With the summer heat giving way to the maddening monsoons of the hills, with landslides and road blockages in most parts of the Himalayas, this road trip to the cold desert is your perfect getaway to escape the scorching heat and humidity of the cities and the endless rains of the mountains. What if you do all this, and more at one of the highest places in India? Where no vegetation grows, and the valleys are flanked by tall, naked and barren mountains with snow-capped peaks. Where very few vehicles make it because there are no roads, just rubble and boulders, where there is raw beauty wherever you look?
Spiti, the ‘middle land’, is one of our favorite destinations. It not only gives us respite from the heat but also teaches us how to truly live and let go! But Spiti is not for those who seek a luxurious getaway, or for the fainthearted. If you’re someone looking to explore the local Spitian culture by staying in rustic homestays and eating local food, come on board as we journey through this magical land exploring hidden gems and making countless memories under the stars.
If you wish to find yourself in a high-altitude cold desert, then Spiti valley is the ultimate destination for you. This Valley is at a height of 12,500 ft from sea level. Spiti valley is covered with barren, gigantic sky-high mountains piercing the clear blue sky. The enchanting sound of the streams of Spiti River tears through the silence of Spiti Mountains. Additionally, in the night, the beauty of the ink-blue sky dotted with shining stars will live you speechless.
Come join us for an epic adventure across this magnificently barren yet equally enchanting land called Spiti!
Highlights of the Trip-
Visit age-old temples. Explore monasteries literally hanging from cliffs. Experience Upper Himalayas. Uncover the mystery of a 500 years old mummy. Sit by crystal blue lakes and relax. Send a postcard from the highest post office in the world. Explore beautiful rustic lands of Kinnaur. Cross some of the highest passes in the world. Camp under a billion-star sky
This road trip starting from Shimla to Spiti is especially for travellers who are in the quest for discovering the lush beauty of such delightful sceneries. The road trip goes through the beautiful rustic lands of Kinnaur, the apple orchards of Sangla, massive lands of Kalpa and Spiti valley, exploring nature at every step. Each small village or land that passes by during this epic road trip offers a memory to remember for a lifetime.
We have given wings to your desires of unleashing the true beauty of the Himalayas in such rustic landscapes. If you are challenging enough to explore the enthralling experience of Kinnaur-Spiti road trip, sign up with us today!
Cold Desert Road Trip Map ( Spiti Circuit)
DAY 1 (15 Sept) Shimla- Kufri – Narkanda- Kalpa – This epic Road Trip will start from ISBT Shimla (9 am) in a comfortable Tempo Traveller. Our first stop is the enchanting village of Kalpa, home to the mighty Kinner Kailash Range. via mesmerising places like Kufri, Theog, Fagu, Narkanda and Rampur.Kalpa is one of the biggest and most beautiful villages of Kinnaur district. It is very famous for its production of high quality of apples, and pinus gerardiana, also known as chilgoza. Kalpa also offers spectacular sights early in the morning as the rising sun touches the snowy peak and paints the sky with crimson and golden light.
DAY 2 (16 Sept) Kalpa – Nako – Giu – Tabo– We start our morning going around exploring parts of Kalpa and Reckong Peo to enjoy the stunning views of the Kinnaur – Kailash mountains, visit the sacred temples, monasteries and get an insight into the local way of living.
From here, we depart for Nako while crossing the treacherous Malling stream. At Nako, the most picturesque hamlet of Kinnaur, we visit the Nako Lake and the Buddhist temple which is known for its foot like impressions ascribed to the Saint Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche. We also make a stop at the ancient Nako monastery which dates back to the 11th century. The monasteries at Nako contain a large number of scriptures and pieces of art, wall paintings, and stucco.
From Nako, we now enter the vast Spiti Valley, while crossing the check post at Sumdo. Our first stop in Spiti is at the village Giu, located 17 kilometers from Sumdo. Giu village is known for its 500 years old mysterious mummy which still has its teeth and hair intact. After visiting the temple where this mummy is still preserved, we then move on to explore the oldest monastery in the world, the Tabo Monastery, which is also the favourite of the Dalai Lama.
DAY 3 (17 Sept) Tabo – Dhankar- Mudh- From Tabo, we drive ahead some 27 kilometers to reach Dhankar. Dhankar used to be the administrative capital of Spiti before Kaza. We explore the village and visit the Dhankar Gompa situated asymmetrically atop a steep cliff. This hill-top fort that overlooks the Spiti Valley also once used to serve as a jail in the olden days. We then proceed to make a stiff climb of less than an hour to be introduced to the splendid Dhankar Lake which seems tiny despite a 2-kilometer circumference amidst the vast undulating pastures surrounding it.
After spending some amazing moments beside this gem of a lake, we proceed towards Mudh, which is a high-altitude village located in Pin Valley of Spiti District. Pin Valley is known for its Pin Valley National Park, home to the snow leopard and Siberian ibex. With such high reaches and glaciers where humankind seldom goes, Pin Valley might as well be the highlight of your trip! Mudh is the last motorable village in India on this side and is also the base camp for a number of long treks including the famous Pin Bhabha Pass Trek. Known for its sprouting pink blossoms known as Sia Mentok, Mudh is an enchanting land that is sure to leave you awestruck!
DAY 4 (18 Sept) Mudh – Demul- Komic- Hikkim– This day we explore some of the highest inhabited regions of the world. We first visit Demul, a remote village that is known to have only one telephone in the entire village! The mighty Chau Chau Khang Nilda Peak looms over this village and the elusive snow cock can also be spotted here.
From Demul, we proceed to Komic– Komic – which literally translates to ‘eye of a snow cock’. Komic is the highest motorable village in the world at a height of 4,587 meters! After spending some time taking in the beauty of this enchanting village, we head to Hikkim, home of the highest post office in the world and retire for the night in our cozy little homestay.
DAY 5 (19 Sept) Langza- Key- Kibber- Chicham Bridge -Kaza– At Hikkim, we wake up bright to the sun shining above us and head for our adventures after breakfast. This day we head towards the fossil village of Langza, situated at an altitude of 4,400 meters. Once at Langza we can stroll around and visit the ancient Lang which is a 1000 years old temple and spot the marine fossils found here in the sedimentary rocks.
From Langza, we drive to Key, known for its magnificent Key Monastery situated at the foot of steep ridges, it is also the Biggest Gelupa Sect Monastery in Spiti. This monastery is also known to have a training center for the Lamas. Overlooking the Spiti River, looking down at the valley from any spot of this upland country is a great sight. Spending some time in the peace and quiet of this monastery can really be a soulful experience, something to remember for a lifetime.
We then proceed to Kibber, which is a perfect site for sky gazers and astronomy lovers. Kibber is also home to the majestic snow leopard and gives a breath-taking view of Kanamo Peak at 19, 600 feet. From Kibber, we visit the famous Chicham Bridge, the highest bridge in Asia and hear stories about the ancient method of using pulley trolleys. After a day packed with adventure and exploration, we drive back to Kaza, the administrative capital and largest town of Spiti and return to our comfortable beds after these meanderings.
DAY 6 (20 Sept) Kaza-Losar-Kunzum Pass-Chandratal– From Kaza, we drive through the least populated village of Spiti- Losar, to reach India’s highest motorable mountain pass which connects Kullu and Lahaul to Spiti valley- Kunzum La at 15,000 feet.
From Kunzum La, we head towards one of the most photogenic places in Spiti Valley- the breath-taking Chandratal Lake, also known as the lake of the moon. This magnificent lake has surprisingly no visible source of water, concluding that the water for this lake comes from underground. We spend the night in camps by the lake and spend our evening gazing at millions of stars on a clear night.
DAY 7 (21 Sept) Chandratal – Chhatru – Rohtang Pass – Manali– To celebrate our last day in Spiti Valley, we depart from Chandratal Lake and make our way to Batal, home to the famous Chachi Chachi ka Chandra Dhaba. From there we continue our journey on Kaza – Manali Highway while taking a lunch halt at Chhatru. Driving beside the Chandra river we pass Gramphoo village just before our ascend towards the Rohtang pass and then descend towards Manali, thus entering the Kullu District.
Rohtang Pass is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas, it connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh. After a spectacular journey of around 51 kilometers, crossing Rohtang Pass, we reach Manali, only to head back home with a heart full of happy memories.
Buffer Day– It is important to have an extra day as any bad weather condition or landslides may delay your journey. In case another day is utilized, you need to pay ₹ 2000 for buffer day expenses.
Accommodation in Camps/ Hotels/Homestay.
Transportation from Shimla to Manali in Innova or Tempo Traveller.
MAP meal plan (6 Breakfast and 6 Dinner).
First-Aid Kit/ Oxygen Cylinder.
Expenses of personal nature
Expenses raised due to any road blockage or natural calamity
Travellers are reminded that there is a 15kg limit on personal luggage for all trips.
Cameras, whether video or film, needed to be protected against the severe cold either in a warm pouch or the interior pockets of your clothing. Do not keep your camera in your backpack at higher elevations.
We do not provide donkeys or porters to carry luggage.
No insurance is provided during the trek.
When between camps, please carry your daily personal rubbish to the next camp.
Remember – “Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints”. So, keep the mountains clean and green.
Aspirins and Paracetamols are highly recommended for headaches and because they also thin the blood that will help improving circulation & oxygen delivery to the body. Strong painkillers are not recommended as they can suppress respiration.
Personal expense of any kind will not be entertained.
Personal Equipment Required:
A good sturdy pair of shoes and a backpack with plastic or water-proof lining.
Comfortable, lightweight clothing.
Sunglasses or goggles.
Woollen hat for warmth.
Scarf or bandana.
Ear plugs. (Optional)
Spare contact lenses or glasses.
Extra polythene bags.
Reading materials, Games, Cards. (Optional)
Towel especially lightweight quick-dry type.
Track pants with more pockets. Carry around 2 pants. Avoid jeans.
Waterproof jackets and gloves.
A raincoat since the weather can be unpredictable sometimes. (Optional)
Identification proof like Passport, Driving license, Aadhar card etc.
1 Passport size photograph.
REFUND & CANCELLATION POLICY
Cancellation of booking of tour 31 days or more before the date of Departure will result in a 20% deduction in the cost of the tour.
Cancellation of booking of tour 21-30 days before the date of Departure will result in 40% deduction of the cost of the tour.
Cancellation of booking of tour 11-20 days before the date of Departure will result in 60% deduction of the cost of the tour.
Cancellation of booking of tour 6-10 days before the date of Departure will result in 80% deduction of the cost of the tour.
Cancellation of booking of tour 1-5 days before the date of Departure will result in a 100% deduction of the cost of the tour.