Spiti Cultural Kaleidoscope Tour
Spiti Kaleidoscope Tour
This adventure starts at Manali and takes you up and over the majestic Rohtang and Kunzum passes and through the stunning and graphic valleys of the Chandra, Spiti and Pin rivers. In the first couple of days we will take in the sights along the Spiti and Pin rivers and get acclimatized to the altitude. We will visit ancient monasteries dating back to over 1000 years that are the spiritual hubs of the Spitian way of life. We will then safari to the highest villages in the world and experience Spitian culture through traditional homestays along with visits to some of the yet untouched gems of Spiti.
In terms of your holiday experience this is a “high density” trip. In order to maximize your Spiti experience we will spend lesser time in getting to and away from the Spiti valley. While in Spiti we will travel primarily to the regions and villages that best integrate and typify the myriad aspects of Spitian culture, where you will experience it through our traditional homestays and unique day excursions. Our endeavor is to showcase to you, within the available time “window”, a fairly comprehensive Spiti Kaleidoscope
Day 1 Manali : Today is an early start. We drive over the Rohtang pass (separating Kullu from the Lahaul valley), and descend into the valley of the Chandra river and continue past Chhattru, Batal and over the Kunzum La (pass/ 4551mts), which divides Lahaul and Spiti. We spend some time taking in the fabulous views of the Chandrabhaga range of mountains, visit the Buddhist shrine at Kunzum and get into our waiting jeeps, to reach Kaza by evening. Though the journey is long today, one hardly notices it as the changing landscapes enroute keep one mesmerized. Kaza – Overnight in a Hotel
Day 2 Kaza Today we head to Dhankhar, the erstwhile capital of Spiti. Dhankhar houses an ancient Monastery perched precariously between unique wind eroded structures. Remnants of the Dhankhar Fort, which housed the royal family of Spiti, still remain. A visit to the monastery, fort and other subsidiary temples leaves one spell bound at the traditional architectural marvels. The monastery has some interesting wall murals and thangkas, which are in an urgent need for restoration. One can trek to the Dhankhar lake as well if keen and time permits (2 to 3 hours). Later today we head to Tabo (1 to 1.5 hours), famous for its monastery that celebrated 1000 years in 1996, regarded as the Ajanta of the Himalayas. Tabo – Overnight in a Guesthouse
Day 3 Tabo Today we will head to the furthest village of Spiti lying very close to the border of Tibet, Giu (round trip of 2 to 3 hours). Apart from being a quaint village, Giu houses a rare relic of the human spirit – the remains of a self mummified monk! Learn more about the mummy when you get there and how it was discovered. We head back to Tabo and later head onto the Pin valley (1.5 to 2 hours) and enter the valley of the Pin valley national park where we spend the night on the buffer of the national park in a quaint village dedicated to meditating nuns and monks. -Option of experiencing a Bhuchen* performance today – an elaborate Buddhist tantric dance performance to get rid of evil spirits. The Bhuchens are now only found in Spiti and is definitely a unique highlight of the region. Pin valley – Overnight in a Guesthouse
Day 4 Pin valley Today we visit the Kungri monastery and head onto the village of Demul fast becoming Spiti’s model sustainable village! Learn more about this when in Demul. *Option of hiking/ yak-back safari* before we reach Demul, to a spectacular vantage spot close to 5000 mtrs which offers almost a satellite imagery of Spiti Valley (2 hours steep hike). On a clear day one can spot upto18 villages! *Option of experiencing an evening of folk expressions*. *For those keen on exploring local handicrafts sign up for a class on how to convert wool of the imposing Spiti Yaks into beautiful yak ropes* - and take back your very own Yak – or a part of it at least. *Are you a lover of cheese or all things dairy? Start with milking a cow and work your way up to getting an insight into the ingenuous traditional ways of making butter, ghee, cheese and end with a mouthful of Spiti’s unique Yak Cheese.* *For those keen on getting an insight into the age old tradition and science of Tibetan Medicine – this could be a good opportunity to meet the local Amchi* (the local Tibetan doctor) and learn more about this dying practise and how he diagnosis and makes his medicines. *Feeling not high enough @ 4300 mtrs.? Keen on getting a taste of why Demul makes the very best and purest arak in Spiti – learn how it is made and the secret behind the purity.** Demul – Overnight in Homestays
Day 5 Demul Yak-back safari*/ Trek (5 to 6 hours) across the alpine grazing pastures of the village livestock and the hunting ground of the snow leopard. Visit the Komic monastery and head to the Komic village (Asia’s highest village). Once you’re settled in and if you’re keen you can explore the Komic village and take a walk down to the fields to get a better understanding of the intricate irrigation systems and agricultural practices in the highest villages of Asia. Komic –Overnight in Homestays
Day 6 Komic If you're an early riser take a walk down to the fields if you didn't get the time the evening before. After breakfast we will head onto Hikkim – Asia’s highest post office (0.5 hours) where one can send off a postcard to family back home. We will visit Langza village (0.5 hours) and head back to Kaza for the night.
*Option of playing with clay and learning the basics of traditional Spiti pottery* at Kaza – Overnight in a Hotel. *On our way back to Kaza we will take a short detour and visit Kee monastery (1 hour). If time permits, we will visit Kibber (1 hour) as well. *Option of mountain biking today*. *Option of signing up for learning to Cook like a Local*
Day 7 Kaza Jeep to Chandratal- 4-5 hours. We bid farewell to Spiti today and head onto one of the most picturesque lakes in the region – Chandratal, which literally translates to mean the Lake of the Moon Goddess. Spend the day at the beautiful moon lake – Chandratal. Please note camping is not permitted near the lake. Chandratal- Overnight Camping
Day 8 Chandratal Jeep to Manali- 4-5 hours. Drop off point: Government Bus Stand, Mall Road, Manali Manali