THE SCENIC DELHI TO KAZA ROAD TRIP

road trip should be one that stirs your heart and makes you feel a certain way. It should be an experience that should bring you closer to yourself and bind you to the destinations you visit.

Is that something you want for your next vacation? Then, we cannot think of a better tour plan for you than the Delhi to Kaza Road trip. Famous for rendering the best of Himachal Pradesh, this trip puts its best foot forward by also showcasing a plethora of offbeat destinations. That means places like Nako Village, Chandratal Lake, Tabo monastery and Chitkul Village will become a staple on this itinerary, which already sounds amazing.

Moreover, with this road trip, we are sure that you’ll fall in love with the culture as much as you will for the scenic escapades to follow. So, what are we waiting for? We are already promising you the Himalayan world with this road trip. Isn’t it better to dig right into the meat of the matter and know just what you are signing up for? Yes? Then here you go!

Stop 1: Shimla

kaza view

Delhi to Shimla distance:  342 km

Approximate time: 7 hours 32 mins

Shimla is a quintessential hill station- very alive and jaw-droppingly gorgeous. This hill station has an old-world charm with colonial clock towers, stone structures and a tone that is going to turn your heart bananas.

The pace of this Indian tourist place, the sights of its greenery and its famous ridge can turn anyone into a philosopher. However, this becomes a paradox as soon as any tourist drops by the town’s bustling bazaar. So, while exploring, listen carefully to your heart. Who knows what brilliance it might render?
Places to visit in Shimla:

  1.     Shimla Ridge
  2.     Kufri
  3.     Jakhoo Hill and Temple
  4.     Kuthar Fort
  5.     Christ Church

The ride:
Contrasting to the fast-paced life of Delhi, Shimla is a busy hill station with a quaint subtext. Much similar to the route from Delhi to Shimla, which at first seems overwhelming but is rather very peaceful and charming.

The route you’ll follow here will be

 Delhi- Chandigarh-Timber trail-Solan-Shimla

 Unlike other hill routes, this one will be smooth sailing. That means, for you and the passengers it will be a joy ride in every shape and form.

In fact, up until the last pit stop before Shimla, the highway will be four-laned. So till a stretch, you can chase the wind. After that, the highway becomes a buttery smooth two-lane which requires a little more concentration.

 Pro Tip: Depart early from Delhi if you want to avoid unnecessary delay and traffic. Hit the road at least by 6:00 am so that you have ample time to enjoy the ride and click photos of the scenic treasures along the route.

STOP 2: Narkanda

kaza view

Shimla to Narkanda distance: 61 km

Approximate time: 1 hour 24 minutes

Narkanda is a lazy town untouched by the tentacles of urbanisation, unique in its own simple way.  Sights of snow-clad mountains and the existence of a peaceful settlement make this place a keeper on our list.

Looking for sightseeing places in Narkanda? Then let us tell you that Tourism in this town revolves around small hikes and hill temples. One of which is Hatu Peak/Temple

Shimla to Narkanda ride:

With Delhi to Kaza road trip one signs up for nature’s ecstasy and this ride from Shimla to Narkanda will show you it extends.

The route from Shimla to Narkanda is laden with apple gardens, and why wouldn’t it? After all, it is, in fact, the apple paradise of Himachal.

However, you need to be a little strong-willed to ascend towards this road as this route is curvy and with a single carriageway with a frequent flow of large vehicles. And, if you are taking this trip during the apple season, then be prepared for frequent abruptions from the trucks and lorries.

Pro tip: ask about the road conditions while you are in Shimla as sometimes some stretches of it are under construction.

STOP 3: Sarahan

kaza view

Narkanda to Sarahan: 100 km

Approximate time: 2 hours 44 min

Discover the scenic delights of Sangla Valley on your tour with its gateway, Sarahan.

Famous worldwide for bringing epiphanies to travellers with its charm, Sarahan breathes in mysticism and myths.

Places to Visit:

  1.     Bhimakali Temple: One of the 51 Shakti Perth’s in India.
  2.     Bird Park
  3.     Bhaba Valley
  4.     Banjara Retreats

Narkanda to Sarahan ride:
Narkanda-Rampur-Jeori-Sarahan

The boulevards stretching from Narkanda to Sarahan will first take you to Rampur which will be reached once you start descending from Narkanda.

From here your journey with the company of Sutlej River will begin. As soon as you’ll reach Rampur, you’ll experience a little warmth. However, the temp will be back to normal after you take the famous U-turn in Jeori to ascend towards Sarahan.

Greenery and finger-licking food will be surrounding you on your drive to Sarahan. So, don’t forget to spam your loved ones with photos of the natural wonder that will surround you.

Stop 4: Sangla

kaza view

Sarahan to Sangla distance: 83.3 km

Approximate time: 2 hour 52 min

Accompanied by steep slopes from the sides and a green landscape from behind, Sangla Valley is a sight to behold.

Nestled on the banks of Baspa River, Sangla accords a landscape painted in the bright strokes of green. This region is all about picturesque views and mountain culture. Look out for the following places while you are here.

  1.     Kamru Fort
  2.     Badri Vishal Ji Temple

Sarahan to Sangla ride:
For this adventure-filled ride take the route

Sarahan-Karcham-Sangla

Fasten your seatbelts as your ride from Sarahan to Sangla will be a roller coaster. Apart from the scenic treasures that’ll bedazzle your way, for the majority half of your travel, you will be accompanied by the Sutlej River. Plus, for the latter half, Baspa River will be joining you on your hill adventure.

From Sarahan via NH5 you’ll move towards Karcham. It is from here that you will diverge to the Sangla-Chitkul Road and in 17 metres Sangla will welcome you.

Till Karcham the route is smooth. However, it turns a little adventurous afterwards with narrow lanes and heavy traffic of busses and trucks.

Stop 5: Chitkul

kaza view

Sangla Valley to Chitkul Distance: 22.1 km

Approximate time: 1 hour 9 mins

Chitkul feels like home far away from home. This lazy village which is surprisingly enough the last village on the Indo-China border has the cleanest air and most breathtaking views in all of India. If this isn’t the road trip experience you’ve been looking for, we rest our case?

Things to do here

  1.     Trek till ITBP checkpost which you have to take permission to visit
  2.     And Travel to the iconic Indian flag on the Indo China Border.

Sangla to Chitkul ride:

kaza view

Sangla to Chitkul road trip takes you on an out-of-body experience where your heart will probably be in your mouth.

The route is gravely, bumpy and narrow to say the least. It gives you the kick that you’ve been expecting from an adrenaline-filled ride in the mountains.

We suggest you travel to Chitkul in the morning so that you have all day to enjoy and you can come back before the sun is down. That’s because there aren’t a lot of staying options in Chitkul.

Stop 6: Kalpa

kaza night  view

Sangla to Kalpa: 38.4 km

Approximate Time: 1 hour 35min

Kalpa is another ravishing town that bejewels the Delhi to Kaza Road Trip.

Settled on the foot of Kinner Kailash, this town is the definition of drop-dead gorgeous. There are clouds fuming over the peaks looking as if they are caressing the snow. And, the sun in this valley peeks from the slopes painting everything it touches in the shades of crimson and gold.

From snow-clad peaks to lush greenery, from breathtaking views to priceless culture, Kalpa has it all.

Here you can spot a Shiv lingam perched on one of the peaks and explore wooden temples while gazing over the apple orchids.

While here visit:

  1.     Narayan Nagini Temple
  2.     Hu-Bu-Ian-Car Monastery
  3.     Suicide point

Sangla to Kalpa ride:

kaza view

The route to follow will be- travel back from Sangla to Karcham and from Karcham move forward towards Kalpa.

En route to Karcham, you’ll encounter the same terrain you did while travelling here earlier. However, once you’ll reach Karcham the roads will be a treat to ride on.

Decorated with emerald green trees on both the sides, the narrow lanes on the way to Kalpa town takes serenity a notch up.

Moreover, while travelling to the nearby Roghi village to catch the spectacle created by its apple orchards make sure you know what you are signing up for. The route to Roghi is narrow with sharp bends and is one of the most dangerous routes in the world. You can hitchhike or simply travel here by car. It’s up to you.

Stop 7: Reckong Peo

kaza culture

Kalpa to Reckong Peo: 3 km

Approximate Time: 8 min

Uncover the amalgamation of religions at the mountain town of Reckong Peo. Famous for the sights of Kinner Kailash peaks ( home to Hindu God Lord Shiva), Reckong Peo is magnetic right from its first glimpse.

This town is the headquarters of Kinnaur district so expect a little hustle and bustle from this town.

Laden with greenery and bird-eye views of mountains, catching the sunrise and the sunset is among the top things to do here. Moreover here, one can parallelly enjoy the wonders of Buddhism and Hinduism in the most picturesque setting.

Even the Hindu Temples here showcase the prowess of Buddhist craftsmanship. You’ll find a plethora of temples sprinkled over this beautiful landscape.

Here are the top places to visit in Reckong Peo.

  1.     Brelengi Gompa
  2.     Chandika Devi Temple
  3.     Narayan Nagini Temple

Kalpa to Reckong Peo ride:

kaza viewReckong Peo is not that far away from Kalpa. Moreover, if you are traversing this area for the very first time you’ll feel they are the same town.

Reckong Peo is downhill to Kalpa and bears the same scenic charisma. Apple orchards lined up with pine trees and a beautiful view of snow-clad peaks define the route to this destination. The road conditions are pretty much the same but the traffic is a real deal.

 Note: For solo travellers Traveling by bus, Reckong Peo is the place where you’ll get multiple busses for your next destination.

 

Stop 8: Nako

kaza view

Reckong Peo to Nako Village: 102 km

Approximate time: 3 hours 29 mins

Isolated from the world and incubated in time is the village of Nako at about 3600 m above the sea level. It is the last town in Kinnaur district and the gateway to the very famous Spiti Valley.

Here one can gasp in the beautiful views of the Himalayas and see what a day in an authentic Himachali household looks like.

Widely famous for the Nako Lake and Nako Monastery this beauty hamlet nestled in Kinnaur District will redefine bliss for you. The Monastery is about 1000 years old and has resurrected from shambles to look over the village.

Even without internet and phone facility, you’ll feel connected to this remote hamlet. Our personal favourite pick of this village is the site of Padma Chakra (Spinning Prayer Wheel) that accords the panoramic view of the hamlet and the lake.

Pro tip: Spend a night here to gorge on some hill delicacies while sleeping right below the starry sky.

Reckong Peo to Nako village ride:

kaza view

Nature’s paradox will be at its prime when you’ll travel to Nako Village. A terrain that looked ravishing green all this while will change hues to turn into beige golden.

Dramatic hill slopes, more narrow roads and awe-striking views at every next turn, your run on this route will definitely roll sweat down your spine.

The route is harsh but not tedious. So, except for some bumps you won’t have any trouble reaching Nako Village.

Stop 9: Tabo

kaza view

Nako to Tabo distance: 63 km

Approximate time: 1 hour 49 min

9 out of 10 places on a Delhi to Kaza road trip have amazing scenic views that make up for the exhilaration of the intense rides and long stretches of driving. Tabo is one of them.

Tucked amid barren mountains at an altitude of 10,700 feet, Tabo feels like a gift from heaven that renders nothing but bliss.

For people who are looking for opportunities to turn back their lives and rediscover themselves, Tabo will be a paradise.

The calm winds in the background of this Spiti village teamed up with the sounds of nature makes this destination a keeper.

Tabo is famous for the Tabo Monastery ( A Buddhist pilgrimage site) that is considered to be the oldest out of the lot in Himachal. As per locals, the region of Tabo was in bad condition until two monks took in the village and restored its history.

Beside the Monastery on the steep slopes, you’ll find an array of caves as well. These caves were the living quarters for the people of this village before they built their own houses in the valley.

Nako to Tabo ride:

Nako-Chango-Sumdo-Tabo

The road trip from Nako to Tabo is another barren stretch with clay coloured hills bearing snow on their top. You’ll find no traces of grass on these hills which makes them perfect for photographs.

Don’t expect the road to be super smooth. As long as you move into the interiors of Himachal Pradesh, the terrain will get tricky by the second. Believe us; this route will just be the introduction to it.

Tip: while you are heading to Tabo on your Spiti Road trip if the time allows you to make sure you visit the Giu Village for the sights of a 500-year-old mummy of a monk with growing nails.

Stop 10: Kaza

kaza view

Tabo to Kaza: 49 km

Approximate time: 1 hour

Welcome to the largest town in the Lahaul and Spiti Valley.

The sight of Kaza town set against the flowing River Spiti soothes the weary mind. It mesmerises you with its snow-capped mountains, sparkling rivers, splendid monasteries, colourful markets, historical monuments, and soothing lakes.

This town is probably the only place in Spiti Valley, where you can see markets, hotels, and other new-age amenities. Otherwise, every other region in Spiti basks in the glory of its incubated culture.

Tabo to Kaza ride:

While Traveling from Tabo to Kaza you have two options either to reach Kaza straight away and enjoy your time amid the beauty it bestows or to stop at Dhankar en-route Kaza.

The roads are the same, narrow, gravelly and full of excitement. So, if you want something different on this ride adding the super serene Dhankar Lake and Monastery will be a total treat. However, if you are tired and need some time to reflect and relax, you can drive directly to Kaza and avoid the trek to Dhankar Lake. The ball is in your court, decide how you want to go about it.

Either way, one thing is constant, loads and loads of beauty.

Stop 11: Langza

kaza view

Kaza to Langza: 14 km

Approximate time: 1 hour

Langza is one of the highest motorable villages in the world. Famous as the fossil village, Langza is a traveler’s all-time favourite destination for catching the best of Spiti.

Fossils are naturally found in this landscape. So, picking on something valuable and worth keeping is what you should be looking out for on a trip here.

The landscape of this place is single-handedly owned by a 1000-year-old Buddha Statue that sits right in the middle of nowhere. Believe us; it is surreal.

Spend your time here relaxing and eating at local cafes.

Kaza to Langza ride:

children

When you drive towards Rangrik from Kaza, there comes a bifurcation on the right that goes to Langza – Komic – Hikkim.

Here you have two options. Either you can do the whole circuit or drive straight to Hikkim.

If you decide to visit Hikkim and Komik too we’d recommend you go first to visit Hikkim, Komik and then descend towards Langza.

Stop 12: Kibber

kaza view

Langza to Kibber: 33 km

Approximate time: 2 hours

Kibber is a picturesque hamlet tucked amid the brown hills of Spiti Valley. It is famous for being the second-highest motorable villages in the world.

With no more than 400 inhabitants, and an elevation of 4700 m Kibber feels closer to heaven. Its topography, its culture and its serenely beautiful village monastery concrete that statement.

This little town has acclaimed its fame by becoming Himachal’s Leopard capital.Here enjoying nature’s keep at Kibber wildlife sanctuary is probably the best way of celebrating wildlife.

Langza to Kibber ride:

The Langza to Kibber route is quite straightforward. Although it’s a little too narrow, the fact that it isn’t very curvy makes the ride more enjoyable.

The slopes aren’t steep however you need to be cautious about your speed as this route leaves no room for mistake. And, we mean that literally!

The brown hills are complemented by patches of green in the spring season. While you are on this route don’t forget to pay a visit to the Key Monastery that will definitely catch your attention. Do this only when you have ample time in hand. Otherwise, follow the regular path.

Stop 13: Kunzum la

kaza view

Kibber to Kunzum La distance: 59 km

Approximate Time: 1 hour 30 mins

Kunzum La is every motorbike enthusiast’s Mecca.

It is one of the most popular mountain passes in India that isn’t easily conquered. If you are a biker soul inside then you’ll love this destination.

Pampered by the glaciers and snow cold valleys, Kunzum is the gateway to Spiti valley via Lahaul and Kullu.

Furthermore here in Kunzum La, you can capture Bara-Shigri, the second largest glacier in the world. It’s music to our ears what do you think?

Kibber to Kunzum La ride: 

Kibber-Chicham-Kiato-Losar-Kunzum Pass 

On this route the barrenness of Kibber blooms with greenery as the topography changes.

However the star of this route is Chicham Bridge that stands tall amid the high altitude peak.

Once you cross that bridge you can descend towards Kiato. Road conditions till Kiato are quite satisfactory however it turns thrilling just after that.

After passing Kiato you’ll come across a river crossing near Losar. Conquering it you’ll ascend towards the widely famous Kunzum Pass.

Kibber to Kunzum La ride is accompanied by the river Spiti. It is a highly adventurous ride that requires prowess in driving. As dangerous as it is, the thrill of riding on this road is unparalleled.

A series of Chortens decorated with Buddhist Prayer Flags welcomes you when you reach near Kunzum. However, instead of a Buddhist monastery, these flags point to the Hindu Goddess Kunzum that protects the area.

Travel to the gravelly offshoot after the Kunzum board to see this temple.

Stop 14: Chandra Tal

kaza view

Kunzum to Chandratal Distance: 23.5 km

Approximate time: 1 hour

Reflecting the fables of the Hindu religion is the crystal clear Chandratal Lake in Spiti Valley.

Known for changing colours throughout the day, Chandratal is one beauty that you certainly cannot miss on Your Delhi to Kaza road trip.

This tranquil lake is surrounded by mountains on one side and by cirques on the other making the rainbow is it widely famous for.

As much as beauty surrounds this place, myth and legends have equally made it as famous as it is today. So, don’t forget to hear about it from the locals while you are here.

And oh! After trekking till here you can camp under the stars beside the lake. Isn’t that just amazing?

Kibber to ChandraTal ride:

kaza view

Route to follow: Kunzum Pass- Batal-Chandratal road- Chandratal

Thought the Kunzum pass was tough? Then, the ride from Kunzum to Batal will blow your mind.

As soon as you ascend to Batal for ChandraTal Road, the route will get even more adventurous. We bet you for a good 14 km stretch, you’ll be on the edge of your seats hearing every heartbeat.

Stop 15: Manali

kaza view

Chandratal to Manali distance- 140km

Approximate time: 7-8 hours

Manali is the hippie heaven and the final spot of our Delhi to Kaza Road trip.

This little town possesses the perfect amalgam of nature, adventure and religion for its visitors.

Manali is every hillbilly’s holy grail that opens up the doors of Himalayas for them. But that’s not what makes it so unique.

It’s hippie culture, mod cafes and still deeply rooted traditions make it what it is famous for- a cultural cocktail.

Top places to visit:

  1. Hidimba Devi Temple
  2. Manu Temple
  3. Manali Sanctuary

Chandratal to Manali ride:

 Chandratal- Batal-Gramphoo-Rohtang Pass Manali

Coming back from Chandratal you’ll have to face the scary 14 km stretch yet again. However, once you reach Batal, your journey won’t become any less exciting.

The route from Batal to Gramphoo is pretty straight forward. However, it’s called the car killer because of its extremely undulated surface which can certainly give your sedans or smaller cars a tough time.

The stretch from Gramphoo via Rohtang pass is the most relaxing to say the least. From here onwards all you have to do is to stay on the lane and the topography will automatically lead you to the tinsel town of Manali.

With this last spot, you’ve successfully completed your Delhi to Kaza road trip. If you have survived reading to the very end, chances are the destinations intrigued every bit of your existence. So why wait? Plan your road trip with these destinations now with your trusted travel partner TGIR. Request a quote here and leave everything else on us!

FAQ

What is the best time to take Delhi to Kaza road trip?
The best time for Delhi to Kaza road trip is from June till September. The whole circuit is open during this time including Chitkul, Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass.

Side note: Late June and July also bring monsoon showers. So, it’s better to keep a few days for bufferwhilnplnning your itinerary..
What are some travel hacks for Delhi to Kaza Road Trip?

  1.     Pack as light as possible with enough winter wear.
  2.     Get a BSNL sim if you don’t have one. This is the only network that works in the Spiti and Kinnaur Valley.
  3.     Travel small stretches each day and don’t fill yourself with food while travelling, this ride is way too beautiful for a churning stomach.
  4.     Don’t rely on google maps and print a map of the route before leaving. That’s because even the phone networks do not work properly in these regions.
  5.     Mark the petrol points on the map for you to have an idea of where to stop next for fuel and estimate how much fuel you need to carry as well.

What are a few tips on driving to know before taking Delhi to Kaza Road trip?

  1.     Since most of the route is either two lanes or with a single carriageway, it may get narrow at times for driving. So,  Avoid driving rashly
  2.     Don’t overtake unless you have a clear sight.  Wait for the other driver to signal a pass. Don’t rush to overtake people.
  3.     Honk over the turns or while taking a pass. Please don’t overdo it
  4.     Use the same gears for moving uphill and downhill. Preferably, 3rd or 4th. In no case, shift to 4th gear while heading downstream, as it can lead to accidents.
  5.     Don’t ride half clutch even when you have to. It will burn your clutch plate. Also, riding brakes will also heat up your brakes and can result in failures so avoid this as well.
  6.     Without any excuse, use a dipper at night.
  7.     Keep your fuel tank full. There are only a few petrol stations on the whole stretch.
  8.     And lastly, and most importantly, Two lanes are not for high speed. 40 kmph is enough speed for the drive on these rugged roads. It will help you enjoy the view and will be beneficial for people prone to vomiting.

An engineer by education and writer by choice. She is a globetrotter with a pure desi heart. Her notion spree runs faster than a jet when she entangles herself with the thread of any culture. Her zeal for writing originates from her love for reading and trust us! She is a complete Potterhead.


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