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KC09: 9N/10D - JOURNEY TO HIDDEN HIMACHAL

This trip can be undertaken only after Rohtang Pass re-opens (after mid-June)

DAY 1: CHANDIGARH TO NARKANDA

Arrive at Chandigarh & drive to Narkanda, a hill station located just 1.5kms from the famous Hatu peak. The drive is around 5-6 hours. Check-in at the hotel. Overnight at Narkanda.

DAY 2: NARKANDA TO SANGLA

After an early breakfast, we leave for Sangla. Check-in at Kinner Camps to start your trip in exploring the exquisite Sangla Valley, with Kinner Camps hospitality.

DAY 3: VISIT BATSERI – GLACIER WALK - RAKCHHAM VILLAGES

After breakfast, walk to Batseri village, with its modern wooden houses and see the beautiful wood carvings of the Lord Badrinarayan temple. After the temple visit, experience a walk on the glacier. Later, stroll along the Baspa River to the quaint Rakchham village. Have packed lunch along the way by the river at a spot where you can view the magnificent Kinner Kailash Mountain, which is said to be the winter home of the Hindu God, Lord Shiva. Overnight at Kinner Camps.

DAY 4: VISIT CHITKUL VILLAGE - NAGASTI

After breakfast, leave by 9.30 a.m. to drive to Chitkul (23km), the last Indian village on the Indo-Tibet border, from where a short walk (2.5km) takes you to Nagasti, the last civilian point. Return to the camp for lunch. Post lunch, go for a leisurely walk to Hurba which is famous for its spring water sources.
Or you can indulge in some adventure activities at the campsite – rappelling, rock climbing, flying fox and river crossing. Overnight at Kinner Camps.

DAY 5: SANGLA TO KALPA

After breakfast, check-out from the hotel & drive to Kalpa, via Recong Peo, the District Headquarter of Kinnaur. Kalpa was once a favourite haunt of Lord Dalhousie. Arrive at Kalpa & check-in to your hotel. Kalpa was known as Chini back in the days when it was the Regional Capital. Kalpa has changed little in the last 500 years. It is said that as & when Lord Dalhousie wanted to take a break from his hectic schedule in Shimla, he would come here on horseback. Each & every corner of Kalpa faces Jorkanden & the Kinner Kailash Peak, which is considered as one of the mythical homes of Lord Shiva; by its side is a 79 foot rock formation that resembles a Shivlinga that changes colour as the day passes, & is visible to the naked eye on a clear day. Post lunch, rest in the hotel. In the evening, visit a Buddhist Gompa. Dinner & overnight stay at Kalpa.

DAY 6: KALPA TO NAKO

Rise early to witness a stunning sunrise bathing the Kinner Kailash peaks. After breakfast, check-out from your hotel in Kalpa & drive to Nako. En-route, take a brief halt at the Khab sangam which is the confluence of the Spiti and Sutlej rivers.
Nako is slated to be declared a heritage village and is built around a small lake. It has an important Buddhist Gompa which is 1000 yrs old, & a small temple. A footprint-like impression on a rock is ascribed to the saint Guru Padmasambhava. Overnight at Kinner Camp, Nako.

DAY 7: NAKO – TABO – DHANKAR GOMPA - KAZA

Welcome to Spiti Valley – with few signs of vegetation. Yet, this land renders visitors speechless with the harsh raw beauty of its landscape. Rudyard Kipling describes Spiti in “Kim” in these words: “At last they entered a world within a world – a valley of leagues where the high hills were fashioned of the mere rubble & refuse from off the knees of the mountains…surely the Gods live here.”
After breakfast, start the drive to Kaza. On the way, visit the ancient village of Tabo, which is situated on the left bank of the river Spiti. It is the seat of one of the most famous Buddhist Monasteries, regarded next to the Tholong Gompa in Tibet. It is also known as the ‘Ajanta of Himalayas’. It was constructed in 996 AD – not just in Spiti but in the whole of the Tibetan Buddhist world, it is called Chogs – Khor [‘Doctrinal Circle’ or ‘Doctrinal Enclave’]. It is a complex that holds 9 Temples, 23 Chortens, a Monk’s Chamber & an extension that houses the Nun’s Chamber. On the sheer cliff-face above the enclave are a series of caves, used as dwellings by the monks, & includes an assembly hall. The monastery contains large number of scriptures & pieces of art, wall paintings & stucco. There is also a modern gompa & painting school founded by the Dalai Lama. Check-out from Tabo after lunch.
En-route to Kaza, visit Dhankar Gompa, the traditional capital of Spiti, which sits pretty on a hilltop. The hill-top fort that overlooks the Spiti Valley also used to serve 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 older than 7th century monastery. Also visit the Giu monastery to see the self-preserved mummy of a Buddhist monk.
Continue the drive to Kaza – the capital of Spiti Valley. Arrive at Kaza & check-in to your hotel. Dinner & overnight stay at Kaza.

DAY 8: EXPLORE KAZA

After an early breakfast by 7 a.m., leave for an excursion to Ki Monastery. Situated at the foot of steep ridges & on the left bank of the river Spiti is the Ki Monastery, which is the biggest Gelupa sect monastery in Spiti. Its hilltop position points to a post 13th 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), & the uppermost floor has another temple & 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 & the Sikhs in the 19th century. Hundreds of Lamas receive their religious training in this monastery. The monastery is also famous for its ancient murals & books. From here, a scenic drive takes you into the pasture country of Kibber. From Kibber, the pastures are spread over hundreds of square kilometres. Return back to Kaza for dinner & overnight stay.

DAY 9: KAZA – KUMZUM LA PASS – MANALI

After an early breakfast by 6:30 a.m., check-out from the hotel & drive to Manali via the Kunzum La Pass, which, at 4590 mts, is the highest pass on the Spiti Lahaul road. Rudyard Kipling said of the region “Surely the Gods live here, this no place for Men”. Reach Manali in the evening. Overnight at Manali.

DAY 10: MANALI – CHANDIGARH

After an early breakfast, checkout from the hotel & depart for Chandigarh (9-10 hrs). Lunch is en-route. Arrive at Chandigarh and depart back home, carrying unforgettable memories with you.
Alternately, overnight at Chandigarh and catch the next day flight back home