Treks Trips & Trails
Lahaul Spiti Road Safari
Duration : 11 days
Time of the year : June to Sept
Vehicle: tempo traveller (12 seater)/ Tavera /Innova (6 seater)
Meal Plan : MAP (vegetarian)
Pick & Drop : Chandigarh
One of the still unexplored and insanely beautiful stretches of the Indian Himalayas, Spiti is a valley of stark landscapes and high snowy peaks stretching to the sky. Gurgling rivers and crystal clear lakes dot the highlands of Lahaul, while an ancient civilization has survived for nearly a thousand years and has preserved its culture against the onslaught of modernity in Spiti. The Spiti Valley lies in the Western Himalaya at 3680 meters, in Himachal Pradesh in North India near the Tibetan border. Closed to the outside world for over 30 years, this ‘forbidden’ valley opened to foreigners only in 1992.
Kinnaur is the area between Shimla and the border of Tibet. Kinnaur surrounded by Tibet to the east, in the northeast corner of Himachal Pradesh, about 235 kms from Shimla is a tremendously beautiful district having the three high mountains ranges i.e. Zanskar, Greater Himalayas and Dhauladhar. To the north is the Zanskar Range, which forms the border with China and in the south is the Kinnaur Kailash Range, which has the mountains of Jorkanden (6473m), Phawarang (6349m) and Kinnaur Kailash (6050m). Most of the people in this region are of Mongol origin and follow Buddhism., enclosing valleys of Sutlej, Spiti, Baspa and their tributaries. All the valleys are strikingly beautiful. The slopes are covered with thick wood, orchards, fields and picturesque hamlets. The much religious Shivlinga lies at the peak of Kinner Kailash mountain.The Satluj river which rises on the southern slopes of Kailash mountain near Mansarover in Tibet flows through the Kinnaur valley.
Traversing Spiti valley is as much a journey within as it is without. The lofty Kunzum Pass will trivialize our place in the world. The stillness of the Chandratal Lake will talk to you of contentment. The legendary Ki Monastery will speak to you of man’s industry - physical, yet transcendental. And since all life is cyclical, you’ll again be jolted into insignificance as you trek the ragged & Spartan route to some of the highest Himalayan villages of the world. Rise to one of world’s highest motorable roads enroute Langza and sway to the sinuous Spiti River below. Indulge the yaks and refresh your palaeontology. Lunch with the rank and file at Demul and bow to Spitian regalia at Dhankar.
Treks Trips & Trails invites you on a most spectacular road journey through Kinnaur and the mountain desert of Spiti Valley. In the dramatic backdrop of stark barren mountains, Spiti, Ladakh’s lesser-known cousin, offers travellers a glimpse in the life and culture of some of India’s most remote villages, which remain practically cut off from the rest of the country for 6 months of the year!
DAY 01 : ARRIVAL IN CHANDIGARH & TO SHIMLA
Pick up from Ambala Railway station at 11:30 AM. Meet and Greet onwards to Chandiagrh Meeting at Hotel in Chandigarh. After having Lunch proceed to Shimla. By 2 PM. Arrival in Shimla. (6 to 7 PM). Dinner Overnight Stay at the Hotel.
The drive will take us from the urban terrains to Shimla - where we get our first taste of the Himalayas. Named after Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Kali, Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh and summer capital of pre-Independence India. It is an attractive blend of hill town and holiday resorts. Shimla has a distinctive retro style – with hand-painted signs in the bazaars and cars banned from the main town – it almost feels like the British left just yesterday. The drive is a comfortable one and takes us through some delightful landscape. Shimla is an important part of the journey as it gives the body ample time to adapt to the altitude and get ready for the journey ahead.
DAY 02 : SHIMLA TO NARKANDA TO RAMPUR TO SARAHAN : 220 KM, 8 TO 9 HOURS)
After breakfast leave for narkhanda a small wooded village and get views of Hatu peak, move to Sarahan enroute visit the exquisite palace of the erstwhile Maharajah of Rampur Bushair. Explore the town and then leave for the beautiful village of Sarahan, perched high above the river Sutlej, Sarahan is steeped in legend, hill architecture and remarkable natural beauty, orchards and small villages. Dinner and Over night in Sarahan.
By National Highway No.22, is 175 km from Simla and is at a height of 1850 m. The hilly road passes through Kufri, Narkanda, Fagu, Rampur and Geori, and on both the sides there are pine and fur trees etc. Rampur was once upon a time the kingdom of the Bushahar kings. The residence of the kings is known as Padam Palace, made by King Padam Singh. The palace is on the road itself, the ground floor is made of stone and the first floor is made of wood. It was learnt that the palace is now closed for the tourists. Sarahan is surrounded by Himalayan snow-clad mountain ranges from east to west, of which the main peak is that of Shrikhand. Sarahan is popular for temples of Bhimakali, there are two triple storied temples side by side, one is older and the other is new.
There are some great views of the mountains from this town (2,000m), which is the capital & District head quarter of Kinnaur. It has decent facilities and you may have to stay here while getting a permit to Kinnaur, Lahaul or Spiti.The State Bank of India may change TCs. Rekong Peo is a good place to get supplies, as the villages in Lahaul and Spiti have limited supplies. The Kinnaur Kalachakra Celestial Palace is a colorful gompa that is a 25-minute walk above the village. There is a large statue of the Buddha.
DAY 03 : SARAHAN /RAMPUR TO SANGLA (110 KM, 3 TO 4 HOURS)
After breakfast visit to Bhimakali Temple, it is revered as one of the fifty one Shaktipeeth. After visit to the temple leave for the beautiful Valley of Sangla (8900 ft) At Sangla - known as the ‘Land of Gods’, the 95 km stretch of exquisite beauty promises you a storehouse of wonderful memories. The flow of the Sutlej River through the Sangla Valley is quite a sight to behold; the picturesque scenery and the way of life in the numerous villages of Sangla are testament to the harmony with which coexists with nature. The natural scenery all around and the eternal snow views are Picturesque and charming. It is also known as Baspa Valley since the Baspa River flows through this valley. Dinner & Overnight in Sangla.
The beautiful Sangla Valley is south of the Kinnaur Kailash Range. In the village of Sangla there is a temple dedicated to Nagesh. In the village of Kamru, 2km from Sangla village, there is a wooden five-storey fort. It has a temple dedicated to Kamakshi in it.The best time to visit this valley is in April and May and in September and October. The road up to the Sutlej Valley is closed part of the year in the winter. Sometimes it can be hard to find places to stay in this area, so a tent could be useful, because there are many places to camp.Sangla in the north, there are the Kinnaur-Kailash mountain ranges and in the south, there is the Garwal mountain range. River Sutlej is flowing aside.The lush green calm and quite Sangla valley is also known as Baspa Valley. This valley is also full of apples, peaches, apricot, nuts etc, and varied flowers. The houses are mostly of Tibetan style (Tibet is not far away from here). Surrounding the village there are lots pine and fur trees. Here, there is one temple of Berinag which is made of stone and wood, and the tomb is of gold. There is a bank, post-office and hospital in this village. Also there is a hydro electricity centre and a breeding centre for Trout-fish.
DAY 04 : 26th SANGLA SIGHTSEEING
After breakfast explore the vicinity around including an ancient Kamru fort & temple dedicated to Nagas God. Visit to Chitkul, the last village on the old Indo – Tibetan Trade Route. The extensive Nila range where the greenish-blue Baspa River originates, decorates India on one side and Tibet on the other. At a height of 3450m, Chitkul is picture-perfect Here, the temples of the local Goddess, ‘Mathi’ are well-worth visiting as well; some of them are as old as 500 years. Chitkul is a true experience of nature not ravaged by the widespread encroachment of man, and the beauty of the hills that speckle the Baspa Valley are testaments to this fact. Overnight in Sangla.
CHITKUL- which is 26km away at a height of 3450m, the last village on the Indo-Tibetan Border. This village consists of 100 houses with 700 Indians. Here, river Baspa flows with a murmuring sound through the pine forest and starts from the Nee-La pass not far away. This side of Nee-La pass is India and on the other side is Tibet or China.Here you will find apples, peaches, nuts and lots of Primula, Poppy and Berch trees. For a nature lover, the exotic, serene and tranquil atmosphere will be really enjoyable & memorable. There are two attractions here – the wooden fort and the temple of Devimata.
DAY 05: SANGLA TO KALPA (45 km, 1 TO 2 HOURS)
Morning after breakfast we drive towards the apple-orchard dotted town of Kalpa. Legend has it that Kalpa was the winter home of Lord Shiva. If it’s true, he couldn’t have found a more remarkable abode for himself, with enthrallingly majestic views of the Kinner Kailash and Jorkandan Peaks looming right above the village, and by its side is a seventy nine foot rock formation that resembles a Shivalinga that changes the color as the day passes and is visible to the naked eye on a clear day. And in evening visit to Buddhist Gompa, Hu Bu Lan Kar A winding road about 7 km above Rekong Peo brings you to this gem of a little village where modernity is only just beginning to make an appearance.
KALPA - One can see a wide range of snow clad mountain peaks and amongst them, the center of attraction is the Kalpa peak. The prominent Kinnaur-Kailash (height of 6050m) looks like a Shivalinga. It is said that on a sunny day, the colour of the Kinnaur-Kailash changes along with the movement of the sun.Kalpa is a nice peaceful town, about 600m higher in elevation than Rekong Peo.According to local folks it is said that Lord Siva comes here in the winter. During the month of Magha (Jan/Feb), the gods are said to come here to meet with Shiva.There are some great views of the mountains from here and some good walks in the area. There is a tendency to get lost in this area, so you should stay conscious of the trail or take a guide with you.
DAY 06 : KALPA TO TABO (75 KM, 4 TO 5 HOURS)
After Kalpa, the landscape changes from green-mountains to desert-mountains. We continue our journey through Kinnaur and enter the Hindustan-Tibet Highway - often called the worlds most treacherous and beautiful road. We drive via Puh, which is the last fuel station on this road before Kaza. After a fuel refill, we drive towards our destination - Nako. Nako - originally known as ‘Kyangoh’ or ‘Gateway to the Holy Place’, is a village in Western Himalayas, situated at 3600m. This village is the embodiment of Buddhist culture and traditions - evident in the various monasteries and practices of the charming locals. The village is exquisitely beautiful with an oval shaped lake, protected on all sides by adjoining mountains. Later, we drive to Tabo - home to the famous Tabo Monastry which is more than 1010 years old and is an abode to many precious Thangka paintings, including the famous Pillar of a thousand Buddhas. The entry to the monastery complex, covering in total 6300 square meters, is made of earthen walls with a dark interior shading the many marvelous and colourful frescoes inside. The ancient paintings depict the life cycle of The Buddha and legends from the Jataka Tales and were made in the Tibetan style by artists from Kashmir. Called the Ajanta of the Himalayas, the Tabo monastery is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Tabo is also an internationally known mediation destination and is often visited by high dignitaries such as His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The many meditation caves built into the side of the mountains on the valley walls in front of Tabo make this a perfect destination if you are looking for some introspective peace and tranquility.Dinner & overnight stay Tabo.
DAY 07: TABO TO KAZA (120 KM, 06 TO 07 HOURS)
After breakfast we drive to Dhankar, which is the ancient capital of Spiti and the seat of the Spitian Kings. It is home to the royalty’s ruined castle and as well as a splendid 16th century Monastery. Situated mid-way between Kaza and Tabo, it’s slightly off the route on top of a steep sided mountain ridge jutting out over the valley. From Dhankar, a short trek away, is the beautiful turquoise Dhanker Lake which is a must-visit if you have the time and energy. that proceed to Kaza. On the way: Poh, Sichling&Dhankar Monastery. Arrival in Kaza, check into the hotel. Dinner & overnight stay at hotel in Kaza.
DAY 08 : KAZA SIGHTSEEING
Today, we drive to some of the highest inhabited regions of the world. The highest village in Asia, Komik, which literally translates to ‘eye of a snow cock’, is situated at a height of 4513 metres. This farming village has a population of 84 people, living in utter isolation, cut-off from the rest of the world for most parts of the year. This little hamlet ensures to bring you thousands of miles away from your familiar settings to a place of soft brown pastures and snow-white mountain peaks. After Komik, we head to the picturesque villages of Hikkim and Langza. At Hikkim, we visit the world’s highest post office. Later, we head down to Langza where you can walk about the village and visit the ancient Lang (Temple) which is estimated to be around 1000 years old. At Langza, trek back to the prehistoric era when Spiti was submerged by the Tethys Sea as you explore a land very rich with fossils of Marine animals and plants which were here millions of years ago. Later, we visit the world famous Ki Monastery. The car will first stop at the base of the monastery hill for the ultimate photo opportunity of this remarkable structure. With over 1000 years’ worth stories to tell, the Ki Monastery situated at a height of 13,668 feet was founded by a disciple of the famous Atisha, in the 11th century CE. Belonging to the Yellow Hat or Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, this monastery is famous as a prominent Centre of learning as well as refuge for Tibetans. Being remotely located atop a hill overlooking endless plains, the Ki Monastery is an obvious choice for those seeking peace and calm. Then we will move farther up the valley to the picturesque village of Kibber. Located at a height of 4205 metres and 18 km from Kaza, this formerly highest permanently inhabited village of this region, is also a popular base camp to embark on adventure and treks to adjoining mountains of high altitude. From Kibber, we drive up to Gette where we get stunning views of Kaza and get a chance to tie a prayer flag. We return to Kaza to spend the night at a comfortable hotel. Dinner & overnight in Kaza
DAY 09 : KAZA TO CHANDRATAL
Today, we commence our journey back home. However, we take one last stop at another Spitian wonder – Chandratal Lake. The mystical and beautiful Chandratal Lake, which translates to Moon Lake, is located at a height of 14,100 feet. The Chandra Bhaga mountain range forms a striking backdrop for the lake, which changes appearance according to the pictures painted in the sky. Overnight at a comfortable camp near Chandratal Lake.
DAY 10: CHANDRATAL TO MANALI : (200 KM FULL DAY JOURNEY) :
We wake up to a delicious breakfast. If time permits, we can visit the lake one more time before we bid goodbye to Spiti Valley. We continue driving on the Kaza – Manali road and after a few hours of driving and some more stunning landscape, we pass through the Kunzum Pass and the famous Rohtang Pass and reach Manali where we end our Spiti Valley tour . Since there is no sightseeing scheduled for today, you are free to explore the town on your own once you reach Manali.
DAY 11 : MANALI TO CHANDIGARH
After breakfast check out from the hotel & proceed to to drop you at Chandigarh Airport /Railway station. Arrive in Chandigarh and the group splits.