The Old Hindustan-Tibet byway: Spillow – Jangi – Rarang – Pangi – Kalpa – Roghi -Urni – Tapri

Cycling by Kinnaur Kailash


This was probably our favourite route in the Indian Himalaya. We weren’t enjoying cycling down the main Kinnaur Highway by the Sutlej river, but this quiet route was a joy. The sections from Rarang to Pangi, and Roghi to Urni are not motorable due to lanslides, which makes for plenty of pushing (and some carrying of bikes), but also for some fun riding on interesting surfaces. As this old byway is high above the Sutlej River there are fantastic mountain views, particularly of Kinnaur Kailash. There are regular water sources and small shops in the villages, so no need to carry many supplies.

Here’s our blog post for this route.


Total KM Stage KM Comment
0 Turn off main Kinnaur Highway (NH22) by the Kiran Khud Bridge (2,260m). If coming from the Spiti/Pooh direction, this bridge is over a side river and is 4km after the village of Spillow.
10 Climb on tarmac for 4km to a junction (2,570m). Turn L and traverse to Jangi (some unpaved sections).
10 Jangi (2,660m). Village in a beautiful location. Accommodation and shops.
11 6km to Akpa village (2,590m). 1km later go R (up) at a junction (L/down goes back to NH22) to get to Rarang.
21 Rarang (2,700m). Shops but no guesthouse.
14 4km to the small village of Thopan (2,740m, saw no facilities), after which the road ceases to be motorable. Descend 4km to a bridge (2,400m) on a bad, but rideable surface. Then climb for 3km towards Pangi. This 3km was in bad shape with lots of landslides. We had to push all of it, and carry our kit over the bigger slides. The next 3km to Pangi is cycleable. Stay straight at a junction (2,620m) just before the village.
35 Pangi. Large village with shops and a dhaba. Didn’t see accommodation, but there may be some.
11 After 3km turn R at a junction (L goes to Recong Peo). 5km later is another jn – R goes to the top part of Kalpa (L descends – ask locals where this goes as it may also go to Kalpa).
46 Kalpa (2,800m). Beautiful village with fantastic views of Kinnaur Kailash. Many accommodation options, restaurants, shops, internet.
4 Follow a good road to Roghi.
50 Roghi (2,750m). Small village.
15 No traffic after the village as the road ceases to be motorable. Climb 6km to a high point (2,920m) – plenty of pushing. Then descend 3km to a small river (2,590m). Have to carry bikes over this and another small river. It’s 6km from the first river to where the tarmac begins near Urni. Between Roghi and Urni we pushed about 5km in total.
65 Tarmac begins (2,190m).
17 After 2km turn R at a junction (L is a shortcut to the NH22). 2km later is the village of Urni (2,270m) which has shops and dhabas (didn’t see any accommodation). It’s 13km from Urni to the main road near Tapri.
82 Join main Kinnaur Highway (1,710m). Turn R and in 1km you arrive in Tapri (shops, dhabas, accommodation).
Route Summary
Total amount climbed 2,000m in 2 days
Traffic Little on the motorable sections. None on the sections where landslides have closed the road.
Difficulty 3
When we cycled September 2012 (post monsoon)
How much we had to push 8km

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