Spiti valley also known as the “Middle Land” is a Trans-Himalayan terrain bordering with Tibet at an average altitude of 4000 meters. Spiti valley is home to some of the oldest monasteries in the Himalayan region like Tabo monastery, Dhankar monastery, Sherkhang monastery and Kye monastery, strong hold of Buchen Lamas in Pin Valley, famous for Tibetan medicine system and Amchis, fossils of Langza village, highest motor-able villages and passes, scenic lakes, a 1000-year-old culture, beautiful villages, simple people and an out of the world landscape. Come and ex-plore a civilization frozen in time.
Reach Manali and rest
Reach Manali in the morning from Delhi/Chandigarh after an overnight journey and check-in to the hotel. You will be free to do whatever you want on this day, but the most important thing is to relax and acclimatize and not overexert. You can visit the Hidimba or Manu temples or visit Vashisht to have a bath in the famous hot spring. If you want to take it easy you can also sit next to the river and read a book or just chill in one of the many good cafés in Old Manali. We can most definitely make some recommendations if you’d like. In case you have missed packing something then this is the time when you should go shopping as Spiti valley doesn’t have well stocked chemists or many shops where you will be able to get everything you need. Once the everyone has arrived by after-noon, we will hold a small briefing session along with the guide. This will also be a good time for you to get acquainted with the rest of the group. We suggest you call it an early night as your body needs proper rest for the long journey ahead. As we will be leaving very early the next day, proper rest will help you in acclimatizing.
Manali to Kaza via Rohtang and Kunzum
Today we head to Spiti valley which will take around 10 hours (220 kms), if everything goes as planned. We leave early in the morning as we have a long way to go and ascend the mighty Roh-tang Pass. We shall spend some time at the pass and then head towards Gramphoo for breakfast. From Gramphoo you will start noticing a change in terrain with less trees and more steep mountain peaks and the start of a barren landscape. From here we head towards Chatru and cross some of the biggest waterfalls which can be a nightmare for any non-experienced driver. The terrain will change drastically from Chatru and all you will see is rocks all over with huge streams overflowing on the road and converging in the ruthless Chandra river. We shall take regular halts for you to soak in your surroundings, admire the great landscape and feel the fresh air. We will take a lunch break at Batal at the famous Chandra Dhaba, where you can meet the famous Chacha and Chachi who have been a saving grace to a few hundred who have been stuck in bad weather over the years. From here we head to Kunzum Pass and at Kunzum top you we will stop for you to pay our respects to the Kunzum Goddess and as you enter Spiti valley. The jumpy ride on non-existent roads which started from Gramphoo will end in Lohsar. From Lohsar head to Kaza after a small break. It will take another 2 hours of beautiful journey. Reach Kaza, check-in and enjoy a cup of tea. We shall have a small briefing session at dinner table. This tiring day will end with you looking at the gorgeous Spitian skies with a million stars the very prominent milky way.
Visit Key Monastery and Pin Valley
Start the day easy over nice breakfast. Head to Kye monastery, the centre of learning in Spiti valley. The monastery is set on a small hill from where you get a complete view of the valley. Have a cup of tea at the monastery and spend some time on the roof from where you can click pictures and videos.
Take a quick look at the little museum in the Gompa here before you spend some time in conversation with the lamas for more history and lore of the Dhankar Monastery. Most of these monasteries prohibit photography inside, so you might want to capture some of those fascinating scenes before you get in. Head over to Pin valley after lunch.
Spiti’s largest green area, Pin Valley, is surrounded by barren landscape and towering unexplored mountains. Drive through narrow rocky tarmac as you enter nature’s impressive contrasts of lush green pastures set against snow-capped mountains and clear blue skies. Quaint little villages dot the scenery here with the meandering Pin river literally providing still life scenes for picture postcards. With fascinating Tibetan culture visible throughout the valley, this area is renowned as home to the last surviving Buchen Lamas from Buddhism’s oldest Nyingmapa Sect. Drop in at Kungri monastery in Sangam to visit the mystic lamas, and if you’re lucky enough to be visiting at the right time, you just might witness the ‘Buchen lama dance’ that drives evil out of village homes. Spend some time at the last village at the end of the valley, Mudh, where green fields, glaciers and waterfalls dominate the landscape. Lasting impressions of stunning landscape with the myriad hues of a fascinating locale – Pin Valley leaves you with memories for a lifetime.
Head back to Kaza in the evening.
Kaza to Langza via HIkkim and Komic
We head out to Langza this morning after having breakfast. Langza is the second highest motor-able village after Komic and is home to many a fossil. If you are lucky then you are sure find some beautiful fossils while you take a stroll across the village. To make it a little more interesting at this altitude, the interested ones can hike from Langza to Komic via a small stop at Hikkim. Not to forget your loved ones, visit the world’s highest post office in Hikkim and post a few post cards them. Trust us you will be amazed at the post office and meeting the post master.Head to our last point for the day, Komic and enjoy the spectacular view of snow capped peaks around over a cup of tea and chat with the monks. The monastery in Komic is functional in winters when temperatures dip down to -30 de-grees and roads get blocked and it will be very interesting to understand life and survival of such happy souls at this altitude. Head back to Langza for a homestay with a local family. Life in Spiti might be harsh but the other side is that you will never come across such warmth and welcoming people. You will understand that while sharing space with a local family.
Langza to Chandrataal
After Breakfast with your host family, we head towards Chandrataal Lake. This is another location where you will find hard to stop clicking photographs. So, if you don’t have a camera, you should buy one NOW! This lake is a landscape photographer’s dream come true, changing its appearance al-most with every passing hour, each shot as stunning as the last one. Tonight, we camp in style; excellent dome tents set up to protect you from the cold and biting night winds. You can warm up by the communal fireplace if you’d like and meet other travellers.
Chandrataal to Manali via Rohtang pass
We leave early this morning to Manali after an early breakfast. We will take a small break at Batal to say goodbye to Chacha and Chachi at Chandra Dhaba. The aim is to try and reach Rohtang pass by early afternoon and spend some time at the pass.
Trip ends this evening as you head back to take your bus back to Delhi or respective places and take some of memories back of an isolated civilization and trans Himalayan terrain. You can also decide to stay back in Manali for a day or two.