I hope you have already read the first part of my experience of Road Trip to Kalpa & Chitkul. If not, then read here Road Trip to Kalpa & Chitkul – Fixing the Tyre
DAY 2: Reaching Chitkul from Bhabha Nagar
Woke up to a fresh and chilled morning. We went out in the balcony to check the weather and it was still raining :/ Now we knew that we will have to ride throughout the trip by wearing raincoats. We quickly got freshened up and left for our destination, viz, Chitkul. The road was completely wet and there was waterlogging as well at several places. So we had to ride very carefully. As the saying goes, “whatever happens, happens for good”, there was also one good thing that happened with us. Now we could get a scenic view of lush green mountains which we wouldn’t get if we were riding in the evening. We drove through Wangtu, Tapri, Chooling, and Karcham.
Karcham is a small village having a few shops and a hydroelectric power plant on the way. The route to Sangla and Chitkul gets bifurcated from here. We took a halt for 5 minutes to refuel the tanks and then resumed the ride to reach Sangla. After turning right, the roads became quite narrow along with several vertical cliffs.
Now we were traveling in the Baspa Valley along the Baspa River. The views were getting beautiful as we were moving towards our destination. As it was the morning, we didn’t find any traffic on the way and due to which we were completely enjoying the ride. The weather was also good as it wasn’t raining. We also stopped at a few scenic spots to take some photos. Then we reached Sangla and there we had yummy momos and soup at one of the restaurants. While we were munching, we noticed the weather and it was changing drastically in no time. The clouds covered the whole valley rapidly. We quickly finished our munching session and got on our bikes to reach our final destination, Chitkul.
The scene was a bit scary but it was also amazing. It seemed as if the clouds were chasing us. We rode through Batseri, Rakcham, and a few small villages and finally reached the Last Village on Indo Tibet border, Chitkul. It took around one hour to reach the village. It already started raining by the time we reached there, so we did not explore any place, instead, we rushed to our campsite. We already had our booking in one of the campsites that were situated on the way to the ITBP check post. We settled into the camps and then we were served a piping hot soup and Maggi. While sipping, we admired the view of Baspa Valley and lush green lofty mountains that encircled the entire valley.
After half an hour, we took our bikes and went out to explore the village. We began with the ITBP check post which is considered the official last point where anyone can go. One should be army personnel or has to take permission to go beyond that point. After the check post, we spent some time near the Baspa river and then had our lunch of Rajma Chawal at the Last Indian Dhaba. It was Kinnauri Rajma (Kidney Beans) and they were delicious and we loved that.
Post lunch, we explored the main village on foot and visited a temple and then started going back to our campsite. Soon, it got dark and we couldn’t enjoy the bonfire as it was raining continuously. Later, we had a hearty dinner followed by sessions of Teen Patti. Before sleeping, we were just wishing for no rain tomorrow and discussing how we would defend ourselves if a leopard comes inside the tent? Lol. It was a chilly night and the temperature dropped to -3 degrees.
DAY 3: Ride from Chitkul to Kalpa
We woke up and were served a bed tea and some biscuits which were the need of the hour at that time. We were expecting the weather to be sunny so that we could get a clear view of the snowcapped mountains of Baspa Valley. Unfortunately, the weather was cloudy again but it was pleasant. We quickly got freshened up, had breakfast, and were all set to leave for Kalpa, which was a 4 hours ride from Chitkul. As we went out to mount the luggage on the bikes, we found out that one bike was punctured. There was no puncture shop at Chitkul and we did not have any air pump as well. We had a word with the campsite owner and he suggested us to go to the main village.
Without wasting any time, we did the same and talked to some more people and one man told us to go to the Zostel to get an air pump. We went there and luckily found it. The tyre was tubeless so it could hold the air for around 10-15 km. We pumped the air and departed from Chitkul. It took an hour and we found one shop just after crossing Sangla. The tyre got fixed and now we were on our way to Kalpa. For Kalpa, we had to reach Karcham first and then take the right turn to take the route to Reckong Peo and Kalpa.
We retraced the same route and reached Karcham. As we reached there, the bike’s tyre started shaking again and we knew that it is the same problem that the mechanic at Narkanda was talking about. We were a bit frustrated at that time but “it’s part of the game” after all. We continued the ride without wasting any time and targeted to reach Reckong Peo as soon as possible.
It took around an hour and we reached Reckong Peo, which is the headquarters of Kinnaur district. After searching for a couple of minutes, we found a big workshop. The mechanic checked the bike and then we came to know that there was a problem with the hub of the rear tyre due to which the bearing was getting broken again and again. We asked him to change the hub but the part was not available at that time and it would take at least 3 days for the part to come over there. Then the mechanic suggested to us that he would change the bearing and we can safely ride back to Shimla. We trusted him and asked him to change the bearing.
We then started riding towards Kalpa which was 9 km from there. The road passed through the forest including the apple orchards and it was uphill all the way to Kalpa. In half an hour, we reached there but we did not stop as we decided to go directly to see the famous suicide point at Roghi, which was hardly 5 km ahead of Kalpa. Riding on that road was scary as the entire road was built on a sharp vertical cliff. We spent some time at the suicide point by capturing several photos and then got back to the hotel. Due to the cloudy weather, we couldn’t get a view of Kinnaur Kailash mountain ranges. Later, we had dinner and played cards before sleep.
DAY 4: Ride back to Shimla
The last day of our trip and we woke up a bit early to see the sunrise. Luckily, we got what we wished for. The weather was partially sunny and cloudy and we could see the Kinnaur Kailash Mountain ranges from our hotel. To get the best view, we went to the terrace of the hotel and we got mesmerized by the view. It was literally heaven. After spending an hour by admiring the view, we got ready and departed for Shimla.
We had to ride through the same route to reach Shimla. Usually, people get bored while returning when the route is the same as the going one. In our case, it wasn’t cloudy and raining anymore and we were completely enjoying our ride to Shimla. The bike also worked well and it took around 10 hours to reach Shimla. We returned the bikes to the vendor and had our dinner at one of the cafes on the mall road. Later, we boarded the bus to Delhi and reached there by the next day morning.
In spite of facing so many glitches and unfortunate things like the continuous rain, breaking down of the bike, etc., we enjoyed a lot on the trip and made it a memorable one. We considered everything as a part of the adventure and dealt with it accordingly. Kalpa and Chitkul both are beautiful places to explore in Kinnaur and one can have an amazing experience there. A bike trip on this circuit is a great option for those who are looking for some thrill as the roads are quite adventurous. Try not to miss the morning view at Kalpa, this is the thing that I vouch for. It will make your day, seriously.
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Kalpa awesome, I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest.
Thanks a bunch 🙂
Very detailed and excellent photo quality. I feel I am traveling with you. Thank you for making this amazing blog.
Thanks a lot David. I am glad 🙂
Hi Manu, that sunlight in one of the pictures is awesome. I went to Chitkul when it has just opened up after heavy snowfall. Chitkul looked ‘Switzerland’ covered in all snow. That’s what locals used to call Chitkul. I traveled there by bus so that was a back-breaking journey all the way from Delhi.