The Spiti Circuit

If you believe falling in Love is the best part of being in Love, you will understand what I feel about this trip. This was my second long travel plan after two weeks in Ladakh. If someone asks me what would i prefer, without a doubt I will choose Spiti Valley over Ladakh. Spiti valley is still untouched by hoards of tourists and taxi mafia.

This post blows dust from a old trip I took three years back, to Spiti Valley in Himachal. Nothing much to write about this trip so I will let pictures do the talking. Me along with two other friends, (Rahul and Saurabh) undertook this journey over five days in a Tata Indica Vista and this machine performed extremely well.

Best time to visit

Mid May to September is best season as roads are open. But check opening date of Kunzum La before going if you want to visit Chadertaal from Shimla side.

Ideal Number of days

This is subjective but atleast 6 days from Shimla to Manali would be great


All pictures clicked from Nikon D3100 and D3000 DSLR using kit lens.


Enroute Chitkul


Hotel Shehanshaw, Chitkul. Chitkul is also the last Indian village on this route.


Green pastures of Chitkul


The famous tunnel of Spiti Valley

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  Bridge Near Khab

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Entry to Tabo village

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Tabo Monastery

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Amazing spikes created by erosion

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View of Spiti River from top of Key Gompa

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Roads keep on disappearing


Amazing views before Kunzum Pass


Our machine on Kunzum La


First view of Chandertaal


Small plains open before Chandertaal


Most treacherous Batal Gramphoo stretch


Boulders on Batal Gramphoo stretch


An amazing dusty click of our machine, which performed beyond our expectations.

Below is a excellent Spiti maps created by wonderful photographer and traveler R.K.Bharat. Please keep these handy, if you are heading to Spiti. Click here for Hi res image

16 thoughts on “The Spiti Circuit

    1. Ankur Post author

      Chitkul is one of my favourite place where i would definitely like to return one day.
      Spiti deserves a dedicated photography trip. I could not do justice to this heavenly place with limited skills. Hopefully soon.

  1. Arindam Sengupta

    Dear Ankur, its good to reach your blog and gawk at the photos. We are planning a road trip on the same route, but from the opposite side. Chandigarh – Manali- Shimla. Planned in mid Aug 2016. I need some information from travellers like you, if you please.
    1. What was your travel date?
    2. We are planning to stay a night in Batal / Chandratal. Do you know of any decent accommodation (even decent tenting accommodation) for 6-8 people there? (With toilets please :))
    3. We will be coming in from Manali. Planning to stay at Keylong and then continue on our way to Chandratal. Is that a good plan?

    1. Ankur Post author

      Hello Arindam, I am glad you liked my post helpful.
      1) Mid august is a good time, even we did this trip in independence day week.
      2) Batal has no stay options except Chacha chachi dhaba. I will higly recommend staying in Jamaica’s camp near Chandertaal. He can guide you for anything related to Spiti as well. Be informed that only tented accommodation is available in Chandertaal. A toilet would mean a covered tent, that’s it.
      3) If you start from Manali early morning you can easily reach Chandertaal with day light remaining. Remember, actual lake is 20-30 min hike from camping point OR point where cars can go. So plan accordingly.

      I have just added a excellent map to above post, I will suggest to print it and keep it handy

  2. hackernewbie


    Spiti has been calling me since a while now and I guess, the rendezvous is just months away. Fingers crossed!

    The Batal – Gramphoo is in much better shape now.

    And among other things, this post reasserts the fact that your photography in the last three years has improved by7 leap and bounds.


    1. Ankur Post author

      Wonderful. Tell me its a bike trip to Spiti?
      Nothing else would do justice.
      My date with Spiti is postponed but still in my to do list. This time only photography trip.
      Last two years have been really great for my photography. And that fire to learn more is getting stronger every day 🙂

  3. Maria

    Well… I have read by this time about Spiti and like to hear and encounter these things again… I don’t know why people love it and want to see it again and again… but its a mystery that this has so many features unlike what I long ago thought is all snow… and surely that lill car did very well going over rocks and difficult roads… that lake chadartal I heard is very clear and clean lake you can see reflection on it and you cant keep leg on it… lovely… I hope you guys go there again and write and give pictures… will learn more from your eyes a lot… so Ladakh and Leh is very crowded and touristy so best time to go there is winter then? asking… nice… is it polluted too because of tourists?

    1. Ankur Post author

      Hmmm you have been traveling a lot in virtual world of Internet. Now if some day you decide to visit Spiti you not find anything new 😉
      Ladakh is growing touristy. Here touristy is a relative term. Ladakh being a far flung place draws quite a number of tourists thanks to convenient and budget flying options. Holiday season in Leh last from June-Aug, when there is more rush. Apart from these months, Leh is okay to visit. And yeah Winter will be a lovely time to visit.

    1. Ankur Post author

      I too long to visit Spiti again. This time perhaps solo with over two weeks in hand. I liked Spiti, much better than Ladakh actually. Spiti is still untouched and has retained its serenity.

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