The Budhist Safari

by SumitVashisht /
SumitVashisht's picture
Jul 10, 2009 / 0 comments
 Langcha Village in Spiti Valley
The monsoon is on in Shimla for last one month. The schools in the plains of North India are open now and no Indian tourists are coming to the hills. We encountered a number of traffic jams this summer and number of road fights took place due to the driving neglegencies of the people form the plains. They just overtake without noticing the shortage of space on these hill roads and cause massive traffic jams leading to fight with locales.
The clouds now float in the valley and even enter my room if I leave the door of my balcony open. It is green and wet everywhere. The sky is white and the water drops, left by the last night's rain, are dripping from the high rissing Cedar trees.
We at Astounding Himalayas conduct Jeep Safari Tours to the Hidden Valleys of the Western Himalayas. The idea is to visit Spiti Valley and we reach this place in a very slow pace as on the way there are number of other places that you do not want to miss. But before taking this program please read the following very carefully as a very special type of travelers are required for this trip.
 Travel Research : These trips are for those who enjoy traveling without the knowldege of what is there around or at the next curve, One who enjoys in the unknown, who is ready for ups and downs of the are, one who is ready to pitch or help and not looking for the silky conforts of travel, and one who is ready for the worst may happen and is cooperative in every manner.
Physical Rating : You must have a good fitness level as you may be asked to walk with you back pack for 5 - 6 hours. The terain of the region is mountainous and challanging. We might have to cross a stream, a water fall a desert or a forest. The slow speed of the vehicle might be irritating for you but the stunning beauty of natural surroundings keeps you busy and keeps yous camera on.
Health : Although we always carry a First Aid Box but it is strongly reccommeded that if you are taking any personal madicines, you must carry them with you. Also you must consult with your doctor before you go for this trip as high altitude can be a problem for some. 
Accommodation : Neat and Clean Guest Houses with clean linnen and attached toilet facilities. But you may not find shower everywhere. Hot water can also be a problem so body sponging is possible.
At some places we unable to book accommodation in advance so we just walkin and ask for the room. If they are not available then we have to pitch our tents that we always carry.
Transport : Jeep, Walking, Bus. There are some very long travel days on dirt and bumpy roads. But once again I would like to say that the stunning beauty of the area keeps you busy and you do not feel tired.
Meals : All our trips are accompanied by proffessional cooks and guides. We try our level best to provide the best possible itmes available such as drinks, juices, fruits, breads, Soups, Sweet Dish and Non Vegeterian too but at some places we are also helpless due to the non availability of the items.
Travel Insurrance : It is necessary to get your Travel Inssurance Certificate before you participate in our trips.
Weather Conditions : July to September are the monsoon months in India so when you start from Shimla it might be raining heavily. It is suggested to carry your umbrella and rain coat along with you. Due to heavy rains you might find some un expected problems such as road block or landslides, So be prepared.
Inner Line Permit : Spiti falls under the Inner line area as it shares its boarders with China so it is essential for the foreighners to  get an Inner line permit from Shimla. It take one full day to get the permit so plan accordingly. Please bring a copy of passport, visa and 4 copies of your passport size photograph.
Viceregal Lodge is the building from where the British controled the entire Subcontinent during Raj.
The Itineray Goes as Follows :
Day 01 : Arrival at Delhi : Our representative waits for you at the airport. Met on arrival at the airport and transfer to you hotel.
Day 02 : Delhi - Shimla  : Early morning transfer to New Delhi Railway Station to board Shatabadi. (dep : 0630. Arr kalka : 1200). Arrive Kalka and change to Toy Train to Shimla. (dep. 1210. Arr Shimla : 1730). The toy train is linked with Shatabadi Express and does not leave till Shatabadi Express has arrived. Arrival at Shimla at 1730 and transfer to your Hotel/Camp.
Day 03 Shimla : Shimla is the town that was completely built by The British in 19th and 20th century. The town has marvel examples of English Architecture such are Norman, Gothic, Baronial, Scottish, Victorian, Baverian, Tudor and of course Himalayan too. Visit the Viceregal Lodge that used to be the Summer Palace of the Viceroy of India. The entire subcontinent was controled from this building and finally at the time of independence this building became the venue of preperation of the final documents of the Great Partition of India and Pakistan was carved out. Visit Christ Church and  in the after noon we shall meet and discuss anything you have in your mind regarding the trip.
Day 04: Shimla to Sarhan : 2165 M (175 KM – 6 hours drive) : Today’s drive takes you through lush green Apple Orchards. On the way river Satluj runs along side the age-old Indo-Tibet road. By early evening you arrive Sarhan, perched high above the river Satluj. Check into the quaint little Guest House in the temple.
Day 05: Sarahan to Sangla : 2680 M (95 KM – 3 – 4 hrs. drive): You now enter the Kinnaur district and the beautiful valley of Sangla. It is also known as Baspa valley as Baspa river flows through the valley. The valley offers enchanting view of snow clad peaks in the surroundings. On arrival check into a guest house or pitch your tents.
Day 06: Sangla : Visit to the ancient Kamru fort & temple dedicated to Nag Devta – The Snake God. Afternoon visit to Chitkul, the highest and the last village in this valley.
Day 07: Sangla to Kalpa : 2759m (55 KM – 2 hrs. drive) : Kalpa is the main village of the District - Kalpa. Across the river, facing Kalpa is the majesty of the Kinner Kailash range. This is a spectacular sight early in the morning as the rising sun touches the snowy peaks with crimson and gold light.
Day 08 : Kalpa to Tabo : 3050 M (200 KM –  8 to 8 hrs drive) : Another pleasant day drive to Tabo village.  On this drive you enter from green to brown area gradually. Tabo Monastery is known as The Ajantas of Himalayas due to its wall paintings in the old Monestery. 
Day 09 : Tabo - Kaza : 3050 M (45 KM – 2 hrs drive) : Today we shall visit Dhankar Monastery and its Museum that depicts Budhism of the area. Dhankar was once the royal seat of the Royal family of the valley. Our next visit is to Lalung Monastery in Lingti Valley. Arrival Kaza in the evening.
Day 10 : Kaza : Today visit Lancha Hikkim and Komic Villages (4500 M). The landscape here is breathtaking. No words to describe the beauty of the area.
Day 11 : Kaza - Chandertal (3900 M) : Morning after breakfast drive to Kibber & Gete Villages. There is ample opportunity to see Ibex, Red Fox, Yak grazing meadows enroute. On return visit to Ki Monastery located at the height of 3969 meters. Visit the ancient monastery built on what is believed to be have been a crater of an extinct Volcano. The Monastery boasts of ancient brass instruments consisting of Trumpets, Cymbals & Drums. Later visit village of Kibber, one of the highest villages in the world. The Gompa situated above the village is one of the best preserved in the region. Later drive to Chandertal. Reach Kunzum Pass (4551 m) and trek - 9 km, to Chandertal. Those who cannot trek can drive to the lake. 
Day 12 : Chandertal - Kaylong (3350 Meter - 5 to 6 hrs. drive) : Now you enter Lahaul Valley. Now drive along the Chandra River, which later becomes the Chandra Bhaga at the confluence in Tandi Bridge. The landscape is barren all around while the valley floor is lush green with fields of Barley, Potato, and Hops springd with trees of Willow & Poplar. En-route we stop at tiny hamlet of Chatru for refreshment.
Day 13 : Kaylong to Udaipur (2650 Meter) and Trilokinath (2760 Meter) :  Today drive along the Chandra Bhaga to sacred sites of Trilokinath & Udaipur. Trilokinath is famous for its temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Perhaps the only place in the world that is revered by both Hindus & Buddhist. Udaipur is famous for the temple of Mrikula Devi, that was built by Pandas during their exile. After visiting these exquisite temples return to Kaylong after a full days 100 KM drive.
Day 14 : Keylong to Sarchu (4253 Meter) : 115 KM : 6 to 7 hrs drive : Morning after breakfast drive over the Baralacha Pass (4883 meters) and the picturesque Suraj Tal Lake (4800 Meters) slowly entering another cold desert in Himalayas. Overnight at camp Sarchu. Sarchu is the place where we leave Himachal Pradesh Behind and enter Jammu & Kashmir State.
Day 15: Sarchu – Leh : (3450 Meter) : 246 KM – 8 to 9 hrs drive) : On this route we also cross the plateau of ‘More Plans’ for 45 kilometers. The beauty here is unexplainable. Then over the Tanglang La Pass (5328 meter) the highest point of the tour where you stand on the world’s second highest motor able pass.

Day 16 : Leh : A Complete day of visit to the monasteries (104 Kms) After breakfast drive to visit the    Shey Palace, Thiksey, Hemis monasteries and Stok Palace Museum. Packed or Hot Lunch will be provided. Return to Leh in the evening. Overnight Hotel.

Day 17 : Leh – Nubra Valley (120 Kms) : After Breakfast drive to Nubra Valley via Khardungla (Highest Motorable road in the World, 18,380 ft). Arrive at Deskit by Afternoon. Rest of the day  one is free to explore Deskit, Hunder Villages and camel Safari in Sand Dunes between Deskit  and Hunder Village.  Overnight Hotel.


Day 18 : Nubra Valley to Leh (120 Kms) : After Breakfast visit Deskit Monastery and drive back to Leh by same Route, crossing Khardungla Pass. Overnight Hotel.

Day 19 : Leh – Delhi : Transfer to airport and fly back to Delhi with Sweet Memories of Ladakh. Met on arrival at the airport in Delhi and transfer to Hotel / International airport