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The ten day drive to Spiti Valley was organized by Mahindra Adventure and Drive Tech India and supported by Ceat Tyres and Valvoline and it was flagged off from Chandigarh on September 9. We had a total of 20 cars and 30 participants who would cover a total of 1,200 kms, out of which 700kms were absolutely treacherous terrain. The drive culminated in Chandigarh on September 18. The media personnel were handed the keys to a Scopio S10 4×4 and a brand new Thar CRDe 4×4.
The convoy started off from Chandigarh to Narkanda, which was a 170km drive through the twisties of Solan. A quick tea and bio break later, the convoy headed for Shimla, where they stopped at the Wildflower resort for some lipsmacking lunch. After lunch the pack was back on the road to get to Narkanda. However, before the participants got to their night stay in Narkanda, Mahindra Adventure and the Drive Tech India team had arranged for 11,000 ft climb up to Hatu Peak.
The next day the pack travelled from Narkanda to Sangla, driving through the roads alongside river Sutlej. Dinner around a bonfire and night stay at the Banjara Camps before the convoy gets back on the road for a short drive to Chitkul and lunch by the river bank. We came back to Banjara Camps for the night, to relax ahead of our long drive to Nako Village.
The drive to Nako village was blessed with no roads, on which the SUV’s felt very much at home. After a lunch stop at kalpa Valley, the convoy stayed the night at Kinner Camps, overlooking the Nako Lake. The convoy travelled to Kaza where they would set up camp for two nights. The first night was solely for relaxation after the drive from Nako and also for what lay ahead. The second day was a masterclass on river fording and an off-road climb to Kee Monestary in Komic village located 14,000 ft above sea level. The Ceat tyres provided optimum grip even with the constantly changing terrain. The major highlight was the visit to the highest post office in the world, located at Hikkim.
Seven days in, the convoy traveled through good roads and some bad patches. However they would continue with no roads until they reach Rohtang pass on their way to Manali, but this was not a problem for the Mahindra SUVs, as they were equipped with 4×4 and all terrain Ceat Tyres. The convoy traveled to catch a glimpse of the Chandratal Lake followed by lunch at Batal Village. After the heavy lunch, it was back behind the wheel of the 4x4s for more winding roads and bad terrain towards Manali. After that, the bad roads in Gramphu faded away into paved roads that led to Rohtang pass and into Manali. There was a brief radio check on driver and vehicle condition by the lead car driven by legendary rally driver, Hari Singh as it was a long 13 hours of offroad trails and winding roads.
There was a drastic change in the temperature in Manali compared to the chilly winds in Kaza. The convoy made it to Manali for a relaxing night stay before heading back to reality towards Chandigarh. We had amazing roast chicken and fish steak for lunch at Martins and dinner at Fat Plate in old Manali. The next day was an 11 hour journey back to normal life, the single lanes and bad roads turned into multi-lane highway towards Chandigarh.
The trip to Spiti was an experience of a lifetime, put together and executed with finesse by the Mahindra Adventure and Drive Tech India teams.
Total distance covered: 1,210 km
Highest altitude: 15,500 feet
Convoy Management by Mahindra Adventure and Drivetech India