- Shimla-Leh via Kinnaur & Lahaul – Spti Valley- Back to the days of ancient Trade Route
- Region: Shimla, Kinnaur, Lahaul & Spiti, Ladakh.
- Season: July – September
- Duration: 16 Days
This is the ultimate journey in the Western Himalaya .For centuries a mystic aura surrounds the trans -Himalayan tracts of Tibet, Spiti, Lahaul and Ladakh which remained in practical isolation for centuries. Here four major Himalayan Rivers, the Satluj, Spiti, Chandra – Bhaga and Indus with great civilization and glorious history, guides one through the breathtakingly beautiful valleys and mountain passes, where tradition, culture and faith, is the very essence of living.
First part of the journey is through lush green hills and apple orchards, visiting some of the Hindu temples with wooden and stone architecture.
Kinnaur gives a wonderful introduction to the blending of two great religions – Hinduism and Buddhism. The temples of Baspa Valley in Kinnaur are fine example of pagoda architecture with extraordinary wooden carving. Kinnaur is very traditional and occupies a special place in the ancient Hindu as well Buddhist texts and legends, Its inhabitants are regarded as great musicians, who taught music to Gods, which can be easily felt here during some ceremonies. Upper Kinnaur has a strong Buddhist influence. The Village of Kanum houses a thousand year old Library and a Monastery with some of the rare texts. Leaving the mystic air of Kinnaur behind, we enter the Spiti Valley.
Spiti has a haunting and unforgettable beauty. As Kipling describes in his famous saga, Kim “Surely the Gods live here, this is no place for human”. The Spiti Valley may be one of such rare pockets where one can trace a continuous course of the development of Lamaism from its very primitive form of the days of the Padmasambhava, when it had more of the Bon- Pa overtone, to its latest version, the Ge-lug-pa. In Spiti, where faith is so very deep that the culture of life is focused around its several monasteries – Dhankar, Ki, Tabo, to name a few.
Over Kunzum Pass we enter Lahaul, with its beautiful valleys, it is a massive trough that divides the Great Himalaya and Pir Panjal Ranges. This is a typical Himalayan Alpine area as high summits surrounds the valley and along the track lies massive moraines and glaciers. Its inhabitants, are a mixture of Buddhists and Hindus.. Using glacial water channeled down the mountains through ancient irrigation ducts, Lahauli farmers manage to reap a bumper crop of potatoes and peas. The region is also sole supplier of hops to India’s breweries. Lahaul generally used as a transit point to Ladakh, is a very interesting destination for tourists. The monasteries of Guru Gantal, Kardang, Shesur in Bhaga Valley and Temple and Monastery of Trilokinath and Udaipur are worth visiting.
Further the journey moves over the high passes amidst the Great Himalayan Mountain desert resembling the Prairies of North America, into the widely extended Chang Thang with its beautiful brackish Lake of Tsokar, sparsely populated by Changpas – the high altitude nomads with their herds of Pashmina and yaks. The Journey finally ends in Leh.