Lahaul & Spiti Drive 2017
Welcome to the ‘City Beautiful’, Chandigarh, a rare epitome of modernization co-existing with nature’s preservation. We will all assemble at JW Marriot Hotel and start driving towards Narkanda, a town sprawled over with apple orchards and undulating forests of oaks and cedar. En route, we will make a stop at Timber Trail for breakfast. Here, we will have a quick team briefing and you will be introduced to fellow travellers. After breakfast, we will continue driving towards Narkanda. We plan to reach Narkanda before sunset, where you will get to know your fellow participants even better over a welcome dinner with an ample serving of stories about the rich history of the region. Also, you get to stay amidst apple orchards.
Today, we start driving towards Sarahan, a pretty hamlet in the gorgeous Kinnaur Valley. En route Sangla, we will drive under the iconic rocks protruding out of the mountains and covering the highway like a rooftop. Chances are that you have seen these rocks in movies but to witness them, in reality, is a stimulating experience. After taking enough pictures at the rocks, we will set out towards Banjara Camps, a luxurious glamping experience, our not-so-humble [and we say it with utmost delight!] abode for the next two nights. At the height of 2700 m, it is surrounded by towering forest-clad mountains on all sides and is set in an apple orchard on the banks of Baspa River that surges through the valley.
Enjoy the beauty and adventure of Sangla Valley to the full on this day. Around noon, we drive to Chitkul which enjoys the distinction of being India’s last village on the ancient Hindustan - Tibet route. And if this is not heavenly enough, a picnic lunch beside a rippling stream will make sure even the most unyielding amongst us will be charmed by the grace of unspoilt nature. Those looking for soft adventure can join the Raksham walk that takes you along rivers, through meadows and forests and over glaciers. And for the hardier lot, there is the challenging meadows walk that will have you seek a masseuse at the end of the day. Also, visit the pretty villages around and enjoy sitting along the Baspa River.
Today is tailor-made for the driving enthusiast. We start pre-dawn to catch the early morning serenity of Kalpa, the only place in India where pine nuts (chilkozas) grow. And, you cannot but feel awestruck with the Kinnaur Kailash peak looking upon you. Get ready for a drive that you will remember for the rest of your life! You are going to drive on the World’s Most Treacherous Road today as we proceed towards Tabo, a small town on the banks of Spiti River, reaching in the evening for a much-deserved rest. This seemingly quaint village of mud huts holds beautiful attractions. It is situated in a bowl-shaped flat valley with the Tabo Monastery lying at the bottom of the valley, unlike other monasteries which are usually perched atop hills.
Check out Tabo with its impressive mud monastery dating back to 996 A.D., the oldest in the country and also the largest monastic complex in Spiti Valley. It boasts of nine temples, 23 chortens, and chambers for monks and nuns and is second to Tibet’s Tholing Monastery in terms of its religious sanctity. Our next stop will be at Dhankar Monastery. Strategically built at the highest point in Spiti Valley at an elevation of 3700 m above sea level, the Monastery is perched atop a 1000 ft-high spur overlooking the point where the Spiti and Pin Rivers converge. After visiting the Monastery, we continue driving towards Kaza, but before reaching our beautiful hotel, we make a quick stop for refuelling at the highest petrol pump in the world!
The villages around Kaza are believed to be the highest in the world, mostly caught in their time warp. Amongst other main attractions, we will also pay a visit to the Key Monastery; prettily sitting atop a cliff overlooking the spectacular valley below. Another highlight of today will be visiting the Buddha statue at Langza, which is a relatively new addition to the landscape. It feels as if the Buddha has been made to sit there to keep an eye on the pristine valley. Make sure to send postcards back home to your family & friends from Hikkim, the highest post office in the world before visiting Komic, the highest village in the world connected by a motorable road.
The seventh day will prove to be another one to clock for the driving aficionados amongst us. We will leave at dawn for Manali with 250 km of momentous terrain ahead of us. The route from Kaza to Manali will have you crossing the famed mountain passes of Kunzum and Rohtang. Situated at a height of 4590 m, Kunzum Pass rests on the eastern Kunzum Range of the Himalayas. Rohtang La, meanwhile, is located at an elevation of 3980 m on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas. Gliding across rivers, glaciers and undulating tracks, this will be the best and the most fascinating [not to mention challenging!] drive of your journey. The changing hues of the landscape will make for a captivating backdrop to our adventure.
Still sleeping? No problem. You deserve it! After 12 hours of arduous - yet spirit-lifting driving the previous day, the penultimate day of your journey will offer a much needed break to all the participants. Call it a “Duvet Day”, “Sightseeing Day”, “Shopping Day” or anything else; it’s certainly not a driving day. The final stopover on this road trip is the beautiful Himachal township of Manali. With its quaint cafes, the lively Mall Road, several antique temples and Buddhist Gompas, along with gushing waterfalls and lakes - Manali’s laidback yet invigorating vibe makes it a favourite with tourists. If feeling energetic, you can even visit the beautiful Jogni waterfalls. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner with the group and reflect on fond memories of the trip.
Spiti - Are you Serene or Sanguine? At once, you are massive, brown, intimidating, silent, sombre, still and serene. Lost in myself, I turn around and see - You are green, vibrant and dynamic. Streams gushing, rocks rolling, rivers flowing, flowers blooming – blue, red, and yellow and all other hues? I take a little of you, leave a little of me, realize, we are a bit of both. Stupefying and splendid!” These lines encapsulate, in the most lyrical way possible, the absolutely thrilling and otherworldly quality of this experience. Challenging, unpredictable and intensely stimulating, this is one journey that will have you manoeuvring through the complexities of life itself. It’s time to head back to Delhi or your chosen destination. We part ways in Manali with a promise to meet again!
INR 95,000 + 5% GST Per Person (EMI Option Available)
Lahaul & Spiti Drive 2017
LAHAUL & SPITI 2017
LAHAUL & SPITI DRIVE 2017
Lahaul & Spiti Drive 2017
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