A fascinating journey through the varying landscape of Himachal Pradesh. The traveler is rendered speechless moving from lush green landscape of Kinnaur region to barren moonscape of the cold deserts of Lahaul and Spiti to lush green valley of Manali. All along the route you witness a beautiful blend of Hinduism and Buddhism.
(14 nights 15 days)
- Day 1: Delhi - Chandigarh - Barot -
Shimla (2100M) - 60 kms Board the morning Shatabdi express train to Chandigarh. Reach Chandigarh at 1100 hrs and Drive to Barot.
Cycling commences after lunch in
Barot. Night stay in Shimla.
- Day 2: Shimla - Thanedar (2348M) -
85 kms 80 kms from Shimla on the old Hindustan-Tibet road lays Kotgarh, which enjoys a special place in Himachal
history. In 1916 Samuel Stokes, a social worker from
Philadelphia brought the rst apple saplings to Kotgarh,
the place he adopted as his home. One can still see the 'Starking Delicious' apple orchard that he planted
there. Night stay in Banjara Orchard Retreat.
- Day 3: Thanedar - Sarahan (2165M) -
97 kms Ride to Sarahan famous for the Himalayan views it o ers and the Bhimakali temple.
The Gods were generous when they gave Sarahan its settings. Located halfway
up a high mountainside, the
road to Sarahan winds past owering pine trees that give way to stately oaks. The elds and orchards that
surround the small villages with
their slate roofed houses, compose pictures of pastoral perfection. Above
Sarahan, a many deodar trees rides the slopes and higher still, encircling the Bashal peak, are
smooth birch and variety of wild owers and rare medicinal herbs.
This sparsely populated tract is steeped in ancient legends and here is the famous Bhimakali
regarded as one of the Fifty-One sacred Shaktipeeths. The temple's unusual architecture and wealth of
carvings have made it a resplendent example of what is
loosely called the Indo-Tibetan style. The historical
temple of Bheemakali is a multistoried structured building, a fusion of Hindu and Buddhist architecture. The
tower like structure and unusual roof of the temple dominate the complex. The centuries old temple is
now locked and in the newly built temple, the goddess Bhimakali is
portrayed as a maiden and as a woman.
Night stay in a hotel.
- Day 4: Sarahan - Sangla (2744M) -
92 kms For six months every year, the Himalayan valleys of Kinnaur and Spiti emerge from a thick cloak of snow to
reveal a different, secret world to man. Your
discovery of the lesser-known Himalayas can begins in the
Sangla Valley. At a height of 2,700 M, the Banjara Camp in Sangla is surrounded by towering mountains on
sides and is set on the banks of the Baspa River that surges through the valley.
Night stay in Banjara Camp
- Day 5: Sangla - Rest day A
well-deserved rest day in Sangla. You could walk to Rakcham village (the signature walk of the valley) or
ride to Chitkul; the last border village (20 kms one way).
- Day 6: Sangla - Kalpa (2670M) - 50
kms Kalpa was known as Chini back in the days when it was the regional capital, Kalpa has changed little in the
last 500 years. It is said that as and when Lord
Dalhousie wanted to take a break from his hectic schedule in
Shimla, he would come here on his horseback.
The views of the Kinner Kailash range are some of the most
spectacular in the Himalayas. You get a complete
panorama from behind the Chorten (Tibetan Pagoda) at the top of the hill. Another interesting place
to see is the Narayan
Nagini Temple Complex, which has shrines of Hindu, Buddhist and local deities. Kalpa
is also home to the "Chilgoja" (a kind of dry fruit) tree found in abundance here.
The tree belongs to the pine
family and the fruit is in about an inch long soft cover. Other than Kalpa, "Chilgoja" grows only in Turkey and
Night stay in hotel.
- Day 7: Kalpa - Pooh (3662M) - 76
kms A full day ride To Pooh. Pooh is a small village in Spiti valley with a small cantonment. Camp overnight
- Day 8: Pooh - Tabo (3500M) - 95
kms We enter the Spiti valley today. The terrain will leave you breathless and speechless. From lush green valley
of Kinnaur, we move to rock-hard cold desert
mountains, torrential rivers and icy cold winds that account for
the sparsely populated villages. At a height of 10,500 ft this high altitude desert is home to the
important Buddhist monastery in the entire Himalayan region - the Tabo Gompa. It is now 1008 years old
and is rumored to be the place the Dalai Lama will
nally settle in.
Night stay in a guest house.
- Day 9: Tabo - Kaza (3870M) - 47
kms Kaza is the capital of Spiti Valley. Rudyard Kipling describes Spiti in "Kim" in these words: "At last they
entered a world within a world - a valley of leagues
where the high hills were fashioned of the mere rubble
and refuse from o the knees of the mountains... Surely the Gods live here.
Night stay in Banjara retreat.
- Day 10: Rest day at Kaza Visit
the Ki monastery, Kibber and Gete village.
Ki Monastery is a Gelugpa sect monastery. Its hilltop position points to a post-thirteenth century construction.
storied structure consists largely of storage rooms at the bottom level while the middle oor
houses the Dukhang - the assembly hall - and the uppermost oor has another
temple and head Lama's
quarters on the one side of an open terrace. The greatest wealth of Ki Gompa lies in its collection of 'Thangkas'
salvaged with di culty from
the devastating raids of the Dogars and the Sikhs in the 19th century.
From here a scenic drive takes you into the pasture country of Kibber. From Kibber, the pastures
over hundred of square kilometers. Kibber is small village and is the take o point for the popular trek to Tso
Moriri in Ladakh. Further up six kilometers
from Kibber, we drive up to a still smaller village of Gete. Consisting
of just six houses, it boasts of being the highest village in Asia connected by road.
- Day 11: Kaza - Losar (4076M) - 65
kms A long day in the cold desert of Spiti. Overnight camping in Losar.
- Day 12: Losar - Gramphoo (3200M) -
74 kms We enter the Lahaul region of Himachal Pradesh after crossing the 4500M high Kunzum La. Chandra and
Bhaga rivers con uence at Gramphoo to Chandrabhaga River.
Camp overnight in Gramphoo.
- Day 13: Gramphoo - Manali (1926M) -
62 kms Ride over the 3800M Rohtang pass and enter the Kullu district of Himachal. Today we move from the barren
landscape of Lahaul to lush green landscape of
Manali. Night stay in hotel.
- Day 14: Rest day in Manali Day
at leisure/sightseeing in and round Manali.
- Day 15: Drive to Bhuntar airport and
fly back to Delhi