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.
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.
When we finally reached the valley of river Satluj and followed it upstream, the landscape started to change.
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.
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!
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.
As we were getting closer to the valley of Spiti the landscape became more dry and eroded.