Spiti Valley(6N/7D): Shimla - ManaliLeisure And Travel
What's This About?
Rudyard Kipling described his visit to Spiti as, “At last entered a world within a world – a valley of leagues where the high hills were fashioned of the mere rubble and refuse from off the knees of the mountains… Surely the Gods live here.”
Tucked away in the interiors of the Trans-Himalayan belt of Himachal Pradesh, the spellbinding Spiti valley is a cold desert, a heady mix of austere barren mountains, unexpected bursts of green fields and deep gorges formed by the fierce Spiti River.
The proximity of Spiti to Tibet also means there is more than a fair bit of Buddhist influence in the region. The valley’s moon-like landscape is dotted with several important gompas (monasteries) that are a favourite with the Dalai Lama himself. Preserved inside them are ancient treasures of art, scriptures and statues that date back to the beginning of Buddhism.
TGE Travels is excited to take you on a 6N/7D road trip ( Tempo Traveller) to Spiti Valley starting from Shimla and ending at Manali. Over the course of the entire trip, you get to experience the rugged landscape and immerse in the rustic surroundings around the secluded villages of Kinnaur & Spiti Valley.
Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India
• Accommodation at all locations in Homestays on Triple or Quad sharing basis
• Meal Plan on MAP basis at all locations (Breakfast and Dinner)
• Private Vehicle from Shimla to Manali ( Sedan / Innova/ Tempo Traveller)
• Experienced Driver
• Experiences as mentioned in the itinerary
• Oxygen Cylinder and First Aid Kit
• All transportation cost to Shimla from Chandigarh/Delhi
• All transportation cost from Manali to Chandigarh/Dehli
• Personal Beverages of any kind.
• All meals not mentioned in inclusion section.
• Personal Expenses of any kind.
• Monuments Entrance fees during sightseeing.
Shimla (7467ft) to Reckong Peo/Kalpa (7513 ft)
Kalpa Reckong Peo Kinnaur Kailash Range
We assemble at Shimla bus stop by 8 am in the morning. Our TGE organizer will be waiting at the bus stop to receive you. After a brief ice breaking session, we board our Tempo Traveller and get ready for a beautiful drive of 250 km to Kalpa via Rampur & Reckong Peo. We drive down from Shimla and cross over to the other side of the river, and follow the Hindustan - Tibet road to Reckong Peo, the principle township in Kinnaur.
Reckong Peo is considered to be the land of Gods and is a splendid beauty showcased by the Himalayas. The town is serene and is famous for its apple orchards. It is inhabited by Kinnauri people and has a diverse culture even in today's modern era.
From Peo, a climb brings us to the beautiful village of Kalpa, nestled amongst apple orchards and Chilgoza pine trees. Kalpa and a couple of villages around it such as Chini and Roghi, provide some of the most spectacular views of the Kinaaur Kailash range across the valley. We will spend the night at Homestay and indulge in some local food.
Experiences: Stay in a beautiful Homestay in Kalpa
Visit various fruit orchards and learn about organic farming
Kalpa (7800 ft) to Tabo (10760ft) via Nako (12000 ft) and Giu | 158 kms | 5 hrs
Nako village Famous 500-years-old mummy of a Buddhist monk Tabo
Our journey today takes us to Tabo village, reknowned for the ancient Tabo Monastery. Tabo is a small village, situated on the left bank of river Spiti in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Flanked on either side by hills, it houses one of the most important Buddhist monastery, that is regarded by many as only next to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet. This monastery is said to be over a thousand years old, founded back in 996 A.D.
To reach Tabo, we pass through the peaceful and picturesque Nako village which is perched on the banks of the Nako lake. We spend some time here before we take a short detour to Giu to see the famous 500-years-old mummy of a Buddhist monk.
Experiences: Visit Nako Lake
See the famous 500 year old mummy of Buddhist monk
Tabo (10760ft) to Mud via Dhankar (12700 ft) | 80 kms | 3 hrs
Tabo Monastery Dhankar village Dhankar Monastery and Fort Pin Valley
After breakfast, we head off to Tabo Monastery. Tabo Monastery is an ancient monastery that was established in 996 CE. It is considered to be an important monastery and is often referred to as the Ajanta of the Himalayas. The complex has 9 temples and many stupas—all of which are made in mud and have been standing like this for more than 1000 years.
After Tabo, we drive to Dhankar village. The beautiful Dhankar Village is one of the most stunning attractions in Lahual and Spiti Valley, a home to the most beautiful and awe-inspiring Dhankar Monastery and Dhankar Fort that are perched on the top of the hill in Dhankar. Dhankar looks like a bowl-shaped structure in the hills. It looks almost as if all the old Dhankar houses and fort have emerged straight from the mountains with their back wall being merged on the hill.
We have lunch at Dhankar and then head off to Mud to explore th Pin Valley. Mud is the last motorable village of the Pin Valley. Mud village also acts as the base for trekking route towards or from Pin-Parvati Pass or Bhabha Valley. The views in the entire Pin Valley including Mud village is just majestic, and the valley is mostly virgin, serene, barren and beautiful.
Experiences: Tour of Tabo Monastery & Dhankar Monastery
Mud (12361 ft) to Kaza (12500 ft) | 50kms | 2hrs
Drive to Kaza Kaza Village
Today is a relaxed day. After breakfast, we drive to Kaza, the capital and the largest settlement of Spiti region. This is also our last place with an ATM and petrol bunk. Being the largest settlement in Spiti Valley, it is well-equipped to meet needs of travellers. We spend the evening exploring this quaint village and call it a day.
Experiences: Shopping & Cafe's ( Yes, Kaza has some amazing Tibetan cafe's worth visiting)
Cooking Classes in Kaza ( Spitian Food)
Day trip to Hikkim (14400ft), Koumik (15027 ft) & Langza (14500ft)
Highest postoffice in world Koumik Monastery Langza village Fossils at Lanza
The Langza, Hikkim, and Koumik are three villages above Kaza. They are one of the highest motorable villages in the world. We start our journey from Kaza post breakfast and make our first pit stop at Hikkim. The road from Kaza to Hikkim will give you goosebumps at certain sections being too narrow overlooking a 1000 Mtrs vertical drop down to Kaza.
The Hikkim village has the honor of having the highest post office and polling station in the world. Do not forget to send a postcard to your loved ones from here.
After Hikkim, we drive to Koumik, a village which is famous for having the highest motorable monastery in the world. According to locals, it is believed that this monastery houses some hidden treasures which are made to public only once in 60 years due to security concerns. This includes an egg of a dragon, the horn of a unicorn, the upper tooth of a sheep, the ribcage of a giant demon and the tail of a prehistoric man.
After Koumik we head off to Langza, popularly known for hunting marine fossils and breathtaking view of Chau Chau Kang Nelda peak sitting on top of the village. If you are fond of fossils, you can hike a bit higher around Langza village, look around/beneath the rocks to observe some ancient fossils. You can also visit Chaudua (Fossil) center in Langza village to know more about these fossils. Apart from the breathtaking landscape, the presence of a big, 1000 year odd old Lord Buddha statue in the meadow makes Langza as heavenly as one possibly can imagine. It is one of the most beautiful villages of entire Spiti Valley.
Experiences: Send a postcard from Hikkim
Visit the world's highest monastery at Koumik.
You get to see a stuffed snow leopard
Find fossils at Langza ( No, you cannot take them home )
Try to spot Ibex's or Blue Sheep at Langza
Day Trip To Key Monastery (13750ft) & Chicham Bridge (13600ft)| 52 kms | 1.5 hr
Key Monastery Chicham Bridge
After breakfast, we start towards the beautiful Key Monastery
Key Monastery is a beautiful Tibetan Buddhist monastery situated right on top of a hill at an altitude of 13500 ft. The monastery has some really beautiful scriptures and paintings of Lord Buddha and other gods. The Key gompa is also famous for its priceless collection of ancient thangkas, including Tibetan silk thangkas upto 800 years old and frescoes depicting the life of Padmasambhava. There is a Key Village that comes just before the Key monastery. The views from this vantage point are just breathtaking from where you can also view Rangrik Village across the Spiti River.
About 9-10 KMs from Key Monastery is the famous Chicham bridge, the highest suspension bridge in India. After some quality time here, we head back to Kaza in the evening
Experiences: Tour of Key Monastery
Visiting Chicham Bridge, the highest suspension bridge in India
Kaza (12500 ft) to Manali via Chandratal Lake.
Kunzum La Chandratal Rohtang Pass
It is the final leg of our journey and the most trecherous one. The Kaza - Manali route is not for the faint hearted. The road is rough and you have to cross several streams and high passes. Start early today.
The road to Manali takes you through 2 high altitude passes, Kunzum La at 15000 ft and Rohtang at 13000 ft. We will visit Chandratal Lake en route before heading off to Manali. We will drop you in Manali by 8 pm. You can either choose to stay overnight and depart the next day or take a cab/bus out of Manali on the same day (please ensure you keep enough buffer time for delays)
Experiences: Visit Chandratal Lake
Cross 2 High Altitude Passes: Khunzum La and Rohtang
Take the adventurous route to Manali
Things To Carry
- Photo ID proof
- Hand Sanitizer and mask
- Comfortable clothing (Spiti has warm summer days and cold nights)
- Warm jacket and thermal wear.
- Comfortable Shoes (you can carry slippers to wear at hotel/homestay)
- Personal medication if any
- Sunscreen and cap for the day
- warm cap/socks for evenings
- Power bank (you will be on the road everyday)
- Water bottle (We don't encourage buying plastic bottles)
HOW TO DEPART FROM MANALI
Overnight bus/cab from Manli to Chandigarh/Delhi: Manali is well connected to Chandigarh and Delhi by road. You can book a private volvo bus or a volvo bus of HPDTC or HRTC from Manali to Chandigarh/Delhi
Question: Is Covid Certificate Required?
Answer: Although Himachal Pradesh has removed covid restrictions for tourists, we would recommend you get your covid test done and carry negative RT PCR report along with you during trip.
Question: How to reach Shimla?
Answer: Please refer to the "How to Reach" section"
Question: What time do we start from Shimla?
Answer: We will start at 8:00 am on the departure date or as communicated to the final participants by the Trip leader
Question: How to travel from Manali to Delhi?
Answer: Please refer to the "Additional Information" section
Question: Can I leave from Manali on the same day?
Answer: We aim to drop everyone by 8:00 pm to Manali, Though there is enough buffer to book the last bus out of Manali to your respective destionation, the Kaza to Manali route is notorious for delays and breakdowns ( not of our vehicle but other vehicles, including trucks) which may cause road blockages. So we advice to stay one night in Manali and leave the next day
Question: Why are we not starting and ending from the same location?
Answer: If you want the short version, the answer is very simple. Why repeat the same route?
But here is a longer version to why we have started our Spiti trips from Shimla and ended it in Manali. Our Spiti itinerary is the best of both worlds. You get to experience the beautiful Kinnaur valley and get as close to the Indo China as possible. Starting from Shimla makes the acclimatization process easier. You gradually ascend to 12500 ft as opposed to your journey from Manali where you cover this huge jump in altitiude on the same day. However, while departing, we quench our adventurous thirst by taking the Kaza to Manali route. A rugged, rough and bumpy route all the way till Rohtang pass. But why take this route and not return via Shimla? Well, you save a day. You also get to visit the Chandratal lake, cross 2 high altitude passes and of course end the trip with the liveliness of Old Manali
Question: Is accommodation in Manali included?
Question: Where can we stay in Manali?
Answer: Please contact your Trip Lead who will assist you in finding accommodation in Manali as well as guide you on additional activities to do
Question : What are the symptoms of High Altitude Sickness and how can we prevent it?
Answer : Spiti is located at a high altitude - nearly 12,000 feet above sea level. As one climbs higher, the amount of oxygen in the air begins to fall, so our body needs time to adjust it. Few symptoms of AMS are:
Loss of appetite
Here are few things to keep in mind once you reach Spiti.
When you reach Kaza, take at least a day to rest and acclimatize
Keep yourself well hydrated
Avoid drinking and smoking
Avoid any strenuous activity and if possible stay indoors on first day.
Question : Do I need to take Diamox or any other medication for AMS before arriving at Spiti?
Answer : No
Question : How will the weather be in summers?
Answer: May to August, temperature range (16°C in day to 3°C in night).
Days are hot as it is high altitude desert , and nights get chilly
Question : Is it recommended to bring kids to this trip?
Answer : We don't recommend kids below 6 yrs for group trips. Kids more than 6 yrs are most welcome to join us provided they are fit (no prior medical condition specifically breathing related) and can endure weather conditions.
Question : Which mobile network service is good in Spiti?
Answer : BSNL works the best. Jio and Airtel do work but with poor signal
Question : What is the local cuisine of Spiti?
Answer :Tsampa, Thukpa, Churpe, Buckwheat Chilta's, Momo's and Thingmo
Question: What is the average cost of meals not included?
Answer: On an average a meal can cost between Rs 200 - Rs 300 per person
Question: What is the room sharing basis?
Answer: All our rooms are on tripple or quad sharing basis
Question: Are you open to customization?
Answer: YES, If you want us to design a customized itinerary for you and your family/friends, reach out to us at [email protected] or Call us at 7899218201/9110302881
Question: Where is the nearest hospital facility available?
Answer: Kaza has a fully equiped govt hospital facility available.
Question : I have asthma, can I travel to Spiti?
Answer: We have had many participants in the past who suffer from asthma and have travelled to Spiti with us and not faced any complications. However, it is important that you check with your doctor before signing up for any high altitude trip.
Question: I'm above 60. Can I join this trip?
Answer : Age has never been a a factor for us. But you need to understand the demanding nature of any road trip. You will be traveling and spending a lot of time in the vehicle, the roads in certain stretches might be bad & bumpy ( esp the Kaza to Manali route which is quiet rough) and the weather could be a challenge for some senior citizens too. However, if you are up for the adventure, we are here to ensure we make the trip as comfortable as possible for you
Question: What happens if there is a another lockdown or I am covid positive on the departure date?
Answer: If there is another lockdown, either in the entire country or in your departure city or Himachal Pradesh, we will refund in credits the entire amount paid by you less irrevocable losses ( if any)
If you are covid positive on the departure date and show us the covid positive certificate, we will offer you credits less irrevocable losses (if any) and a flexible date change which you can use for any other future departure dates or any other TGE travels trips
We would also advice you to book the Flexi Plus scheme or a Zero Cancellation Fee scheme for your flights which hardly charges a little more than the normal airfare but secures your amount completely.
About Your Hosts
The Great Escape
TGE Travels is an experiential travel company established in the year 2018 founded by expert mountaineers and travellers. We believe traveling is all about experiencing a place that you go to. It is about interacting with the locals, trying out local cuisines, celebrating local festivals and exploring the off beat locations. We are here to help our travelers do just that. From staying at authentic homestays to discovering the hidden gems of each location, we help our travelers connect with the place like never before.
"Jammy" as we fondly call her has been trekking and backpacking all over India and neighboring countries for more than 10 years. Her favorite drink is tea, her most comfortable bed is under the stars and the mountains are her second home. Working earlier as an Interior designer, Jammy found her calling in the mountains and now she has been successfully leading and guiding teams on treks and expeditions for 8 years . If you are up for some tuneless karaoke and lots of singing, reach out to her
Try to catch up to her pace on an uphill climb, I dare you, I double dare you. An accomplished mountaineer, Reetu's love for trekking and travelling started 8 years ago. From then onwards, she left her lucrative career as an electronic engineer and pursued her dream of travelling around the world. A good book, a campsite by the river and lots of dogs and puppies is what keeps her going. Don't forget to ask her to make a cup of masala chai and Maggi for you, it's delicious. 😃
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