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Trans-Himalayan Jeep Safari

Simla-Kinnaur-Spiti-Lahaul-Manali
13 nights and 14 Days
Time: June-September
Tour Code: HIM02

ITINERARY
Day 01: Delhi to Simla
Day 02: Simla
Day 03: Simla to Thanedar
Day 04: Thanedar to Sarahan
Day 05: Sarahan to Sangla
Day 06: Sangla
Day 07: Sangla to Tabo
Day 08: Tabo to Kaza
Day 09: Kaza
Day 10: Kaza to Manali
Day 11: Manali to Goshaini
Day 12: Goshaini
Day 13: Goshaini to Shoja to Goshaini
Day 14: Goshaini to Kullu to Delhi

Highlights

Drives across stunning Indo-Tibetan Trans-Himalayan vistas, quaint villages and hamlets
Off the beaten track destinations
Ancient Himalayan architecture, Gompas, monasteries and temples
Visual feast of ancient Tibetan Monastic Art
Tankhas -Tibetan art painted and embroidered on silk
Sample Himalayan cuisine with local herbs and spices
Stay at a stately historic mansion, camp along the river, Himachali homestay
Rich Buddhist and Hindu culture with ancient practices, traditions and lifestyle
Wildlife, birds and Trout fishing
Apple, pear, cherry and other fruit orchards
Kibber and Gete Village at 4000m considered to be the highest inhabited villages in the world.
A ride on a UNESCO World Heritage listed toy train

Description

Himalayas are one of the most beautiful and fascinating natural wonders. Exploring the relatively mysterious, well hidden, off the beaten track destinations is what this tour is all about. Lahaul and Spiti valleys are usually cut off for six months every year because of snow, thus are not on the tourist map usually. Characterized by barren deserts, fierce mountains, turbulent rivers, dense forests and moody skies, it is as though you are at the last frontier of civilization. This tour is a great opportunity to explore the untouched pristine beauty of the untouristy side of Himachali Himalayas.

We begin with a train ride from Delhi to Kalka from where you will board a UNESCO World Heritage Listed Toy Train, which will take you to Simla. The tiny narrow gauge train, puffing its way through as many as 102 tunnels, winding tracks overlooking unspoilt vistas, scores of old world bridges and colonial style stations makes it a fascinating experience.

On reaching Simla, you will be taken to colonial Woodville Palace Hotel, which will be your stately base to explore Simla. Belonging to the British, built in 1866, it was acquired by Maharaja of Gondal as a gift for his daughter. Even today the palace retains its old world charm and is one of the classiest places to stay in Simla. Soak in the serenity at the picturesque estate and explore Simla town in the two days that we spend there. Visit the main touristy pedestrianized street, called the Mall. It retains its colonial aura with its grand old buildings like iconic Christ Church, Telegraph building, Gorton Castle etc, which you can marvel at on foot or as you ride on a horse along its stretch. It also has many shops, restaurants, clubs and bars. Some other interesting places to visit are stately colonial building of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, the highest hill called Jakhu Hill and Shimla State Museum. Do stop by the Lakkad Bazaar for picking up quaint wooden handicrafts.

We then drive to picturesque mountain town of Narkanda. Narkanda is known for its spectacular views of Himalays stretching from Shrikhand range in the east to Kinner Kailash range of Kinnaur. The 500m ski run at Dhumri is also an attraction in the winters along with the lakes, temples and Hatu Peak trekking. We move onto Thanedar next, where we will spend a night. This is the Land of Apples. The place where apple cultivation first began, thanks to a missionary Sameul Stokes who brought in saplings from America and convinced the farmers, thus creating a booming apple industry. Thanedar is a beautiful village with lovely walks among the orchards, woods or even a trek to a peak nearby for the thrill seekers.

From here we reach the beautiful valley of Kinnaur situated at a height of 2700m. Known for its stunning beauty and remote mystique, this area borders Tibet. It has towering high mountains on all sides with the meandering pristine Baspa River, famous for trout fishing. Unspoilt vistas can be seen only for six months before it gets all lost in snow.

Long walks to discover the amazing fauna and flora of the valley, treks to view snow covered Himalayan peaks, angling for trout, experiencing some of the local culture and traditions, rock climbing and rappelling are only some of the delights that are on offer. The most visited part of the valley is called Sangla valley. The famous Bhimkali temple with its pagodas and woodcarvings at Saharan is one of its top tourist and pilgrim attraction.

The picturesque hamlet of Sangla is best known for Kamru Fort and the Kamakshi Temple. An hour's drive away from Sangla is Chitkul, The highest village in the valley. Driving there, at one point as the vehicle crosses the dilapidated wooden bridge, we will need to get off and wade through shalow a stream that cris cross the roads through the drive. Chitkul seems like the end of civilization as beyond it there's nothing but the great Himalayas and then rugged tracts of Tibet. You can almost visualize ancient traders travelling through to Tibet.

From lush green valley of Sangla we move into the barren cold mountain desert of Spiti valley with few signs of vegetation. Yet the harsh raw beauty of the landscape is stunning. Glacial streams flow through the barren but surreal couloured hills. With an average altitude is 10,00ft, tiny oasis of villages along with ther monastries dot the land. Physical and cultural vicinity to Tibet reflects in the architectural style.

Rudyard Kipling describes Spiti in 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 off the knees of the mountains….Surely the Gods live here.

We start exploring Spiti with Tabo, which was set up at the crossraods of two ancient trading routes as a centre of high Buddhist learning. The Tabo Gompa is one of the oldest continuously functioning Buddhist enclave in India. Tabo represents a millenium in the evolution of Western Tibet art with varied styles and influences over time which is now recognized at Tibetan Monastic art. Tabo's complex of nine temples and cave shrines are known for its murals, stucco clay sculptures and wall paintings.

We then drive across from Tabo to Kaza. Kaza is the district headquarter, transport hub and a great base to explore Spiti. Our first stop is to visit the Dhankar monastery. Dhankar, the traditional capital of Spiti, sits spectacularly perched on a hilltop. The fort here overlooks the Spiti valley and it was used as a jail in olden days. Today, more than 160 lamas reside here. A statue of Dhyan Budha where four complete figures of Buddha sit back to back is the main attraction of this more than seven-century old monastery. About an hour's walk (about 3 kms) from there on a slightly uphill track is a small Dhankkar Lake.The size of the lake in the summer varies every year depending on how much snow the catchment area had in the previous winter.

After spending the night at Kaza, we undertake a full day excursion to the Ki monastery which is the highest (13.504ft) and largest monastery in Spiti. The greatest wealth of Ki Gompa lies in its collection of 'Thangkas', weapons and musical instruments.The landscape visible from its gate is awe-inspiring. The structure is built along a tapering hill in no particular order, with numerous chambers connected through dark and narrow passages. Driving further 11 kms, we take you next to Kibber village at 13796ft, which was once considered the highest village. It is now a take off point for the popular trek to Tso Moriri in Ladakh and has abundant fields for miles. Against the barren brown landscape and blue skies, these green fileds amazingly beautiful. Six kilometers further up from Kibber, we drive to an even smaller village of Gete. With just six houses, it boasts of being the highest village in Asia connected by road.

Having experienced Spiti in all its glory, we now head back to Manali (8 hrs) through the other amazingly beatiful route. Driving through Koksar, Gramphoo, Rohtang pass, Marhi, Rahla falls, we cross the 4590 m high Kunzum pass to enter Lahul. At Lahul the Himalayas present a different sight. Brown barren slopes, icy rivers and streams that gush around rocks and boulders after emerging from giant glaciers. A terrain with mountain passes that is a trekkers delight, peaks that challenge mountaineers, a varied wildlife that attracts nature lovers, makes Lahul a fascinating land. This is where we bid farewell to Lahaul and Spiti and take with us innumerable memories of a unforgettable side of the great Himalayas.

Resting overnight at Manali, we drive to Goshaini which is a scenic and pristine Himachali village nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. Our stay is one of the main attractions of this off the beaten track destination. A delightful homestay on the banks of the Tirthan River, this quaint wooden lodge can be reached by sitting in a hand pulled pulley cart over the gushing river! The setting is picture perfect amidst apple orchards and high mountains and a river full of trout. Right on the riverbank, this place is ideal for relaxing, trout fishing, sharing stories around the fireplace or going for long walks, treks or picnics in the surrounding countryside adjoining the Great Himalayan National Park. We stay at the Guesthouse run by a lovely Himachali family. The guesthouse owner's wife is probably one of the best Himachali cooks you will ever meet. From simple traditional Indian fare to some continental dishes she has picked up from guests, her warmth and love for cooking and taking care of guests is exemplary. An lovely experience of Himachali hospitality. The following day is also at leisure to explore Goshaini and its surroundings too. We can organize for Trout fishing at Tirthan River along with picnic lunch at Bathad or you can visit the famous Chini Bungalow near Goshaini.

The next day we make a day excursion to Shoja. Shoja is an angler's paradise, due to its proximity to the Tirthan River where Trout fishing is a definite attraction. It is just 5 kms from Jalori Pass and at 3223m provides breathtaking sceneries and walks to nearby lakes and forests. Tall Silver oak trees and the mountains side carpeted with blue iris, are a sight to behold. On the last day, we drive to Kullu (3 hours) for the flight to Delhi where the tour ends.

ITINERARY

Day 01: Delhi-Simla
Meals: on own
Connect to the morning train from Delhi at 0630 hours to Kalka and then onto the toy train from Kalka to Barog. You will be met and driven to to Simla (2 hrs). Rest of the Day free for exploring Simla or at leisure. Overnight in Woodville Palace.

Day 02: Simla
Meals: Breakfast
Sightseeing in Simla. Overnight in Woodville Palace.

Day 03: Simla-Thanedar
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Drive leisurely to Narkanda. Rest of the day free to explore the surroundings. Overnight in a guesthouse in Thanedar.

Day 04: Thanedar-Sarahan
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Drive to Sarahan from Thanedar (5 hrs). Overnight in Sarahan.

Day 05: Sarahan-Sangla
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Drive from Sarahan to Sangla. Overnight in Sangla.

Day 06: Sangla
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Explore Sangla and Chitkul.

Day 07: Sangla-Tabo
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Drive from Sangla to Tabo. Visit Tabo gompa. Built 1000 years ago, the gompa is one of the oldest and considered next in importance to the tholing gompa in Tibet. Overnight in Tabo.

Day 08: Tabo-Kaza
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Drive from Tabo to Kaza. Visit enroute the Dhankar gompa. The gompa houses a deity of dhayana buddha and a large number of scriptures in the Bhoti script. Overnight in Kaza.

Day 09: Kaza
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Full Day excursion of Ki monastery and Kibber village. The Ki gompa situated 14 km from Kaza, possesses priceless tankhas (fabric paintings) and an array of musical instruments. Kibber village situated at an altitude of more than 4000 m is considered to be the highest inhabited village in the world. Overnight in Kaza.

Day 10: Kaza-Manali
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Drive from Kaza to Manali (8 hrs.) via Koksar, Gramphoo, Rohtang pass, Marhi, Rahla falls etc. Cross the 4590 m high Kunzum pass. Overnight in Manali in a hotel.

Day 11: Manali-Goshaini
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Drive from Manali to Goshaini. Overnight in Goshaini.

Day 12: Goshaini
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Explore surroundings. Relax. Sit out in sun reading book or just go for a stroll near the river. The place is excellent for trout fishing, lazing, treks, and nature walks in Great Himalayan National Park. We can organize for Trout fishing at Tirthan River along with picnic lunch at Bathad. Visit the famous Chini Bungalow near Goshaini. Overnight stay at the Guesthouse.

Day 13: Goshaini-Shoja-Goshaini
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day excursion to Shoja. Excellent Himalayan views and beautiful drive. The numerous walks and treks in the surrounding forests and meadows are a special feature of the area.

Day 14: Goshaini-Kullu-Delhi
Meals: Breakfast
Drive to Kullu (3 hours) for the flight to Delhi. Arrive in Delhi. You will be met and transferred to your hotel. End of the tour.

Services included:
-Accommodation on twin sharing basis
-Meals as per the itinerary
-Guided tours -Short Treks
-All surface transfers by a private vehicle (air-conditioning will not work while driving uphill)

Services not included:
-Optional tours/excursions, personal & incidental expenses.
-Tips, laundry, phone calls, alcohol, camera fee etc.
-International and domestic air fare, visa, insurance.

Please ask for Terms and Conditions

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