We had a group of 10 people 5 of which were known and the remaining were my sisters office people and cousins. Yeah, a concoction of people which were great company. Meeting new people during the journey is always a great experience.Nevertheless, we decided to kick-off our journey as early as possible since we had a flight from Mumbai to Chandigarh and we had to travel by car from Chandigarh to Narkanda which is 174 Kms . We met at the airport by 6:30 am , since our boarding time was 8:00 am. Everyone was thrilled and i couldn’t sleep the previous night due the the excitement. I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual among everyone. Eyes wanted to shut and get some rest but body was electrified by the thought that our #BucketListTrip was actually happening.
We landed in Chandigarh by 11:40 am as there were a lot of delays due to the whether conditions. We exited the airport and we had a Zoomcar booked and a rented car with a driver( Driver and the car were from Delhi)which is not recommended and this I’m saying from my personal experience. I’ll justify the same by quoting what one of the local drivers from Himachal has told me ” Seeing a car from Delhi( No. plate had DL) the locals won’t help much because the locals drive their income from tourists. I would recommend renting a local driver as he would be well versed with the roads and would also have contacts incase something bad was to happen. Continuing our trip, we also had a fuckup from Zoomcar and we didn’t have a car for almost 3 hours. We were helpless and stranded and they weren’t quick with their response. After a lot of back and forth banter on twitter, finally we received a XUV500 instead of a Scorpio which we had booked initially. It seems like a upgrade but nothing else was available hence they had to give us the XUV500. On a side note ,we were also told if no car is available then a full refund would be given which is not the solution that you are looking for when you travel from Mumbai to Chandigarh with all the hotel booking done in prior. Anyways, we were 3 hours behind schedule but we were glad we got the car and we embarked on our journey. Despite all this ,we didn’t loose hope because our bodies were electrified, remember!
Chandigargh to Narkanda is 174Kms and would take around 5-6 hrs easily. The journey was prolonged but we did enjoy along the way with a lot songs, mesmerizing views and souls brimming with happiness.
A few points to remember:
Car Booking: Rent a local car with the driver and a self drive car if you’re feeling the adventure in you just like us. Also we had 10 people hence 2 cars.
Hotel Bookings: Make sure you do all your booking in advance if you’re travelling during the season. Also, quantify all the three seasons as every season would unfold a new Spiti. Every season has it’s pros and cons. We had traveled Mid-August and we faced our bit of adventure which you’ll get to know as you read the further blogs!
Refreshments or popularly known as ‘Chakna‘: Dry food (Theplas, chips , biscuits etc) can be bought from Mumbai or Chandigarh. We did the shopping from Mumbai since the journey was of approx 5-6 hours we didn’t want to waste time in shopping basic necessities. Would recommend the same. Avoid consuming soft drinks as much as possible.
Alcohol: Should be bought from Chandigarh, since its a Union Territory you would get it cheaper. Also, stock it up for the whole trip as chances of getting the same along the journey are slim and even if you do it will be pricey. My recommendation would be to avoid alcohol at higher altitudes as it increases the risk of dehydration.
Music and Maps: Download music and don’t rely on internet as network will be available in major places like KAZA. Get offline maps as it would be very helpful but not trustworthy always. Whenever in doubt do interact with the locals who are your best bet! Also, try to get a BSNL sim card as that is the only provider which has network as opposed to other network providers. And an add on would be JIO which was fairly decent when we talk about network coverage.