DAY 1 – SHIMLA TO SARAHAN (2,313 M / 7,589 FT) VIA NARKANDA: 147 KM, 7-8 HOURS DRIVE
Pick up point: Victory Tunnel Bus Stand
Today we leave Shimla to make our way along the famous apple-growing belt of the State and zig zag our way to the valley floor of the Sutlej River which originates in Tibet. We follow the Sutlej River till the township of Jeori from where we ascend further to the picturesque village of Sarahan. Sarahan is famous for the Bhimakali temple carved in wood which we shall visit later today. Sarahan – overnight in a hotel.
DAY 2 – SARAHAN TO SANGLA (2,599 M / 8,530 FT.): 100 KM, 6 HOURS DRIVE
Today we descend back to the Valley of the Sutlej and follow the river into the Kinnaur region, which is world famous for its apples. We drive to Karcham where we bid adieu to the Sutlej (for a while!) and head up into the spectacular gorge of the Baspa (Sangla) river and onwards into the fabled Sangla valley. The Gerard brothers, the first outsiders to set foot in the Baspa Valley in the first quarters of the nineteenth century ranked it as the most charming of all Himalayan Valleys. Today we will be spending the night slightly ahead of the Sangla town in more pristine environs. Sangla Valley – overnight in a hotel.
DAY 3 (10D/9N, 9D/8N, 8D/7N ITINERARY) / SANGLA TO KALPA (2,960 M / 9,711 FT) VIA CHITKUL (70 KM, 4-5 HOURS DRIVE)
Visit Chitkul today, which is the last village in the valley, very close to the border of Tibet. From here we head to Kalpa – 4 to 5 hours Kalpa – overnight in a hotel
DAY 4 – KALPA TO TABO (3,280 M / 10,761 FT) VIA NAKO (3,662 M / 12,014 FT): 157 KM, 5-6 HOURS DRIVE
Today we leave Kalpa and the beautiful view of the Kinner Kailash to head to Tabo (7 to 8 hours). The journey today takes us from the lush Sutlej Valley into the desert landscape of the Spiti valley. The drive is spectacular as we drive along what is commonly known as one of the World’s Most Dangerous Roads. We will cross Nako enroute and if keen, we can stop at the Nako Lake. Time permitting we will visit Gui Village (9 km from Sumdo) that has the mysterious 550 year old mummy of a monk. It is believed that the mummy that to be of a monk named Sangha Tenzin, who decided to sacrifice his life for the well-being of his village.
Tabo – overnight in a guesthouse
DAY 5 – TABO TO PIN VALLEY
Tabo is famous for its monastery, popularly known as the Ajanta of the Himalayas that celebrated 1000 years in 1996. We visit the monastery today and head on further to Dhankhar. Dhankhar was the erstwhile capital of Spiti. Dhankhar also houses an ancient Monastery perched precariously between unique wind eroded structures. Remnants of the Dhankhar Fort, which housed the royal family of Spiti, still remain.
A visit to the monastery, fort and other subsidiary temples leaves one spell bound at the traditional architectural marvels. The monastery has some interesting wall murals and thangkas, which are in an urgent need for restoration. The Dhankhar Monastery was recently declared as one of the 100 Most Endangered sites in the World, by ‘The World’s Monument Fund’.
One can trek to the Dhankhar lake as well if keen and time permits (2 hours). Later today we head into the Pin valley and further to the buffer of the Pin Valley National Park to a unique village dedicated to meditating monks and nuns!! Pin valley – overnight in a guesthouse
DAY 6 – PIN VALLEY TO DEMUL
Today we visit the Kungri monastery in Pin Valley and head onto Demul village (2 to 3 hours), fast becoming Spiti’s green village. We will learn more about these initiatives once we get there. The option of hiking/ yak safari* to a spectacular vantage spot before we reach Demul (2 hours steep hike) Option of experience an evening of folk expressions* Demul – Overnight in a homestay.
DAY 7 – DEMUL TO KOMIC
Yak safari*/ Trek (5 to 6 hours) across the alpine grazing pastures of the village livestock and the hunting ground of the snow leopard. Visit the Komic monastery and head to the Komic village (Asia’s highest village). Once you’re settled in and if you are keen you can explore the Komic village and take a walk down to the fields to get a better understanding of the intricate irrigation systems and agricultural practices in the highest villages of Asia. Komic – overnight in a homestay
DAY 8 – KOMIC TO KAZA
If you’re an early riser take a walk down to the fields if you didn’t get the time the evening before. After breakfast head onto Hikkim – Asia’s highest post office and send off a postcard to family back home. Visit Langza village and head back to Kaza for the night.
-Option of playing with clay and learning the basics of traditional Spiti pottery*.
Make your own Spiti Souvenir!
Visit Kee monastery and Kibber if time permits.
Head back to Kaza subsequently.
-Option of mountain biking today
Kaza – overnight in a hotel
DAY 9 (10D/9N OR 9D/8N ITINERARY) / KAZA TO MANALI (OR STAY BACK AT CHANDRATAL AS PER 10D/9N ITINERARY AND DRIVE TO MANALI THE NEXT DAY)
Jeep to Manali – 4-5 hours Drop off point: Government Bus Stand, Mall Road, Manali Visit to Chandratal (optional and would need one more day)
DAY 10 (10D/9N ITINERARY) / CHANDRATAL TO MANALI (2,050 M / 6,725 FT): 116 KM, 6-7 HOURS DRIVE
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES THAT CAN BE INCLUDED AT AN ADDITIONAL COST
- Yak Safari- Tired of getting on and off local Indian busses and looking for an alternative way to travel through Spiti? How about a good old ride on the back of a Yak? INR 1400/person
- Evening of folk expression- Songs and dances are ingrained in the very fabric of the social life of the Spiti populace. Most of these songs and dances are a common phenomenon in marriages and other festivals. Join in an evening of folk expression in Demul. •
- Bhuchen performance- The Bhuchens are a unique sect of minstrel lamas who were the followers of Tholdon Gyalpo (a Buddhist mystic) who invented this art form in the 11th century in Tibet. It is a rare Tibetan Buddhist tantric performance to get rid of evil spirits and is now only found in the Spiti valley. INR 15000/group
- Mountain Biking- Various trails traversing little-known valleys and plateaus, stunning vistas and a wide range of gradients make biking the ideal way of getting around this sand and rock symphony. Traverse the trail from Kaza to the iconic Kee Monastery with us or to the first highest motorable village, Kibber. INR 500/bike (excluding any jeep transfers if need be)
- Pottery Session- Back in the days, Langza used to be a village specialized in Pottery. But nowadays, there is only one potter left. Allow yourself a visit to this last surviving potter, and try out the potter’s wheel yourself! INR 500/person
- Session with the Amchi- An Amchi is a traditional Spitian doctor (following similar principles to the ancient art & science of Tibetan Medicine). Get a session with the Amchi who will read your pulse and tell you about your Health! INR 500/person
- Spin your own Yak rope- Make yourself a Spiti souvenir while you are in Demul- learn the art of spinning yak wool and twine it into a yak rope from the locals. INR 500/person
*All programs may not be available on your program.