The Cold Desert Spiti

“This RLT journey starts from a beautiful hilltop known as Chail. This is your first destination from where you will be entering into the unknown world free from all the daily routine of our city life. Explore the forest full of rhododendron trees in Chail and go on to the amazing valley in Sangla. Sangla at a height of 2700m is one of Roads Less Traveller’s featured Offbeat destination in Himachal, which only opens for 6 months before going into hibernation for the winter beneath layers of snow. This Himachali destination boasts some of the most beautiful flora and fauna and a simply breath taking setting beside the Baspa River and with views of towering snow capped mountains.Go and revel in the lush green beauty of the valley before moving onto the barren landscape of Spiti known as a forbidden country a few years back. Visit the 1008 years old monastery in Tabo or drive to the highest village Gete near Kaza. Experience the feeling of being on top of the world, literally, before descending to the Orchard town of Thanedar, home to the first apple in the country. Baspa-Rive-chitkul

Day 1: Delhi – Chail

Hit the road from Delhi after early breakfast. Spend the night at hotel.

Day 2: Chail – Sangla

Today we’ll drive to Sangla. Overnight stay at the camp.

Day 3: Sangla

You can take part in activities such as Rock climb, Rappel, River cross or Angle for trout. Bonfire gathering in the evening. Baspa-River

Day 4: Sangla Visit Chitkul (3,450M)

Today we’ll visit Chitkul. This is the last village on the old Indo–Tibetan trade route. Lunch along the glacier fed mountain stream.

Day 5: Sangla – Kaza

After an early breakfast we start the fascinating drive to Kaza. We leave behind verdant, forest clad mountains as we go over the tree line towards the Spiti region. After driving for about 5 hrs on NH 22, just short of Yangthang, we take a detour, to visit the picturesque Nako Lake and have a picnic lunch by the lakeside. Post –lunch we drive on through breath taking, mountain desert terrain to reach Kaza.

Day 6: Kaza – Ki Gompa – Kibber – Gete – Kaza

After breakfast, visit Ki monastery and Kibber village. Ki gompa is a Gelugpa sect monastery. Its hilltop position points to a post–thirteenth century construction. The three storied structure consists largely of storage rooms at the bottom level, while the middle floor houses the Dukhang– the assembly hall– and the uppermost floor has another temple and the head Lama’s quarters, on one side of an open terrace. The greatest wealth of Ki Gompa lies in its collection of ‘Thangkas’ salvaged with difficulty from the devastating raids of the Dogars and the Sikhs in the 19th century. From here a scenic drive takes you into the pasture country of Kibber. The pastures are spread over hundreds of square kilometres in the Himalayas. Kibber is small village and is the take off point for the popular trek to Tso Moriri in Ladakh. Further up six kilometres from Kibber, we drive up to a still smaller village of Gete. Consisting of just six houses, it boasts of being the highest village in Asia connected by road. Drive back to the retreat for a late lunch and spend rest of the Day at leisure. 3875401746_ae1e45ecee_b

Day 7: Kaza – Dhankar – Tabo – Kalpa

After breakfast we hit the road down to Dhankar Monastery. Dhankar, the traditional capital of Spiti, sits pretty on a hilltop. The fort here overlooks the Spiti valley and it was used as a jail in olden Days. Today, more than 160 lamas reside here. A statue of Dhyan Buddha where four complete figures of Buddha sit back to back is the main attraction of this more than seven–century old monastery. Move on to visit the glorious Tabo Gompa; reputed to be the oldest (an inscription on a wall here indicates, it was founded in AD 996) continuously functioning Buddhist monastery in India and the Himalayas, with its original decoration and iconographic program intact. Finish off with your packed lunch and drive on to reach Kalpa late in the evening. Famous for its apple and chilgoza plantations, this place also offers the best panoramic view of the 6,000m high Kinner–Kailash range. Night stay in Kalpa.

Day 8: Kalpa – Thanedar

Today we’ll drive to Thanedar. Overnight stay at the retreat.

Day 9: Thanedar

Today we’ll visit the Paramjyotir temple and Tani Jubbar Lake.

Day 10: Thanedar – Delhi

Leave for Delhi after early breakfast. Lunch enroute. ”