Wandering In The Spiti Valley With The Maruti Jimny

Modified On Feb 26, 2024 03:33 PM By Ansh for Maruti Jimny

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The Maruti Rock N Road SUV Experiences took us on an adventurous journey that gave us memories we’ll never forget

Maruti Jimny - Maruti Rock N Road SUV Experiences

It was a normal working day, and while getting ready in the morning, I was thinking about taking a break and going for a vacation. Little did I know that my thought was about to become a reality. As I was leaving for work, I got a call from my senior colleague Arun, and all he said was “Spiti Chalega? Jimny se?”. I said yes without asking any questions, and he hung up. A week later, we embarked upon a seven day drive to the Spiti Valley and back with the Maruti Jimny, as a part of Maruti Suzuki’s Rock N Road SUV Experiences.

Let The Drive Begin

Our journey started from Chandigarh, and after being briefed about the locations and our itinerary, we were ready to move. In a hasty manner, we stuffed our luggage in the Jimny by folding its rear seats, because we thought its boot won’t be able to accommodate our big suitcases, and we would later find out that we were wrong.

Maruti Jimny

As we started moving, we left Chandigarh and got on the highway. This was the only time we got to use the 4th and 5th gear of the Maruti Jimny. As the day progressed, the roads started to get narrower and the long straight patches of the highway turned into sharp curves of the mountains. 

But we pushed on, as we were just too excited for this journey. Me and Arun shared the drive, and since it was my first time driving on such roads, Arun did most of the driving on the first day. But I knew that I will be driving tomorrow, and I couldn’t wait. After driving for nearly 10 hours, we had reached Narkanda, and we decided to call it a day.

Maruti Jimny Convoy

We weren’t alone on this drive. The convoy was made of over 15+ cars, and there was only one rule: “Do not overtake the lead vehicle”. We would end up breaking this rule, but I’ll get to that later. From Narkanda, we had to head to Tabo, which was again a long drive, however, there were no highways on this route, no 4 lane roads, just narrow mountain roads, that can be very difficult to drive on.

No More Upshifting

Early in the morning, we stuffed our luggage back in the Jimny, but this time, we thought of checking if these 2 big suitcases can fit in the boot without folding the rear seats, and yes, they did. Jimny’s boot could easily accommodate our luggage and there was still some space left. The Jimny had proved us wrong, and with that realisation, we resumed our journey.

Maruti Jimny

Driving on such roads requires skills, which Arun had and I needed to develop. But, being a good senior, he decided to teach me how to take corners. Yes, I was learning how to take corners, on narrow roads of the mountains, while we were climbing thousands of feet, and the air was getting thinner. Not the most ideal conditions to be taking lessons, but I did learn.

Maruti Jimny

It was now Arun’s turn to drive, and I noticed that we were constantly in second gear. Our manual Jimny started to feel like an automatic one. The reason for being in second gear was that we needed the speed and the momentum to take these corners and push through without feeling underpowered. The Jimny’s engine and ride quality did not disappoint us, we had all the power we needed, and the ride comfort was phenomenal.

After a long 12 hour drive, we had reached Tabo, and officially entered the Spiti Valley. We just had to drive 50 more kilometres to reach Kaza, our main destination. And we did that the next day.

Down To -22 Degrees

As we reached Tabo, the temperatures dropped drastically. Bottles of water left inside the Jimny at night had frozen the next morning. Even after wearing multiple layers of clothes, I was still shivering. Arun on the other hand, wasn’t so bothered with the cold.

Maruti Jimny

After we left Tabo, we started climbing up, and reached close to 13,000 feet. For Jimny, this drive was a piece of cake, and it enjoyed every bit of it. We were less than a kilometre away from Kaza, when we spotted the town, it just looked heavenly. Unfortunately, there was no snow, so the place looked dry and mostly just brown. 

The lack of snow created another problem. While you do feel cold in such places and in these temperatures, if there is snow, it traps some heat which makes you feel slightly better. However, since there was no snow for miles, you felt that temperature even more. Especially at night, when we decided to go out and explore. At 1 AM, we headed out to look at the beautiful mountains and stargaze under crystal clear skies. And while the sights were beautiful, we hesitated while taking photos.

Maruti Jimny

First of all, we had to keep our hands stable, which wasn’t so easy, as we were shivering. Second of all, even if somehow we managed to keep our hands stable, we had to take our thumb out of the glove to click the picture. The first time I did that, I did not think how bad it would feel. Even a slightly exposed thumb gave me the feeling that it would just freeze and fall off. 

Once we came back to the hotel, and shoved ourselves into the blanket, I checked the temperature, it was -16 degrees celsius! I had never been to such a temperature before, and it was a hell of an experience. Later that night, the temperatures dropped to -22 degrees, and no amount of clothes, blankets or heaters will make you feel warm at this point. Luckily, we slept it off, and it was a good thing that we did, as we needed a lot of energy for the next day.

A Sight To Sore Eyes

On day 4 of this journey, all we had to do was explore the Spiti Valley, this is why we were here. There were a lot of places around, and we decided to visit two of them: Hikkim Post Office – the world’s highest post office, and Komic – the highest village in the world connected by a motorable road. But before I reached there, I thought about where I came from.

Maruti Jimny

From Chandigarh to Narkanda, Narkanda to Tabo, and Tabo to Kaza, I saw the most beautiful places I had seen in my life. Maruti gave us not just an opportunity to drive on such roads, but also gave us a lot of memories. Memories of beautiful mountains covered in snow, memories of clear blue rivers that were flowing alongside our route, and memories of so many beautiful places that I didn’t think existed in India.

Maruti Jimny At Hikkim Post Office

But, there were even more beautiful places awaiting us. From Kaza to Hikkim post office, we had to drive on a very narrow road which for most part was a single lane patch of sand and rocks. Was this part of the drive dangerous? Yes. Was it worth it? Absolutely. This post office is operational throughout the year, and is situated at an altitude of over 14,000 feet. Here, we had some food, and wrote postcards, and sent them to the special people in our life. 

Maruti Jimny At Komic

From here, we climbed even further, to Komic – a village situated at over 15,000 feet (4,587 metres to be exact). To give context, we were standing at over half the height of mount everest. At this altitude, there is not a lot of oxygen in the air, and you start to have trouble breathing. But, this wasn’t a problem for us, as the view from this place has left us breathless. 

The village in itself was one of most beautiful places I had ever seen. It had a monastery, where we could see the monks, there was a restaurant which was called “The Highest Restaurant In The World”, and there was a small building where people lived. But, the real beauty of this place came when I turned my head around, and saw snow capped mountains in the distance. 

Maruti Jimny At Komic

Yes, there was no snowfall where we were, and I would’ve loved to see snow that was closer to me. But this was the closest thing to that. For as far as my eyes could reach, I only saw snow covered mountains, that made me realise how small I am. These gigantic pieces of rock and dust, make you feel insignificant, but are beautiful to look at, and that’s exactly what I did.

The Journey Back

Our day in Kaza came to an end, and it was time to head back to Chandigarh. It would take us two days to make this drive, with a layover in Rampur. So we got up in the morning, kept the luggage in the boot, took a good last look at the beauty of Kaza, and drove off.

Maruti Jimny

We reached Rampur in about 10 hours, and during this drive, me and Arun started to discuss coming back to this place. We had a really good time in the Spiti Valley and had already started planning to return. For a lot of people, going on such an adventure could be a once in a lifetime opportunity, and thanks to Maruti, we got to experience that. 

Now, we could not wait to get back to Chandigarh. While we did have a lot of fun on this trip, we had started to feel tired, and needed rest before our flight back to Mumbai. We thought if we continued to drive with the convoy, it would take us a lot of time to reach Chandigarh, and we would not get enough time to rest. 

Maruti Jimny

So we decided to talk to the person in charge, and convinced him to let us go ahead. He knew that we can drive and don’t need to be monitored, and this is when we broke the only rule of this convoy – “Do not overtake the lead car”. We left Rampur earlier than the other people, and we were back in Chandigarh in no time.

Finally, the journey had come to an end, and we were back to our separate places in the city, away from the mountains. The fresh air was gone, and the skies weren’t clear anymore. This is when I realised how much I miss the Spiti Valley, and how much fun I had driving the Maruti Jimny. 

Maruti Jimny

I am grateful that I got to go on this journey, and the Maruti Jimny was a great car to take on the mountains. It faced no problems, gave us all the power we needed to take those sharp turns, it drove on sand, rocks, and even water, and it did that without breaking a sweat. All while the Jimny was doing all of this, we were comfortable inside the cabin, no matter how bad the terrain was. 

Maruti Jimny

This truly was a once in a lifetime experience, but I think I’ll do this again, and again, and again, till I no longer find the need to come back to city life.

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