Kinnaur & Spiti Road Trip – 8 Day Itinerary

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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 KAZA (3,800 M / 12,467 FT) VIA DHANKAR MONASTERY (61 KM, 2.5-3 HOURS DRIVE)

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 Dhankar. Dhankar was the erstwhile capital of Spiti. Dhankar also houses an ancient Monastery perched precariously between unique wind eroded structures. Remnants of the Dhankar 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 Dhankar Monastery was recently declared as one of the 100 Most Endangered sites in the World, by ‘The World’s Monument Fund’. Later today we head to Kaza. Stay at a hotel in Kaza.

DAY 6 – KAZA (3,800 M / 12,467 FT)

After breakfast head onto Hikkim – Asia’s highest post office and send off a postcard to family back home. Visit Kee monastery and Kibber. Visit Langza village and head back to Kaza for the night. Stay at Hotel in Kaza.

DAY 7 –  KAZA TO CHANDRATAL (4,300 M / 14,107 FT): 118 KM, 5-6 HOURS DRIVE

If there is time then visit Chicham and Mud village on a parallel route. Camp overnight at Chandratal, while watching the starry sky, spot the milky way and if lucky see some shooting stars. (Please note that the camping is not permitted near the lake).

DAY 8 – CHANDRATAL TO MANALI (2,050 M / 6,725 FT): 116 KM, 6-7 HOURS DRIVE

Stay overnight in Manali.

 

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.

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