Spiti Valley(6N/7D): Shimla - Manali
Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, India
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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.
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
Homestay in Kalpa
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
Homestay in Tabo
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
Homestay in Mud
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)
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
Highest Post office at Hikkim
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
Stay Not Applicable
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
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𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐉𝐎𝐘 𝐎𝐅 𝐓𝐑𝐀𝐕𝐄𝐋𝐈𝐍𝐆
𝘋𝘪𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘷𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘔𝘦𝘨𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘢𝘺𝘢 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘪𝘯𝘩𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘵𝘶𝘯𝘦𝘴, 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘯𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘴?
𝘖𝘳 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘢 𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘲𝘶𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮 𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘒𝘶𝘵𝘤𝘩, 𝘎𝘶𝘫𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘵, 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘪𝘴𝘯’𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘦𝘭𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘌𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘩?
𝘖𝘳 𝘥𝘪𝘥 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘉𝘩𝘶𝘵𝘢𝘯’𝘴 𝘎𝘋𝘗 𝘪𝘴 𝘥𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦’𝘴 𝘏𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴?
The joy of traveling is to wholly immerse yourself into the story of the place that you travel to and we at TGE Travels bring nothing less than that on the table. Our well thought out itineraries give a deeper insight into the culture and history of a place by getting our travelers closer to the local communities, their customs, cuisines and lifestyle. And it goes without saying that we are the queens of finding offbeat locations, stays and activities which we bring out in all our itineraries. TGE stands for The Great Escape and a trip with us is like pressing the “Escape” key from the mundane routine to an exciting and cherishable travel experience
𝐖𝐇𝐎 𝐀𝐑𝐄 𝐖𝐄?
Established in the year 2016, TGE travels was founded by Reetu Yadav and Jamila Kapasi, two expert mountaineers who had more than 6+ years of experience in mountaineering and the outdoors. TGE Travels is infact one of the rare travel and outdoor companies wholly owned by women with a vision of adding more women leaders in the unconventional outdoor leadership roles. What started as just a trekking company, TGE Travels has evolved into a more wholesome style of traveling by adding experiential traveling as one of its primary services. Our team at TGE Travels are a bunch of travel experts who want to add a meaning to your excursions. We are a strong unit of on ground team leads, backend supports and partner vendors who work cohesively to make your trip smooth and memorable.
𝐖𝐇𝐘 𝐓𝐆𝐄 𝐓𝐑𝐀𝐕𝐄𝐋𝐒?
Even before Corona, we have firmly believed that traveling in small groups is the best way to form connections and gain experiences. Now more than ever, we are committed to limiting the group size. Our travelers might meet as strangers but we ensure that they leave as friends.
𝑨𝒎𝒂𝒛𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑻𝒆𝒂𝒎 𝑳𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒔
What makes TGE Travels awesome are our team leads. They are the reason why our travelers choose to travel with us again and again. Full of energy and enthusiasm, our team leads are the ones who bring the whole group together. Their energy bounces off our travelers and within no time, the entire group forgets that they were just strangers just sometime ago. But of course, our team leads are also very skilled in handling any situation and ensuring the trip goes as smoothly as possible.
𝑾𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝑻𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝑶𝒖𝒕 𝑰𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒓𝒊𝒆𝒔
We have spent endless hours brainstorming on itineraries to bring out the unique stories of the place that we travel to. Not only that, while designing any itinerary our team personally travels to the location to identify experiences and off beat locations. We try to provide the best experience within the timeframe and budget and that has made us popular as one of the more thought driven travel itinerary planners.
𝑪𝒉𝒐𝒐𝒔𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑹𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕 𝑺𝒕𝒂𝒚𝒔
We select our accommodation partners meaningfully. Our stays should have a story to tell. This encourages us in going beyond the standard hotels and instead delving into a wide range of accommodation options where we can choose from authentic homestays, which to us is one of the best ways to learn about the culture of a place, to beautiful resorts that are situated at the perfect picturesque locations to boutique hotels that are elegant and charming.
𝑺𝒂𝒇𝒆 𝑴𝒐𝒅𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝑻𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒔𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕
Just like our accommodation partners, we give a lot of importance in choosing the right transport partners. Most of our journey is on road and we ensure our travelers are comfortable in the vehicle. Our drivers become a part of the group and it's amazing to see how our travelers treat them as just one of their own.
When it comes to bike trips or Scooty trips, we ensure the two wheelers are well serviced and maintained. Apart from that we always have a support vehicle with us throughout the journey
Food is an integral part of our itineraries. Hence all meals are planned in advance allowing our travelers to taste the unique cuisines of the regions that they travel to. We encourage our travelers in trying out local delicacies but never hesitate to deliver something comfortable immediately if the local food does not suit their palette.
We firmly believe in responsible tourism. Apart from the standard no littering policy, we encourage our travellers to be sensitive to the local communities.
It's always a pleasure travelling with TGE! The one thing I love most is their attention to detail, which ensures that your trip is a memorable one. Travelling with TGE is a wholesome experience, you see the larger more iconic places with no compromise on the little things. Travel with them if you want to interact with the people of the place, eat their food, in short experience their lives. These guys do a superb job of making everyone comfortable and everytime I travel with them I make beautiful bonds with all the other travellers. I would 100% recommend TGE to everyone who has the travel bug. It doesn't get better than this! ☺️❤️
I have known Reetu and Jamila for many years and have worked with them in the past. But this was the first time I decided to travel with them as a participant. When Reetu told me about exploring Spiti in winters I was completely on board. The itinerary sounded exciting and the pricing less. S my friend Manish and I immediately signed up for it. One of the best decisions I ever took. Spiti in winters in beautiful. The 7 days with the team was wonderful. We spent our days driving around the valley and our evenings dancing to pahadi songs. The planning was perfect with utmost care given in the choice of stay and comfort. Of course the highlight of the trip was spotting a snow leopard. Overall it was an amazing trip and I am looking forward to join many more with The Great Escape
Shravan Kumar Poshetty
Should I describe with “perfect planning” / “meticulous coordination”/ “cordial organiser”...might be with all of it.
Flawless execution is what makes them unique and organiser Reetu Yadav has let all of us experience it with her executional capabilities...
Clarity n flow of communication:-5/5
Comfort in Mode of Travel:-5/5
Action in Emergency:- very swift 5/5
Team has proved that its not all about the commercial trip but also the cause which is concealed in their carryings. What we pay at Flemingo Resort at Dholavira goes to educate and for taking care of more than 400 students and their boarding facilities as well.
Its not over yet, you will be pleased to meet the gifted souls from remote villages who are manifested in their respective disciplines like Rogan Art (Hon’le prime minister himself have gifted one to Barack Obama), Wood Art and Bell Art, Textile etc.
You will get to eat the delicious food made out of love from the local (A1 class food).
Off all, well planned itinerary and the execution is commendable. We RoK team who departed on 12th Dec’19 are truly happy with the onsite organiser Reetu Yadav and the offline backbone Jamila Kapasi who took good care of each of us at every stretch.
Their intact affirmative relation and proper delicacy in their execution makes then unique.
My best friend is much impressed with their proceedings and that makes me much happier than ever.
Last but not least, am fortunate to have rest 13 of the participants as part of my extended family. Again the credit goes to TGE.
Kudos to the team and i look for further association with “THE GREAT ESCAPE” ( you have already give our team a great escape from the routine.
Way to go TGE team!!!
Kumar Tarur Parameswaran
Such great detailed planning at micro level and being open and upfront about the tour details impressed me at the very start. They lived up to their promise in every which way.
TGE’s expression of their solidarity towards the cause of the villagers by getting travellers to interact with them in a lively way and help the villagers in their livelihood was one of the primary reasons I chose to travel with TGE.
TGE means immersive experiential travel and what you get in return and come away with are unforgettable lifetime memories.
Looking forward to many more tours with TGE. Reetu and Jamila pull your collars up. Way to go! You will go miles!
The great escape recently took care of my 10 days family trip to Bhutan. We were 9 of us, including 2 kids and 2 elderlies. Each detail of the trip was so beautifully planned and coordinated. Jamila was personally in touch with drivers, hotels and homestay owners to ensure we ar getting the best of experience. We never even had to look for directions, call hotel or tell driver about anything. Everything was already taken care of and we were just the guests in very true sense. Such a wonderful trip it was. Everything was so beautiful including all the places where we stayed.
Much thanks to Jamila and the great escape team to make it work like magic for us!
• 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.
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 REACH
By Air: The nearest airport to Shimla is the Chandigarh International Airport. You can also instead choose to fly to Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi
From Delhi/Chandigarh - You can book a private volvo bus or a volvo bus of HPDTC or HRTC from Chandigarh/Delh to Shimla. It takes around 8 hrs to reach Shimla from Delhi and around 4 hrs from Chandigarh
Policy and Terms
20 days before the event start date : No Refund
20 to 40 days before the event start date : 50% Refund
40 days before the event start date : 75% Refund
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.