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Regions: Manali – Lahaul – Spiti Valley, Kinnaur & Shimla
Season: July to September
Duration: 19 Days
Type: Bicycle Tour
As we start our journey, leaving the lush green countryside of Manali towards Rohthang Pass (3,978 Mts.). Rohthang Pass – Few places on the Earth can mark so dramatic a change in landscape as the Rohthang Pass. To one side, the lush green head of Kullu Valley; to the other, an awesome vista of bare, chocolate – colored mountains, hanging glaciers and snowfields that shine in the dazzlingly crisp fight. As we cross to the other side and at place called Gramphu we leave the main Leh – Manali Highway and enter into another Valley (Chandra Valley) and continue driving on a non-mettaled road, all along the Chandra River.
Slowly the Valley opens and we get introduced to magnificent Himalayan Ranges of Chandra & Bhaga, famously called as CB Range. This area in particular is very popular for Mountain Expeditions. The route veers to the left of the base of the immense Bara Shigri Glacier – Nearly 28-Km and several kilometers wide at its widest, the Bara Shigri is the largest glacier of the Lahaul Valley of Himachal Pradesh. It opens out onto the Chandra Valley and adds its waters to the River. It is located in a cirque on the middle slopes of the main Himalayan Range. Small tributary glaciers feed the main glacier. The entire track is devoid of a vegetative cover. High mountains surround this glacier on three sides. All around are the great peaks of Parvati headwaters – White Sail, Indrasan, further up the range, Kullu Makalu, and Parvati Peak itself. Further keeping the drive we reach Batal. Camp at Batal.
From Batal we take a narrow track to Chandratal
Chandrataal – The first sight of this wondrous lake takes ones breaths away, with its shores ringed with meadows carpeted with hundreds of varieties of alpine flowers. An excellent campsite surrounded by the massive mountain tops and the glaciers. Most of the time the road all the way till the lake is not open, in such cases you might need to trek (but you can take your bike) to the Lake for 4 Hrs, depending upon the road condition.
Driving all along the Chandra River, first join the Leh Manali Highway at Gramphu .From here On the Valley floor we start climbing up till the pass (Rohtang) and further descent till Manali.
Ki Monastery: The Monastery consists of large irregular heap of low ceiling rooms and narrow corridors, interconnected by dark passages and tortuous staircases, built on what must have been a crater of an extinct volcano. This is one of the biggest and the oldest monasteries belonging to the Ge- Lug – Pa sect in Spiti. It dates back to around 14th Century and is famous for its murals, valuable books and fabulous collection of Thankas. The instrument here deserves mention. There are two trumpets, two or three small brass instruments, a pair of large cymbals, a big deep voiced drum, and a pair of smaller ones. The drum pet, which is about three meters in length, rests on a triangular block of wood, placed on the ground, and rises in a long sweeping curve to the mouth of the player, who remains standing and blows into it with all his might. The sound produced by this magnificent instrument is surprisingly feeble. Ascend along the true left bank of the Spiti River to the Village of Kibber, one of the highest villages in the World (4205 Mts.) connected by road and electricity. It is fairly big pleasant looking village with a very beautiful location.
Old Hindustan – Tibet Road offers the nearest view of Kinner – Kailash and Shivlingam Peak. We visit to the Roghi Village which is strikingly situated on the hill and houses an ancient temple. Visit to Recong Peo, the Distt Head Quarter of Kinnaur. Journey moves on the banks of river Satluj. We also make an excursion to Ribba Village, one of the biggest villages in Kinnaur, famous for Angoori, local alcohol brewed out of the grapes, one of the specialties of Kinnaur; Ribba Village also houses an ancient Monastery. We reach the beautiful village of Rarang, which houses a Temple and a Monastery. Explore the real Kinnaur in these Villages situated on the high hills, which in the legends and old Hindu and Buddhist literature occupies a special place
Here we visit the beautiful village of Baspa Valley such as Chhitkul (3450 mts) – the route in this stretch is very narrow and steep till Chhitkul, the last and highest village in Baspa Valley. It is situated on the Right Bank of Baspa Valley; there is a temple dedicated to local Goddess, Mathi, which is said to have been constructed some 500 years ago. The location of Rackcham – another village in Baspa Valley is striking as rocky cliffs of granite rocks and forests surround it. One can visit Kamru Temple and fort in Kamru Village, situated on a top of Sangla Village. The whole day spend visiting all these beautiful villages and meeting their beautiful inhabitants.
Sangla is about 95 km from Sarahan at an altitude of 2680 mts. It takes 4 to 5 hrs. On a well metalled road. And we pass through many hydel electricity generation centers such as the Nathpa Jhakri, the massive infrastructure in making with the help of World Bank.
Sarahan is a small but beautiful village in which is situated the historical Bhima Kali Temple, known for its wooden architecture. This temple is believed to be 1500 years old. One can enjoy the view of Shrikhand range of mountains in the background of the town.
We drive via many small towns/villages such as Nirth, Sainj, Kumarsain through Satluj Valley. At Nirth, there is an old temple, dedicated to Sun God which is said to be built by Parshuram (sage). And Dutt Nagar is known for its archaeological importance.
Narkanda: Narkanda is located in between Rampur and Shimla, beautiful small mountain pass. It has an average elevation of 2621 metres (8599 feet). Hatu Peak which is at 11000 ft is 5 km from Narkanda. Kotgarh is 16 km from Narkanda and famous for apple orchards. Satyanand Stokes brought the apple to this place and helped strengthen the economy of this area. Today Rs 3,000 Crore direct and indirect income is generated through apple production. Presently apple growers are shifting to bring their farm under cherry cultivation to fetch fast money in their pocket as holdings are marginalised due to population factor. The grandson of Mr. Stokes is experimenting to develop new variety of apple for better production.
What to bring for the tour
Good Warm internal clothing (woolen and fleece, thermals), water proof and wind proof clothing, Comfortable hiking boots with good resistance against the snow and water with a good grip, haversack, sandals, walking sticks, gaiters, woolen/tennis socks (quite a few pairs) and stocking, gloves, cap, sunglasses (very important), Sunscreen lotion, day sack, camera and binocular (OPTIONAL), water bottle, torch and batteries
Day temperature in the sun is pleasant but windy but nights are cold. The temp at night in rain and snow can really go down; sometimes below zero so you have to be well prepared.
It is also possible that a route change may become necessary due to weather, inaccessibility through the mountain passes due to heavy snow, condition of the trail and physical fitness of the clients.