Himachal Pradesh extends from the plains of Punjab, north of Delhi to the high crest of the Himalaya. To show the distinct variety of landscape, which is an attractive feature of the southern Himalayan foothills, we take a route through the lush green Kinnaur valley to the high mountain desert of Spiti. After a fascinating train ride to the British Raj hill station of Shimla, we drive on the old Hindustan – Tibet road through forest, rice fields and apple orchards to the remote district of Kinnaur and then enter into the Spiti valley which is very famous for colorful landscape and its old ancient monasteries. After Spiti valley, we drive across the Kunzumla Pass (4551m) to Manali from where we return to Delhi.
Kinnaur and Spiti is the one of the most popular route. In this trip we experience different culture of Hindu and Buddhist people, get opportunity to visit ancient famous Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries and magnificent views of the snowcapped mountains.
Duration: 13 days
Type of the Trek: Lodge
Activities: Culture Tours and village walk
Best Months: June to October
Maximum Altitude: 4400m (Komik village)
*Visit ancient historical monasteries of Spiti – Pin valley and old ancient Hindu temples in Kinnaur and Manali.
*Lash green valley and apple gardens of Kinnaur – Manali and colorful landscape of Spiti valley.
*Village walk in the high remote villages and cross high passes by vehicle.
*Magnificent views of many mountains and experience different cultures.
Day 1: Arrive Delhi
Airport transfers are provided for all clients arriving on Delhi. In the afternoon, a city sightseeing tour is provided. Alternatively, you may choose to take it easy at the hotel.
Day 2: Travel to Shimla by train (2206m)
From Delhi we drive by train to Kalka. It is about 4 hrs Journey. From Kalka we travel by toy train to Shimla. It is very nice journey through the beautiful green hills, several villages-big town Solan, many curves and tunnels. We can see many kinds of flowers, birds and monkeys along the journey. From Kalka, it is about 5 and half hours journey. In the late afternoon, walk around the Mall and enjoy the cool climate and surroundings of this popular hill station.
Day 3: Rest day (visit Mall road and markets of Shimla)
Today, we visit Mall road and interesting local markets including Vegetables, meats. These places are very interesting. We can also apply for inner line permit if it is not holiday.
Day 4: Drive to Sarahan (176 km / 1920m / 5-6 hrs)
From Shimla, we drive along the national highway through the beautiful small towns and ridge line to Narkanda (64 km). We can see many apple gardens, terraces of the fields and green hills along the drive. From Narkanda, we drive descend down to Sutlej River and then drive along the valley through Rampur (130 km / 1005m), an important sub-divisional town located on the bank of Satluj River. It is one of the biggest commercial town of Himanchal Pradesh, here is a Buddhist monastery and Hindu temple.
After Rampur, we follow the main highway to Jeori (23 km / 1250m) and drive up to Sarahan (17 km / 1920m). This village was the ancient capital of Rampur Bushehr, one of the biggest princely states in the Shimla hills and is well known for its centuries old Bhimakali temple. It is tiny village but beautiful surrounded by apple orchards and dominating by Shrikhand Mahadev peak (5227m). Here are several hotels and guesthouses, small markets and shops.
The Bhimakali temple with its 6 silver coated doors is a mixture of both Hindu and Buddhist style of architecture. Though this temple is dedicated to goddess Bhimakali, there are numerous other deities installed in the complex. There are 2 temples of Bhimakali. The original temple got titled hence the second has been constructed in the same architectural style. The statuettes of the Devis were installed in the new temple in 1962. The one-meter Ashtadhatu (alloy of eight metals) deity of the goddess, surrounded by a parikrama path on the four sides, lies on the upper storey of the temple. The deity is protected by means of a fine filigree work, where only Pujari can sit. Besides this deity are statuettes of numerous deities like Chamunda, Annapurna, Brajeshwari, Shiv-Parvati, Ganesh and Gautam Buddha. The Devi is decorated with Silver plates. The second storey of the temple houses is the deity of goddess Parvati which is heavily decorated with Silver plates.
Day 5: Drive to Kalpa (2836m / 109 km / 4-5 hrs)
Leaving Sarahan, we drive down to Jeori and drive through Chora, Bhawa Nagar, Tapri, Karchham and Powari (89 km). The valley is very narrow, in some places the road is through very steep rocky cliff but very good road. After few km beyond Bhawa it start rough and dusty road, it is making wider. From Tapri, we took higher road because of road block (huge landslide). This valley is very famous for Hydro project. We can see many dams and power houses on the way.
From Powari we leave the main national highway and drive up to the Recong Peo. Recong Peo is the district head quarter of Kinnaur district. This is big town. If we don’t get Inner line permit from Shimla we should take from here. We should apply through local agent called “The Monk” which is the only one agent for this. From Recong Peo we drive up to the Kalpa (13 km from Recong Peo). After Powari the road is good. Kalpa is beautiful place. Here are many good hotels and guest houses for tourist. Kalpa is very famous for Apples. From here it is very nice view of Kinnaur Kailas and Shivling in the front. In the late afternoon, we visit old part of the village where is a monastery and very old temples on the small top with many old traditional houses. It is really wonderful.
Day 6: Drive to Nako (119 km / 3654m / 4-5 hrs)
From Kalpa we drive down to Powari and then follow the national highway. After Powri, the road is rough and making wider. We drive through very scary steep rocky cliffs for 30-40 minutes and then road become better. We stop at Akpa Check post to register our permit before Jangi and then drive along the Sutlej Valley. We pass Spello, lower part of Puh, Khab and Kah on the way. It is very nice drive through narrow valley. Later, the landscapes become dry and can see colorful hills. In many places road is making wider, so it is dusty. Few km beyond Khab village, there is a river confluence of Satluj and Spiti. The water color is totally different and very nice view, it is deep canyon. From here, we follow the Spiti River, the road gradually gets higher and climbs up. There are several switchbacks. After the last corner, it is almost level road but very high above from the river. We pass Kah village, it is tiny but growing lots of apples. Few km beyond Kah village, it start climb up to the Nako village. The sceneries of the surrounding colorful landscapes, snowy peaks and the villages are superb. The road is also very good and black topped.
Nako is the beautiful largest and typical village of Hangrang valley. It is surrounded by many snowy peaks and colorful mountains. Here are several guest houses, shops, Mane walls and very nice pond (lake). Hare are also some fixed camp for tourist. The monastery is in beginning of the village, when come up. There are 2 new buildings and the old monastery. In the old part there are 4 rooms to visit nearby the new monastery.
Day 7: Drive to Tabo (64 km / 3280m / 3 hrs)
From Nako we drive along the national highway to Tabo. After cross the top of Malling block, we descend down close to Spiti River and Yangthang village where road join with old road of Malling. Here are growing lots of Apple trees. We can see beautiful colorful landscapes, like moon land view before this village. From here we drive along the Spiti River to Chango village. From end of Chango village we drive other side of the Spiti River and then again come to the left side in Sumdo. Here is the last check post of Inner line area. Sumdo is the last village of Kinnaur district, situated at the confluence of river Spiti and pare chhu from China. On the border of Spiti Sumdo is entry point of Spiti valley and also the last place on the Hindustan Tibet road up to where you are allowed. From here, we drive to Tabo through very narrow and nice valley.
Tabo is beautiful and ancient village. Here is a big monastery which covers huge area and is the oldest monastery of Spiti valley built around 996 A.D., by Rinchen Jangpo. Here are many hotels, restaurants, shops and guest houses. In the hill slope there are many ancient caves which caves were used to meditation by monks.
Day 8: Drive to Kaza via Dankar and Lalung
Tabo to Dankar: 3856m / 26 km / 50 – 60 min
From Tabo, we drive along the main road to Sichling through small narrow valley. In many places it is very steep slope and possible to rock falls but sceneries are wonderful. The road is not black topped and dusty. We pass Kuruth and Poh village on the way. After Sichling, we leave main road and follow small side road up to the Dankar (8 km). It is very nice view of Spiti and Pin river confluence and Spiti valley when we drive up.
Dankar is beautiful village situated on the top of the hill. It was the old capital of Spiti. Here is very old monastery in the hill side ridge above village and new monastery is in the beginning. From here we can see several snowy peaks and beautiful landscape. The Monastery guest house is the best to have lunch. Now, the road continues towards Lingti valley and joins with Lalung road.
Dankar to Lalung: 3787m / 11.90 km / 40 min
Leaving Dankar new monastery, the road goes around through the top of the village and cross a small ridge and continues through nice hill slope. The sceneries are beautiful. It is small road and not black topped. About 3.6 km drive, we join with main Lalung road. This road is also not black topped but making better and wider. It is very high from the Lingti river and through nice hill slope. We can see Demul village higher above in bowl of the hill slope and Rama village in the valley floor during our drive.
Lalung is beautiful big village. Here is an old Monastery (Lalung Serkhang) on the top of the village and houses are spread widely. Several houses provide home stay in this village. This monastery is small but most beautiful. Here is big statue of Buddha, small statues of Guru Rimpoche, future Buddha and very old 21 Taras and other goddess and Garuda in the wall. These statues are very old. Here are also nice old paintings in the wall in the main hall. In other room, there are statues of Avatavlokiteswara, Manjushree, Mahakala and nice paintings. In Karpo khang, there is very old statue of Virocana. In all rooms, it is allowed to take pictures.
Lalung to Kaza: 28 km / 1 hr
From Lalung, we take another road to Lingti. Leaving Lalung the road descend down to the Lingti valley and cross Lingti River at Rama by new Iron Bridge, follow the River and join with main Tabo- Kaza road near Lingti power house (10.4 km). It is very nice drive (not black topped) and very colorful landscapes.
After join with main road, we drive along the main highway to Kaza. We pass some small villages on the way. It is wide valley and wonderful views along the way.
Kaza (3600m): Kaza is the sub divisional headquarters of Spiti sub division. Situated at the foot of steep ridges and on the left bank of Spiti river. It is a growing village divided into two parts: old Kaza, inhibited by the local people and market and new Kaza, where hotels and government buildings are located. The village is an important road head with a modest market. Buses for various places start from here and vehicles are available on hire. Here are many hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, shops, hospital and the monastery.
Day 9: Visit Langza, Komik and back to Kaza
From Kaza, we drive up to the Hikim village and visit around here. Here is a small Monastery. From Hikim, we drive to Komik village. This is small village situated at 4500m. Here are 7-8 houses and a beautiful old monastery on the top of the village. We have very nice views of some snowy peaks in the front and colorful landscape around. In these areas we can find fossils. After visit the Komik village and the monastery, we drive back above Hikim village, we take the higher road and drive down to Langza village. We can see many cows, snowy peaks alpine flowers along the way and Gete village is visible. Langza is big village situated on the altitude of 4375m. It has divided in 2 parts, upper and lower. It is in little deep place. Here is a big monastery on the top of the village, huge Buddha statue in the ridge line below monastery. Several houses provide home stay service in this village. From Lanza, it is very nice views of the snowy peaks in front. From Langza, we drive back down to Kaza and have lunch.
After lunch, we drive to Kibber village. On the way to Kibber, we can visit Ki monastery which is the biggest monastery of Spiti valley. Kibber is very big village, here are some Guest houses, shop, Government higher Secondary school and small village monastery on the top of the village. This is one of the highest inhabitant village of the world (4205mt.). In the late afternoon, we drive back to Kaza.
Day 10: Drive to Manali (214 km / 2050m / 8 – 9 hrs)
This is very nice drive along the beautiful Spiti valley and river through many nice villages. The Scenery is really beautiful along the way. In Losar (49 km) there is a police check post. We should entry here just Passport details and Inner line permit is not needed. From here the road gently ascends and climbs up to the Kunzum Pass (4551m / 19 km from Losar), which divided Spiti and Lahul. This is very nice place to see many mountain views and glaciers. The Shigri peak and Shigri glacier is just in front. Here are many Stupas, lots of prayer flags and one temple. All the vehicle which drive through this pass make circle this temple and Stupas for their good luck. And also people try to stick quoins in this statue to check their luck. If the quoins stick on the rock they think lucky and if the quoins fall down then unlucky. From Kunzum Pass we steeple descend down to the Chandra River near Batal. Batal is in the bottom of Kunzum Pass. Here we cross the Chandra River by Iron Bridge. Here are just 2 local hotels. Between Batal and Chhatru road is not good and bumpy jumpy in many places. Chhatru is small nice place with many local hotels.
From Chhatru, we drive along the Chandra River and then get higher to Gramphu (17 km). Here we join with Manali – Leh main road. From here we drive up to the Rothang Pass (11 km. from Gramphu / 3990m). Rothang Pass is very popular place for Indian tourist. Many Indian tourists come here to play on snow. From here it is very nice views of green valley towards Manali and rocky hills towards Chandra valley and also many snow capped peaks. From here we drive down to Marrhi. This is good place to have lunch. Some time it makes long traffic jam between Rothang pass and Marrhi. From here we drive down to Manali through several small markets. Manali is big town and very busy. It is very green. Here are many hotel, restaurants and shops.
Day 11: Rest day or short sightseeing
Today we visit around Manali. Here are very famous Hindu temples called Hadimba which is above Manali town short walk from hotel, and Manu temple which is on the top of old Manali village. These temples are very interesting. Hadimba is Kul devta of local people. This is very old temple and in the middle of dense Pine forest. Hadimba Devi is Bhim’s wife which is very famous in Mahabharat. The Manu temple is dedicated to great sage Manu. According to the Hindu mythology Manu was first person created by Brahma. In Manali here are also other places for long day sightseeing. . In late afternoon we visit Manali market area for shopping.
Day 12: Drive via the Kullu Valley to Chandigarh, Evening train to Delhi
It is full day of spectacular and scenic driving to reach Chandigarh where the Himalaya meets the Indian plain. Here we board the evening Shatabdi Express train to Delhi. Arriving in Delhi shortly before 10.00 pm, we transfer to a hotel close to the airport.
Day 13: Transfers to Delhi Airport
We will transfer you at the international airport for your international flight.