2400Km of Solo Spiti Sauntering – Day 8 – Kaza to Chandratal

2400Km of Solo Spiti Sauntering – Compendium – Links to rest of the Spiti travelog

Day 8 – Sun, Sep 10 2017 – Kaza to Chandartal

Day 8 – Route Map

The morning routine was the same. I was on the road by 0600. The morning was unusually cold. At one point I was tempted to take out the other pair of cold weather gloves from the bag, but then decided to continue. I also couldn’t find any open shop to ward myself with a cup of tea.

The terrain, though as barren as the last few days, was quite different. The road cut through a valley which was like a wide plain between two range of hills. Down below Spiti river was a constant companion.

An irrigation pond

A remote monastery

After around 20Km from Kaza, the tar on the road disappeared. Slowly i began to realize why this road from Kaza to Grampho is so infamous. But this was just the trailer. There was more fun to come.

Tar road disappears

Barren high altitude meadows

And there is still a long way to go

A larger than life view

Spiti River accompanying the road all along

A road side Chorten

Heading towards the snows

As I approached Losar, the blue skies disappeared and few drops fell from the sky. The cold increased and I was worried about the drizzle growing into a cold rain.

Taking a break at Losar was my backup plan. Having heard of the bad road condition up to Kunzum La, I wasn’t very keen to ride up to the pass under heavy rain.

Approaching Losar

At Losar, I found a few shops and took a break. By the time I finished with my tea and a packet of biscuits, the rain had stopped.

After registering at a checkpost, I started the climb to Kunzum La.

Approaching Kunzum La

A lone cyclist

Almost at Kunzum La

The climb to Kunzum La was uneventful. Bike managed quite well, while my bum did not do so well. Up at the pass it was cold and windy. I was the only one around.

Clicked a few pictures and I was on my way down to Batal

Kunzum La

The road down to Batal was in a pretty bad condition. It was also quite steep with a series of switch backs.

At Batal, I stopped at the famous Chacha-Chachi dabha. The place was crowded with a few vehicles outside and 8-10 people inside. After 2 glasses of tea and a plate of Rajma-Chawal, I was ready for Chandratal.

First meal of the day at Chacha-Chachi dhabha

Outside the Chacha-Chachi dhabha

Onward to Chandartal

The road to Chandratal was bad as expected. After to decent water crossings, I was at the campground area. The first tent setup I saw was of Jamiaca. After talking to the person, for some reason I did not feel like taking that one.

So I moved to Tenzing camp which was run by the son of Chacha-Chachi. His price was lower, so I took a single person tent.

I had started drizzling again. So after a cup of hot black tea, I dozed off. It was only 1215.

Chandartal Finally!!

I woke up around 1500 and rode up to the parking lot. It was pretty cold and somewhat miserable weather. With the clouds around, there was no chance of the famous reflections the lake was famous for.

Chenab River near Chandartal

A 10 pic panorama of Chandartal

Chandartal

Prayer flags at Chandartal

Yours truly at Chandartal

Chandartal

After hiking around the lake, I went down to the shore and sat down to talk with a group of students from Punjab. They were quite keen to take a dip in the waters and were waiting for the tourists to thin out.

Around 1700 I went back to the tents. The rain continued on and off.

View on the way back to the campgrounds

There was nothing much to do at the campground. It was cold and windy. So I went inside my tent and snuggled under a quilt.

Around 2000, I went to the common dinner tent for food. A large group of Israelis had arrived. The group of students from the lake were also there. After an hour of dinner and conversations, I headed back to sleep.

Day Stats

Distance: 115.5Km
Start/End Time: 0600-1218
Expenses – Food: Rs140/-
Expenses – Fuel: 0/-
Expenses – Stay: Rs700/- (incl food)