Spiti in local language means 'the Middle Land'. This area is called Spiti because it lies between Tibet and the rest of India. It is a high altitude desert land situated in the Himalayas in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The valley of Lahaul and Spiti receives very little rainfall because it lies in the rain-shadow region of the Himalayas. During summer the landscape here is mostly barren with greenery concentrated mostly in the lower valley region around rivers. However it receives heavy snowfall in winter and remains partly cut off from the rest of India during winters. The road to Lahaul from Kullu valley passes over the Rohtang Pass at 13,054 feet, and remains cut off during winters. Lahaul and Spiti valleys are separated by the Kunzum Pass, at 15,059 feet, which again remains closed during winter. The road to Spiti through Kinnaur Valley remains periodically closed during winter storms but is restored immediately afterwards.
Kibber, a village in this Lahual-Spiti Valley of Himalayas, is known for being one of the highest motorable villages in the world. It is situated at a height of about 14,200 ft in the Himalayas at a distance of about 16 km from Kaza. Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary is the only wildlife sanctuary in India located in a cold desert. Key Monastery, the largest and the most important Buddhist monastery in Spiti Valley and is located close to Kibber. Kibber village is built in a narrow valley on top of a limestone rock. The village has around 80 houses, made of stone unlike the mud or adobe brick extensively used elsewhere in the Spiti valley. All basic amenities are available at Kibber village. The main occupation of people here is agriculture and animal husbandary in summer and knitting and handicraft in winter.
One of the major attractions of this route is the Chandrataal. This shimmering blue lake lies on a glacial bowl surrounded by snowy peaks. Situated at an altitude of about 14,000 ft, it is one of the best experiences to have without having to go all the way to Ladakh. Chandrataal is known to change colours - changing from emerald blue to bluish green to crimson red at different times. Its a surreal experience to camp here. On a starry night, you can actually lie under the Aakash Ganga (The Milky Way Galaxy), and if you are lucky, meteor showers will also keep you company. As a result it attracts its own share of Shepherds, Celebrities and Tourist.
The tour is a mix of paved and unpaved roads with many stream crossings and waterfalls. It is an ideal place for an adventure motorcyclist. The route is not easy and can be difficult even for an experienced rider. The landscape however is so mesmerizingly beautiful, that it will make you forget everything else. It starts from lush green, changes to barren dessert mountains of spiti and lahaul valley and back to lush green again. Apart from the adventure and the landscape, we also get to visit some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries and hindu temples, visit the highest villages in the world and ride to stunningly beautiful high-altitude lake, Chandratal.
The itinerary lists the places we will be covering during the trip. Where we stay and how much we travel in a day is just indicative and is subject to change depending on weather condition.
Chandigarh is a city and a union territory of India that serves as the capital of the
states of Punjab and Haryana. Chandigarh was one of the early planned cities in the
post-independence India. Chandigarh is located near the foothills of the Sivalik range of the
Himalayas in northwest India.
You will receive a warm welcome on arrival at Chandigarh. Check in to hotel. Meet the team. Local sightseeing. Overnight stay in hotel.
Kotgarh, situated 82 km from Shimla on the old Hindustan-Tibet road, is also lovingly called the apple bowl of India. It is famous for its apples and acres of apple orchards. Samual Evan Stokes is said to have planted the first apple trees in India here. There is an interesting story about how he got apple to India. Kotgarh is a quaint scenic place. The picturesque terraced fields dotted with apple trees and bungalows is feast for the eyes. Hattu temple and peak is a popular trekking trail, and offers a panaromic view of the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar ranges from the top. The elliptical shaped Tanu Jubbar Taal is a scenic location and has the famous Naag Devta temple built along its sides. The beautiful wooden St. Mary's Church, with its old graveyard stands as a reminder of the bygone era. Milan Devta Temple (Chatur Mukh), with its beautiful architecture constructed in Shikhar style, is dedicated to diety Deo or Deota. There are interesting accounts by blogger about this mandir. Stay at hotel.
Sarahan is small picturesque temple town in the Sutlej valley and is the Gateway to Kinnaur. Located half way up a high mountain side, the road to Srahan winds past flowering pine trees that give way to stately oaks. Encircling the Bashal peak are trees of smooth birch and variety of wild flowers and rare medicinal herbs. Adventure seekers can take a one day trek to the Bashal peak and enjoy the charming view of partially snow-coverred mountains beyond the green grassy hills. Deep down the alley flows the Satluj river and across lies the snow-clad Shrikhand peak. This sparcely populated region has many ancient legends and here is the famous Bhimakali Mandir regarded as the Fifth most scared Saktipeeths. The temple with its wealth of carvings is an example of Himachal's indegineous form of architecture known as the 'Kathkuni' style, prevalent in the districts of Shimla, Kinnaur and Kullu. It is believed to be at least 800 years old. The centuries old temple is now locked and in the newly built temple the goddess Bhimakali is portrayed as a maiden. This temple complex includes other temples such as Narsingh shrine of Bhairon and Lord Raghunath. Other attraction is the nearby Jeori hot water springs.
Nako is a small village in Kinnaur. Nako Monastery in the upper part of the village and the Nako Lake are important landmarks in the village. Stay at hotel or home stay.
Tabo is a small town in the Lahaul and Spiti district on the banks of the Spiti River in Himachal Pradesh. The town surrounds a Buddhist monastery which, according to legend, is said to be over a thousand years old.
Kaza is a small town in the Spiti district with lots of interesting places around it to visit. At Kaza we can visit the Key Monastery-the oldest and biggest monastic complex standing on the hill in the Spiti valley. We can also visit the Kibber village (14,200 ft), 8km from Key Monastery, it is the highest village in the world with a motorable road and electricity. Kibber national park and Pin Velley national park are two other interesting places that can be visited from here. Stay at a hotel in Kaza.
We cross the Kunzum pass and ride till Chandrataal and camp here. We have to ride away from motorable road to reach Chandra Taal. Camping here is an out of world experience. On clear nights, star-gazing is incomparable with views of not only numerous stars and constellations, but also the Milky Way and meteorites (shooting stars). Being a medium sized lake it is also perfect for a walk around.
The road now climbs to the Rohtang Pass and after crossing the pass there is a major climb down to Manali. Manali is a small town located on the banks of Beas river. Solang Valley, Naggar Castle and Vashisht Hot Springs are some of the places to visit if time allows. Stay at hotel in Manali.
End of trip. You go back with loads of memories.