A Trans Himalayan Wilderness Safari
Surrounded by the Kullu Valley in the south, Ladakh in the north and Tibet in the east, the twin valleys of Lahaul and Spiti is a region of nature at its wildest. This land duplicates, possibly exceeds in many ways, the magical ambience of Leh, Nubra and Zanskar valleys. This region remains cut off from the rest of the world for much of the year. Apart from geographical barriers, this area was closed, till recently, to visitors because of military and political reasons.
These valleys encompass glaciers, high ridges, broad valleys, pastures and has a minimum elevation exceeding 3000m. This area is more of a high altitude cold desert dotted with famous monasteries, villages like little green oasis in a stark, brown and dry landscape, miles of rolling pastures, 6000m peaks and swollen rivers which turn into mere trickles in winter.
Between the Shivaliks and the Greater Himalayas is found another of India’s last unexplored posts, Kinnaur. Situated on the Old World trade route, its only link with the outside world is by way of the Hindustan -Tibet road through Shimla.
An early morning drive in a comfortable car to Manali (570 kms; 10-11 hours). Manali is a picturesque hill town at the head of the Kullu valley. Overnight hotel.
Relaxed day to visit the town, its mall and the Hadimba temple. Visit the Tibetan market and take in the sights. Overnight hotel.
Today is an early start. we drive over the Rohtang pass (separating Kullu from the Lahaul valley), and descend into the valley of the Chandra river and continue past Chhattru, Batal and over the Kunzum la (pass), which divides Lahaul and Spiti. We spend some time taking in fabulous views of the Chandrabhaga range of mountains, visit the Buddhist shrine and get into our waiting jeeps, to reach Kaza by evening. Overnight Camp/hotel.
Today, we visit the Kye village and the Kye gompa, the largest monastery in Spiti. We drive up to Kibber village, which at 14,000 feet above sea level, is the road head for the trade route into Ladakh over the Parang La. We continue to the village of Gette and Tashigang high up in the mountains – this is the area where the famous Spiti horses are bred for trade with the nomadic “changpas” of Ladakh in exchange for the valuable Pashmina wool. If time permits, on return we could walk down a steep path to Kye gompa, where our jeeps pick us up for the drive back to the camp. We return to our camp/hotel by late afternoon.
Today, first we drive to Dhankar village and visit the gompa. (If time permits -we also walk an hour above the monastery to Dhankar lake, a blue-green lake amidst pink-brown hills). We return back to the main road and drive on to Tabo monastery, a monastery 1004 years old. In 1996, the Tabo monastery celebrated its thousand years with a Kalachakra ceremony, which was presided by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We spend the day exploring the numerous temples at the monastery, before continuing back to our camp/hotel at Tabo.
After breakfast, we drive to Langza village, located in a large high mountain meadow with a beautiful mountain, Chau Chau Kang Nilda, towering above this village. Here we find evidence of the Tethy’s sea before the Indian mainland collided with the Tibetan plateau and formed the Himalayas, which are still rising today. Sea fossils can be found at this village – a day spent here provides a fascinating insight to the Spiti way of life. We continue to the villages of Hikkim and Comic, where we visit the monasteries. We could walk down the steep path to Kaza where the jeeps would be waiting for us or drive back to camp from Comic. Overnight at Camp/hotel.
Today we drive back over the Kunzum pass and trek 4 hours to the lake of the moon, “Chandratal”. Overnight Camp.
At Chandratal. Many walks in the surrounding area. Camp.
Drive back to Manali. Hotel.
Today, after breakfast, we drive back to Delhi (10-11 hours). Trip ends.