How To Plan Road Trip to Spiti Valley (Via Manali) In 2023 Summers?


Have you planned your road trip from Delhi to Spiti via Manali? We are close to the summer season of 2023 to plan this exciting road trip. Believe me, anything towards Himachal is going to be awesome.

A road trip from Delhi to Spiti is an exciting adventure that takes you through the picturesque landscapes of the Himalayas in northern India. Spiti Valley, located in Himachal Pradesh, is a remote region known for its stunning high-altitude deserts, ancient monasteries, and vibrant Tibetan culture.

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Here’s a general itinerary for a Delhi to Spiti road trip via Manali :

Day 1: Delhi to Shimla (approx. 350 km, 9-10 hours)

Start your road trip from Delhi and drive towards Shimla, the capital of Himachal Pradesh. The road is well-paved and passes through scenic hills and valleys. Explore the Mall Road and Ridge in Shimla, and overnight stay in Shimla. I would recommend staying at Theog which is en route but away from Shimla.

Day 2: Shimla to Sarahan (approx. 170 km, 6-7 hours)

Drive from Shimla to Sarahan, a small village known for its Bhimakali Temple and stunning views of the Himalayas. Visit the temple and explore the village.

Goddess Bhimakali is the presiding deity of the rulers of Rampur Bushhar State. Overnight stay in Sarahan. You can book Hotel Shrikhand, HPTDC Hotel for your stay at Sarahan.

HPTDC hotels are generally good and they offer good discounts.

Day 3: Sarahan to Sangla/Chitkul (approx. 90 km, 3-4 hours)

Drive from Sarahan to Sangla or Chitkul in the Kinnaur Valley. These villages are known for their apple orchards, traditional Kinnauri architecture, and scenic beauty.

Nestled in Sangla Valley, Chitkul is believed to be the last inhabited village. Explore the village and enjoy the local cuisine. Overnight stay in Sangla or Chitkul.

Day 4: Sangla/Chitkul to Kalpa (approx. 70 km, 2-3 hours)

Drive from Sangla or Chitkul to Kalpa, another beautiful village in Kinnaur Valley. Kalpa offers breathtaking views of the snow-capped peaks of the Kinner Kailash range. Explore the village and overnight stay in Kalpa.

Welcome Sign Board At Chitkul
Welcome Sign Board At Chitkul

Day 5: Kalpa to Tabo (approx. 150 km, 6-7 hours)

Drive from Kalpa to Tabo, located in the Spiti Valley. The Tabo Monastery, also known as the Tabo Chos-Khor Monastery, is a Buddhist monastery located in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh.

It was founded in 996 CE by the Tibetan Buddhist master, Rinchen Zangpo, and is one of the oldest functioning monasteries in India.

Tabo Monastery is known as the ‘Ajanta of the Himalayas’ owing to its stunning iconographic illustrations, whose substantial parts are still survived in their original state.

Tabo Monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Explore the monastery and its ancient murals. Overnight stay in Tabo.

Day 6: Tabo to Kaza (approx. 50 km, 2-3 hours)

Drive from Tabo to Kaza, the largest town in Spiti Valley. Kaza is the base for exploring other attractions in Spiti Valley, such as Key Monastery, Kibber Village, and Langza Village. Explore the town and overnight stay in Kaza.

Tabo Monastery
Tabo Monastery

Day 7: Kaza to Chandratal Lake (approx. 90 km, 5-6 hours)

Drive from Kaza to Chandratal Lake, a stunning high-altitude lake known for its mesmerizing beauty. The road to Chandratal Lake is challenging, and it is advisable to hire a local driver with experience in driving in the region. Overnight camping near Chandratal Lake.

Day 8: Chandratal Lake to Manali (approx. 120 km, 6-7 hours)

Drive from Chandratal Lake to Manali, a popular hill station in Himachal Pradesh. The road passes through the famous Rohtang Pass, and you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Himalayas. Explore Manali and overnight stay in Manali.

Day 9: Manali to Delhi (approx. 550 km, 12-13 hours)

Drive from Manali back to Delhi, marking the end of your road trip from Delhi to Spiti.

Please note that road conditions in Spiti Valley can be challenging, and it is essential to have a sturdy vehicle, preferably a 4×4, and be prepared for high altitude and harsh weather conditions.

Suggested Read: Make Your Own Manali-Kasol Tour Package From Delhi

[ If you extend your trip by another day, you can visit Kasol – Mini Israel]

Best time to visit: The best time to plan a road trip from Delhi to Spiti Valley is during the summer months of May to June and September to October when the weather is pleasant and the roads are generally open.

During the winter months, the road to Kaza is usually closed due to heavy snowfall and extreme weather conditions.

Road conditions: The road from Shimla to Manali is mostly well-paved and maintained, but there are certain stretches where the road may be narrow and winding, requiring cautious driving.

The route includes crossing several high mountain passes, such as the Kunzum La pass, which can be challenging due to the high altitude and steep gradients.

It’s important to be prepared and carry essential supplies like food, water, and warm clothing, as facilities may be limited in some areas.

Quick Glance At Places to Visit Along The Way:

Narkanda: A popular hill station is known for its apple orchards and skiing slopes.

Rampur: A historical town on the banks of the Sutlej River, famous for its ancient temples and palace.

Reckong Peo: The district headquarters of Kinnaur Valley, offering panoramic views of the Kinner Kailash peaks.

Kalpa: A picturesque village with stunning views of snow-capped peaks and apple orchards.

Nako: A remote village located by the Nako Lake, known for its serene beauty and Buddhist monasteries.

Tabo: Home to one of the oldest monasteries in the Himalayas, known for its ancient murals and sculptures.

Dhankar: A scenic village with a historic monastery perched on a cliff, offering breathtaking views of the Spiti Valley.

Kaza: The largest town in the Spiti Valley, serving as a base for exploring the region, and known for its monasteries and stunning landscapes.

Accommodation: There are various accommodation options available along the route, ranging from budget guesthouses to mid-range hotels. However, it’s advisable to book in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to ensure availability.

Permits: As Kaza is located in a restricted area, Indian tourists are required to obtain an Inner Line Permit (ILP) from the District Administration in Reckong Peo before proceeding to Kaza.

Foreign tourists are required to obtain a Protected Area Permit (PAP) from the Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi or at the District Administration in Reckong Peo.

Safety tips: It’s important to be well-prepared for the road trip, as the terrain can be challenging. Here are some safety tips:

  • Drive cautiously and be mindful of the narrow and winding roads, especially around mountain passes.
  • Acclimatize to the high altitude gradually to avoid altitude sickness.
  • Carry sufficient food, water, and warm clothing, as facilities may be limited in remote areas.
  • Check the weather conditions and road status before starting your journey, as the roads may be closed due to landslides or snowfall.
  • Carry a basic first aid kit and any necessary medications.
  • Have a reliable mode of communication, such as a mobile phone
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