This quote holds absolute truth for the spectacular valleys of Spiti. Comprising of 3 smaller areas of Lahaul, Kinnaur and Spiti, this place is way beyond the regular tourist trail.
Although the landscape of this place almost resembles Ladakh, past travelers boast that this place has even more stunning locations. More people are now treading the paths of these virgin lands which thankfully have not succumbed to commercialization.
Spiti is still being discovered, as the adventurous roads and high altitude does not make it a tourist friendly place. Only the true thrill seekers & explorers who can stand its harsh climate and meager facilities get rewarded by this out-of-the-world experience.
Day 1: Chandigarh-Sarahan
Start from Chandigarh early in the morning. We will halt at Shimla for lunch after which we will drive through the beautiful Kinnaur Valley. If time permits, we will halt at Rampur and visit Padam palace. Reach Sarahan, have dinner and rest for the night.
Enjoy the panoramic views from the Chandigarh, Get the first glimpse of your trip through the alluring Kinnaur valley. Padam palace has Belgium glass work, usage of wood everywhere and stunning interiors.
Day 2: Shimla- Sangla
After a hectic day of travel on the previous day, today leave at a leisure pace from Sarahan. Reach Sangla and Checkout Kamru fort at Sangla. Reach Rakcham and explore the meadows on the other side of the river bridge.
The whole area is full of exotic apple orchids and wooden houses.
Day 3: Sangla - Kalpa
Visit the remote village of Chitkul early morning. It is the last inhabited village near the Indo-China border. En-route Chitkul comes the smaller village called Mastrang. True to its name, the fields around here are very colourful. Come back and have lunch at Sangla before retiring at the spectacular mountain village of Kalpa. There are clean guest houses with basic services here.
Chitkul is the last stop for the old trade route to Tibet with stunning architecture.
The Sangla Valley right up to Chitkul is a delight for nature lovers.
The Sun setting between Mt. Kinner Kailash and the sun rising through it is breath taking!
Day 4: Kalpa-Tabo
Said to be the most adventurous part of the journey, drive through the Hindustan Tibet highway and see the confluence of Spiti and Satluj river. Halt near Nako Lake for lunch and enjoy the views of the Leo Purgyal peak. Cross the dreadful malling nala and then visit the monasteries of Tabo and Dhankar. The view from dhankar monastery is breathtaking!
For most people, riding on the Hindustan Tibet highway is the best part of the trip. You will start noticing the cold, barren landscapes of Spiti from here.
Tabo Monastery is more than 1000 years old and contains many priceless Thanka paintings and artifacts.
Dhankar is an ancient capital of Spiti and seat of Spitian Kings. There are ruins of an ancient castle and a monastery constructed in the 16th century.
Day 5: Tabo-Kungri-Kaza
After leaving Dhankar monastery, travel inside Pin Parvati and explore the valley along side the pin river and reach Mud village. Travel around places like Kungri and reach Kaza, the headquarters of Spiti.
Kungri Gompa is Spiti's second oldest monastery. Kungri Gompa is noted for its sword dance by the buzhens of Mud village on the right bank of the Pin River.
Day 6: Kaza - Ki Gompa – Kibber - Koumik – Hikkim - Langza - Kaza
Leave from Kaza and visit the famous Ki monastery. Drive to Kibber which is situated at an altitude of 4,250 mts. From here we have an option to either trek to Chicham which requires to cross a valley by a thrilling ropeway, or do a further circuit of Hikkim - Koumik and Langza. Lunch enroute and overnight back in Kaza.
Ki Gompa is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training center for Lamas.
Kibber is home to snow leopards, wildlife like ibex, blue sheep, golden cock, Pika, Himalayan wolf and more. Hikkim has the highest post office in the world.
Komik is the world’s highest village with a road.
Langza has breathtaking views of Chau Chau Kang Nelda peak and the statue of Buddha overlooking the valley is something which cannot be missed.
Day 7: Kaza – Chandratal
Drive down the most scenic road from Kaza to Losar. Then drive to the base of Chandratal and have lunch. Trek to the lake and spend some pleasant time near the lake. Come back and stay in the makeshift tents providing basic facilities at Chandratal.
The drive between Kaza and Losar will leave you begging for more.
If Ladakh has Pangong, than Spiti has Chandratal Lake. The blue waters at the bottom of a uniquely shaped mountain will captivate your imagination.
Day 8: Chandratal - Manali
Start heading back to Manali via the famous Rohtang pass. An easy 8 - 10 hrs drive provided that the traffic at Rohtang pass doesn’t get crazy! Away from the bustling town of Manali, spend overnight at a quite village. In the night we can go to Johnson's Bar and Restaurant.
The drive through Chattru – Gramphu towards Rohtang Pass is out of the world. The crazy traffic, crowd and the beauty of Rohtang pass will remind you that you are reaching back to reality again.
Day 9: Manali - Chandigarh
Drive back towards Chandigarh from Manali, through the beautiful mountains of Bhuntar and Mandi. Reach Chandigarh and bid adieu to the the most memorable trip!
Landslides are very common in these areas. As a result, several hours may end up being spent on road. This is highly unpredictable so we recommend you to keep one extra day as buffer and plan your trip accordingly.
This will be an action packed road trip with quite a heavy amount of road travel on treacherous mountain passes on a daily basis.