Trans-Himalayan Jeep Safari
Off-roading along the High Himalayan Highway - discovering Seven Hidden Valleys through mind-blowing Landscapes
A trip of of a life-time awaits your discovery...
Experience the thrill of the ultimate Himalayan outdoors as we take you on a Trans-Himalayan Jeep Safari. Lines of snow-capped mountains, lofty passes at dizzying heights, lush meadows, yawning valleys, turquoise water of gargling streams, sleepy isolated mountain villages, cold deserts and bygone-era monasteries caught in a time-wrap, are all part of the sights that our Trans-Himalayan Jeep Safari would drive you through.
Miles-upon-miles as our safari meanders through the broken dirt tracks of the Himalayan high roads, the solitude that you experience is simply out of the world – feel your soul elevated, your heart elated.
Our safari starts at per your convenience, either, starting at Shimla and concluding at Manali or starting at Manali and concluding at Shimla. It takes you through the Kullu Valley, Pattan Valley, Lahaul Valley, Spiti Valley, Pin Parvati Valley, Kinnaur Valley and finally the Shimla Valley.
Main Stopovers / Passovers of Exotic Locations en-route our Trans-Himalayan Jeep Safari:
- Shimla Valley
- Kinnaur Valley
- Spiti Valley
- Pin Valley
- Lahaul Valley
- Pattan Valley
- Kullu Valley
Shimla: Capital of the Indian Himalayan scenic state Himachal Pradesh, Shimla, also christened as ‘Queen of the Hills,’ is your starting point of the Trans-Himalayan safari. Dotted with Pine grooves all around, this being the erstwhile Indian summer capital of the British India, the colonial heritage is amply visible in many a heritage buildings.
Kufri: Kufri is a scenic hill station located 19 kms from Shimla at a height of 2510 meters. It is a very popular adventure hot-spot as one can follow many an elusive treks and trails. In winter, this paradise dons a total white mantel as snow magically transforms Kufri's landscape into a skiing heaven.
Narkanda: A cute hamlet on the old Hindustan-Tibet Highway, Narkanda, situated at a height of 2708 meters is set within the Shivalik ranges about 65 kms from Shimla. Snow in the winter magically transforms Narkanda into another popular skiing resort. The row of Himalayan snow peaks in the horizon from Narkanda is a treat to your eyes. Hatu Peak, at a height of 11,000 feet is about 5 kms from Narkanda.
Sarahan: Capital of the former Bhushar State, Sarahan is famous for the revered Bhimakali Temple, one of the 51 Shakti Peethas of India. The view of perennially snow-clad Shrikhand Peak is enchanting as one gets it first glance as we drive up-hill by taking a right diversion from the old Hindustan Tibet Highway at Jeori. The wooden Bhushar Palace is a must visit that depicts and displays a glimpses of the rich heritage of the Bushahr rulers.
Karchham: At a height of 1900 meters, Karcham marks the confluence of Satluj and Baspa rivers on the old Hindustan-Tibet road.
Sangla: Situated at a height of 2,680 metres, adjacent to the turquoise gargling waters of the Baspa River and dubbed as one of the ‘most beautiful valleys of world’, the scenic setting of the Sangla is truly heavenly. Dotted with many sleepy villages as we pass by the scenic Kinnaur Valley, it is as if time stands still here. The towering Kinnar Kailash peak, the winter home of Lord Shiva stands guarding this pristine landscape. Also famous is the towering Kamru Fort, with its main deity Kamakshyi Devi blessing this paradise. The view from the top of Kamru Fort to the Baspa valley below is sheer delight. Being an apple country you would find countless apple orchards all along the road with red apples literally hanging out in each branch tempting you to simply pluck one and munch along.
Rakchham: Situated at a height of 2,900 metres, Rakcham is a cute village by the Baspa River - a hidden paradise from our modern world. Located in the bank of the Baspa river midway between Sangla and Chitkul – the last Indian frontier village before the borders of Tibet, Rakcham is a relatively unknown place. The name Rakcham originates from 'Rak' a stone and 'Chham' a bridge. The location of the village is utterly mesmerizing. At is first glace this seem to be a place caught in a time warp.
Chitkul: Situated at a height of 3450 meters and about a distance of 26 km from Sangla, Chitkul is the last Indian Village beyond which is sheer wilderness towards the borders of Tibet. The road simply ends at this sleepy village with a population of just over 600 inhabitants. The beauty of this place is unmatched. The azure waters of the Baspa River meandering through the backdrop of snow-clad peaks across alpine meadows it is place seen to be believed, simply a paradise on this very earth.
Recong Peo: Situated 231 kms from Shimla, at a height of 2,760 metres Recong Peo, more popularly known as Peo, is the district headquarter of the Kinnaur having a panoramic view of the Kinner Kailash range.
Kalpa: Situated at a height of 2960 meters, Kalpa is a sleepy town in the Sutlej River valley, above Recong Peo, famous for the mythical Kinnaur Kailash peak - the abode of Lord Shiva, looming across in its awesome settings. Kalpa is located at the base of snow-capped Kinner Kailash range. Serene Kalpa is set amidst apple orchards, lush pine and deodar forests. The view from Kalpa is too beautiful to describe in a few meaningful words – it’s simply heavenly. Interestingly, on a closer observation, to your amazement, witness how the sacred Shivling (pinnacles) on the Kinnaur Kailash mountains change its color at different time of the day. The serenity of this sleepy hamlet naturally would bring solace to any perturbed soul. The local Kinners follow a mix of Hinduism and Buddhism, and it is notable that the many temples dotting this region are dedicated the Gods and Goddesses of both Hindus and Buddhists situated side-by-side.
Nako Lake: Situated at a height of 3662 meters and 103 kms ahead of Kalpa, Nako village, is named after its high altitude Nako Lake, in the Pooh sub-division of Kinnaur district. The picturesque Nako Lake is surrounded by willow and poplar trees in its most amazing settings. In the backdrop you would see the Nako village with snow-peaks all around. Near the lake are a few Buddhist temples amidst this sleepy little heaven.
Spiti: Spiti Valley forms one of the Trans-Himalayan frontier regions of northern India. Situated near the borders of Tibet, Spiti is basically a cold desert mountain valley located high amidst the Himalaya mountains in the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. The name "Spiti" signifies "The Middle Land", i.e. the land between India and Tibet. It is bounded by Ladakh in the north, Lahaul and Kullu district in the west and south-east respectively, and by Tibet and the Kinnaur district in the east.
Tabo Monastery: Situated at a height of 3280 meters, Tabo monastery, set amidst the village of Tabo is one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries and is regarded as only next in importance to the Tholing Gompa of Tibet. Tabo is credited as the oldest continuously functioning Buddhist monastery in Indian Himalayas. According to an inscription on one of the walls, the monastery was founded in AD 996. Tabo Gompa is the the largest monastic complex in Spiti. It is said that a renowned artist from Kashmir was brought to paint the murals in 996 AD. The nine chapels, four decorated stupas, and cave shrines contain paintings dating back to the 10-11th centuries. A thousand years ago Tabo served as a meeting point between two cultures, which is graphically represented in the art. Indian and Tibetan scholars came to Tabo to learn Tibetan and Indian Buddhist works respectively. This led to the germination resulting in a new art statement best defined as Indo-Tibetan.
Mummy Lama, Gue Village: Gue is one of the most isolated village of Spiti, lying very close to the border of Tibet, about 50km from the Tabo monastery. Coming from Shimla side by the the old Hindustan-Tibet Highway we take the side road after crossing Sumdo. This village has a very well preserved a 500-year-old mummy, believed to be of a holy lama. A closer observation reveals that the mummy is amazingly well-preserved with unbroken skin; teeth, nails and hairs fully intact. According to local legends, about 600 years ago when Gue was troubled by scorpions, this holy lama Sangha Tenzin squatted down to mediate in the prescribed manner, after asking his disciples to entomb him. It is believed when his soul left the body, a rainbow appeared across the sky and the scorpions mysteriously disappeared from the village.
Kaza: Situated at a height of 3800 meters, Kaza is the sub-divisional headquarters of the remote Spiti Valley of the Lahaul & Spiti district of Himachal. Set amidst a cold desert landscape it has very close semblance to the neighbouring Tibet and Ladakh regions in terms of terrain, climate and the Buddhist culture. Kaza, situated along the Spiti River is the largest township and commercial center of the Spiti Valley. Overlooking by high mountain ridges on all sides, Kaza has two access points: one from Kinnaur valley and the other from the Lahaul Valley over the Kunzum Pass.
Ki Monastery: Ki Gompa is also spelled as Ki, Kye or Kee. It a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located at an altitude of 4,166 metres (13,668 ft) above sea level. It is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for Lamas. In architecture parlance Ki falls in the 'Pasada' style which is characterized by more stories than one and often plays the role of a fort-monastery. Ki Gompa is said to have been founded by Dromtön (Brom-ston, 1008-1064 CE), a pupil of the famous teacher, Atisha, in the 11th century. Ki monastery boast of a collection of ancient murals and books of high aesthetic value and it enshrines Buddha images and idols, in the Dhyana or meditation position.
Kibber: Situated at a height of 4205 meters Kibber was till the recent past regarded as the highest village of the world. A walk within this high village surely is an experience on its own. Currently, however, neighbouring Komic enjoys the distinction of being the highest village of the world.
Losar: Crossing over the Rangrik Bridge we continue ahead. Passing by many sleepy villages we finally reach the last hamlet Losar before the towering Kunzum Pass. The white coloured, with black and red stripped square & rectangular shaped homes of this place is sure to catch your eyes. This region is less explored and in fact you would come across a mere handful of determined tourist. Losar situated at lofty height of 4080 meters experiences bitter cold in the minus range. You would surely feel the icy winds blowing across your faces. It would be difficult to summarize the beauty of this place in a few meaningful words. The landscape though arid is sheer heavenly. With deep blue sky and high barren snow-capped mountain all around, passing by this serene valley, with the Spiti River meandering through, was perhaps the utmost serene trip you would have in this lifetime - it sure would touch your very soul.
Kunzum Pass: Situated at a dizzying height of 4451 meters Kunzum La Pass pass is a gateway to Spiti when coming from Kulu & Lahaul side. Kunzum La is one of the highest passes of the world. Going from the Spiti side it is the gateway to the Lahaul Valley while approaching from the Lahaul side Kunzum La is the gateway to Incredible Spiti Valley. As one approaches this lofty pass, the panoramic view of Barasingri glacier (second longest glacier in the world) is enthralling and inspiring. Kunzum La pass is marked by a colourful chorten of stones erected ages ago wherein sits the shrine of Goddess Kunzum La. Anyone passing by this shrine, stops by holy Kunzum Mata, praying for a safe passage.
Pin: The Pin Valley of Spiti is considered the most beautiful in the region and undoubtedly its beauty kept us thoroughly spellbound. We drive through some spectacular landscapes and never seen before sceneries. The Pin Valley was declared a National Park in 1987. With its snow laden unexplored higher reaches and slopes, the Pin Valley National Park forms a natural habitat for a number of endangered animals including the ever-elusive Snow Leopard and Siberian Ibex. Rare birds like Himalayan Snowcock, Snow Patridge, and Tibet Snowfinch also abound this area. The Pin Valley National Park's height ranges from an altitude of 3600 meters to over 6000 meters at its highest point. Due to this high altitude and extreme temperature, vegetation is very sparse consisting mainly of alpine trees and patches of Himalayan cedar. The Pin River, a tributary of the Spiti River with its turquoise water meanders through the valley making it even more enchanting...
Khungri Monastery: Ahead in the Pin Valley we reach the Kungri Monastery. Khungri is of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. In fact Kungri is Spiti's second oldest monastery, built around 1330. The gompa consists of three detached rectangular blocks facing east. There are a number of silk paintings, large statues and over 300 volumes of sacred Tibetan text inside Kungri Gompa. The monastery also has buzhens performing a sword dance who live in mud houses near the right bank of Pin River.
Dhankar Monastery: After exploring the Khungri monastery we move towards Dhankar Monastery. Dhankar Gompa (also Drangkhar or Dhangkar Gompa; Brang-mkhar or Grang-mkhar) is a Buddhist temple in the district of Lahaul and Spiti. Situated approximately at an elevation of 3,894 metres (12,774 feet) in the Spiti Valley, Dhangkar Gompa lies between the towns of Kaza and Tabo. The complex is built on a 1000-foot (300-metre) high spur overlooking the confluence of the Spiti and Pin Rivers. Undoubtedly, it is perhaps one of the world's most spectacular settings for any gompa. Dhang or dang means cliff, and kar or khar means fort. Hence, the meaning of Dhangkar is a fort on a cliff. Dhangkar was the traditional capital of the Spiti Valley Kingdom during the 17th century and has some features dating back to the 12th century. It was the seat of the early rulers of Spiti, the Nonos, who had the right to cultivate the government lands nearby and were the custodian to carry out repairs of the fort.
Batal: Batal is a small hamlet en-route once you cross Kunzum La pass while coming from Spiti side. Batal has a lone dhaba, operations during the summer months situated in the most idyllic settings surrounded by icy peaks all around. Batal is the place from which you can approach the famous high altitude moon lake Chandratal through a motorable road but the last few kilometers has to be trekked.
Chandra Tal: Situated at an altitude of about 4,300 metres (14,100 ft) Chandratal, meaning the Moon Lake is at a short distance from Batal. Chandra Tal is accessible on foot from Batal as well as from Kunzum Pass from late May to early October. There is also a motorable road from Batal which is 14 km away from Chandra Tal, but road condition is not at all good and in most cases the last few kilometers has to be trekked. Lush Rolling Meadows by the lake side is ideal for camping. We would be happy to set camp here. Be ready for a treat in the spring season as these meadows are carpeted by a bloom of wildflowers.
Chatru: Another small hamlet with two roadside dhabas but Chatru do have a 2 room PWD guest house which can be utilized for stay if anyone is interested. It does not however have electricity. Permission to stay in the guest house however has to be procured earlier from Koksar.
Koksar: Situated at height of 3140 and at a distance of 21 kilometers from Rohtang Pass Koksar is considered the coldest place of the Lahaul valley. It is the first habitation as one cross over the Rohtang Pass approaching from Manali. It has a few road-side dhabas, operational during the summer months but no proper hotels. There is a lone operational PWD guest house situated at a scenic location.
Keylong: Situated at a height of 3080 meters, Keylong is the administrative headquarters of Lahaul & Spiti district. This remote place however remains cut from the rest of the world during the months of November till April as the Rohtang Pass experiences heavy snowfall and roads gets closed. Strategically located along the Manali–Leh road, the Pattan and Pangi Valley can be accessed from Keylong.
Tandi: Tandi is 8 kms short of Keylong and is situated at the confluence of Chandra & Bhaga Rivers. Legend says that there were two lovers, Chandra being the daughter of the Moon and Bhaga the son of the Sun God. To perform their eternal marriage, they decided to climb to the Baralacha La pass & from there they ran in opposite directions. Chandra, being active and smart, easily found her way & reached Tandi after covering the distance of 115 kms. Soon, Bhaga was found coming with great struggle through the narrow gorges to Tandi where consequently both met and the celestial marriage was performed.
Guru Ghantal Monastery: This monastery is situated on a hill above the Tupchiling village from where the confluence of Chandra and Bhaga rivers can be clearly viewed. This Gompa of a bygone era was founded by Padma Sambhava and is more than 800 years old. There are two structures situated strategically in a hillock and could clearly make out that one towering structure with Himachali-slate in Tibeto-Chinese pagoda style was a newly constructed one.
Gondla: Situated at a height of 3160 meters and 18 kms from Keylong on the right bank of Chandra River, Gondla, is famous for the Gondla Castle or Gondla Fort, which, was constructed in 1700 A.D. This imposing eight-storey building of its own kind in the entire Lahaul Valley serves as the residence of the Gondla royalty. In the month of July a fair is held when the Lamas dance & enjoy. The Gompa of this village holds historical significance and the fair witnesses huge footfalls.
Trilokinath Temple: The famous Triloknath temple also called the Avalokiteshwara temple has been revered by both Hindus and Buddhists for centuries, situated on the left bank of the Chenab River. Although it is primarily a Buddhist place of worship, Trilokinath temple is a revered site for the Hindus. A good branch road from the Tandi-Udaipur road leads to Triloknath.
Markula Devi Temple, Udaipur: Sleepy little Udaipur township located at an altitude of 2,743 meters, and is around 53 km north of Keylong. The village was called 'Markul' in olden days. Major attraction here is the Markula Devi Temple dedicated to this goddess is quiet famous because of the rich wooden carvings. Udaipur is situated at the point where the Chenab and Mayar Nallah meets; hence it also becomes a starting point of the Mayar valley.
Rohtang Pass: Situated at a height of 3979 m, Rohtang pass is about 52 kms from Manali on highway to Keylong-Leh highway. The pass offers a panoramic view of snow-clad mountains all around. The pass usually remains open from May end onwards till October. The remaining period it remains snow-bound and closed for vehicular traffic. Rohtang is a gateway to Lahaul Spiti, Pangi and Leh valley just as Zojila pass is a gateway to Ladakh.
Rahala Waterfalls: Situated 16 kms, as one cross over the Rohtang pass from the Lahaul side, magical Rahala Falls is set amidst pristine outdoors.
Solang Valley: Situated 13 kms from Manali Solang Valley is a scenic valley between Solang village and Beas Kund. From Solang Valley one gets awesome view of the snow capped mountains Himalayas. It boasts of fine ski slopes and is the famous skiing destination of Himachal Pradesh.
Manali: The most popular hill station of Himachal Pradesh is situated towards the end of the Kullu Valley on the National Highway leading to Leh. It is a scenic town set by the banks of the Beas river meanders through with towering snow-capped peaks all around. Dotted with many apple orchards and lines of Pine and deodars, winter is a snowy white affair as the town is flocked by both domestic as well as international tourists making a bee-line to Solang Valley for skiing.
Kullu: The awesome Kullu Valley opens up its charm to the either side of the enchanting Beas River that skirts through the Kullu Valley. It breathtaking beauty becomes an inspirational point for any visitor, trekkers, artists, mountaineers in fact anyone who wishes to breathe the fresh air of the Himalayas laced with some awesome mountain scenery. A visit to the Kullu Shawl factory is a must do wherein you witness for yourself how this exquisite shawls are hand woven.
Our trans-Himalayan jeep safari is one trip of a lifetime that enables you see up close and feel for yourself life in the Himalayas. The memories and the experience that you are going to gain out of this out-of-the-world safari would undoubtedly be treasured in your heart and mind forever in time.