Manali to Leh Jeep Safar
Spiti Valley Jeep Safari in Himachal starts from Delhi with a drive / train to Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pardesh. Further drive to Sangla via Sarahan, where you can visit beautiful Hindu Temple of Bimakali. Further drive to Sangla along the Satluj River and Recong Peo, Kalpa, Marang is reached with a drive along the Hindustan Tibet Highway.
This section is full of ancient and most beautiful monasteries and Buddhist culture. Tabo monastery, the Ajanta of Himalaya of 10th century is the first village of Lahul and Spiti.
Some high passes like Kunzom La and Rohtand Pass are some of the major attraction of this region. Considered as a little Tibet and you may find a glimpse of Ladakh. Cross the Rohtang pass and you will enter in Manali Valley which is one of themost beautiful Hill station of this region. Continure drive to Dharamsala which is famous for its beauty and main residence of His Holiness Dalai Lama. Dalhousie if another hill station in this region in west of Himachal and finally you will end your safari at the city of Golden Temple – Amritsar.
Duration: 19 Nights / 20 Days
Best Season May to End of September
Destinations Covered: Delhi – Shimla – Sarhan – kalpa – Tabo – Kaza – Manalai – Dharamsala – Dalhousie – Amritsar
Day 01 : Arrival Delhi
You will be met on arrival at International airport early in the morning and transferred to the hotel. Check in at hotel (Immediate occupancy). Morning at leisure. Afternoon proceed to visit a half day city tour of the Capital. Includes Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Rajghat, India gate and President House.
Back to the hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 02 : Delhi to Shimla by train
Morning you will be transferred to the new delhi railway station to connect train Himalayan Queen Express departs at 0600 hours and arrive Kalka at 1120 hours. Change the train and board at Kalka Shimla Express departs at 1210 hours and arrive Shimla at 1720 hours. Transfer to hotel and check in. evening explore the market and The Mall. Late evening back to the hotel for overnight stay
Day 03: In Shimla
Spread across 12 km along a ridge that overlooks terraced hillsides and cultivation, Simla is magnificently robed in dense forests of oak, pine, fir and rhododendron. In the summer the private gardens abound in flowers in full bloom. Originally a small village with a temple to Shamla Devi as its main attraction, the British developed the settlement for its bracing climate and scenic location to make it the summer capital of India for many years. Places of interest include The Mall, Simla’s principal promenade which terminates at Scandal Point, from where the views of the Himalayas are unmatched; the Viceregal Lodge, the erstwhile viceroy’s residence is today the Institute of Advanced Studies. The Simla State Museum houses numerous art objects from around India including a priceless collection of paintings. The hills surrounding the town offer superb views – a brisk walk up Jakhoo Hill leads to a temple dedicated to Hanuman. Glen Forest, by a stream’s edge, is a delightful picnic spot in a dense forest clearing. Summer Hill has several forest trails for easy walking.
Day 04: Shimla to Sarhan
the early morning, driving via Narkhanda, which offers ski slopes with training during the winter months.
Continue to Rampur, the erstwhile Himalayan kingdom of Rampur Bushahr. It offers a rare insight into customs, religion, art and architecture of its people. It is one of the biggest commercial towns in Himachal Pradesh and is famous for the Lavi fair held in November. Traders from Kinnaur, Spiti and Lahaul participate in it. Men and women come dressed in traditional costumes. A special bazaar is held where they can be seen sitting in groups selling raw wool, shawls and handicrafts, along with walnuts, almonds and other dried fruits. While the days are spent in making bargains, the evenings are given to song and dance. Arrive Sarahan, the summer capital of Rampur Bushahr. The Bhim Kali temple is a big attraction and offers magnificent views of the Sirkhand peaks. Overnight in hotel.
Day 05: Sarhan to Sangla (95 Kms)
Morning after breakfast start safari to reach Sangla (2680 m). Arrive and. Sangla has houses on a slope built one upon another with Kinner Kailash peak (6600 m) dominantly situated in the background. Visit the nearby Kamru Fort, now dedicated to Kamakshi Temple. Overnight stay in hotel.
Day 06: Sangla to kalpa (51 Kms)
Morning visit Chitkul the last inhabited village of the area. Explore the Gompas and temples and surrounding and proceed to drive for 2 hours approx to Kalpa. One of the most beautiful spot of the area to view the magnificent view of Kinner Kailash peak. Enjoy the dinner and overnight at hotel.
Day 07: kalpa to Nako
Morning continue drive to Nako. Nako is a lush village which looks like an oasis in the barrenness the predominates around here. To the north of the village is the monastic complex of four large temples belonging to the Drug-pa order. The complex is called Locha lha-khang, after the great Lotsaba Rin- chen-bzangpo. Besides the temples, on the southwest are almost indistinguishable heaps of ruined monks’ cells and a few chortens. The temples are in a sad state of neglect and had suffered considerable damage from the 1975 earthquake. Overnight in hotel.
Day 08: Nako to Tabo (6-7 hours)
At Sumdo passports and Inner Line Permits have to be registered.
In the afternoon visit Tabo monastery. Spread over an area of almost 3000 sq. m., surrounded by a thick mud wall, the gompa is divided into three buildings with the middle structure being most interesting and important. Tabo (also spelt as Ta-pho) was established about a thousand years ago and was a part of Western Tibet school which originally designed different mandalas in the form of statues hanging on the walls of the gompa to meditate upon. However 800 years ago with the arrival of Guru Padmasambhava in Tibet, and with the introduction of his new sect – Gelug-pa, the old philosophy of Western Tibet schools was lost and their unique philosophical practices almost died. Now Tabo is the only living monastery outside Tibet depicting similar mandalas on the walls of the Dukhang. Tabo is also the home of the incarnated H.H. The Dalai Lama’s junior tutor.
Tabo has seen a lot of physical changes in the last 20 years. A new gompa and a school has been built for the young monks as well as civil administration buildings, local schools, agricultural works and electrification have changed the character of the village drastically. The combined impact of the very impressive government effort to improve the various aspects of the communal life in the region has had, none the less, an unfortunate impact on the cultural geography. Overnight camp at Shichilling.
Day 09: Tabo
After an early breakfast drive 8.5 km. on the link road and climb steeply to Dhankar, a most incredibly-situated gompa, perched high on barren rocky mountain slopes. As you progress, the whole Dhankar village opens up in front of you like something artificial, and crops up from nowhere.
Park your vehicles at the beginning of the village and walk for about half an hour past mud houses on to your right and fields to the left with the Spiti river flowing down below. The 6th century gompa, though not well preserved still has some magnificent original tangkhas and statues tucked away in dark rooms. You are advised to carry your flashlight to see some of the beautiful remaining murals. Unfortunately a part of the gompa was destroyed during the severe winter of 1989 and the repairwork by the locals has led to the further destruction of these priceless murals. After about a km, along the Spiti river upstream, take a right turn and climb steeply for about 30 minutes (17 km. on the link road) to the top of the ridge and follow the Lingti Nalla, which joins the Spiti, flowing far down in the gorge towards the left. The Lingti is known to originate in the mountains of Shilla and Gaya, 6,500-meter plus peaks on the border of India and Tibet.
Another 20 minutes drive brings you to the flatter fertile terraced farming lands of Lahlung, a small village consisting of a cluster of 50 to 60 houses with a population of 250 inhabitants. The gompa, which is situated on top of the village, is invisible from the road. Leave your vehicles and climb for about 15 minutes to the gompa. The main temple is intricately decorated with unique mandala frescoes and statues with the main statue of Bodhisatava in the centre. A small but very attractive temple depicts the philosophy which originated in Western Tibet about 800 years ago. To the right of the temple is an empty room used as a kitchen and for pilgrims to stay. The monastery is overshadowed by a huge fig tree providing much needed shade from the direct sun. Visit another small temple to the left of the main building which houses a four-headed clay statue of Buddha looking in four different directions. Return to the camp at Tabo for overnight stay.
Day 10: Tabo to Kaza
In morning drive to Kaza. Check in at hotel. After getting fresh proceed to visit to see the famous Ki gompa and Kibber, the highest permanent inhabited village in the world, situated at the altitude of 14,200 ft/4,303 m.
Ki, a beautiful gompa perched high on a pyramid-like mountain, belongs to the Gelug-pa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and has almost 40 resident monks practicing meditation and other monastic rituals. Its main temple the Dhukhang has some of the best murals, well preserved statues and tangkhas depicting different life stories of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Gelug-pa sect. overnight at hotel
Day 11: At Kaza
Morning after breakfast drive steeply uphill for another half hour to Kibber. Located in a semi bowl-shaped narrow valley, Kibber has a population of about 200 people mainly involved in the farming of barley and wheat. The light is just perfect an hour before the sunset to photograph this unique village. Continue on to Kaza, the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti. It boasts of a P.W.D. Rest House, a couple of small private guest houses, a branch of the State Bank of India, a school, a dry cleaners, post and telegraph office and a helipad. Overnight at Kaza.
Day 12: Kaza to Keylong
Morning drive for 7 hours to Keylong. Passing the villages of Rangrik, Kurik, Muling, Morang, Hal, Pangmo, Kiato and Hansa. After Lossar From here you get a good view of Spiti valley running 200 km. across from north-west to south-east with the Spiti river drained from the glaciers to the left of the Kunzum la.
To the north-west you can have good views of the CB 13, 14 and 16 peaks of the Chandra-Bhaga group. There is a small temple dedicated to Goddess Kunzum Devi at the top of the pass with prayer flags fluttering high over it. Take a drive around the temple to pay homage and start the descent to Batal, located at a crossroads.
This is the starting point of the trek up to Chandra Tal – the legendary moon lake situated at an altitude of 16,000 ft and can continue up to Baralacha la – the source of Chandra and Bhaga rivers. Right across the Chandra river towards the south there is an excellent view of upper Bara-Shigri glacier peaks, mainly Papsura, Dharamsura (White Sail), Pinnacle, Tiger Tooth and Snow Dome, all 6,000 meter-plus peaks. Continue drive to Keylong. Visit Ghondala Fort you arrive at Keylong and check in at hotel. Evening explore the market and overnight at hotel.
Day 13: Keylong to Manali
Morning drive back towards Rohatang Jot (13,047 ft/3,978 m.). Then descend and drive along the Beas River downstream along the true left bank through the villages of Palchan and Bhang. Descend to Palchan village from Rohtang la to Gulaba and Marhi, the winter ski slopes which are used by local shepherds as summer pastures.
The River Beas, one of the major rivers draining the fertile land of Punjab, originates from a spring just below the Rohtang la. In summer, one can see masses of Indian tourists and honeymooners visiting Marhi and Rohtang la to enjoy the snow, which stays usually up to July. There are a profusion of Chi shops and makeshift restaurants.
The road beyond Marhi is broken and rough since it is used by heavy military and civilian convoys, carrying supplies to Lahoul, Spiti and Ladakh. Stop for a while on top of the pass at a chi shop to have hot cup of tea. On arrival in Manali drive to the Mayflower Guest House for overnight stay.
Day 14: Manali
Day for explore the beautiful town of Manali. Manali is circled by beautiful glades of deodars and flowering horse chestnuts, tiny leveled fields and fruit orchards with the Beas River meandering through the town. It is an ideal place for walks, climbs, treks and picnics.
Visit Dhoongri Temple, also known as the Hadimba Temple, believed to be a thousand years old, It is dedicated to the goddess Hadimba, wife of Bhima, the Pandava of Mahabharata fame. Set in tranquil surroundings, the temple is four-tiered with a pagoda shaped roof and at the entrance are carved figures and symbols. Local folklore has it that Raja Bahadur Singh, who had the temple built, ordered the architect’s hand cut off to prevent him from duplicating its design elsewhere.
The Vashisht Springs are located in the small village of Vashisht on the left bank of the Beas. The hot water sulphur springs have been made into Turkish-style baths with shower rooms and temperature controlled water piped in. The nearby temple dedicated to Vashista Muni is well worth a visit.
Some 12 km from Jagatsukh and halfway between Manali and Kulu, is the small town of Naggar. The capital of the Kulu Raja for some 1,400 years, where the medieval world still survives, Naggar is untouched by time. It is situated on a wooded slope and commands an extensive view, especially of the north west of the Kulu Valley. The town has been made famous by the Russian painter Nicholas Roerich, whose works are displayed in a gallery. The Naggar Castle, with its tales of love and chivalry, is now converted into a hotel. There are several ancient temples in and around the town including the Vishnu, Tripur-Sundari Devi and Krishna temples.
Day 15: Manali to Dharamsala
Morning drive to Dharamsala fro 7 hours. Check in at Mecloadgung hotel. Afternoon explore the summer residence of His Holiness Dalai Lama.
Day 16: Dharamsala
Dharamsala, the principal township of the region is magnificently set amongst pine forests with the backdrop of the Dhauladhar range. Lower Dharamsala, with its bazaars and civic centres is the commercial heart. Some 1,500 feet higher up is Upper Dharamsala, where McLeod Ganj and Forsyth Ganj are located, each with their individual flavour and lifestyle. McLeod Ganj is the settlement of Tibetan Buddhists who sought refuge here in 1960 following their exile from Tibet. The Buddha Temple is situated opposite the residence of the Dalai Lama and around it are located a monastery and a nursery. A few kilometers’ walk away is the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts which organizes a ten-day folk opera commencing the second Saturday of April.
Other places of interest include St John’s Church, located in a forest grove midway between Forsyth Ganj and McLeod Ganj. Visitors here can see a memorial dedicated to Lord Elgin, one of the Viceroys of India who died in Dharamsala and was buried here in 1863. The church has some exquisite stained glass windows. The War Memorial is a beautifully designed monument, raised in memory of those who laid down their lives for their motherland. Overnight at hotel.
Day 17: Dharamsala to Dalhousie
After breakfast continue drive to Dalhousie. Afternoon check in at hotel. Dalhousie is a quiet little hill station on five hills. It was initially founded as a sanatorium by Lord Dalhousie (after whom it is named) in the 19th century. Dalhousie is richly forested and amidst its wooded slopes are charming houses and quaint cottages. The settlement has several enchanting forest trails that allow for some very interesting nature walks into the surrounding countryside. The chowks (squares) in the town provide exciting diversion, with Tibetan settlers hawking colourful hand-knitted woollen cardigans and jackets. Churches, Panchpula, Subhas Baoli, are some of the important sights of the area.
Day 18: Dalhousie
Visit Chamba and Khajjiar. Khajjiar (1960m) – often called ‘Mini Switzerland’, is a grassy marg (meadow) located 22km from Dalhousie towards Chamba. Along its fringes, thick forests of deodar climb the slopes, the snowline rests above these woods. The area is ringed by pine trees and in the centre of the glade, is a small lake fed by streams that traverse the green carpet. The lake has a golden domed Devi temple on a floating island. There is also a 12th century temple dedicated to Khajjinag. Within the temple are life-size wooden images of the five Pandava brothers of the Mahabharata
Chamba (926m) – is a serene town located on the bank of the Ravi River. An erstwhile princely state, it was the capital of the former rulers of Chamba. Its history dates back to the 6th century AD when it was ruled by a single Rajput clan till Independence in 1947. The town was founded by Raja Sahil Varman, who shifted the original capital here from Brahmpura (now known as Bharmour) and named it after his daughter Champavati. Today, it is famous for its marvelous architecture, and as the base for some fantastic excursions and treks. It has often been compared to a medieval Italian village and is famed for its ancient temples
Day 19: Dalhousie to Amritsar to Delhi by train
Morning drive for 4-5 hours to Amritsar to board an afternoon train to Delhi. Evening arrive Delhi and transfer to the hotel for an overnight stay.
Day 20: Departure Delhi
Day for shopping. Late evening you will be transferred to the international airport for your onward destination.