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Colors of Himalayas


Colors of Himalayas

Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti – Manali – Dharamsala – Amritsar (14N/ 15D)


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Day 1

Distance – 135 kms, Journey and Sight-seeing Time – approximately 6 hrs.
Pick up from Chandigarh Airport or Railway station. Visit famous Rock garden and Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh before driving towards Shimla. Lunch en route at Barog from where one gets first glimpses of Himalayas. Reach Shimla (2200 mts/ 7250 ft) by evening. If not tired, take a stroll on the famous mall road. O/n Hotel.

Day 2

Distance – 30 kms, Journey and Sight-seeing Time – approximately 4 hrs.
After Breakfast, Leave for half day tour. Visit famous Jakhu temple (2455 mts/ 8000 ft) dedicated to Lord Hanuman, situated on the hilltop from where one can have 360 degree view of Shimla town down below. Shimla was the summer capital of India during the British Raj. It has lot of old Gothic style architecture buildings which are worth visiting. The main attraction is the Institute of advanced studies which used to be the Vice Regal Lodge, the residence of Viceroy to India, highly recommended. Visit Vice Regal Lodge in the second half of the day. Visit Christ church & Ridge in the late afternoon. Enjoy & explore famous Mall Road in the evening. Illuminated Buildings of Town Hall & Christ church look wonderful in the evenings. O/n Hotel.

Day 3

Distance – 166 kms, Journey and Sight-seeing Time – approximately 9 hrs.
Early Check out. Obtain spectacular wide angle view of whole Himalayan range from Kufri (2743 mts/ 9000 ft) & visit Zoo which has rare Himalayan species. Sojourn at Narkanda (2621 mts/ 8600 ft) for first view of Kinnaur Himalayas followed by Royal Palace of erstwhile Bushahr state at Rampur (1350 mts/ 4430 ft). Reach Sarahan by late evening. O/n Hotel.

Day 4

Distance – 95 kms, Journey and Sight-seeing Time – approximately 8 hrs.
Tiny scenic town of Sarahan (2313 mts/ 7600 ft) is famous for Bhimakali temple, dedicated to the mother goddess Bhimakali, presiding deity of the rulers of the former Bushahr State. The town is known as the gateway of Kinnaur. The Bhimakali Temple is noteworthy in that it contains both Hindu and Vajrayana Buddhist statues and decorations which reflect the trade through here between India and Tibetan regions. Besides this, views of Shrikhand Mahadev peak (5155 mts/ 17000 ft) are magnificent. Check out and drive further on reach Sangla by early evening. Enjoy stunning beauty of the riverside valley and lofty snowy mountains. O/n Hotel.

Day 5

Distance – 52 kms, Journey and Sight-seeing Time – approximately 6 hrs.
After relaxed morning, whole day at disposal to explore wonderful Sangla (2670 mts/ 8800 ft). Drive upstream Baspa till Chitkul (3450 mts/ 11300 ft), the last inhabited village before IndoTibetan border. Visitor is enthralled at the beauty of this upper valley surrounded by forested slopes, views of the high mountains, saffron fields and apple orchards. Major attraction at Chitkul are its houses with either slate or wooden plank roofs, Kamru fort & temple dedicated to Godess Kamakshi, the idol of Godess was brought from Guwahati (Assam), a Buddhist temple and a small tower. Enjoy expansive views at this altitude and return to Sangla by evening. O/n Camp.

Day 6

Distance – 51 kms, Journey and Sight-seeing Time – approximately 7 hrs.
At leisure after Breakfast. Check out by noon. Drive and Check in Hotel at beautiful and quiet Kalpa (2960 mts/ 9700 ft). Amazing Kalpa is situated above Recong peo (2290 mts/ 7500 ft), district headquarter of Kinnaur. Sutlej River down below hurtles through deep gorges, the winding mountain road is bordered by chilgoza forests. The serenity of this sleepy hamlet is visited by relatively few visitors. The local inhabitants follow a mixture of Hinduism and Buddhism, and many temples in Kalpa are dedicated to both Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses. Drive to Roughi village in the afternoon to visit one of such temple beautifully decorated with intricate wood carvings. O/n Hotel.

Day 7

Distance – 185 kms, Journey and Sight-seeing Time – approximately 8 hrs.
Get up a little early for beautiful view of morning as the rising sun touches the snowy peak of Kinner Kailash Mountains with crimson and golden light. Check out and drive along Sutlej river, fading greenery starts paving way to high altitude rugged mountains and barren valleys, at Khab the fast flowing Spiti river confluences with Sutlej. Sojourn at Nako Lake (3662 mts/ 12014 ft) which is surrounded by willow and poplar trees. Near the lake there are four Buddhist temples. Near this place there is a footlike impression ascribed to the saint Padmasambhava. Reach Tabo by evening, O/n Camp at Tabo.

Day 8

Distance – 73 kms, Journey and Sight-seeing Time – approximately 7 hrs.
Tabo village (3280 mts/ 10750 ft) is situated on left bank of Spiti River. Visit more than 10 centuries old monastery at Tabo famous for its stucco images, large number of frescoes displayed on its walls depict tales from the Buddhist Gods. There are many priceless collections of thankas (scroll paintings), manuscripts, frescos and extensive murals which cover almost every wall. Check out and drive to Dhankar Gompa (3894 mts/ 12775 ft). The 1200-year-old Dhankar (means fort on the cliff) is wedged between rocky spurs at the top of the Dhankar village overlooking the confluence of the Spiti and Pin Rivers - one of the world's most spectacular settings for a monastery. World Monuments Fund has selected Dhankar gompa as one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world. Drive on & divert into Pin valley. Declared a National Park in 1987, wind scoured Pin Valley with its snow laden unexplored higher reaches and slopes, the Park forms a natural habitat for a number of endangered animals including the Snow Leopard and Siberian Ibex. The elevation of the park ranges from about 3,500 metres (11,500 ft) near Ka Dogri to more than 6,000 metres (20,000 ft) at its highest point. Drive upto Mud village which serves as a base camp for the trekkers venturing deep into wild Pin valley. O/n Guest House at Mud.

Day 9

Distance – 90 kms, Journey and Sight-seeing Time – approximately 8 hrs.
Visit Kungri, a Buddhist monastery of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is Spiti's second oldest monastery, built around 1330. Situated atop craggy hillock, the gompa consists of three detached rectangular blocks facing east. It is noted for its sword dance by the buzhens of Mud village on the right bank of the Pin River. Drive through kaza, headquarters of Spiti valley to Ki Monastery. Perched beautifully atop craggy hill at 4116 metres, it is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for Lamas. Key monastery has a collection of ancient murals and books, including Buddha images. A celebration of its millennium (Kalchakra) was conducted in 2000 in the presence of the Dalai Lama. O/n Hotel at Rangrik.

Day 10

Distance – 275 kms, Journey and Sight-seeing Time – approximately 12 hrs.
Check out early after Breakfast and visit Kibber village at an elevation of 4270 mts/ 14000 ft, which lies on the summit of a limestone rock and Gete Village at an altitude of 4205 mts/ 13875 ft above sea level are the two highest villages in Asia. Proceed to Langza village famous for presence of marine fossils. Drive over Kunzam pass (4551 mts/ 14930 ft), which connects spiti valley with lahaul & kullu valleys, to breathtakingly beautiful Chandratal (Lake of the moon). The lake at about 4300 mts/ 14100 ft above sea level derives its name from its crescent shape. The most surprising thing about this lake is that there is no visible source of this lake but there is a visible outlet of this lake which means that water to this lake comes from underground. Drive over Rohtang Pass or Rohtang La (3978 mts/ 13050 ft) demarcates the natural barrier between the harsher high altitude desert of Lahaul-spiti and the dense Deodar forests, apple orchards and pretty alpine meadows of the Kullu valley. Drive through Marhi, green meadows of Gulaba down to verdant Kullu valley. Reach Manali (1950 mts/ 6450 ft) by evening. O/n Hotel.

Day 11

Distance – 25 kms, Journey and Sight-seeing Time – approximately 4 hrs.
First half of the day at leisure. Leave for local sight seeing after breakfast. Visit ages old pagoda shaped temple of Hadimba located beautifully in the middle of cedar forest, Natural sulphur hot water springs at Vashisht, Club house on the river bank and Buddhist Monastery. Explore Old Manali & local market in the evening. O/n Hotel at Manali.

Day 12

Distance – 250 Kms, Journey & Sight-seeing Time – approximately 8 hrs.
Early Check out and leave to drive through lovely countryside which takes you to capital of old Kullu state called Nagar (1851 mts/ 6100 ft). Visit 1000 years old temple dedicated to Gayatri Devi at Jagatusukh. Visit Nagar castle built in typical Kullu architecture style which used to be the residence of the royal family. Brief stoppage on entering Kangra valley at ancient rock temple of Baijnath (1314 mts/ 4311 ft) dedicated to Lord Shiva, which is 1000 years old. Further scenic drive takes you through vast valley expance with Tea Gardens of Palampur (1472 mts/ 4830 ft) covering the majority of the land mass. Visit Chamunda temple before reaching Dharamsala (1457 mts/ 4780 ft) in the evening. O/n Hotel at Dharamsala.

Day 13

Distance – 50 Kms, Journey & Sight-seeing Time – approximately 7 hrs.
After relaxed morning, Visit Norbulingka Institute, dedicated to preserve Tibetan culture in its literary and artistic forms is beautifully designed by a Japanese Architect is worth a visit. Visit beautifully located Monastery at Sidhpur which is seat of 17th Karmapa Lama. Leave for tour of upper Dharamsala & Mcleodgunj (2082 mts/ 6825 ft). Start with Kangra Art & Folk Museum which is treasure of kangra Valley’s cultural past, crafts, arts and other ancient artifacts. Some of the displayed items in the museum are dating back to 5th century. Kangra Museum encloses a gallery consisting of miniature paintings of Kangra’s rich past, pottery, rare coin memorabilia, sculptures and anthropological materials. It has a varied collection of tribal jewelry, embroidered costumes and wood carvings. Proceed on to visit Dal Lake and Naddi village where get the closest sight of the Dhauladhar Mountains. St. John’s Church in wilderness built in 1852 set amidst thick forest and Bhagsu waterfalls is another sight to behold. Explore interesting Mcleodgunj market and walk to famous Tibetan Monastery and residence of His Holiness Dalai Lama in Exile. O/n Hotel at Dharamsala.

Day 14

Distance – 270 Kms, Journey & Sight-seeing Time – approximately 9 hrs.
Early Check out after Breakfast and Drive to Amritsar (appx 6 hrs, 180 Kms). Check in Hotel at Amritsar. Rest a while and drive to Wagah, the border between India & Pakistan to watch closing 'lowering of the flags' ceremony or The Beating Retreat ceremony which is a daily military practice. The ceremony starts with a blustering parade by the soldiers from both the sides, and ends up in the perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations' flags. The spectacle of the ceremony attracts many visitors from both sides of the border, as well as international tourists. Drive back to Amritsar, Briefly visit Golden Temple at night to catch glimpses of ultimate beauty of the shrine in illumination. O/n Hotel.

Day 15

Distance – 40 Kms, Journey & Sight-seeing Time – approximately 6 hrs.
Check out after Breakfast. Visit and spend quality time at Golden temple again to imbibe the holy ambience and experience its magical beauty. Visit historical Jalianwala Bagh which houses a memorial of national importance, established in 1951 to commemorate the massacre by British occupying forces of peaceful celebrators on the occasion of Baisakhi (festival of crop harvesting) on April 13, 1919. Explore local market before boarding train/ flight for onward return journey.