Life keeps surprising while I am busy making other plans. We planned a trip and life took us to a different destination which was not even there in my "place to go before I die" list. Anyways, that list keeps changing with time. Spiti Valley is beautiful beyond description, too exquisite for words.
Many travelers plan Spiti circuit for their road trip, This Circuit can be done in 21 to 30 days and goes on below route
Chandigarh - Shimla -Narkanda -Rampur - Sarahan - Wanglu - Kalpa - Chitkul - Nako - Tabo - Dhankar - Kaza - Kumzum pass - Rohtang Pass - Manali -Kullu -Chandigarh.
Travelers add Komic- Hikkim -Langza to this circuit. few places like Kalpa Chitkul Sarahan and Chandra Tal are at little divergence from the main Road.
As we only had 8 days so we planned to go to this below the route and come back via the same route
Chandigarh - Manali -Rohtang pass -Chandrataal lake - Kumzum pass - Kaza and Komic - Hikkim -Langza circuit
But a week before our trip Kullu hit badly by floods and Rohtang pass also got closed because of heavy snowfall. Many people were stuck and roads were damaged.
Till the day before our Flight, we were in dilemma whether to go for it or cancel the trip. as we have already booked a taxi for a week we decided to go via Shimla route. While on the way back from Spiti many backpackers suggested visiting "Giu" also known as Geu or Ghuen. Giu is famous for a well-preserved Mummy which is believed to be over 500 years old.
"Giu" is beautiful on its own. It is a small village which is around 5-6 km off-road between "Nako" and "Tabo". Initially, I was reluctant to go that far on a tight schedule, but on a friend's insistence we visited and I am thankful for that, such a mesmerizing and peaceful village and I was lucky that it became a part of our road trip. The village Giu is far away tucked in a beautiful terrain in Spiti valley. it is a divergence near Sumodo between Nako and Tabo. Around 40kms from Tabo.
To my eyes, this hamlet looked magical, Too beautiful to explain in words. We reached in the evening just before the sunset there were no tourists other than us, The Village is secluded and hidden deep between mountains far from other inhabitant villages The village was surrounded with marvelous trees with yellow colored leaves a beautiful new temple is under construction and next to it is a small old temple where The mummy of the monk Sangha Tenzin is kept.
The Mummy is different from the Egyptian Mummies covered with bandages. It is naturally preserved and is kept in a glass chamber. Overall this place is worth visiting on the road trip to Spiti.
Plan to visit during day time as there are no hotels or stays near Giu. although locals are very helpful and welcoming, in case of emergency you can ask locals to help for shelter or food. there were no restaurants apart from few Maggi and chai points. so keep water and Snacks with you.
How to reach
I am not sure if Himachal Pradesh government bus goes till Giu, I haven't seen any. the fastest and safest way would be hiring a Taxi or bike. I saw many people hitchhiking from Kaza. we gave a lift to one guy for Komic - Hikkim - Langza circuit from Dhankar, he traveled along with us for 2 days. you can try that but take basic safety precautions. I won't recommend hitchhiking for a solo girl.
Food and stay options
The nearest towns are Nako and Tabo, I will recommend Tabo as it is on lower altitude and has more options for stay and food. as well there we few semi-luxury hotels which will save you from extreme cold.
During winter roads get closed several times and locals trek till Giu but don't try that on your own take a guide or a local along with you if you are planning to trek. Apart from winter, the roads are open throughout the year. Spiti is cold desert it gets warm during the afternoon and very cold at night. So during the day, it could be around 12 degrees Celsius and night can go down to minus 6-degree Celsius during Autumn when we visited Spiti, the temperature fluctuation is more, So plan accordingly. Keep layered clothing for convenience.
What to expect
Warm and welcoming locals, rich culture, astonishing landscape, breathtaking beautiful villages, pristine rivers you might get tempted to dive into the water but it is freezing my hands and legs got nub for a while. We went in autumn the leaves of trees were yellow, so it was like exploring some Magical, beautiful yellow forest. It is difficult to describe such an astonishing beauty in words it should be experienced.