Shimla to Kaza – A Road Review

Its not very common for me to not rush my road-reviews. Yeah thats two nots, read again. Its not very common for me to not rush my road-reviews. But as you grow up (and old) you sort of start to mellow down. In my case I would still blame on office-work, home-work, in-transit-work for my procrastination rather then this mellow philosophy, after all in the end we did drive all the way from Delhi-to-Shimla-to-Kaza-to-Manali-to-Delhi. So here’s a road review of Shimla-Kaza circuit. Delhi-Shimla is already covered here and any updates on that route are best to be found there.

Shimla-Kaza is a long one and its not a single day-light drive. We did in two parts, first Thanedaar-Sangla and then Sangla-Kaza. Both took a great part of day.

Himalaya, Rocky Mountain High

The route can be divided into following 7 sections

1. Shimla – Rampur
2. Rampur – Wangtu – Karchham
3. Karchham – Espillo
4. Espillo – Khab
5. Khab – Nako
6. Nako – Chango – Sumdoh
7. Sumdoh – Tabo – Dhankar – Kaza

1. Shimla – Rampur
Distance – 100+ KMs , Driving Time – 2 hours 30 minutes

As you approach Shimla, you would find a fork, the right of which goes to Rampur via Shimla-bypass. It seemed like a obvious choice but our confirm-at-next-turn experience made us take a U turn. When we asked few bus drivers, we were almost forced to go back since the bypass road is much more longer or so it was told. As a result of that U turn, we entered Simla city, after a while took a left which goes through a tunnel kind of thing and then it was Simla everywhere. Being the capital city, Simla is pretty big and if not it being a hill, it would compete very closely with other bigger towns in terms of overall chaos, garbage, haphazard development and what not. We had started from our home at Indirapuram, Ghaziabad sometime around 0530 hrs and it was already beyond 2, so we ignored the city and after a 30 minute slow but moving drive, we carried on towards our destination of the day viz. Thanedar.

Thanedar is the apple country of India and I would try to do that story separately. As we went past Kufri, I called up the hotel guys and was told that it would be at least 3 hours away, so we stopped for lunch at the roadside dhaba. It was a fairly clean dhaba and our steward-waiter had this high-pitch tone, made us wonder that probably Pankaj Kapoor researched this accent for ‘The Blue Umbrella‘.

We reached Thanedar which is not on main highway and left next morning at around 1000 hrs. We were on inside roads and with couple of clean-the-windshield-using-stream-water and giving a lift to a lady, ensure that we spent close to 2 hours before we joined NH22 again. It was lovely driving through winding inner roads, flanked with apple orchards, with no traffic and hardly any movement.

As we drove further, the road gets wider and better. There is a large Power Plant thing being done and from now till Spillow, power plants were constantly accompanying us, seemed as if HP is going to be the power capital of the world. Gradually Pines gave way to Eucalyptus and it was difficult to believe that we are really in Hills. Later we figured out that Rampur is at 900-1000 m while Shimla is at 2200-2300 meter. Thats quite a gap.

So courtesy non winding wide roads, we picked up speed and with in no time we found ourselves at Rampur. Rampur seemed more industrious then Simla.

2. Rampur – Wangtu – Karchham
Distance – 70 Kms , Driving Time – 2 hours


We were now in Kinnaur. AS we approach Wangtu, you would encounter a massive power plant project by JayPee group. Roads are all gone, probably for a better future. You gain height and roads jutting out of rocks becomes a more common sight. As you go further from Simla, the vehicle density keeps going down and while there were lot of truck movement because of power project, we started to see less of roadways buses, jeeps and other local transport.


The landscape is green, rocky and big. The canvas is beginning to grow and you now can see far and wide. We took a break post Wangtu and had our thought-fully packed-lunch which our hotel guys gave us. It took just a small request to a small sweets shop to let us sit inside and have our food. We did try to buy a coke and few munchies to keep him in good humor but guess that was not needed. We carried on. Its so much different to be in a shop with no rush. A couple was enjoying the soda pop waiting for the next bus, the guy must be in late twenties and from the conversation which I could gather, he seemed to be in a mood to stretch it and ensured by convincing his partner to skip the bus which came while we were not done with our food.

More of Kinnaur in Pics. Its beautiful.




A note for my fellow ghumakkar, biker dude, Indians do not need to take any permit in Recong Po or infact till Kaza, as you pass through Espillo you do need to get registered and again at Sumdoh.

Our destination of the day was Sangla, a beautiful valley and Karchham was our point of detour. The road from Karchham to Sangla is best left unaccounted. Well, its a single lane narrow road with a gorge on one side and towering rocks on the other. The road is as winding as it would want to be and if there is an oncoming vehicle and if you are on the gorge side, well it does test your nerve. A miss or a slip or a push can make things end. Sorry to scare you but if you are ever going towards Sangla, ensure that you reach Karchham when its broad day light.

When we reached our camp, it was almost 5 PM, it was heartening to listen to other folks on how dangerous the drive was. You are never alone.

3. Karchham – Espillo – Khab
Distance – 80 Kms , Driving Time – 2 hours 30 minutes

You come back to Rakccham to join the main road which would be with you till Sumdoh. There is hardly any traffic till Rakccham but as you hit it, the power-plant-caravan catches up. Keep driving among tall mountains, an accompanying river to keep the monotony away.


Take extra caution to fill-up the tank at Powari since that’s the only petrol station you would find before Kaza. It was noon and we passed several very small villages which in fact could hardly be noticed but owing to a little bit rough terrain, hills and almost none traffic, we were not going too quick. Sometimes absence of rush makes you go slow, strange.



On the way, you see some of the huge falls, portions of roads which have never seen two vehicles side-by-side ever, since their width can’t accommodate them (ok ok.. poor joke, move on) , tall huge rocky mountains, a LOT of clear Sun and occasionally a snow-peak. I am not a sun-glass guy but sometimes its so bright that you better use them.


It was not too late when we reached Espillo and there you get into the protected zone. There is a small barricade and you log your credentials with the Army there. A small quick conversation and we move further. Its gets more lonenly post Espillo.

5. Espillo – Khab
See 4.


Though the distance is not too much for this section but I would rate this section as the most demanding. It could see the best of your patience, grit and perseverance. The driver in you need to take the front seat and the video-gamer would have to wait for a while. This section has the famous Khab zig.


As you go further and survive some of the real bad patches, you notice that you have started climbing. And after a while you would see that you are actually going in a zig pattern with one side having a not-so-high mountain rubble wall and the other side down-looking at the previous zig-arm which you just left. Though this may not sound too harsh but each arm of zig is fairly long, probably a Km or may be less so at that scale you are climbing and as you would have guessed its a 1.5 lane road. So if you get company from the other side and you are on the dont-look-down side of zig, you have it. Its not uncommon to occasionally run into a Army caravan with their ‘Shaktimaans’ in a big long line.


The views though makes up for the challenges. There are more than many places where you can pull in and take a eye full of the mammoth surroundings. I say mammoth because the mountains are like real big tall huge mountains, the Himalayas, you can see as far as you want to, as deep as you want to and sometimes feel strange to find just you, your spouse and your 4 year old as a company.


You get that ‘Waiting for Godot’ kind of feeling and you really don’t think that this road can ever go to a dusty town, it might appear so much of out-of-world that you better try to get out of it and start driving again.

We tried to capture the zig. Look at pictures and try to get the scale.

You go all the way up and are at 3000 mtr, the place is called Ka, I believe. The snow peaks are at the same eye-level. Just be there, look around, feel special and move on.

6. Khab – Chango – Sumdoh
Distance – 40 Kms , Driving Time – 1 hour


Khab has nothing more than a few auto shops but there is a village down the road, a monastery where you can stay for the night and I believe some lodges. We kept moving and noticed a raised hand looking for a lift. We let her in. She was with us till Chhango, another village few KMs away. I was surprised to find her speak very good Hindi and we got wiser about the local terrain and ways. We bid goodbye to her at Chhango and gave ride to another lady with a small baby. We drove a few meters and noticed these two backpackers. I stopped and they requested for a ride till Tabo. The journey from Khab to Nako sees much more habitation but you are really in an arid land now and you can’t miss it. We dropped the lady with the baby at some place and our conversation with the two backpakkers continued. The roads are good, not too wide but its simpler to drive, you do get long stretches of straight strip of tar.


The guy was Peter and the lady was called Lucy, with such common names, you would not believe them assuming that it can’t be true, reminds of Badal Sircar’s ‘Evam Indrajit’ play where the protagonist says that his name is Nirmal when the other three who are accompanying him are called Amal, Vimal and Kamal. Peter and Lucy are originally from Czech but working in Afghanistan. For last three months they have been traveling in India and it was probably their 4th or 8th trip. They were with an NGO and take up assignments, save money, get out to travel. Because of their extensive traveling there were very well versed with India, Indian names, a bit of culture and all that. We did share our common interest around ***ching things we do not like.

Now we were traveling amid total arid, rubble mountains. The area looks more like a part of China than India, from names to features and probably that’s what this whole country is all about, with varied cultures, varied terrains and what not.


At Sumodh, we stopped again to get our vehicle registration logged. Peter and Lucy had to undergo a little more detailed procedure since their permit needed to be scrutinized. All this happened in not so much time and we moved towards Tabo by 4ish.

7. Tabo – Dhankar – Kaza
Distance – 60 Kms , Driving Time – 1 hour 30 minutes


Their being with us ensured that we got the much needed company and its not much a distance to cover from Tabo to Kaza where it would be back to three of us. We dropped them at Tabo where they were to stay there for the night at the Monastery and were planning to be at Dhankar the next day and finally at Kaza. Tabo looked like a small town with a Buddhist gateway welcoming you. Not many rather any people.

We quickly shot this assuming its a Yak. True City people. Its a cow.
We quickly shot this assuming its a Yak. True City people. Its a cow.

From Tabo, it was to be to Dhankar. You keep going, it was getting dark by now but now we could find longer stretches of straight strips. Dhankar came and went as another small clean town with the Monastery and the last leg was spent wondering on how Kaza would be.


It was almost dark, 7 PM or so, when we entered Kaza and it took a bit of asking around to reach our destination. When I finally reached our hotel, and shook hands with the manager, It was hard to imagine that we have come that kind of distance from Delhi.

The Kaza-Manali, the reason for which we did all of this was still left and the roads were not yet open. As I lay flat in the bed, looking around the humble room, with all our bags scattered and my spouse giving some hot-water leg-massage to our 4 year old, it was getting difficult to believe that we have finally made it.

Thanks for reading this far. A day well spent.


  • Anu Garg says:

    hi, can chandigarh-shimla-kinnaur-spiti-manali-chandigarh be done in an alto 800? time of travel wud be 2nd or 3rd week of sept. I recently did chd-sangla-kalpa in my alto, didnt face any problems. plz advise.

    • Nandan Jha says:

      ALTO is a great vehicle, light and agile. I am sure there are people who would have done this circuit on a ALTO but I wont recommend it, esp the the Kaza-Manali part.

  • Lucky chauhan says:

    Dear Nandan ji…I am planning to travel kaza in nov.first week will u plz provide me the current status of weather and road conditions….As am traveling with my wife and my 4yr son…… Actually we have 5days from on 3rd evening we r leaving from palampur and on 5th by evening we reach kaza ….Then by 9th noon we have to reach palampur…..Plz update me about weather,road and home stay or hotels and monasteries are opened or not….Thank you very much

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Dear Lucky – Manali-Kaza would probably be closed any time now. So I won’t recommend that route. You can still go via Shimla but that would just take too much time and won’t be possible for a 5 day tour. So not a great time to visit.

  • Neeraj Kumar says:

    i m planning to go on 10th NOV 17 is it i a good time to go there via Shimla i got to know both the way are open as of now going by bus from Indrapuram Ghaziabad hope it will be good to travel at this time . . you have any idea about bus rout ….?

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Hello Neeraj – I think you would have already left now. Since you asked, I have little info on reaching Kaza by Bus. But from what I could imagine, it would be going to be very very cold during this time of year. Manali-Kaza would close anytime if not already. I would avoid this time of the year, especially via public transport.

  • Amit Kulkarni says:

    Dear Nandan,
    First of all its great write up from you about your Shimla – Kaza trip. Thanks for sharing with excellent description of places / people and route. Its a big help. I will be going to Naldehra (1 hour ahead of Shimla) from 10th June till 15th June 2018. Will I be able to travel to Kaza and return in 3 days and is it worth doing it in 3 days – if I also want to try Snow leopard sighting on one day? OR alternately, can you suggest if its better to travel to Kaza via Manali and then go further to Shimla? Thanks a lot for your valuable input. Best regards

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Dear Amit,

      Thank you.
      Naldhera-Kaza in 3 days is not a good idea. If you want to visit that side, then I would suggest that you go no further than Sangla/Chitkul.

      SL is more of Ladakh thing (Hemis National Park).

      Kaza-Manali is one day drive and Manali-Shimla is also close to 12 hour drive. So plan accordingly.

      • Amit Kulkarni says:

        Dear Nandan,
        Many thanks for quick reply.
        I will be reaching Chandigarh on 9th June morning at 10.30.
        So if I can reach Manali on 9th June evening (or actually night) and go next day to Kaza (to reach on 10th afternoon)
        Stay at Kaza and cover Kaza on 10th night + 11th morning.
        Then I leave from Kaza on 11th morning at lunch time – is it good idea to drive to Shimla all the way on that day OR
        I take a break at Sangla on 11th June night and reach Naldhera on 12th noon?
        Sorry for asking too much in detail, but it will be me, my wife and daughter travelling – so want to be sure if this is right thing to do in that terrain.
        Thanks a lot again & warm regards

        • Nandan Jha says:

          Chandigarh – Manali is 10 hours. Manila – Kaza is one full day, it might take lesser but you need to cover two passes (Rohtang and Kunzum) and weather can turn in any which way, so account for one full day. Kaza needs acclimatization esp if you want to go to Kibber, Key and likes. So one day at Kaza is not a good idea. Kaza – Shimla would be about 16-18 hours drive.

          If I were you, I would either do Chandigarh, Kalpa, Sangla/Chitkul, Naldhera or go towards Pathankot (Dharamshala, McLeodganj, Dalhouse) or towards Manali. I would not attempt Kaza in this small window.

        • Debasree says:

          Your travelogue is sweet crisp and inspiring. I have been reading all writeups on lahul spiti since a few months a d finally planned to reach Sarahan on 7th Spt 19. Shall visit Chandrataal on hired vehicle. Can you give me contact no of any proper camp at Chandrataal?

  • Rupak Dutta says:

    My flight is at 14..00 from Chandigarh and whether it is possible to catch the flight if I start Journey at 5.00 in the morning in the same day ? please help me .

  • Shiv Naik says:

    Can we plan 6 days tour (Shimla -Kaza-Shimla or Shimla – Kaza – Manali) ? Which are the better night halts in this journey ? What are the best places can be visited during these days in Kaza and in between route from Shimla to Kaza ?

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Dear Shiv, Shimla – Kaza is not a single day drive and if you go that far then it is better to have more time at hand. For 6 days, I would suggest that you do Shimla – Kalpa – Sangla – Shimla/Narkanda.

      Shimla – Kaza – Manali would be too hectic too.

  • Amit Shukla says:

    Nandan ji,

    I want to visit Rekong Peo – Kaza in last week of May , and spend about 7 days totally.
    We are 2 adults + 2 kids (10yr, 12 yrs).
    Do not plant to take own car, it is a ageing Honda city.
    Plan to do Delhi-Shimla/Manali by HRTC

    Q 1) Should I plan Shimla-Kaza-Shimla ?
    Is it possible to do shimla-kaza – keylong-manali within a week’s time

    Q2 ) I understand starting from Shimla allows better adjustment to heights. what would be the recommended itenary

    Q3) What would be the taxi fare, if I want to board at Shimla, and leave the cab at Manali on 7th day ? Vehicle Toyota Etios or Swift Dzire

    Q4) While we have spent some time recently in modest elevations (eg. winter break in Narkanda) , are there other precautions which would be good.

    Thank you in advance

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Dear Amit,
      1) Shimla – Kaza – Shimla is possible but can get rushed, with 2 kids. But possible. Shimla-Kaza-Keylong-Manali is not possible because Kaza-Manali pass may not be open during that time + it would get even more rushed.

      2) Shimla – Sangla/Chitkul (2 days)
      Sangla – Kaza, (2 days)
      Kaza – Peo/Kalpa (really really long drive) (2 days, because you would lose the first day traveling)
      Peo/Kalpa – Shimla.

      3) No idea Sir. Please loop up on net.

      4) Yes, esp when you are in Kaza. Stay hydrated, go very easy, reduce alcohol/smoke, cover you head at all times (esp when it is windy, which it mostly is) and stay happy :-)

      All the best.

  • Asit says:

    Hi Nandan ji,
    I am planning to go Delhi-Shimla-Sangla-Chitkul-Shimal-Delhi on last week of May’2018
    I will do overnight journey for Delhi-Shimla and return Shimal-Delhi.

    Q1. is it comfortable travel (for 3-4 adults) in 3 day – 2 night from Shimla-Sangla-Chitkul-Shimal. can i add Kalpa in this?

    Q2. is it suitable to travel in local Bus or we should hire cab?

    Q3. What is travel time from Shimla to Chitkul in May

  • Prashant trivedi says:

    Hi Nandan ji,….i am planing to go Sangla Valley to kaza (via chandigarh to shimla)..2 June to 9 th june..can we cover Easley.. if 1 drop Sangla or Kaza on 9th morning my Cab(tempo.trevelR) drop me delhi in 10 afternoon.. wht about Shimla to Sangla, kaza road …any other shorst route from Kaza/Sangla Valley to delhi…so we can reached early

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Dear Trivedi Ji – I am not sure about your starting point, so am guessing that it is Delhi. Let me try to make my best attempt to answer your queries.

      1. 7 nights from Delhi – Shimla – Sangla – Kaza – Manali – Delhi is very hectic and hard. If I had 7 nights, I would only do Delhi – Shimla – Sangla – Delhi

      2. Kaza – Manali – Delhi is a shorter route provided the route is open. Usually the route opens in first week of June and remains open till late September. From Oct to May end, the route is closed. It passes through Kunzum-Pass and because of extreme weather (snow), the road is not open.

      3. Kaza – Manali is a full day drive (do it in the day). Manali – Delhi is about 14 hours drive but can be done in evening/night as well. Kaza – Delhi direct would be too tiresome unless you have been doing a lot of long road-drives. I am guessing that you are not so I won’t advise that.

      Hope it helps.

  • Mohit Malik says:

    Hi Nandan Ji…i am planning to do Delhi-to-Shimla-to-Kaza-to-Manali-to-Delhi in mid june with family (3 year old child)..can u plz suggest if it is safe to do Kunzum pass with family during that duration and what would be the road conditions

    • Ramta Jogi says:

      Snowfall is there in last 2-3 days Mohit…

      I’ll suggest to have a check with locals about climate & road conditions before boarding

      • Mohit Malik says:

        thanks for update

      • Mohit Malik says:

        Hi Ramta…Thanks for the update…would you please suggest if swift dzire will be ok to drive till kaza with 4 adults..we have planned to start on 16th June so prompt response will be appreciated :)

        • Ramta Jogi says:

          My one of the colleague had done this Kalpa Manali circuit with swift last year while exploring chandratal without any problem. Even i didn’t had any problem in Auli,Chitkul,Kalpa,Shoja or Jhalori Pass though Wagonar.

          You ‘ll have be bit careful while driving on rough terrains or no road stretches.
          Rest depends on your driving skills….

  • AKS says:

    Dear Nandan G

    Thanks for sharing your experience .
    I am planning in my car from Delhi to Rekong PEO / Kalpa on 16th June . Is it advisable to travel in Ciaz and are the roads in good condition

    • Ramta Jogi says:

      Hi AKS,

      Roads till Rampur are smooth & have good tar.Near Jhakri & Karcham it’s worst due to hydro project work.

      Moreover there are steep curves & hairpin bends as well.
      I had taken my wagonar till chitkul & kalpa though but considering ground height & length of ciaz it may be bit harsh for vehcle.

  • Rajeev says:

    Is it ok to go Delhi Kaza via shimla on Baleno on 1st June 18

  • Paramvir says:

    Hi sir, are the roads from sangla to kaza to manali open betwenn 26 may onwards?
    can we complete chandigarh to sangla- chitkul- kaza-back via same route in 5 days?? what you suggest as of best camping sites on way

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Parmavir Bhai – Pls read Ramta Jogi’s comment just above this one. By and large, roads are fine except around Karcham because of power plant work going on, for last 10 years I think.

      5 days seems too tight to me. You would not want to just drive. Also, Kaza-Manali section depends on weather. I am currently traveling (out of India) so do not know about the current weather conditions. Pls read-up on local newspapers like Tribune (you can find them online) to make a best estimate.

  • Amit Kulkarni says:

    Thanks Nandan and Rama jogi for really helpful information. This has helped me decide which section I should definitely NOT do. If I start from chandigarh at 11 in the morning – how much time will it take to reach Chitkul? I am with family – 3 of us. So want to also know a reasonably good hotel to stay for 2 nights. Is there way that I can find or know who can help for doing 1 day trek around Chitkul or Sangla? Thanks a lot

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Chandigarh-Chitkul is not a single day drive. I would recommend that you stay at Kalpa for a night. Next day, you go to Chitkul and stay for two nights. You would need to stay at some place on the way back too.

      If you really have 3 nights then Chitkul is just too far to make a memorable trip.

      If you have more time and decide to go to Chitkul then pls ask your hotel. I stayed at Banjara Camps, Sangla. They seemed like a great choice overall, though can be a bit expensive. all the best,

    • Ramta Jogi says:

      Hi Amit,

      Till Rampur & Jeori you can drive @ 50/70km speed but after that it would not be like that.
      Average speed will be 20-25 approx due to bad road conditions or hilly curves.
      I will suggest to stay at Sarhan with one more day in hand.

      In Sangla go for Hotel Rupin view …it’s pictureque.
      Trek till Kamru fort in Sangla & detouring towards banjara/rupin river are mesmerizing.

  • Kailash Mehta says:

    Hello Nandan ji
    Your post (not these but all are fascinating) is good and inspired me to plan for it.
    * I have 5 to 6 days in hand for Gurgaon to Kaza & back(Day 1- Narkanda/Rampur, Day 2 – Narkanda to Sangla, Day 3 – Sangla to Chitkul, Day 4 Chitkul to Kaza, Day 5 – Kaza, Day 6 – Return Journey).
    * Is it ok to go by Gurgaon to Kaza and back by Swift Dezire car in ist or 2nd week of June.

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Kailash Sir – Thank you. Sir, for 6 days, it would get extremely hectic. If you are short on time, then I would suggest that you only go till Sangla/Chitkul and head back.

  • Jaspreet Singh says:

    Dear Nandan,
    We (Me, my wife and 3 yrs old kid) are planning to travel to Kalpa from Chandigarh on Santro from 3rd June to 8th June. We have planned:

    Day 1- Starting from chandigarh early morning and giving a break at Narkanda.
    Day 2- Starting from Narkanda by 12.00 pm and staying at Rampur Bhushahar.
    Day 3- Starting from RB by 10.00 am and reaching Kalpa.
    Day 4- Planning to go to Chitkul n returning back to Kalpa.
    Day 5 -Back to RB
    Day 6- to Shimla.

    So I have questions about my itinerary:

    1. is it advisable to use my own car Santro for this whole travel?
    2. how are the road conditions i.e if rain starts then will it be fine to drive especially from RB to kalpa?
    3. Anything to carry along in case car gets into a problem?

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Dear Jaspreet,

      1. Santro is a great vehicle. It is agile, light, not too big/bulky so fits fine for a hill drive. Do not overload it and if for certain stretches, you may experience a lag then just go slow. Especially at low oxygen areas, just go slow, enjoy the ride.

      2. Road conditions are ok except the Karchham area where some hydro power project is going since eternity.

      3. An extra tyre tube, check whether the battery is doing good, check whether the tool-kit is in order (if you have a flat tyre, you are able to change it).

      I was looking at your itinerary, I would suggest that you do following.

      Day 1- Starting from chandigarh early morning and giving a break at Narkanda.
      Day 2- Starting from Narkanda by 9.00 am and go to Sangla.
      Day 3- Do a Chitkul day trip. Stay at Sangla.
      Day 4- Sangla to Kalpa.
      Day 5 – Kalpa to Shimla (and stay there).
      Day 6- Back to Chandigarh.

      If you have time then stay for another night at Kalpa.

      All the best. You would be going to a really really beautiful place, make the most of it.

  • itsamitkban says:

    Will be it okay to drive up to Sangla and and kalpa in Maruti Ertiga petrol with Six people. What is your advise. I am planning in the middle of october.

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Eritga has a very high ground clearance, I guess 180 cm+, so you should be fine. Do not overload it with a lot of luggage since there would be 6 people inside.

      Though Shimla – Sangla is all-weather road, it would be a good practice to read abut weather before you start. All the best.

      • itsamitkban says:

        Thanks a lot. Will get back to you when I actually plan the trip. Your guidance will be very valuable.

  • Lubin Arora says:

    Hi Nandan, Thanks for a great post!

    Just had a couple of questions for a trip that I am planning towards the end of this month. I plan to do a 9 day trip: Delhi > Shimla > Kalpa > Nako > Tabo and back.

    We are just two people and I have an i20 Diesel. Is it a good car for the route.

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Hello Lubin,

      You seem good with your plan. Since it would be end of June, and there would be only two of you, you might want to go all the way to Kaza and return via Manali (to save driving time). Days are longer and hopefully most of the snow would be gone so you can get past Kunzum and Rohtang faster.

      i20 would be awesome. All the best.

      I am traveling for a few weeks and not on best of internet connection so sorry for the delay.


  • mohit says:

    Sir , we are planning to visit kinnaur , chitkul , reo , kalpa and then kaza . sir can u tell us how much days ll be sufficient for this tour . can it be possible in 6 days tour . we are travelling it from punjab .

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Hello Mohit,

      For 6 days, I would suggest that you keep your itinerary to Kinnaur so that it is not too rushed and you have enough time to relax and experience the beautiful Kinnaur. You can do Sangla, Chitkul, Reo, Kalpa.

  • Sachin M says:

    Hello. We will travelling in XUV 500. WE ARE TWO ADULTS AND 2 KIDS.
    We are planning to go from Delhi to stay at Narkanda and from Narkanda to kaza is it possible to travel Narkanda on first day and from Narkanda to kaza on Second day. Is XUV 500 IS FINE.
    How long would it take practically Take to reach from Narkanda to kaza.

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Sachin, Narkanda-Kaza is two days drive, so you can not do it in one stretch. XUV 500 is a great vehicle, so you are covered. You can break your journey at Sangla. Narkanda-Sangla is 8-10 hours drive. Sangla-Kaza is 10 hours drive.

  • Hi Nandan,

    I am planning to visit Himachal in mid on June. My plan is to go from Delhi to Shimla and then further to Rekong Peo/Sangla/Chitkul. Is it fine to go by Honda City there. Secondly, can we stay at Chitkul. I mean is there any hotel to stay with family? What do you suggest.

  • Ankur says:

    Can we do Chandigarh-Chitkul stretch by Honda Jazz(Diesel) car?

  • Sumit Bawa says:

    Hello everyone ,

    I am travelling from Shimla to Kaza Monday next week via (Shimla – Sarahan – Sangla – Kalpa – Nako – Tabo – Kaza). I heard it’s raining heavily above Shimla, Could anyone please tell me about the road conditions till Kaza ?


  • Himanshu says:

    Hello Nandan,

    Thank you for the detailed review.

    I am planning to do a Delhi- Sangla- Kalpa- Sangla- Delhi trip in approx 6 days in mid Oct 2018, can you please suggest if this is feasible?
    I am fine with driving long stretches and hill driving is also not an issue.
    Can you suggest a plan? Also update me on the road conditions.

  • Madhav Saikia says:

    I and my friend ( Both good drivers. We have done Delhi Ladhak last year in his punto) are planning to do Delhi – Kaza this June. We Plan to divide the journey into three parts
    Delhi – Shimla
    Shimla – Sangla
    Sangla – Kaza
    Please suggest if this if fine. Also please suggest us good places to stay. We are guys btw :-)

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Madhav – On Day 1, try to go further than Shimla. It could be Thanedar. On Day 2 – its going to be a long one so leave as early as you can. Day 3 is fine.

      Stay – Shimla has millions of place to stay, Fagu is good place to explore, HPTDC. For Sangla, we stayed at Banjara Camps, Sangla. But considering that you specifically wrote that ‘we are guys’, I would recommend you to go further to Chitkul and find a hut. For Kaza, again there are many places to stay but if you want to stretch a bit then go to this highest-village, am missing the name. Watch out for AMS.

      Good luck.

  • Rakesh Kumar says:

    Hi Nandan Ji,
    First of thanks for doing the great work in helping planing the travel. I found this blog very useful.
    I need the information that can i go in Celerio car from Rampur Bushahr to Kaza. I visited till Recong peo but not sure about the road condition after Peo. It’s a family trip and specifically worrying about group clearance of Celerio and road conditions after Peo. I am planning to visit June 1, 2019.

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Thank you Rakesh Jee. I am not updated on most recent road condition. Celerio should work as long as there is not a lot of load in boot. Best wishes.

  • Madhav Saikia says:

    We have done Ladhak last year in a Punto. We are careful and observant drivers who respects and adours the beauty of mountains and its curves. We want to do Delhi – Kaza in two days, again in our faithful Punto, only day driving. Please suggest us the best pit stop. We will put up in Army Officers mess as we have BRO connects. Thanks in advance.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Dear Madhav – Two days for Delhi-Kaza by Delhi-Shimla-Peo-Ka route with only day-drive is going to be very very hard, to the extent of unsafe. The other route viz. Delhi – Manali – Kunzum – Kaza is doable in Aug, but that too be pretty tiring.

  • Anandana says:

    Hello Nandan Sir,

    Truly appreciate your details on the itinerary for Kaza.

    Couple of questions we are 4 adults planning to visit Chandigarh – Narkhanda- Kaza – Chandratal – Manali – Chandigarh in 7 days 6 nights in JULY 2019 (mostly 1st week)

    Have read up on the roads and treks, we will like to do the trek to Chandratal and camp there, also Dhankar Trek from Tabo.

    I feel we are left with little time and hectic 9 hours drive on return from Manali to Chandigarh, please advice your pitstops on the way back, as we all will resume office the very next day on return. Little rest should help.

    • Nandan Jha says:

      I am not sure Anandana, if I get your question. But let me make an attempt

      Day 1 : Do Chandigarh – Narkhanda – Kalpa

      Instead of staying at Narkanda, go all the way till Kalpa and though you won’t see Mount Kailash because of July, you never know. I will pray for you.

      Day 2 : Kalpa – Kaza

      It will take you almost all of your day. With rising altitude, I doubt you would be able to move around much so take it easy, and rest.

      Day 3 : Kibber, Monasteries and more at Kaza.

      Day 4 – Kaza – Kunzum – Chandratal

      God willing weather remains good and you actually reach Chandratal in time. Raise a toast for me when you do.

      Day 5 – Chandratal – Manali

      Long drive, mostly because of the unending, frustrating rush from Rohtang to Manali. Take rest, you would be exhausted by now.

      Day 6 – Rest. Recoup.

      Day 7 – Enjoy more of Manali and head home, Chandigarh.

      Day 8 – Report to work.

      Hope this is useful. Safe travels

      • Anandana says:

        Thanks Nandan,

        So I understand July going to be tricky, nevertheless we will have to plan that week.

        Appreciate your suggestions

  • Disha Gautam says:

    Hello Nandan Sir,
    Truly appreciate your feedback on the above questions. I am planning to visit from Shimla to Kaza may be covering the Sangla-Chitkul area. I am planning to leave on 4th June evening or may be early 5th morning. I have few points if you could advice….
    1. I have 5 days in total including back to Shimla.
    2. I am planning to travel in Grand i10 /Datsun Go.
    3. What should be the halting points in whole trip
    Kindly help me on the points as early as possible…

    waiting for your valuable advice…

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Hello Disha Ma’am – Thank you. I would recommend

      Day 1 – Simla – Kalpa
      Day 2 – Kalpa – Chitkul
      Day 3-4 – Chitkul – Sangla

      Day 5, start very early and do this long trip in one go and back to Simla.

  • Tracy says:

    Hi, you have a lot of helpful information above, but do you have knowledge on the winter trips in this area, we would like to travel from Shimla – Kalpa – (maybe Kaza depending if road is open) – Sarahan – Shimla. Could you please advise how many days, would like to stay 2 nights in Kalpa and also in Kaza. If roads are no good to Kaza, we are happy to skip it. Not interested in the scary road up to Sangla. Thanks in advance.

    • Tracy says:

      Hi, so you have not travelled the road from Shimla to Kaza in the early winter months? thanks Tracy

      • Nandan Jha says:

        No, I haven’t in this specific zone but Simla-Kalpa/Sarahan should not be a problem at all. Beyond that it gets too cold, though the road would continue to remain open since it is an all weather road and kind of only connection to some key border areas.

      • Tracy says:

        thank you, look forward to seeing this amazing area.

  • karan says:

    hi Nandan
    we are planning a family trip(four adults) to Kaza and Chandrataal for a total of 10 days in d first 2 weeks of July this year in a Jeep Compass. were thinking of going to Kaza via simla and coming back via Manali. tentatively planned it as: simla/narkanda-sangla-kaza-chandrataa-simla. someone told me its better to go via Manali and not simla. what do u suggest/ advise?

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Via Manali is quicker. Via Shimla is much more rewarding in terms of overall landscape.

      • Karan says:

        hi. Thanks. So if we go via Manali straight to Chandrataal for 3 nights/2 full days n then to Kaza for 2 days, one day Nako/tabo (which do u suggest?) and one night at Chitkul/Kalpa and then to simla. or can it be planned better? We also want to go to pin valley national park. where do we fit that in. Do we need to take any pass from Manali? and from where?
        5-6: Manali
        6-9: Chandrataal
        9-11 Kaza/Kibber
        11-12: Nako/Tabo
        12-13: Kalpa/chitkul/sangla
        we can extend it to 15th July.

  • Dear Nandan,
    Your love for road travels and the mountains shines through. Wonderful.

    We are planning to visit the Chandrataal lake – 3rd week of June. It’s me, wife and a 14 year old daughter. And, we are NOT planning to go to Manali but coming back the same way.
    Our plan is to self-drive to Kaza or Kibber (which one would you recommend) and park ourselves there while we take a local taxi and explore around.
    Itinerary planned:
    Day 1: Delhi to Narkanda
    Day 2: Narkanda to Chitkul
    Day 3: Chitkul to Kibber
    Day 4: Kibber based local sight-seeing (Gette, Ki Gompa etc)
    Day 5. Taxi to Chandrataal; night camp in Chandrataal
    Day 6. Back to Kibber, collect car and drive back to Tabo
    Day 7. Tabo to Narkanda
    Day8: Narkanda to Delhi

    1. Is the above itinerary workable?
    2. We are driving a Ciaz. Is is practical/ doable? Or plain silly?
    3. We have done the Delhi – Kalpa -Delhi 6 years back. I remember about 40 kms of non-existent road near the Karchham dam. Is it still the same?
    4. Are there stretches beyond Rakchham all the way to Kibber which are worse than the Karchham stretch? You have flagged the Khab zig already.

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Thank you.

      1. First 3 days are very tight. Day 2 is going to be long and Day 3 even longer. Day 6 would be long too. So keep in mind while doing the actual run.

      2. Ciaz is completely doable and not silly at all, but not the best vehicle for this terrain. Since it is only 3 of you and hopefully not too much of luggage, overall load would be ok and you should be fine.

      3. I would guess that it is still the same.

      4. Post Rakchham, overall road quality gets better actually since you are now out of the reach of Jaypee power projects :-). Khab zig is a decent road, just that it needs a patient handling.

      Now, in terms of staying at Kaza or Kibber, I would recommend Kaza. Kibber is further many miles away in the vertical direction and if you are not a mountain frequenter, AMS can spoil your overall experience.

      You may want to reconsider returning from Manali since you would already be at Chandratal. From Chandratal, you can reach Manali on Day 6. Have two days of good touristy/busy/noisy rest and then drive back home in one go.

      But in that case, you may have to relook at your choice of vehicle.

      Safe travels.

      • Ashish says:

        thanks for such a detailed and quick response.
        Perhaps we should let go Chitkul and stay at Peo/ Kalpa to save on time on day 2 and 3?
        Yes, I have been told that a sedan is not a great idea on the Chandra-taal to Manali route – I believe the road from Gramphoo is horrible. Which is why we are doing this retrace back.
        Thanks a ton.

  • ashish says:

    Dear Nandan,

    thanks for sharing yours great experience. kindly suggest i am planning from delhi to kaza (via shimla)early morning from 15th june ..plan is like this
    15 june(saturday)early morning- delhi to narkanda
    16 june(sunday)- narkanda to kalpa
    17 june(monday)- stay in kalpa
    18june(tuesday)- kalpa to kaza
    19 june(wed)- stay in kaza
    20june(thur)- stay in kaza
    21june(fri)early morning – kaza to delhi back same route…

    kindly suggest as i need to come back by 23(sunday) afternoon positively..


    kindly suggest me or you would like to modify…i will be travelling with my wife & 6 years old 2 kids

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Looks good overall. Though it would be mid June, its still going to cold, esp evenings, out there so take additional care of little ones. Carry enough warm cloths, scarves/mufflers/caps n all.

    For your return journey, you can also look at coming via Manali. If you start early from Kaza, you would be in Manali before it gets dark. Kaza-Manali via Kunzum is hard but very rewarding. It does save a lot of time. On June 22, you can drive till Chandigarh and then have an easy drive on June 23 to Delhi.

    Read when your time allows –

    If you do take the Manali route then please carry enough food in the car and prepare for massive traffic jams beyond Marhi/Rohtang.

    Safe travels.

  • Neeraj says:

    Hi Nandan,

    Thanks for very well briefing of the route. I do have some queries, as I am planning to travel from Delhi to Kaza via Delhi-Shimla-Kaza Route in last week of October.

    1. Is this period good and safe to drive?
    2. Planning to drive by KIA Seltos, is it right choice of vehicle?
    3. How is the level of hilly roads, as I have hills driving experience of Delhi to Manali only. Are roads good enough to drive by the less hilly-drive experienced driver like me?
    4. Planning to be back from the same route, is it advisable and how many days should we take-out to complete this whole tour?


    • Nandan Jha says:

      Hello Neeraj, Thank you.

      1. It is safe but it would be just too cold. Day Max would be around 4-5 degrees and nights would be in negative. And AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) can be hard to manage with cold winds n all. I do not know about your group details (kids, elders etc) but something to know and plan. Days get shorter, mornings are so cold, so on and so forth.
      2. KIA Seltos is a fantastic vehicle.
      3. It is hard but then you need to do it some day. I wont worry about it as long as you have an active co-passenger, drive slow and wisely.
      4. In late October, there is no other road than this one to return :-). I am quite sure by end of Oct, Kaza-Kunzum-Manali would be closed.

      All the best.

  • Neeraj says:

    Hey…thanks for quick reply! I am planning to travel with wife…daughter (4 Years old) and sister. can you suggest the night halts as per the shorter days!

    Once Again, Thank You So Much!

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  • Prosenjit Manna says:

    Hi Nandanji,
    Your writing is very informative and helpful. We are planning to visit Himachal from Kolkata. Day 1 reaching Shimla on 28th May 2023. 29th & 30th staying at Sangla, 31st May staying at Kalpa. 1st June & 2nd June staying at Tabo. 3rd 4th & 5th at Kaza. 6th June we want to leave Kaza and go to Manali. My query is, will it be possible to travel to Manali from Kaza on 6th June 2023. What is the road condition during this time. Please let me know Sir.
    Thank you.

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Namaskar Prosenjit bhai. June 6th will be risky. It is hard to predict the exact date of the opening of the Kaza-Manali but typically it opens ahead of June 5 but its too tight. These days unpredictable weather has become a norm than an exception.

      Sir, my suggestion would be to push this whole program by a week or at least a few days. Wishing well.

  • hemesh says:

    hi Nandan ji. is traveling by Honda amaze, mid april, via shimla to kaza, safe and doable. Please advise. thanks

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Hemesh Bhai, Mid April is going to be extremely cold. Amaze is excellent but just plan for enough cold and some snow on Kibber etc. All the best.

  • Rahul Sharma says:

    Hi Nandan, thanks for your article and your replies for everyone’s queries.
    We (Me, wife & 2 teenagers) are planning a trip from Delhi to Kaza via shimla and return via Manali in 1st week of July. Vehicle will be Creta/Tucson. My questions are :
    a) Is the time OK from Monsoon (& hence landslides) perspective.
    b) Will 7 days be good for the trip. We don’t just want to drive and drive. We would like to stay and enjoy natural beauty as well.

    • Nandan Jha says:

      Hello Rahul, Thank you.

      This is going to be an excellent and memorable drive. Creta/Tucson is a perfect car for this terrain.
      a) July 1st week is ok. Typically as we get later into the Monsoon, landslides gets worrisome so July 1 sound like a right time to me.
      b) 7 days is too short considering you would be climbing quite high so getting up gradually would work better.

      Unlike my time, the drive from Kaza to Manali should be much smoother since by July, a lot of snow would go away (which is a good thing :-)) and Atal Tunnel makes Rohtang safer and simpler.

      Safe travels.

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