Day 1 Delhi
This is a free day to explore the ins and outs of the big and busy city.
Day 2 Shimla
We will land in the morning in Delhi and reach by train the city of Chandigarh at the foot of the Himalaya. We’ll hop on our vehicles towards Shimla, which used to be the summer capital of the British Raj in India. In Shimla we’ll find a surprising European style village with colonial buildings that is based in an altitude of 2,000 meters and boasts a panoramic view of the Himalaya mountain tops. We’ll prepare ourselves and our jeeps for the great adventure that awaits us and sleep in a hotel.
Day 3 Sarahan
Ready up for new territories to explore, we’ll drive along an old trail that connected India to Tibet, towards the Kinnaur valley all the way to Sarahan. The small rural village of Sarahan is situated right between snowy mountain peaks, above the Sutlej river, and is home to the Hindi temple of Bhimakali. The architecture of this 500 years old temple attracts pilgrims and visitors as it is situated on a cliff, five stories of wooden marvel, and countless legends and myths.
Day 4-5 Sangla
We’ll spend two days in Sangla and cross the great “Sutlej” river. From there, we will climb up (good thing we have our jeeps to help us!) to Chitkul village at the end of the road, 70 km from the Tibetan border. This is a secluded village hidden in the mountains, where its people kept the old traditions and culture, way on top at 3,450 meters.
Day 6 Kalpa
We will leave Sangla valley, and continue to the valley of Kalpa, the winter house of the God Shiva. The village Kalpa is famous for its markets and the Rhama temple and is surrounded by pine forests an apple groves. According to the Hindi tradition, Shiva meditated here, as he soaked in the panoramic view to Kinnauer Kailash. We’ll follow his footsteps tomorrow morning.
Day 7-8 Nako
Those of us who are willing to sacrifice their morning for an unforgettable view, will wake up to the spectacular sunrise in Kalpa that overlooks the backdrop of Kinnaur Kailash mountain range.
From Kalpa we will leave to Nako, the gateway to Pin valley, the Tibetan desert plateau from the Indian side. Nako is a unique village situated on the banks of a sacred lake. We will hike around the village and climb to a mountain pass where we will take a deep breath to inhale nature’s wonders. We will sleep in Nako for two days, and on the second day we’ll hike around the village, by the foot of the mountains.
Day 9 Tabo
We will leave Nako to the desert of Spiti valley and reach Tabo. Tabo, one of the most important monasteries in this region, is also called the “Ajanta of the Himalayas.” It was founded more than a thousand years ago, by Ringchen Zangpo, well known as the translator of the Buddhist scripts.
Day 10 Kaza
In the morning we will enjoy the remote villages and temples and reach Dhankhar. The ancient capital of Spiti has a monastery built on a 3,894 meters cliff. Above the monastery there is a fort that was used by the village population, and later on as a prison. One thing for sure, if you must be locked up- it better be with a viewpoint to gorgeous Spiti kingdom. Later we’ll leave to Kaza where we will stay two nights.
Day 11 Kaza
Kaza is an easygoing spot that will pamper our backs after the long ride. Those who’d like to join us to see some of the villages in the upper ridge, hop on ours jeeps, and brace yourselves, as we’ll try to breath in the heights of Lang Dzu and two grand villages. We will also be visiting a local home so you’ll get a feeling of what it means to actually live up on the mountains. From there we’ll head on the see Danker castle. If time allows us, we’ll climb with the jeeps to one of the highest villages in the world, Kibber (4,205 meters). We will visit Ki monastery which displays paintings of Buddha and other goddesses. We will sleep in Kaza.
Day 12 Jispa
Prepare for a long, challenging ride. We will head to Konzum La mountain pass at 4,551 meters and glide down to Lahaul valley, which offers a rewarding laid -back experience for its visitors. We’ll stop at Chandrah Tal for coffee and continue. In the evening we’ll reach nearby Jispa and sleep there or in Keylong.
Day 13 Ladakh
This day is full of the most impressive mountain passes. So, we will start climbing north by the mountainous way to Ladakh. We will cross the mountain pass in Bara Lacha (4,980 meters), which was a trading route and is now populated by shepherds. Then, we’ll reach the mountain pass Lachlang La and pass through barren landscape and rugged terrain. Here we’ll enter Ladakh and start noticing typical Laddakhian villages along the way. We will cross the sandy plateau towards our night camp right on the salt lake of Tso-Kar lake.
Day 14 Leh
Keeping north, we’ll arrive to Taglang La pass (5,330), the highest spot in the Manali road. This pass is open only a few months in a year, due to weather conditions. The pass reveals an incredible view to the Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan, where K2, the second highest mountain in the world, is situated. As Leh has much to offer, we’ll spend the next three nights in the city.
Day 15 Leh
After two weeks of self-driving, we can allow ourselves to wake up late, enjoy our breakfast and travel the city, bazaars and temples around. The bazaars are there for us to touch, smell and taste, a perfect place for shopping. Those who wish to feel the morning breeze of spirituality, are welcome to join us and watch the priests pray in a typical ceremony at Shey temple, home to the largest Buddha in the world.
Day 16 Leh
We’ll go up from Leh to Khardung La to see an amazing view to the mountain range in northern Afghanistan. We’ll have a short hike and towards afternoon we’ll return to Leh, not before we pay a visit to Shanti Stupa, an interesting Japanese peace temple inaugurated by the Dalai Lama in the 90’s.
Day 17 Delhi
Fly to Delhi. Take a rickshaw or the metro to wander around the city that is populated with 25 million people. Delhi is everything that you’ve ever imagined, and more. All colors and religions mix in together, with bizarre combinations of old bazaars and new shopping malls, Hindi temples alongside British buildings, striking poverty beside lush gardens. We’ll have a nap in the hotel before having our farewell dinner.
Day 18 Delhi
flying home or to your next destination.