Spiti tour – Spiritual Adventure
19 Night / 20 Day
NEXT TOUR: 2/9/2015-20/9/2015
For the spiritual experience of a lifetime, join our professionally guided Jeep Safari Group Tour to the mystical hidden valley of Spiti in the Himalayas, the ”land where the Gods must live”!
The Spiti valley with its ancient and sacred monasteries dotted amongst the stunning landscapes of this high altitude desert, is definitely one place to make your spirit soar.
Once part of the Greta Guge kingdom of western Tibet, this remote region is nowadays part of India, however ethnically and culturally it is Tibetan. Historically the Spiti valley has been a spiritual and cultural centre of great importance, within the Tibetan Buddhist Traditions and where His Holiness, The Dalai Lama has expressed his desire to retire.
Barriers have ensured an authentic preservation of these spiritual traditions, as though in a living museum, unlike Tibet itself which has suffered tremendous changes to its cultural heritage since the Chinese occupation of 1949.
These traditions are evident in the simple lifestyles of the Spiti villagers, as well as the many splendid monasteries with their exquisite clay sculptures and mesmerizing religious murals and Thangka paintings.
Some of these monasteries date back a thousand years and were established by the great founders of Tibetan Buddhism (Padmasambhava and Rinchen Zangpo) themselves.
Highlights of our stay in the Spiti Valley will include visits to these monasteries, where Tibetan monks will teach us various aspects of their faith and on occasion we will join them in chanting and prayer.
Other highlights will include well prepared homestays with the hospitable Spiti villagers, which will allow us to have a culturally enriching insight into their lives and will also contribute to the local economy,
– enjoying a yak safari (optional) amidst the serene surroundings,
– Trekking along the ancient village trails,
– fossil (ammonite) fossicking,
– sampling the delicious Tibetan cuisine,
– admiring the amazing wildlife of the Spiti valley, Tibetan wolfs, himalayan blue sheep and the elusive and endangered snow leopard,
– meeting the equally endangered and intriguing, Bhunchen Lamas (Tibetan sect of warrior monks).
The distinct culture of this remote region makes it a great place to pick up a unique souvenier or two for the folks back home. After the stresses of modern western life the serene lifestyle of the Spiti locals will make a deep impression on your mind.
On leaving Shimla, we head out onto the exciting Silk Trade Route to the Tibetan borderlands and our adventure truly begins. We will visit ancient hilltop forts and rare Hindu wooden temples, we enter alpine green valleys and are mesmerised by the scenery around us.
This tour would suit those among us who look at the world around us with an open mind.
Arrival at Delhi International Airport, here you will be met by my assistant and myself. After providing you with any assistance that you may require, we will transfer you to your hotel to rest and sleep off the jet lag.
Morning briefing where you will introduced to your fellow group travellers and I will answer any query that you may have.
After breakfast, take a sightseeing tour of world heritage listed historical monuments of Delhi. We will visit the magnificent Red Fort built by the famous Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan (he also built the Taj Mahal), we wander down the famous silver street of Chandani Chowk, Rajghat (memorial to Mahatma Gandhi), India Gate (war memorial arch raised in honour of the Indian soldiers killed during the disasterous British Afghan wars).
We visit the magnificent tomb of the Mughal Emperor Humayun and then move on to the famous Qutb Minar tower built by the Slave emperor Qutb-ud-din, view the parliament house, Rashtrapati Bhawan (one time imperial residence of the British Viceroys and at present housing the President of India) and the famous Connought Place markets. Return to hotel for overnight stay.
Morning transfer to railway station to board Shatabadi train to Chandigarh at 7.40 AM.
Arrival at Chandigarh at 11.05 AM. Pick up by SUVs and drive north to Shimla, Check into hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Shimla, former summer capital of British India.
Spread across 12 km, along a ridge that overlooks terraced hillsides and cultivation, this bustling town is magnificently robed in thick forests of oak, pine, fir and rhododendron. After breakfast we head to the magistrate’s office to get,”Inner line Permits,” for entry into Tibetan borderlands. Afternoon ride on world heritage listed, ”Toy Train” for one hour.
Later on we drive to the impressive Viceregal Lodge, the erstwhile viceroy’s residence and at present the prestigious Institute of Advanced Studies. Then its up the Jakhoo hill to the Monkey Temple (highest point in town offering superb views of the mountain ranges. Later return to hotel for overnight stay.
Check out of hotel after breakfast and head for Sarahan via Fagu, Narkanda and Rampur.
The jeep drive through beautiful valleys and colourful mountains along the Old Hindustan Tibet road is fantastic. From a distance the Great Himalayan Range with more than 50 km of snow capped mountain ranges is truly a sight to behold.
At the charming village of Sarahan we visit the architectural wonder that is the 800 year old Bhimakali temple. Overnight in Sarahan.
Before breakfast, we take an early morning walk around the village (good time to take some great pics).Breakfast at 9am and then drive to the spectacular Sangla valley (5 hrs). At Sangla we explore the Kamru Fort on foot and then drive onto Raksham. Check into camp/hotel for overnight stay.
After breakfast we drive to the end of the Sangla valley to the idyllic village of Chitkul, which borders Tibet and is famous for its traditional wooden houses.
Spend all day in Chitkul.
Return to Raksham for overnight stay in camp/hotel.
After breakfast, drive onto Kalpa via Powari.
Visit famous Buddhist monastery at Reckong Peo. Enjoy the beautiful view of the Kinner Kailash mountain peak (sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists). Later walk or drive to Rogi village and back, followed with a visit to Chini and its monastery. Return to Kalpa, entrance to the magnificent alpine valley of Kinnaur for overnight stay.
Following breakfast, we drive to Nako via Khab and Kah.
Nako is a beautiful village located by the banks of a mountain lake and it is the first of the traditional Tibetan culture villages, ahead is the hidden valley of Spiti.
At Nako, we visit the impressive Nako lake monastery, His Holiness The Dalai lama performed the Kalchakra Ceremony here a few years ago. Nako also has a footprint impression ascribed to the Great Founder of Tibetan Buddhism, Padmasambhava.
Overnight at Nako.
After Breakfast, we drive to Tabo via Giu.
At Giu we visit the famous “Mummy”, mummified remains of a Buddhist monk, it is reputed to be over 600 years old and it is claimed that the hair and nails are still growing!
We reach Tabo by the afternoon. We spend the day at the Tabo Monastery, which is the most important monastery in Tibetan Buddhism after the Tholing Monastery in Tibet.
Founded in 996 AD by the great Translator Rinchen Zangpo, Tabo is renown for its breathtaking murals and stucco images and is often called the, “Ajanta of the Himalayas”.
Around the monastery, there are several caves adorned with frescoes. It is at this monastery that His Holiness The Dalai Lama has expressed his desire to retire. In the evening we join the monks in chanting and prayers. Overnight in Tabo.
Morning breakfast and then drive onto Kaza (largest town in the Spiti valley) and onto Komic village via Langza village and Hikkim village, three villages in extremely beautiful surroundings.
The slopes around Komic are scattered with fossils in abundance and with luck one can pick an ammonite or two.
At Komic, we visit the splendid Tangyud Monastery.
Overnight homestay at Komic village, which is the highest village of the world connected by road!
After breakfast we drive to Demul and traverse the wonderful Chame meadow on foot or yak safari. In these serene surroundings stop and have a yarn with the Dokpas( shepherds) At Demul we join another local village family for a homestay .
After breakfast we drive to Lahlung monastery via Sanglang (a picturesque hamlet) and later drive onto Dhankar monastery, this monastery stands high over the valley and is a stupendous example of local architecture. In earlier times it was the fortified palace of the Nano(governor of the Spiti valley) Overnight in Dhankar or at Shichling
After breakfast, we drive onto explore the Pin valley, home of the wandering Bhunchen Lamas. This is the most ancient sect of Tibetan monks, their numbers have sadly depleted over the past decades, with the younger generations unwilling to undertake their austere lifestyle.
The Pin valley is also home to the endangered Snow leopard. We spend the whole day in the Pin valley, visiting the villages of Guiling, Mamik and Madh. Overnight at Madh.
After breakfast we travel towards Kaza via the splendid Kungri monastery in the Pin valley.
Later we visit the Kye monastery, built in dramatic settings, the Kye monastery is home to priceless Thangka paintings and is the largest as well as the richest monastery of the Spiti valley, during the long winter months, as many as 300 monks reside here.
Continue onto Kibber, which is one of the highest permanently inhabited villages in the Spiti valley and provides great views of the Kanamo peak. Overnight at Kaza.
After breakfast we start on the long drive out of the Spiti valley, this is one of the most exciting part of our journey, crossing the high mountain passes of Rohtang La (3980 m) and Kunzum La (4550).
Along the way we visit several hamlets and remote villages. Arrive at Manali for overnight stay.
Half day sightseeing tour of this popular alpine hill station, visiting ancient Hindu temples. In the afternoon we leave for Naggar, where we visit the famous Nikolai Roerich art gallery and the Naggar castle (great work of Himalayan architecture) Then its onto Mandi town for overnight stay.
Drive from Mandi to Delhi. Overnight at hotel in Delhi.
After breakfast, checkout of hotel and transfer to Delhi International airport for flight home.
(2 September- 20 September)
The total, all inclusive price of the tour is only A$ 4000 per person!
(twin shared accommodation)
Price Includes The Following Services:
– Meeting and assistance on arrival/departure at airport/hotel by our representative.
– Arrival/departure transfers, sightseeing excursions and surface travel.
– Accommodation for total of 19 nights.
– All breakfasts and dinners.
– All surface transport.
– For hour rail journey to Chandigarh.
– 4wd Jeeps for Himalayan safari ride.
– Ride aboard world heritage listed “Toy train” at Shimla.
– Professional drivers and experienced english speaking local guides.
– All presently applicable taxes on hotel/transport including 2.60% service tax.
The Price Does NOT Include:
Any services other than the ones mentioned above or visa charges, airport taxes, international airfares, meals other than those mentioned above or any items of a personal nature like telephone calls, laundry, drinks, camera fees or tips etc.
How to book your place?
An AUS $500 deposit will reserve a place on the tour.
The balance of payment is due 6 WEEKS prior to departure. You can deal through website payment facility. Incase of tour being cancelled due to insufficient numbers, your money will be fully refunded!
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When will you pay the rest?
The balance of payment is due 30 days prior to departure. We will send you reminders.
What happens to the money, if the tour gets cancelled?
In case of tour cancelling your money will be fully refunded!
SMILE INDIA TOURS ABN (AUSTRALIAN BUSINESS NUMBER): 20 238 897 669
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