We came to India to cycle the high mountains, and we knew from the beginning that Ladakh on the North of the country would be our destination. To get there, one must take the famous Manali – Leh Higway, a road that is well known for its High passes (way over 5000m), spectacular views and unpredictable road conditions. However, the highway is usually open from early June to late October and since the winter of 2012 was very hard (lots of snow) it was still closed when we were supposed to leave Shimla. Therefore we made a spontaneous, but not at all regretted decision and instead of going straight up North, we turned East towards Tibet, to travel the Valleys of Kinnaur, Spiti and Lahaul. That detour took us two weeks and brought numbers of so long missed adventures.

Nice road

Cable trolley

Mat in Kinnaur

Langurs

It has all started pretty easily – we left Shimla (2000m) and slowly, gradually begun gaining height. We felt like being in Switzerland or Norway for a moment – typical houses of Himachal Pradesh were made out of local materials, resembling the mountain houses that we know from Europe.

Kinnaur house

Kinnaur mountain house

Dangerous road

Mat enjoying the view

When we finally reached the valley of river Satluj and followed it upstream, the landscape started to change.

Kinnaur landscape

Valley of Satluj

Satluj river

Road carved in rocks

Ania and a lot of goats

We were positively surprised by the people of Kinnaur – most of them were very friendly and welcoming, living much slower life than people from Delhi. They were not only smiling more – we could feel that following a traditional way of life suits them well.

Anna and two Kinnaur ladies

Two ladies - Kinnaur

Ania chatting with the Indians

The three turbans

Kinnaur woman

Collecting wood

Village girl

Woman collecting wood

Teahouse - Kinnaur  Village woman  Old couple - Kinnaur

Making chapati bread

Old man Kinnaur

Mat greeting the locals

Boy and his hemp

From a very wide and deep, the valley turned into a rather narrow gorge, where the road became a sort of temporary scratch on a surface of a rock. As we quickly realized, we were now following the most treacherous road on earth!

Ania cycling in Kinnaur

Road in Kinnaur

Kinnaur road

World´s most treacherous road

Land slide - Kinnaur

Road sign

Gettingnowhere cycling Kinnaur

To enter a section of the road that run just a few kilometres from the border with Tibet one needs a special permit. To get it we stopped in the city of Recong Peo and visited the beautiful village of Kalpa.

Patria Terra -Himalayas

Kalpa Hindu temple

Hindu temple - Kalpa

Decorative mask - Kalpa   Wooden temple - Kalpa

Huge tree in Kalpa

Temple roof - Kalpa

As we were getting closer to the valley of Spiti the landscape became more dry and eroded.

Be careful - dangerous road

A difficult climb on the bicycle

Along the Satluj river

Nice downhill - Kinnaur

Ania and Mat cycling in Kinnaur

Lunchtime in Kinnaur