Lets take you on a virtual ride to Lahaul & Spiti valley. Every rider or driver or adventurer enthusiast going to Leh or Kaza is very much keen to know about the road conditions on these arguably two of the most fascinating road journeys in the world.
So, in this long and continuing series of road journeys in Himalayan India, I will try to bring for viewers what roads and riding on them is like. Recorded on various devices- explorer camera, smartphone and DSLR, these videos shall hopefully pump up the adrenaline, or atleast rekindle old memories. They will also help a few in planning their future trips.
In the first part is the journey from Manali to uphill Rohtang La and to downhill Gramphoo on the other side. Rohtang La at 13050 feet is the first mountain pass en route Leh. But Rohtang is also a favourite excursion for all tourists coming to Manali. Its a scenic route of 52 kms (Manali-Rohtang) and roads are perfect atleast till Marhi. After that roads start to deteriorate as we approach close to pass. Stretch from Marhi to Rohtang is also known for its traffic jams, prompting authorities to regulate movement of traffic. This has also resulted in some strict regulations, permits and green tax imposed by NGT (National Green Tribunal).
Gramphoo is 15 kms downhill from Rohtang top. Gramphoo is the place where roads to Lahaul valley and Spiti valley bifurcate. Road from Rohtang top till 4-5 kms was good in condition but next ten odd kilometres to Gramphoo were terrible this year (2016) due to widening of road and large scale repair work.
One also needs to understand that road conditions on these two stretches is lot dependent on weather as well as month of travel. Early in the season (June) roads will be worse than what one will find towards the end (September-October). Month of travel will also decide the amount of snow and running water (nallahs) one might find on roads. Thats the reason, September end is considered to be one of the safest time to ride or drive on these roads.
Here is the video
P.S. My explorer camera was on left side of my bike’s handlebar as I couldn’t get time to set it at more appropriate place. Hence videos are a a bit left-angled. Secondly, few videos were taken on the route during return journey. Idea was to get good visuals of the route. They have been merged.