Return to Spiti : Experiencing the Magic Once Again

Discussion in 'Travelogues' started by Vargis Khan, Jun 19, 2018.

  1. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    The spot where all the camp sites are.

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  2. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    This is the spot where you have to leave the car parked and walk the last 1 kilometers to Chandratal. Earlier, Jamaica and the "Gaddi" shepherd had their camp sites right at this spot but then were asked to move back later.


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  3. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Some shots of Chandratal


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  4. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    I was walking around in a slipper and after a while it broke. I don't even remember why I chose to go to the lake in that slipper rather than putting on my shoes. But it actually broke in first 10-15 minutes of walking and I walked the rest of the circle while dragging a broken slipper.

    While my fellow travelers sat down to rest for a while, I decided to climb up a hill take some shots of the vistas around. Yes I climbed up in hill in a broken slipper.

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  5. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    We came back to the camp site just when the sun was starting to set down. In all my visits to Chandratal, that particular evening was the coldest of all. Entire time while we were walking at the lake and even at the camp site, wind of the speed remained high and it was extremely cold. Temperature started to drop even further as sun went down.

    Jamaica and I decided to take a walk around and he showed me this house and temple of the gaddi shepherds that arrive at the lake during summer.

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  6. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    A few other guests arrived and surprisingly, they all knew me. Not by my face or personally but just by my name and the blog. This was actually kind of a pleasant surprise. During the entire trip I kept running into people and the moment I would say my name, they all would have read my blog.

    Rest of the evening was spent in sitting at the camp site and having long conversations. Jamaica has this one central camp that he uses as a dining room as well. All the guests gathered in there and the talks kept going till late in the night. Interesting thing that happened during this conversation was that a discussion broke out on how dangerous the Chandratal road was and why authorities cannot widen it a bit. During this conversation, one of the guests ended up mentioning that we will have to drive back to Batal tomorrow. Hearing this, my friend immediately looked into my direction. My lie that we won't have to drive back did not last till morning and was caught that very night.

    Finally we all decided to crawl into our individual tents and call it a day. This is the gang that I met there that evening. Picture was clicked the following morning.

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  7. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Day 8: Chandratal to Manali


    My plan for this day was to get up early and go back to the lake once more. The day before was very cloudy with high winds so I could not really get the kind of shots of the lake that I wanted; with the reflection of the mountains around in the water. During early morning however, the winds are not that high, and lake remains placid with no movement in the water at all; which makes it a perfect time to capture some amazing shots. Jamaica and I had agreed to get up early and go the lake at around 6 AM.

    But all of us ended up sleeping till late. By the time people started to step out of their camps including both Jamaica and I, it was already half past 7. Going to the lake and coming back after taking some shots would have meant spending at least a couple of hours; which further meant that we would not be able to start for Manali at least until 10. Now this was something which I was not keen on doing. Furthermore, sun had come up already which also meant that water will not be completely still; like it would have been a couple of hours ago. So I would not actual get the pictures exactly the way I wanted.

    So I gave up the idea of going to the lake again and we started to get ready to be on our way to Manali. All our luggage was still in the car as I did not bother taking it our the previous night. So the only thing to do that morning was to enjoy the vistas around and have some delicious breakfast.


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    And then the group started to rope their bags on motorcycles again.


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  8. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    We all started from Chandratal at the same time. And by all, I meant the entire group staying at Jamaica's camps the previous night. First it was the drive back to Batal during which my friend was once again sitting in the car like she had seen a ghost.

    Good part about this day was that I was a little confident about my own driving than I was before. During the entire trip I dreaded about whether or not I will be able to drive on the Manali Kaza stretch. But after visiting Chandratal the day before, I was very confident that I will be able to handle it all. True that the real bad section of the road is between Batal and Gramphoo but that too did not worry me much anymore.

    In a little while, we reached Batal and stopped at Chacha - Chachi Dhaba for a quick break. Right in front of the dhaba is the PWD guest house where a lot of people stay for the night. This time, I noticed that there is even a camp site at Batal; and even the old couple who run the dhaba have rooms available here.

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  9. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    After Batal, it was pretty much a straight drive until Gramphoo with a few breaks in between. This entire stretch of the road is notorious for being extremely tough and a car killer if you were in a hatchback or a Sedan. What you have heard however is indeed correct. I will post a few pictures so you can get the idea.

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  10. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Some more pictures of this part of the road.


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