thanks a lot for such a detailed blog.

I am planning as per your planned itinerary as suggested by you with a little change as my travel tickets are booked from Delhi on return. Here my question would be, how much would be the car rental for entire trip from Kalka to Kalka for these days covering all as u suggested. One of the vendor asked for 30 K , is it ok or too high. Secondly, should we depend on driver for hotel booking on spot or we book in advance?

We will be 3 , including my wife and son of 9 years old.. It would be helpful if u pl guide us a budgeted trip including hotels and car.

Kalka to Narkanda – Day 1
Narkanda to Chitkul – Day 2
Chitkul to Nako – Day 3
Nako to Mud Village (Pin Valley) – Day 4
Mud Village to Kaza – Day 5
Kaza to Kibber / Komik / Langza / Hikkim to Kaza – Day 6
Kaza to Kalpa – Day 7
Kalpa to Sarahan – Day 8
Sarahan to Shimla / Chail – Day 9
Kalka to Delhi – Day 10

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Vargis.Khan March 10, 2019 - 2:57 pm

Hi Aroopp – Please have a word with Binny Thakur @ 9816300804. Give my reference and see if he is able to offer you a better deal. When are you planning to go?

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Aroop March 11, 2019 - 2:54 am

2nd week of May this year

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Vargis.Khan March 11, 2019 - 3:44 am

You should be able to travel as per the itinerary mentioned. Give Binny a call and ask him if he can give you a better price.

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Spiti Valley With Kids - What to Know Before You Go !! - Vargis Khan January 7, 2019 - 5:40 am

[…] Also Read: What to See in Spiti Valley […]

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aroop March 11, 2019 - 9:37 am

His no. seems to s/o.

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Vargis.Khan March 11, 2019 - 4:11 pm

He must be somewhere with no cellphone reception. Drop him a text or leave me your number and I will send him a message

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Inderpal Singh June 12, 2018 - 5:37 am

Hi vargis , good to read such detailed blogs about spiti…kudous……….can u tell me that is manali to kaza route open as i’m planning after 20 june …in bike

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Vargis.Khan June 12, 2018 - 1:34 pm

Yes it is open Inderpal

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Faizal May 26, 2018 - 10:21 am

hi varghese, thank you for your informative blog
i am just asking an out of box question, i was there in manali two times wich is in season and in off season. i loved the trip on off season because its challenging in extreme cold and very less tourist. so i prefer these kind of travell. my question is here, i heard leh (including nubra, khadrungla,pangong lake) will be crowdy and it will become tourist place. so is it worth travelling spitti valley rather than leh?
is there any remote area in leh to explore ? travell time mid june, 8 days , in bike

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Rohan May 23, 2018 - 5:03 pm

Hi Mr.Varghis,

I love your blogs and the umpteen details in it

Have some query, kindly address them

– How to reach spiti from Mandi, shortest distance I know is to travel from Mandi to Kullu and Then Kullu to Kaza. However I am unable to find on how to travel from Mandi to Kullu, though there are buses from Kullu to Kaza

– My idea behind visiting spiti is to stay for four or five days in each village to get the feel of nature and lifestyle. My list has Langza, Komic, Tashigong, Pin valley, gette, hikkim, Please let me know if i need to add more places or remove some

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kartiki May 14, 2018 - 4:42 pm

Hello, any idea if the bus from manali to kaza is open yet ? I will be there on june 3rd

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Vargis.Khan May 15, 2018 - 4:47 pm

Not open yet and will probably not be until June Mid the way situation is right now.

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Tarak shah March 18, 2018 - 12:50 pm

Hi Mr. Vargisji , I am a big fan of your blog. Will you please guide me that is it worth to go to mudh village? We are 6 persons with 2 elders and 2 kids and none of us are very keen for trekking.

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Vargis.Khan March 19, 2018 - 6:21 pm

Hello Tarak Bhai – Thank you so much for your kind words. Please take a look at the post below where I have explained Pin valley route in detail.

https://vargiskhan.com/log/plan-trip-pin-valley-spiti/

Let me know if you have any further questions.

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Som May 28, 2017 - 3:50 pm

Hi,
We are doing a Spiti valley trip this June. Can you please suggest how to get a permit for Shipki La? Everywhere it’s mentioned that it is tough o get a permit, but I still want to give it a try.
Thanks for your help.

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Vargis.Khan May 29, 2017 - 3:07 am

You won’t get it Som unless you have high level contacts in Army, ITBP, and Himachal administration. My entire family is in Indian Army and even I haven’t been able to manage the permits so far.

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sameer May 11, 2017 - 1:10 pm

When Manali to kaza will open??

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Vargis.Khan May 11, 2017 - 3:28 pm

By June 2nd or 3rd week.

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ashish kumar March 25, 2018 - 4:29 pm

Hi Vargis khan,

i am planning trip on 12th May to 25th May 2018. Chail to Kalpa to Kaza to chandratal Lake to Manali. you guess route will be open, kaza to manali?

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Vargis.Khan March 26, 2018 - 3:53 pm

Hi Ashish – Yes there is a high chance that the Manali Kaza road will be open by 25th May.

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bany m jacob May 7, 2017 - 3:01 pm

hi vargis, im bany from kerala, a great fan of your blog, me and my friend are planning a road trip from kerala to shimla kullu manali also planning to visit spiti, i own a hatch back polo, is it possible to visti spiti now?kindly help us with details

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Vargis.Khan May 8, 2017 - 2:07 am

Hi Bany, thank you for your kind words brother, I appreciate.

I would not recommend taking a Polo to Spiti really because of low ground clearance but if you, be extremely careful and mentally prepared that the belly of your car will hit the ground at several places. You will also have to be really good at the wheel to handle the water crossings on Batal Gramphoo stretch, again because of low ground clearance.

Can you let me know when your plan is? You said now? Do you mean in May?

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bany May 8, 2017 - 5:37 am

hi vargis, we are planning to reach shimla on 20th of may and visit spiti via kinnaur,planning to do a 10day trip,is there no way that i can take my hatchback through this route?will do as per your valuable suggestion,also expecting an itinerary

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Vargis.Khan May 9, 2017 - 3:44 am

20th May is fine, you can take your hatchback because Manali to Kaza is closed right now so you will have to return to Shimla only. The actual bad road is between Manali to Kaza that can actually damage your car. Avoid the Karchham to Chitkul route and Manali to Kaza route and you will be Ok. There is a seriously bad road between Rampur to Puh, lot of stones on the road so take the journey on that stretch really slow to avoid any stones hitting the car underneath.

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