Rustik Travel

Kinnaur & Spiti Road Trip

  • Homestay-Ecosphere_Rustik_Travel
  • Langza_Buddha-Purvash Jha_Rustik_Travel
  • The_Insides_of_a_greenhouse_Eric_Wardell_Rustik_Travel
  • Homestay-Ecosphere_Rustik_Travel

The Essential Spiti & Kinnaur jeep safari begins at Shimla and takes you through the stunning and graphic valleys of the Sutlej, Baspa, Spiti, Pin and Chandra rivers and up and over the majestic Rohtang and Kunzum passes.

I felt more at home in these mountains than I had anywhere in my life, and I didn’t want to leave.

Jennifer Hanson

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
  • Best Months: June – October
  • Duration: 8D/7N, 9D/8N or 10D/9N (with or without Chandratal)
  • Dates: 27 Jun-4 Jul, 24-31 Aug, 23 Sep-1 Oct, On request
  • Level: Moderate
  • Guide: Available
  • Price: On request

Experience

During this trip we will travel into the spectacular Valley of the Sutlej River in Kinnaur. The mighty Kinner Kailash will keep us company in Kalpa, and the enchanting Sangla valley is the perfect place to chill out. While in Spiti we go to some of the world’s highest villages, visit ancient monasteries (including an over 1000 year old monastery). Experience the Spitian way of life through traditional homestays, and get an insight into the essential aspects of Spiti’s history, culture and practices. This trip packs in as much of Spiti and Kinnaur as is possible without compromising your comfort levels and holiday experience expectations. We will probably travel a shade more than “ideal”, a trade-off that in our opinion is worth making so that you may take with you the essence of the Spiti and Kinnaur experience.

Advisory

a) Since the program starts early morning on Day 1, you are expected to be in Shimla 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 (10D/9N, 9D/8N, 8D/7N Itinerary) / Shimla to Sarahan (2,313 m / 7,589 ft) via Narkanda: 147 km, 7-8 hours drive
Pick up point: Victory Tunnel Bus Stand Today we leave Shimla to make our way along the famous apple-growing belt of the State and zig zag our way to the valley floor of the Sutlej River which originates in Tibet. We follow the Sutlej River till the township of Jeori from where we ascend further to the picturesque village of Sarahan. Sarahan is famous for the Bhimakali temple carved in wood which we shall visit later today. Sarahan – overnight in a hotel.
Day 2 (10D/9N, 9D/8N, 8D/7N Itinerary) / Sarahan to Sangla (2,599 m / 8,530 ft.): 100 km, 6 hours drive
Today we descend back to the Valley of the Sutlej and follow the river into the Kinnaur region, which is world famous for its apples. We drive to Karcham where we bid adieu to the Sutlej (for a while!) and head up into the spectacular gorge of the Baspa (Sangla) river and onwards into the fabled Sangla valley. The Gerard brothers, the first outsiders to set foot in the Baspa Valley in the first quarters of the nineteenth century ranked it as the most charming of all Himalayan Valleys. Today we will be spending the night slightly ahead of the Sangla town in more pristine environs. Sangla Valley – overnight in a hotel.
Day 3 (10D/9N, 9D/8N, 8D/7N Itinerary) / Sangla to Kalpa (2,960 m / 9,711 ft) via Chitkul (70 km, 4-5 hours drive)
Visit Chitkul today, which is the last village in the valley, very close to the border of Tibet. From here we head to Kalpa – 4 to 5 hours Kalpa – overnight in a hotel
Day 4 (10D/9N, 9D/8N, 8D/7N Itinerary) / Kalpa to Tabo (3,280 m / 10,761 ft) via Nako (3,662 m / 12,014 ft): 157 km, 5-6 hours drive
Today we leave Kalpa and the beautiful view of the Kinner Kailash to head to Tabo (7 to 8 hours). The journey today takes us from the lush Sutlej Valley into the desert landscape of the Spiti valley. The drive is spectacular as we drive along what is commonly known as one of the World’s Most Dangerous Roads. We will cross Nako enroute and if keen, we can stop at the Nako Lake. Time permitting we will visit Gui Village (9 km from Sumdo) that has the mysterious 550 year old mummy of a monk. It is believed that the mummy that to be of a monk named Sangha Tenzin, who decided to sacrifice his life for the well-being of his village. Tabo – overnight in a guesthouse
Day 5 (8D/7N Itinerary) / Tabo to Kaza (3,800 m / 12,467 ft) via Dhankar Monastery (61 km, 2.5-3 hours drive)
Tabo is famous for its monastery, popularly known as the Ajanta of the Himalayas that celebrated 1000 years in 1996. We visit the monastery today and head on further to Dhankar. Dhankar was the erstwhile capital of Spiti. Dhankar also houses an ancient Monastery perched precariously between unique wind eroded structures. Remnants of the Dhankar 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 Dhankar Monastery was recently declared as one of the 100 Most Endangered sites in the World, by ‘The World’s Monument Fund’. Later today we head to Kaza. Stay at a hotel in Kaza..
Day 6 (8D/7N Itinerary) / Kaza (3,800 m / 12,467 ft)
After breakfast head onto Hikkim – Asia’s highest post office and send off a postcard to family back home. Visit Kee monastery and Kibber. Visit Langza village and head back to Kaza for the night. Stay at Hotel in Kaza.
Day 7 (8D/7N Itinerary) / Kaza to Chandratal (4,300 m / 14,107 ft): 118 km, 5-6 hours drive
If there is time then visit Chicham and Mud village on a parallel route. Camp overnight at Chandratal, while watching the starry sky, spot the milky way and if lucky see some shooting stars. (Please note that the camping is not permitted near the lake).
Day 8 (8D/7N Itinerary) / Chandratal to Manali (2,050 m / 6,725 ft): 116 km, 6-7 hours drive
Stay overnight in Manali.
Day 5 onwards: 10D/9N or 9D/8N Itinerary
Day 5 (10D/9N or 9D/8N Itinerary) / Tabo to Pin Valley
Tabo is famous for its monastery, popularly known as the Ajanta of the Himalayas that celebrated 1000 years in 1996. We visit the monastery today and head on further to Dhankhar. Dhankhar was the erstwhile capital of Spiti. Dhankhar also houses an ancient Monastery perched precariously between unique wind 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 (2 hours). Later today we head into the Pin valley and further to the buffer of the Pin Valley National Park to a unique village dedicated to meditating monks and nuns!! Pin valley – overnight in a guest house
Day 6 (10D/9N or 9D/8N Itinerary) / Pin Valley to Demul
Today we visit the Kungri monastery in Pin Valley and head onto Demul village (2 to 3 hours), fast becoming Spiti’s green village. We will learn more about these initiatives once we get there. Option of hiking/ yak safari* to a spectacular vantage spot before we reach Demul (2 hours steep hike) Option of experience an evening of folk expressions* Demul – Overnight in a homestay.
Day 7 (10D/9N or 9D/8N Itinerary) / Demul to Komic
Yak safari*/ Trek (5 to 6 hours) across the alpine grazing pastures of the village livestock and the hunting ground of the snow leopard. Visit the Komic monastery and head to the Komic village (Asia’s highest village). Once you’re settled in and if you are 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 a homestay
Day 8 (10D/9N or 9D/8N Itinerary) / Komic to Kaza
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 9 (10D/9N or 9D/8N Itinerary) / Kaza to Manali (or stay back at Chandratal as per 10D/9N itinerary and drive to Manali the next day)
Jeep to Manali – 4-5 hours Drop off point: Government Bus Stand, Mall Road, Manali Visit to Chandratal (optional and would need one more day)
Day 10 (10D/9N Itinerary) / Chandratal to Manali (2,050 m / 6,725 ft): 116 km, 6-7 hours drive
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 9 on a twin sharing basis (Mix of Hotels, Guesthouses & Homestays)
  • Guide starting Day 1 to Day 8
  • Monastery fees while in Spiti
  • Food & Beverages: Meals starting Day 5 dinner to Day 8 lunch (packed) , Dinner and breakfast in Chandratal, Lifestraw drinking water bottles
  • Transportation: Transfers Day 1 to Day 10 (Toyota Innova/Zylo or Mini Bus)

Exclusions

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

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