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Kinnaur – Spiti

Here’s a quick way in which you can tailor-make your holidays, pick the access and exit points that are most convenient, throw in a few activities and stopovers of interest, give us your budget outline, and we’ll do the rest!

Access points – from where would you like to start your journey to Kinnaur – Spiti?

Chandigarh airport, Chandigarh

Stopovers – all the local places of interest

SONY DSCDrive from Chandigarh to Shimla: The Kinnaur – Spiti trail kicks off from Shimla, and a pleasant 3 hour drive over winding roads. Chandigarh’s agricultural plains are replaced along the way by the precipitous slopes and pine forests, and Shimla’s colonial past and old-world charm greets the traveller.

Drive from Shimla to Sarahan:

One of Shimla’s trunk roads carves its way through rugged terrain, gurgling streams and thick pine forests towards Sarahan, a small town perched halfway upon a mountainside. Little villages with slate-roofed houses dot the pastoral countryside and orchards fed by the river Sutlej. En route, Narkanda opens up the gateway into Himalayas apple county, and Rampur straddles between a history on the trade route between India, Tibet and China and its present-day role as a commercial hub of Himachal Pradesh. Sarahan, with its rich folklore and forest wisdom awaits the intrepid traveller.

Sightseeing in Sarahan

Shrikanda Mahadev Peak (5227m, 17150 ft): Seemingly, the Shrikhanda Mahadev peak is the only remnant of a blast connected with the story of Mohini (an avatar of Vishnu), the vanquishing of an Asur, Bhasmasur (a demon, bestowed with the boon of turning anything he touched to ash, who was finally outwitted into placing his hand upon his own head), and Shiva’s narrow escape from the scene. One of India’s revered natural shivlangams lies at the peak, and every July sees a Holy Yatra wend its way to the treacherous top.

Bhimkali Temple: A temple dedicated to the goddess Bhimkali, the presiding deity of the former ruler of the Bushahr state. Folklore claims that the ear of goddess Sati fell at the location, and she is worshipped in her virgin form here. With an unusual architecture, rich wooden carvings and tangled myth, this place is an interesting visit for the religious and non-religious alike.

En route from Sarahan to Sangla Valley:

Kinnaur Kailash Peak: Considered sacred by both Hindues and Buddhists, the Kinnaur Kailash peak is considered to be one of the mythical abodes of Lord Shiva. Another peak which bears the legend of Bhasmasur, and sees the worship of Lord Shiva.

Kamru Fort: A series of gates leads one into the Kamru fort, one of the oldest forts in Himachal Pradesh. The Kamru fort, on the banks of river Bapsa, overlooks the Sangla valley, ablaze with saffron fields fed by glacial streams. The fort hosts a statue of Lord Buddha, Kamakhya Devi and Lord Badrinath, each drawing pilgrims year-round.

Bering Nag Temple: The Bering Nag is dedicated to Lord Jagas, and is famous for its Fulaich Fair (a flower festival) celebrated every year between the months of August and September.

Sangla to Chitkul (via Batseri, Rakcham and Mastrang villages): The route from Sangla to Chitkul, over the Hindustan Tibet Border Road is a scenic one that winds its way through precipitous snow-capped mountains, lush valleys and fruit orchards. Little villages like Batseri, Rakcham and Mastrang, each with their own folklore and huddle of tea-shops, make the journey interesting. As this route still does not feature on most travel sites, nor government tourism itineraries, a truly offbeat experience awaits the intrepid traveller.

RecongPeo Monastery: A daytrip from Kalpa brings one to the Recong Peo monastery, a modern Buddhist construction of 1992 for the Kalachakra ceremony, performed by the Dalai Lama. A 10 metre statue visible from a fair distance, acts as a beacon for pilgrims and travellers alike.

SONY DSCKalpa to Tabo: The drive from Kalpa, a small heritage town to Tabo follows the Sutlej River. En route the Nako Lake, the highest lake in the valley fed by glacial melts and fringed with poplars and willows, is a rare treat. Legend claims it to be a “heavenly realm of fairies”, and tales of Guru Padmasambhava abound.

Beyond legend, the Gue village en route has another secret to share: the only natural mummy in India. Sangha Tenzin, a monk who  voluntarily agreed to be mummified 500 years ago, to rid his village of scorpions, was discovered when new construction was undertaken. Natural mummification, is a difficult process and scriptures detail the requirements, dietary and climatic, to delay the body’s decay, a truly rare esoteric practice.

The Tabo village is an ancient village lying on the bank of Spiti River. The Tabo Monastery, the oldest and archaeologically most important monastery of Spiti shelters the most sacred shrine of Gankhang within. It also hosts beautiful Buddhist paintings, lending Tabo monastery the epithet, Ajanta of Himalayas.

Tabo to Kaza: On a journey between Tabo and Kaza, the Dhankar Monastery, the old capital of Spiti valley, is an interesting stopover. Built as one of many fort monasteries in the region, dhankar lakeDhankar was once the residence of the King of Spiti . As a result of plundering through the ages, the monastery contains very few important statues, scriptures or thangkas. Yet the scenic location and sanctity of the place, lend it a solemnity few monasteries have. A one-and-a-half hour walk through the lunar landscape can bring one to the Dhankar sacred Lake.

Kaza: Despite repeated attacks by Mongols, the Key Monastery (or Key Gompa), stands witness to the turbulence across state borders. Perched high on a pyramid-shaped mountain, overlooking the Spiti river valley, the Key monastery continues to be an important religious training centre. A further drive through a narrow valley carved into a limestone outcrop, takes one to Kibber Village, the highest motor-connected village in the world. The nearby Kibber monastery and Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary, offer insights into Buddhist life and the scriptures contain rich medicinal knowledge about the local uses of forest species.

Kaza to Chandertal: Formed by a glacier on its descent, the Chandertal (literally meaning the Lake of the Moon) is situated at an altitude of 4,300 m or 14,100 feet. This cirque, girded by scree mountains, has been given conservation significance as a Ramsar wetland.

Chandertal  to Manali: The drive back from Chandertal to Manali, cuts across the Kunzum pass (4551m) and the Rohtang pass (4501m). Offering panoramic views of the Bara – Shigri Glacier and about a dozen peaks over 6000m, the route will keep any dozing visitor wide awake. A journey that makes one feel like they have touched the ceiling of the world!

Activities – all the crazy activities that we can organise for you, to add some adventure to your journey

SONY DSCAs the Kinnaur – Spiti trail is an offbeat, scenic one, the main activity is that of scenic drives. Visits to monasteries, temples and other cultural escapades await.

Accommodation – there is a variety of accommodation available at each stopover, as per your budget, we can suggest the most viable for your journey

Exit points – where would you like your journey to end?

Chandigarh airport, Chandigarh


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