Today was another momentous day of our ride as we were planned to traverse the first pass of our ride – Kunzum La and witness the magic of the Chandrataal Lake which are 2 big highlights of the Lahaul Spiti Circuit. After a chilled out day spent, this was going to be a tough one thanks to the unforgiving roads we were about to encounter!
It was a bright morning and thanks to the ample sunlight gushing to our room I woke up early and enjoyed the view and clicked some pics of the beautifully designed reception area of our hotel.
I enjoyed a breakfast of Paneer Bhurji, Paranthas and tea which was a refreshing change and I enjoyed my break from Aloo Paranthas or Chowmein in the breakfast!
We bid goodbye to Karan, his wife and the staff of Hotel Deyzor and thanked them for their gracious hospitality during 2 days of our stay. We started at 9:15 AM.
Beautiful scenes greeted us when we exited Kaza and took the road towards Losar. The hues kept changing from brown to grey and back to brown again & again! The roads was relatively decent so far except for some bad patches in between. Enjoy the views…
We reached Losar at 11:15 AM exactly 2 hours after we started from Kaza after traversing almost 55 kms. We took a short break at a small restaurant where we enjoyed Maggi and Tea.
Here we met a couple who were from Chennai and were riding on a rented RE Bike; it was almost impossible to understand and praise the bravery of the lady who had agreed to be a pillion rider on such a crazy circuit. We wished them the best of luck for their ride ahead.
And then the real bad stretch began. It was just 18 kms stretch to Kunzum La but we knew we were in for a long haul. Enroute there was quite an uphill stretch and my bike once again lost momentum thanks to the sand and stalled right in the middle! I slipped along with the bike and somehow got the bike up.
Luckily Adit was riding a bit infront of me me so once again he came to my rescue and pushed me up that stretch. I was getting really frustrated about the lack of power my bike was generating but there was nothing much I could do except to maintain momentum and keep riding carefully.
We finally reached Kunzum La at 12:30 PM. I always wanted to reach this pass since a very long time and finally I was here! I thanked God for getting me here safe and sound. There is a tradition to do a “Parikrama” of the Kunzum Mata Mandir on this pass and we did the needful.
Check out the video of my Parikrama. Wait for the final moments of the video when all my emotions came gushing out and I chanted Jai BoP.
All 4 of us did a Parikrama riding our bikes and then had a short break to take photographs.
And then I went to the Temple to seek blessings of Kunzum Mata.
Usually I don’t visit temples but this was a real special located at such a fabulous location and for a change I was the only person at that temple! This isn’t the case anywhere else as our temples are always flooded with people! I thanked the Almighty for keeping us safe through the ride so far and seek blessings for a safe finish as well.
Just before reaching Kunzum La, we thought we had reached it but did not see a board so I thought of doing a Parikrama of a small Gompa which I mistook for the Kunzum Gompa, not to miss out you see! I did that and moved on and the real Kunzum Gompa was just half a kilometre ahead! Memorable mistake indeed!
We finally bid goodbye to Kunzum La and proceeded towards Chandrataal where the roads kept getting from bad to worse and the worst was yet to come!
The final 14 kms stretch to Chandrataal is considered the toughest part of this circuit with absolutely no tarmac and steep turns coupled with water crossings as well.
This was going to be a fun ride for us! And boy, we were ready for it!
Soon all 4 of us were together and we decided to complete this stretch in a back-to-back formation. After clicking some routine selfies we proceeded towards Chandrataal. The Chennai Couple had also joined us here.
We reached the Camp Site at 2:15 PM and checked into the tents we had booked owned by Sahil Duggal of Nomadic Destinations. It was very cloudy, windy and child! We ordered Maggi as lunch along with tea to get us warm and make us ready for the short trek which was waiting for us. The Hot Maggi was the best thing which happened to us then!
Scary dark clouds were gathering in the sky so we decided to head towards the lake without wasting any further time. There was no way my bike would have negotiated that uphill ride so I decided to ride pillion behind George till the parking spot from where the short trek begins. It was a tough decision to make but a sensible one as I didn’t want to get stuck at that height and especially with the weather getting dicey.
We started the trek and soon were huffing & puffing our way up, thanks to our fatigue, the height of 4300 metres and also our lack of fitness! But then we got a view of the gorgeous Chandrataal and soon all our fatigue was a thing of the past and we got lost in the beauty of this place! What a sight it was, I am sure it would never leave my mind ever!
We reached the shore of the lake and I decided to just sit & gaze rather than walking around. I was completely mesmerized! There is no other word to describe my state of mind then.
We could hear waves hitting the shore ever so smoothly and the serenity was absolutely hypnotizing. Coupled with the child winds this was a sight and experience to behold!
Enjoy some photographs of the lake view.
It was getting very cold so we decided to head towards the camp site and saw it from over top. It looked really beautiful indeed. Pitched tents in the middle of nowhere!
We decided to get into the Kitchen Tent which was warm and cozy plus we could lie down comfortably on the mattresses spread on the ground. I had 3 cups of piping hot tea along with dip-dip PHAIN – the perfect tea accompaniment.
And then the long bakar session started which lasted for 5 hours! We were unabashed and laughed like mad. I played out songs on my mobile, we enjoyed Babaji ka Prasad, I danced on some Punjabi songs as well! The mood inside the tent was absolutely bakar-filled. Soon other travelers who were staying in the same camp site also came inside to enjoy their share of tea and we indulged them in BoP style bakar as well!
Dinner was getting ready but we were in mood to call it a night so delayed our dinner till 10:30 PM and had our dinner only after we were thoroughly high after the bakar session. The dinner was very delicious cooked by the young caretaker cum cook and comprised of baingan Aloo ki Sabzi, Dal Tadka, Tawa Rotis and Rice. What a delightful spread indeed!
And then one man joined us! He was a caretaker of another camp site and was from Chamba in Himachal Pradesh. he was in a foul mood when he came because of the rowdy guests staying at his tent but we got him in the bakar mood and then there was nothing stopping him! He joined the Bakar unabashed and had a great time with us! He was quite a man and we had myriad discussions with him! Check out his antics in this short video!
We finally came out and were welcomed by child winds flowing unabated where Adit indulged in some pitch-dark photography while we deliberated about how we would sleep in such crazy weather! I had kept my Casio ProTrek watch outside to check the exact temperature and we got more frozen when we saw the -8 degrees reading on the watch!
We headed inside our tent to adequately cover us and make ourselves warm but sleep came very late because of the harsh cold. Somehow we slept and woke up multiple times through the night. It was quite an uncomfortable sleep we got that night but then that was part of fun at such height and terrain!
The memorable day finally ended. It had so many elements woven in. Bad roads, traversing the Kunzum La, my bike issues, a short high-altitude trek, the mesmerizing Chandrataal view, the magical bakar session and the delicious dinner we enjoyed. We rode for 93 kms on some of the toughest terrain we have ever encountered and it was a great learning experience for all of us.
Another great day had ended and now just 2 days remained in the ride.
Day by Day Travelogues of the Ride:
So till the time we meet again…
Cheers to life…
Till then ride safe and have safe sex…
Hasta la Victoria Siempre…