To find the true soul of the Himalaya and to feel its true essence, one must go exploring deep in the mountains. The famous hill stations of Kullu, Manali, Nainital, and Mussorie, are flooded with tourists, looking for short-term and inexpensive pleasures. When in Manali, you might have a delusional feeling, thinking you are walking through the Delhi mohallas. Therefore, next time you hear the mountains calling, pack your bags and head to some place where you can escape this crowd.
From Manali to Jibhi
Jibhi to Sangla
Sangla is almost 210 km away from Jibhi, and in the mountains this is quite a bit of a distance to cover in one day. It takes almost 10-12 hours to reach Sangla, with lunch and tea breaks in between. The route to Sangla once you reach Rampur-Bushahr turns scenic, and Kinnaur is cooler and prettier. In Sangla, there are many hotels, so finding a place to stay should not be a problem, though you can always book in advance. A little away from the Sangla town are the various luxury resorts, such as the Banjara camps among many others, which are located right beside the Baspa River. These have Swiss tent accommodations, catering to those looking for a camping experience.
Sangla to Chitkul, and back to Sangla again
From Tabo to Kaza: via Dhankar Monastery
Chandratal to Manali
Post Script: Go to Spiti only if you really love the Himalaya and are ready to tackle the extremely tough tracks. The place often faces acute water shortage, and one must keep this in mind and do everything to minimise wastage of water; keep your garbage with you until you find a proper way to dispose of it (not roll down your window glass and just chuck it out to be carried away into the wilderness); and last but not the least, respect the locals, their customs, and traditions.
This was first published on Tripoto (a different version)