In the lap of the majestic Himalayas and amidst lofty mountain passes, picturesque landscape, pristine environment and enthralling glaciers, lies the remote and secluded Spiti Valley, which is an adventure lover and bikers’ paradise in India.
The cold desert mountain valley lies in the eastern part of Himachal Pradesh and is nestled between Ladakh and Tibet. Spiti is also known as ‘Mini Tibet’ because of Tibetan Buddhist cultural influences and monasteries, some of which are thousand years old.
The world’s second largest glacier, Bara-Sigri, is in Spiti. Tabo Monestary in Spiti is amongst the oldest centre of Buddhist spiritualism in the Himalayan region.
Spend a night at Kibber village to get wonderstruck with the beauty of stars in the night. The highest motorable village with clear expanses is the most famous stargazing spot.
Rudyard Kipling, the author of the famous Jungle book, called Spiti a world within a world.
Spiti’s terrain is rugged and inhospitable but the people there are very friendly and affable.
For intrepid bikers, backpackers, hitchhikers and trekkers who want to head to the mountains as a respite from scorching summer heat during May and June, Spiti is a very good option.
* Temperature in Spiti can reach upto minus 30° C at the peak of winter season.
* The valley is closed for at least 6 months in a year because of heavy snowfall. The Best time of the year to visit Spiti is from May to September.
* There are two routes to reach Spiti. One is from Shimla via Kannur and the other is from Manali via Rohtang Pass. From Shimla it takes close to 2 days, including a night halt, while from Manali it takes 15-16 hours. First one would be preferable if you want to gradually adjust to high altitude.
* Weather in Spiti is uncertain and changes suddenly. It is very important to carry with you a jacket, a hat, a winter skull cap, boots and sunglasses.
* Spiti does not have many hotels but there are guest houses and homestay paying guest options. To explore local culture, customs and taste local cuisines, homestay would be the best option for a truly memorable travel experience.
* Internet and mobile phone connectivity is a problem in Spiti. So don’t rely on your internet or cellphone there. For cell phone, it is advisable to purchase a local BSNL SIM card in Shimla or Manali.
* Carry cash. There are a very few ATMs and the existing ones often do not function.
Biker’s need to follow some extra cautions-
1) Get your bike repaired and serviced in advance. The bike should be in good condition. A cruiser bike would be the best.
2) Carry tubeless tires, puncture repair kit, petrol and an air pump.
3) Do carry the tool box with you.
4) Ride only during the day and start early before sunrise.
5) Do wear elbow guards, knee guards, riding gloves, biking jacket and a helmet.
Have a safe journey. Enjoy the mesmerising beauty of the Himalayas and a thrilling biking experience.
Cover image source.