Tailor-made Tour 17 days from £3590 per person
Places Visited: The Sangla Valley, Delhi, Dharamsala, Manali, Kaza, Tabo, Kalpa, Sangla, Sarahan, Shimla
For a few months every year, when the weather gods are kinder, the valleys of Lahaul, Spiti and Kinnaur, tucked away unknown for centuries, reveal their unexplored secrets to the outside world.
Emerging from thick snow, the frozen glaciers, rivers, valleys, high mountains and lakes create a mesmerizing scene for the spirited explorer. Home to ancient monasteries perched at dizzying heights; this is a journey through barren deserts, dense forests and turbulent rivers. We also pay our respects in the peaceful hill town of Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama's home in exile.
Cultural Tours Walks, Hikes and Rides
Fly from London Heathrow on the evening Jet Airways flight.
Arriving Delhi in the morning you will be met by our representative and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax after your flight.
A morning flight takes you to Dharamsala which is the current home of H.H. The Dalai Lama. The town is perched along a spur of the Dhaulandhar range, overlooking the Kangra valley and the Shivalik mountains.
This morning visit the Dalai Lama's headquarters and monastery in Mcleodganj and the Norbulingka Institute, which is a centre for Tibetan culture and heritage. The afternoon is at leisure. Optionally you can visit the Namgyal Monastery, the Kalachakra and Bhagsunath temples and the Kangra Art Museum to see paintings by Roerich.
Today undertake a long but scenic drive to Manali. You'll visit the Baijnath temple at Palampur en route.
Set along the Beas River Valley, Manali is a popular hill station. The town was once the starting point of the ancient trade route to Ladakh in the north. Today explore the Old Town, visit the intricately carved Hadimba Temple or roam around the busy mall. This day is also important for acclimatisation purposes.
The real adventure starts today with a stunning drive to Kaza (3,800m) through some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. You will cross the Rohtang La and Kunzum La mountain passes en route. These roads are amongst the highest in the world so expect plenty of corners, steep-sided valleys and breathtaking views.
Visit the striking Ki Monastery in the morning and later visit the villages of Gete and Kibber which are two of the highest permanently inhabited villages in the world, at around 4200 meters!
Drive to Tabo (3050 m) in the morning stopping at the Dhankar and Lalung monasteries en route. Visit Tabo Monastery in the evening. Established in 990 AD, Tabo Monastery is the oldest functioning Buddhist monastery in India and still has original decoration and art images intact. This monastery is often referred to as the Ajanta of the north for its frescoed paintings on the monastery walls.
Today undertake another long drive down to Kalpa (2900 m). You'll stop en route at Nako village to visit the monastery and Nako Lake.
Drive to the scenic valley of Sangla which has the Baspa River running through it. The valley is walled by densely forested slopes that rise steeply, eventually forming the high mountain peaks that dominate the skyline.
The Sangla valley is dotted with quaint little villages such as Chitkul, Karchham and Batseri, which are all supplied with fresh water from high mountain glaciers. With blue skies and bright sunshine, the brief summer months (when travel here is possible) provide a short but welcome crop of pine nuts, royal red apples and cherries for the local residents. The day is spent exploring.
Drive to Sarahan today. Visit the local temple, dedicated to the mother goddess Bhimkali.
Drive through the Sutlej Valley to Shimla (2,205m). Shimla was the summer capital during the British Raj era and it was at this time it started to be affectionately termed the 'Queen of Hills'. The town has one of the longest narrow gauge railway routes still operating in India.
This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of the town including the mock Tudor Library, the Christ Church, the Gaiety Theatre and the Viceregal Lodge. The afternoon is free to relax, enjoy a walk or soak up the atmosphere of the busy town centre mall. A round of golf is also possible at the 9 hole Naldehra Golf Club.
Drive to Chandigarh airport this morning and fly onto Delhi.
Transfer to airport in the morning. Board Jet airways mid-day flight arriving in London in the evening.
Tailor-made Tour 17 days from £3590 per person
✓ International flights from London
✓ 15 nights accommodation
✓ All internal transportation and transfers
✓ English-speaking guides
✓ Breakfast daily, full board in Kaza, Tabo, Kalpa and Sangla
✓ Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary
Places and Experiences in this tour
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