Rustik Travel

Exploring Spiti

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Spiti means "The Middle Land", i.e. the land between Tibet and India. The Spiti Valley is a desert mountain valley which is located high in the Himalaya Mountains in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh in India.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.

John Muir

Overview

  • Destination: Himachal Pradesh
  • Location: Spiti
  • Google Map Co-ordinates: 32.5000° N, 77.8333° E
  • Nearest City (Airport): Kullu
  • Nearest City (Railway Station): Shimla
  • Duration: 8D/7N
  • Dates: 16-23 Jul, 13-20 Aug, 3-10 Sep
  • Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Guide: Available
  • Price: On request

Experience

This adventure starts at Manali and takes you up and over the majestic Rohtang and Kunzum passes and through the stunning and graphic valleys of the Chandra, Spiti, and Pin Rivers. In the first couple of days we will take in the sights on the left bank plateau and get acclimatized to the altitude. We will then safari to the highest villages in the world and experience Spitian culture through traditional homestays along with visits to ancient monasteries, dating back to over 1000 years, which are the cultural and spiritual hubs of the Spitian way of life.
In terms of your holiday experience this is a “high density” trip. In order to maximize your Spiti experience we will spend lesser time in getting to and away from the Spiti valley. While in Spiti we will travel primarily to the regions and villages that best integrate and typify the myriad aspects of Spitian culture, where you will experience it through our traditional homestays and unique day excursions. Our endeavour is to showcase to you, within the available time, a fairly comprehensive Spiti Kaleidoscope.

Advisory

a) Since the program starts early morning on Day 1, you are expected to be in Manali by the previous night to get adequate rest. The program ends in Manali on the last day and due to the road conditions it is not possible to predict the time of arrival in Manali. Hence it is advisable to not pre-book any onward journey on the same day.
b) Spiti is a high altitude region. Since few people have been to such altitudes, it is hard to know who may be affected by high altitude sickness. There are no specific factors such as age, sex, or physical condition that co-relate with susceptibility to altitude sickness. Some people get it and some people don’t, and some people are more susceptible than others. If one has not travelled to these altitudes before, it is recommended that you consult your doctor. We usually advise dosage of Diamox 2/3 days before reaching Kaza as a safe precautionary for this trip, however please consult your doctor before considering to take this medication as it does have side effects.
c) Please note that we do not take responsibility for reimbursements in the event that you are unable to complete the trip due to high altitude sickness and/or other personal reasons, bad weather, road blockages, etc.
d) Arrangements for pick up and drop to Delhi can be arranged at an additional cost. Stay in Shimla/ Manali and Delhi can also be arranged at an additional cost. We also recommend a visit to the Taj at Agra especially for overseas visitors. The same itinerary starting and ending in Delhi combining Agra would add an additional 3 to 4 days. Please inform us your requirements at the time of booking this tour.
e) All timings between places mentioned in the itinerary above are based on ideal road conditions with limited stops en route.
f) Roads to Spiti and within Spiti are rough and mostly un-metaled hill roads. Please be warned that while the experience is exhilarating it is not the most comfortable. Persons with medical conditions that could worsen with such road travel are advised they consult their doctor.
g) The trip runs if we have a minimum of 4 confirmed participants. In the event that we don’t get the requisite numbers we can run with less than 4 participants if participants are willing to pay slightly extra. Alternatively we reimburse the amount paid to the participants minus any minimal bank charges that may have been cut.
h) Costs may vary marginally based on time of booking before departure of tour.
i) Costs are on a sharing basis and we try and pair same sex participants. If you would prefer a single share option, this will cost more (please mail us to get these costs

Itinerary

Day 1 – Manali / Jeep – 10 to 12 hours Pick up point: Government Bus Stand, Mall Road, Manali
Today is an early start. We drive over the Rohtang pass (separating Kullu from the Lahaul valley), and descend into the valley of the Chandra river and continue past Chhattru, Batal and over the Kunzum la (pass/4551mts), which divides Lahaul and Spiti. We spend some time taking in the fabulous views of the Chandrabhaga range of mountains, visit the Buddhist shrine at Kunzum and get into our waiting jeeps, to reach Kaza by evening. Though the journey is long today, one hardly notices it as the changing landscapes en route keep one mesmerized. Kaza – overnight in a hotel.
Day 2 – Kaza
We will start our day with a small session about Spiti region and our time in Spiti. Later we head to Dhankhar, the erstwhile capital of Spiti. Dhankhar houses an ancient Monastery perched precariously between unique winds eroded structures. Remnants of the Dhankhar Fort, which housed the royal family of Spiti, still remain. A visit to the monastery, fort and other subsidiary temples leaves one spell bound at the traditional architectural marvels. The monastery has some interesting wall murals and thangkas, which are in an urgent need for restoration. The Dhankhar Monastery was recently declared as one of the 100 Most Endangered sites in the World, by ‘The World’s Monument Fund’. One can trek to the Dhankhar Lake as well if keen and time permits. Later today we head to Tabo, famous for its monastery that celebrated 1000 years in 1996, regarded as the Ajanta of the Himalayas. Tabo – overnight in a hotel.
Day 3 – Tabo
Today we will head to the furthest village of Spiti lying very close to the border of Tibet, Giu. Apart from being a quaint village, Giu houses a rare relic of the human spirit – the remains of a self-mummified monk! Learn more about the mummy when you get there and how it was discovered. We head back to Tabo and later head onto the pin valley and enter the valley of the Pin valley national park where we spend the night on the buffer of the national park in a quaint village dedicated to meditating nuns and monks. Option of experiencing a Bhuchen performance today – an elaborate Buddhist tantric dance performance to get rid of evil spirits. The Bhuchens are now only found in Spiti and is definitely a unique highlight of the region. Pin Valley – overnight in a guesthouse
Day 4 – Pin Valley
Today we visit the Kungri monastery and head onto the village of Demul fast becoming Spiti’s green village! Learn more about this when in Demul. If time permits hike/yak safari to a spectacular vantage spot today. Option of experience an evening of folk expressions* Demul– overnight in Homestay
Day 5 – Demul
Trek/ Yak safari* to Komic village which is the highest village in Asia across grazing pastures and rolling meadows also the hunting ground for the Himalayan Wolf and Snow Leopard. Spend the night today at Asia’s highest village. Once your settled in and if your keen you can explore the Komic village and take a walk down to the fields to get a better understanding of the intricate irrigation systems and agricultural practices in the highest villages of Asia. Komic – overnight in Homestay
Day 6 – Komic
If you're an early riser take a walk down to the fields if you didn't get the time the evening before. After breakfast head onto Hikkim – Asia’s highest post office and send off a postcard to family back home. Visit Langza village and head back to Kaza for the night. -Option of playing with clay and learning the basics of traditional Spiti pottery*. Make your own Spiti Souvenir! Visit Kee monastery and Kibber if time permits. Head back to Kaza subsequently. -Option of mountain biking today* Kaza – Overnight in a Hotel.
Day 7 – Kaza / Jeep to Chandratal- 4-5 hours
Spend the day at the beautiful moon lake – Chandratal. Please note camping is not permitted near the lake. Chandratal – overnight camping
Day 8 –Chandratal
Jeep to Manali- 4-5 hours Drop off point: Government Bus Stand, Mall Road, Manali Manali
Additional activities that can be included at an additional cost
• Yak Safari- Tired of getting on and off local Indian busses and looking for an alternative way to travel through Spiti? How about a good old ride on the back of a Yak? - INR 1400/person • Evening of folk expression- Songs and dances are ingrained in the very fabric of the social life of the Spiti populace. Most of these songs and dances are a common phenomenon in marriages and other festivals. Join in an evening of folk expression in Demul. - INR 8000/ group • Bhuchen performance- The Bhuchens are a unique sect of minstrel lamas who were the followers of Tholdon Gyalpo (a Buddhist mystic) who invented this art form in the 11th century in Tibet. It is a rare Tibetan Buddhist tantric performance to get rid of evil spirits and is now only found in the Spiti valley. - INR 15000/group • Mountain Biking- Various trails traversing little-known valleys and plateaus, stunning vistas and a wide range of gradients make biking the ideal way of getting around this sand and rock symphony. Traverse the trail from Kaza to the iconic Kee Monastery with us or to the first highest motorable village, Kibber. - INR 500/bike (excluding any jeep transfers if need be) • Pottery Session- Back in the days, Langza used to be a village specialized in Pottery. But nowadays, there is only one potter left. Allow yourself a visit to this last surviving potter, and try out the potter’s wheel yourself! - INR 500/person • Session with the Amchi- An Amchi is a traditional Spitian doctor (following similar principles to the ancient art & science of Tibetan Medicine). Get a session with the Amchi who will read your pulse and tell you about your Health! - INR 500/person • Spin your own Yak rope- Make yourself a Spiti souvenir while you are in Demul- learn the art of spinning yak wool and twine it into a yak rope from the locals. - INR 500/person *All programs may not be available on your program.

Inclusions

Inclusions

  • All accommodation starting Day 1 to Day 7 on a twin sharing basis (Mix of Hotels, Guesthouses & Homestays)
  • Guide starting Day 2 to Day 6
  • Monastery fees while in Spiti
  • Food & Beverages: Meals Day 3 dinner to Day 6 lunch (packed) , Dinner and breakfast in Chandratal, Lifestraw drinking water bottles .
  • Transportation: Transfers Day 1 to Day 8 (Tata Sumo or Mini Bus)

Exclusions

  • Mineral water and beverages (other than those provided)
  • Tips
  • Insurance
  • Taxes

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