A Trans Himalayan Wilderness Safari
Surrounded by the Kullu Valley in the south, Ladakh in the north and Tibet in the east, the twin valleys of Lahaul and Spiti is a region of nature at its wildest.
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeFamily
Activity Level Easy
Group Size Medium Group
Surrounded by the Kullu Valley in the south, Ladakh in the north and Tibet in the east, the twin valleys of Lahaul and Spiti is a region of nature at its wildest. This land duplicates, possibly exceeds in many ways, the magical ambience of Leh, Nubra and Zanskar valleys. This region remains cut off from the rest of the world for much of the year. Apart from geographical barriers, this area was closed, till recently, to visitors because of military and political reasons.
These valleys encompass glaciers, high ridges, broad valleys, pastures and has a minimum elevation exceeding 3000m. This area is more of a high altitude cold desert dotted with famous monasteries, villages like little green oasis in a stark, brown and dry landscape, miles of rolling pastures, 6000m peaks and swollen rivers which turn into mere trickles in winter. Between the Shivaliks and the Greater Himalayas is found another of India’s last unexplored posts, Kinnaur. Situated on the Old World trade route, its only link with the outside world is by way of the Hindustan -Tibet road through Shimla.
Delhi to Manali
An early morning drive in a comfortable car to Manali (570 kms; 10-11 hours). Manali is a picturesque hill town at the head of the Kullu valley. Overnight hotel.
Relaxed day to visit the town, its mall and the Hadimba temple. Visit the Tibetan market and take in the sights. Overnight hotel.
Rohtang Pass to Kaza
Today is an early start. we drive over the Rohtang pass (separating Kullu from the Lahaul valley), and descend into the valley of the Chandra river and continue past Chhattru, Batal and over the Kunzum la (pass), which divides Lahaul and Spiti. We spend some time taking in fabulous views of the Chandrabhaga range of mountains, visit the Buddhist shrine and get into our waiting jeeps, to reach Kaza by evening. Overnight Camp/hotel.
Today, we visit the Kye village and the Kye gompa, the largest monastery in Spiti. We drive up to Kibber village, which at 14,000 feet above sea level, is the road head for the trade route into Ladakh over the Parang La. We continue to the village of Gette and Tashigang high up in the mountains – this is the area where the famous Spiti horses are bred for trade with the nomadic ”changpas” of Ladakh in exchange for the valuable Pashmina wool. If time permits, on return we could walk down a steep path to Kye gompa, where our jeeps pick us up for the drive back to the camp. We return to our camp/hotel by late afternoon.
Drive to Dhankar village
Today, first we drive to Dhankar village and visit the gompa. (If time permits -we also walk an hour above the monastery to Dhankar lake, a blue-green lake amidst pink-brown hills). We return back to the main road and drive on to Tabo monastery, a monastery 1004 years old. In 1996, the Tabo monastery celebrated its thousand years with a Kalachakra ceremony, which was presided by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We spend the day exploring the numerous temples at the monastery, before continuing back to our camp/hotel at Tabo.
Drive to Langza village
After breakfast, we drive to Langza village, located in a large high mountain meadow with a beautiful mountain, Chau Chau Kang Nilda, towering above this village. Here we find evidence of the Tethy’s sea before the Indian mainland collided with the Tibetan plateau and formed the Himalayas, which are still rising today. Sea fossils can be found at this village – a day spent here provides a fascinating insight to the Spiti way of life. We continue to the villages of Hikkim and Comic, where we visit the monasteries. We could walk down the steep path to Kaza where the jeeps would be waiting for us or drive back to camp from Comic. Overnight at Camp/hotel.
Trek to Chandratal
Today we drive back over the Kunzum pass and trek 4 hours to the lake of the moon, ”Chandratal”. Overnight Camp.
At Chandratal. Many walks in the surrounding area. Camp.
Drive back to Manali. Hotel.
Manali to Delhi
Today, after breakfast, we drive back to Delhi (10-11 hours). Trip ends.
We believe that along with the privilege of adventure in the Himalaya comes a serious responsibility, the responsibility to protect and contribute to its ecology, cultures and its tremendous beauty. The “Leave No Trace” philosophy is followed to the letter and we work to minimize the environmental impact of our trips. We are scrupulous in our camping, cooking and sanitation practices; we limit the number of trekkers we allow to join us on our trips and the number of trips we lead in a given area.
In wilderness, commercial agreements between service provider and client require a depth of understanding that is more than what is routinely attached to similar agreements elsewhere. In the outdoors, we have to balance pursuit of stated objective and risk. We try to overcome risk and deliver the objective promised in the agreement between client and service provider. But that does not mean that we ignore risk altogether to chase an objective. We wish you to be informed on what makes a trip safe for you and everyone else.
Please take a few minutes to read the following:
The nature of wilderness
By definition wilderness implies remoteness. It means that response to any accident or mishap takes time. Timely intervention is a life saver. Working back from this, it becomes imperative that any commercial adventure in wilderness be conservative in terms of the risk it courts. Yet adventure means there will be risk. The way out is to manage the risk involved in such a fashion that a safe experience is provided. There are a few things that the client can do.
Prepare in advance
Commercial expeditions entail strain even if others are carrying your load and doing the team’s work. Prior physical conditioning – particularly of the cardiovascular sort contributing to improved endurance – helps. Please invest time and effort for that before embarking on the trip. It will help you in the field.
Be honest, speak up
We encourage clients to be honest about how they are feeling on expedition days; voice any personal difficulties they may be experiencing. This helps the team make relevant decisions for clients’ well being, something crucial when venturing into altitude. Not all of us are meant for altitude. If your physiology rebels, there is nothing to be ashamed of it. Speak up. Make sure that your disclosures about self are not biased by an objective you are feverishly trying to achieve like getting to the summit of a peak or crossing a high pass at any cost. Don’t let summit fever and similar instances of extreme personal ambition, consume you. It puts you and your support team at risk. Stay with the team’s assessment of risk. Go with the resultant decisions. If you think you have a point to make by all means do so. We will hear you out. But risk assessment and decisions, will be by the team leaders as the onus of a safe expedition primarily rests with them.
Let the leaders work
You may be familiar with rivers, mountains and altitude. We don’t wish to question that. But there are reasons why many of us choose to go as clients. One of them is that our primary vocation is something else, while those working in the mountains as guides have chosen to make that their primary vocation or at the very least, dedicate time to it. More than us, they are in the mountains. They are alive to it. That’s why we entrust our passage to them. So, please let them work free of interference. Please don’t influence their judgement. Your expedition needs their best work and best judgement. In any expedition, leadership style will vary with the risk being tackled in a given situation. There will be times when we can travel easy in a very consultative fashion. There will be times when that is not advisable and a more directive style may be adopted by your guides. Please comply.
Be open to alternatives
We can set up the best safety systems possible, checking and double checking to make sure that nothing is left to chance. But we don’t control or totally overcome variables like weather and terrain / river conditions. They impact expedition’s progress. If team leaders review / alter plan citing concerns on any front, we request that it be respected and not viewed as money’s worth denied even if it dims prospects for achieving an expedition’s original goal. Such challenges are frequent in the outdoors. Seasoned trekkers and climbers, when they realize that a particular objective does not seem achievable on a given trip, learn to be happy with other pursuits to compensate – like staying camped and enjoying the mountain environment or attempting more doable hikes from wherever they are. We request you to stay aware of these possibilities. Be open to them. Decades ago when exploration and first ascents were happening in the Himalaya, the explorers / mountaineers / hikers devoted months to their work. Committed outdoorsmen still do. They wait out unfavourable circumstances by having a lot of time and patience. Time is what the modern world does not have even as the mountains remain the same, posing the same challenges; the same risk, the same unpredictable circumstances. An exceptionally lucky circumstance may deliver success. But luck isn’t commonplace. We should be mentally prepared for the above mentioned alternatives.
If you don’t achieve your objective it isn’t the end of the world. Be patient, another chance will emerge. There is a simple reminder, climbers often tell their colleagues leaving for a summit: “ the mountain will always be there; make sure you are there.’’
In other words – be safe.
Our expedition trips are designed for energetic and flexible people who have the spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Previous experience in the outdoors and camping helps, though is not a must. These trips are participatory in nature, and everyone is expected to pitch in, set up and break down their own tent, clean their own dishes. Look up our trip grading before you sign up.
Grading of Trips
We have graded our trips in four different categories and you should choose one that suits you the most. Grading of each trip has been done keeping in mind a lot of factors like the trip duration, the altitude, the terrain, the no. of hours of activity everyday, temperatures and conditions encountered, and the level of fitness needed. Any kind of exercise which gets you fitter before this trip is advisable, as it will enable you to enjoy the region more.
- Easy : Most of our camp based trips, with easy activities, that are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding whitewater trips with easy support and myriad options.
- Moderate : Active trips involving hiking over reasonable terrain, within vehicular access, upto elevations less than 4000 meters, or trips with long walking days, multiple rafting days, wilderness camping. Includes more demanding whitewater trips with Class III rapids.
- Demanding : Hiking and trekking to elevations exceeding 4000-5000 meters, away from vehicular access, over multiple days. Encompasses demanding whitewater with Class IV rapids.
- Challenging : Our most demanding trips include climbing at high elevations in excess of 5000 meters, in remote and extreme conditions with no access to roads; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips, and demanding whitewater trips with Class IV-V rapids.
The Next Step
Ready to go? Email us at email@example.com to book your place and we will guide you through the booking process. Please sign and scan/email us your booking form and inform us about the status of your payments at the time of confirming the trip (Booking form and Payment details below).
Why travel with Aquaterra Adventures?
We are a pioneer in active adventure travel, and run the most number of rivers in India, having opened them up over the past several years. We set the standard and have a strong reputation for excellence. We have a lot to live up to and we ensure we provide the safest, quality trips for our guests.
Should you wish to contact any of our past guests for a trip reference, write to us.
In remote regions, we often use local suppliers who provide services that may include vehicles for transportation, equipment, logistical support, hotels, guest houses etc. We do not own or operate these independent services or suppliers. We work with them as they share our commitment to service and quality.
All travel from Delhi and back to Delhi by road/ rail / air as applicable (by non ac car / 2 or 3 tier ac coach), all arrangements for staying and camping while on the trip, accommodation on twin share basis in tents / rest houses / hotels, all meals, professional guide fee, sanctuary fee / royalty / permits where applicable, all trekking arrangements with india’s most experienced guiding team, camp staff, cook etc.
a) Accommodation:Hotel/Guesthouse at Kaza – comprises of a clean and comfortable room with attached bath and toilet with facilities for running hot and cold water.
b) Kindly inform us in advance of any food preferences.
c) Spiti is a high altitude region. Since few people have been to such altitudes, it is hard to know who may be affected by high altitude sickness. There are no specific factors such as age, sex, or physical condition that correlate with susceptibility to altitude sickness. Some people get it and some people don’t, and some people are more susceptible than others. If one has not travelled to these altitudes before, it is recommended that you consult your doctor. We usually advise dosage of Diamox or alternate medicines for high altitude (however please consult your doctor before getting onto any medication) 2/3 days before reaching kaza as a safe precautionary for this trip. Please note that we do not take responsibility for reimbursements in the event that you are unable to complete the trip due to high altitude sickness and/or other personal reasons.
Whats not: Railway station / airport transfers in delhi, any stay and meals in delhi, items of personal clothing, expenses of personal nature like laundry, phone calls, alcohol, cigarettes, insurance, camera fee and any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, landslides, road conditions and any other circumstances beyond our control.
If it becomes necessary to cancel your tour, you must notify Aquaterra Adventures India Pvt. Ltd. immediately in writing. Once we receive your notice, cancellation will take effect. Please note that the following charges will apply on cancellation:
- if cancellation takes place more than 45 days prior to departure, your full deposit
- will be returned except a processing charge of Rs. 5000 or US$ 77 ; (60 days for Brahmaputra trip)
- if cancellation takes place between 45 and 30 days prior to departure, 50% of the
- tour price will be forfeited (between 60 and 30 days for Brahmaputra trip); and
- if cancellation takes place less than 30 days prior to departure, 100% of the tour price will be forfeited.
Some trips attract a minimum processing charge – please check.
The tour price is quoted as a package. No partial refunds or credit will be given for services not used. We recommend that you obtain travel insurance upon booking.