It was never easy but a decision had to be made, XUV 500 is not a preferred choice through the treacherous roads of Spiti but I decide to give it a try. I mean the whole purpose of getting XUV was to go wherever I want to.
After driving for 6 months, daily commuting and few trips through Rajasthan, I was convinced this is the perfect ride for me and the decision to ride through the valley didn’t disappoint at all.
I had decided to do the full circuit ( Delhi – Shimla – Spiti Valley – Manali – Delhi) with 10 days in mind and couple of more days as a buffer, fortunately, all went well and we were back to Manali in 9 days. The route map was followed as per itinerary recommended by DOW.
Since it was a brand new car, I didn’t do much of preparation but did take it through the regular service. Read a couple of blogs on xBhp and I was all set, next time, for sure I will do little more planning for a trip like this, will share the details later.
From Delhi to Narkanda, I wasn’t expecting anything dramatic as I had done this route twice in past, after Narkanda, it was altogether a new territory for me. The road between Shimla & Narkanda is very good, absolutely charming. We reached Narkand in the evening and stayed in a makeshift hotel for the night. Apart from Tethy’s, you really don’t any decent hotel in Narkanda.
Next day we started our journey towards Kalpa via Reckong Peo, the journey to Karcham was extremely pleasant but afterward, it was a little tricky, especially on the narrow climbs towards Reckong Peo. XUV went through hill climbs quite smoothly and this happened to be my first narrow hill climb on XUV. I have driven through such steep climbs on my Wagon R though hence not really a newbie.
We stayed near Reckong Peo for the night and the very next day started to drive towards Kalpa through Old Hindustan – Tibet Highway (NH22). The road was decent but you had to closely monitor the width of the car when a vehicle is crossing, predominantly it’s a single lane highway.
We reached our hotel in Kalpa with no issues and XUV continued to impress us with its control, balance, and power. After resting for a couple of hours in the hotel, we decide to visit the last village on the highway, Roghi Village.
The whole experience of driving towards Roghi village was exhilarating, we went through the suicide point and it was indeed suicidal to even stay close to it.
After reaching the village which happens to be the last village on the road, I made a mistake and ended up in no man’s land. I was stuck in the village with nowhere to go and this was probably the first time I regretted driving XUV 500. I have captured the whole experience in a different blog post.
After the unpleasant experience, I was little skeptical for rest of the ride but manage to collect myself and drove towards Tabo the next day. Drive towards Tabo was pleasant especially the experience of driving through Hangrang Valley.
We stayed in Tabo for 2 days at leisure, absolutely no rush at all and probably was the best part of our travel itinerary. It’s a small place and within hours you can know everyone and yes of course, whatever you wish for, was available to buy. After spending two days in abo which included a small trip to Gue Village, we headed for Kaza but the morning wasn’t pleasant.
I woke up to the reality of low tire pressure in the right front wheel, after an inquiry on getting ways to fix it, was told that a puncture service professional is available 10kms far and we could call him or drive there, provided the shop is opened. I took the help of hotel staff and fanatically started calling, 2 hrs and no contact and in all likelihood, he wasn’t available.
Time for a decision, should we wait or drive towards Kaza considering Kaza was our next destination and also has a mechanics and full functional repair shot, it is a small city. We drove, it was a quick decision.
With the air pressure of 16 psi, we drove towards Kaza with an added detour of Dhankar monastery, we were indeed adventurous. This was my first mistake, I should have changed the tire, a perfect replacement tire was available. Luckily everything went well.
The moment we reached Kaza, I got the air pressure checked. We stayed for 2 days in Kaza which included a day excursion to Key- Kibber and the XUV stayed on with us, no issues.
We were finally headed for Manali, the initial plan to stay in Losar but after checking with local friends, we were told a day trip from Kaza to Manali is very well within our reach.
The drive towards Losar is the start of what people call, a treacherous ride and top of it, the air pressure signal again popped up, it was suddenly at 14 psi, the same tire.
The moment I reached Losar, we started looking for the puncture shop and I am told there is one, unfortunately, the shop was closed and no one knew when it will open, may not open for the day as well.
With no options left and I still not being comfortable with changing tires, we kept driving and this must have very taxing for my tires, I did injustice to it.
It took us ~ 10 hrs to reach Manali for a distance of 80kms, there wasn’t any road at all. The makeshift road was made from rocks and they kept shifting with water streams being run over at different junctures, it was indeed difficult. This road is only operational for six months so you can understand the condition.
This ride was the real test of my driving capability and of the XUV, we both managed it without any scratches but trust me, we had moments were even cursing our decision to plan this trip.
After riding the rocky terrain for the whole day, we reach Manali and got stuck in traffic for 3 hours just when we tough, we are back on the mainland, the problem of mainland came on us.
Somehow manage to get the air checked to service the night, it the morning when we went for the tire repair, we found a big a sharp iron object and thankfully, the tire was just fine, it had survived the wrath of the road and my indiscipline.