Spiti meaning 'the Middle Land' is that area of Himachal that lies between Tibet and the rest of India. It falls in the rain-shadow region of the Great Himalayas and is a high altitude desert which receives very little rainfall. Summer here is dry and barren with only little greenery close to the rivers. In winter it receives heavy snowfall and remains cut-off from the rest of the India most of the time. Rohtang pass at 13,054 ft and Kunzum pass at 15,059 ft remains closed during the winters. Only the road to Sipit from Kinnaur Valley remains open periodically when the snow is cleared.
Kibber village of the Lahaul-Spiti valley is located at 14,200 ft and is one of the highest motorable villages in the world. It is about 16km from Kaza. Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary is the only wildlife sanctuary in India located in a cold desert. Key Monastery which lies almost midway between Kaza and Kibber is the largest and the most important Buddhist monastery. It is a tiny village of about 80 houses, all made of stone and situated on top of a limestone rock in a narrow valley. People here engage in agriculture and animal husbandary during summer and do knitting and handicraft in winter.
Another key highlight of this tour is the Chhitkul Gaon, a lonely and sleepy village in the Baspa valley. It is famous for being the last inhabited village before the Indo-Tibet border and the highest village in this region. During summer this village is a mesmerising scenery of greenery, flowers and snow-capped mountains. In winter it is completely coverred in snow and remain cut-off for most of the time. The potatoes of this region are one of the best and costliest in the world. It is also famous for trout fishing, apple orchards, and many adventure activities. It is a nature lovers paradice.
The other major attraction of this route is the Chandra Taal. This crescent shaped shimmering blue lake lies on a glacial bowl and is surrounded by snowy peaks. Situated at an altitude of about 14,100 ft, it is one of the best experiences before Ladakh. Chandrataal is also known to change colours. Sometimes it is emerald blue, sometimes bluish green and at other times crimson red. Camping here on a starry night, you can actually see the Aakash Ganga (The Milky Way Galaxy), and if you are lucky, meteor showers too.
The road thoughout the tour is a mix of paved and unpaved roads with numerous stream crossings and waterfalls. It is a dream route for the adventure motorcyclist. Himachal has always been the favorite destination for bikers who never tires riding through its remote hamlets and winding roads. This route being rated as one of the 'most dangerous roads' in the world by Discovery Channel, add just the right amount of adventure to the trip. The landscape is so mesmerizingly beautiful, that you will feel lost in it. Pine woodlands, meadows, mountains, grasslands, big rocks, river, trout fishing, alpine jungles, apple orchards, old buddhist monasteries, hindu temples, quaint villages, this place has it all. Highlights of this route are some of the oldest Buddhist monasteries and hindu temples, visit the highest villages in the world and trek to the stunningly beautiful high-altitude Chandrataal lake.
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.
Shimla, is the capital and largest city of the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
The colonial architecture and churches, the temples and the natural beauty of the city are
a major attraction here. Shimla also has the largest natural ice skating rink in South Asia.
Owing to its steep terrain, the area around Shimla are ideal for adventure sports like
mountain biking, skiing, etc.
You will receive a warm welcome on arrival at Shimla. Check in to hotel. Meet the team. Local sightseeing. Overnight stay in hotel.
Naggar is a settlement in Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh, India, and it falls as a stopover. Local attractions are temples and naggar castle. Stay at hotel or homestay.
Bashisht village is located on the slope opposite to Manali near the banks of the Beas river. It is situated at the base of a steep mountain slope of green evergreen trees and cliffs. Bashisht was named after Rishi Vashisht, a Hindu sage and teacher or guru of Lord Ram. This place is famous for numerous temples, natural hot water baths and its rich culture. Stay at hotel.
After a major climb from Manali we cross the Rohtang pass. This road climbs to over 4000 m and is one of the most adventurous motorable roads of the Himalayas. We have to ride away from motorable road to reach Chandra Taal. We ride till Chandrataal and camp here. 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.
On the way to Kaza we go through Kunzum pass. 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 village it is the highest village in the world with a motorable road and electricity. Stay at a hotel in Kaza.
On the way from Kaza we will pass Dankar monastery, an ancient monastery build 12 century ago, over a ridge. 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.
Kalpa is a town with a history of ancient temples. The view from Kalpa is beautiful with an observer getting the feeling that he is sitting in the lap of the mountains with the entire range of peaks being visible. It is located at the base of the Kinnaur Kailash snow-capped ranges. Stay at a hotel.
Chhitkul is a small serene village beside the Baspa river in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. It is the last inhabited village in the Baspa valley on the old Hindustan-Tibet trade route. To best enjoy the local beauty and culture of this place you should stay in camps or home stay.
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.
End of trip. Local shopping and you go back with loads of memories.