(9 nights 10 days)
Let Banjara lead you into a world full of mysteries and unknown places where time has stood still for thousands of years untouched by man. Your journey begins from where the story of apple in India begins. Thanedar (ahead of Shimla) is a lovely little hamlet where Mr. Stokes brought first apple sapling into India from Philadelphia. This is your first destination from where you will be entering into the unknown world free from all the daily routine of our city life. Exploration of isolated Kinnaur-Spiti situated on Indo-Tibet border. a spectacular road from Thanedhar leads in to the Gorgeous Sutlej valley of scenic Sanrahan dominated by mighty Srikhand Mahadev Peaks. From here, we go on to the amazing valley in Sangla where we get some of the most beautiful apples in the country and probably the world. The place boasts some of the most beautiful flora and fauna and a simply breathtaking setting beside the Baspa River and with views of towering snow capped mountains. Revel in the lush green beauty of the valley before moving onto the barren landscape of Spiti known as a forbidden country a few years back. Whereas wider Desert Spiti surrounded by high mountains, holding Tibetan Buddhist culture and housing several monasteries in its lap.
Climate and culture changes so rapidly as beginning from Shimla peoples are hindu, Kinnaur adopted both Hindu and Buddhist culture, Spiti where Tibetan Buddhism is flourished. During the expedition one can see the most exotic sight of Himalayas which will be an unforgettable experience also in terms of both skill and thrill.
- Day 1: DELHI – THANEDHAR 440KMS/10HR Leave Delhi after an early breakfast. Check into Banjara Orchard Retreat. Spend the night in the retreat.
- Day 2: THANEDHAR – SANGLA 153 KM-06 HR Drive to Banjara Camp, Sangla. On the way you can also visit Sarahan (Bhima Kali Temple) this will increase your travel time by 02 hrs. Overnight stay at the camp.
- Day 3: SANGLA VISIT CHITKUL (3,450M) - 20KMS A day visit to the Chitkul village. This is the last village on the old Indo-Tibetan trade route. From here, we can hike up to Nagasthi, the last border outpost that civilians are allowed to. It is a lovely 2.5 kms walk along a stream. Lunch along the glacier fed mountain stream. Drive back to Camp in the afternoon. Rest of the day at leisure. You could also try your hand at rappelling, rock climbing or river crossing. Evening around a bonfire. Night stay in tents.
- Day 4: SANGLA-HIKE TO RAKCHAM Today, we go for the signature walk of the valley. Drive to Rakcham village where we cross the river and begin our hike back to the camp. This is a 6-7 kms long hike through thick forests, open skies, streams and walk by the river. Reach back early afternoon. Lunch at camp. Rest after lunch else, try your hand at Rock climbing, rappelling or river crossing. You could also go for a short walk in the surrounding hills. Night stay at Banjara camp and Retreat.
- Day 5: SANGLA - KAZA - 229 KM / 09 HR After an early breakfast we start the fascinating drive to Kaza. We leave behind verdant, forest clad mountains as we go over the tree line towards the Spiti region. After driving for about 5 hrs on NH 22, just short of Yangthang, we take a detour, to visit the picturesque Nako Lake and have a picnic lunch by the lakeside. Post –lunch we drive on through breath taking, mountain desert terrain to reach the Banjara Retreat in Kaza.
- Day 6: KAZA – KI GOMPA – KIBBER – GETE – KAZA After breakfast, visit Ki monastery and Kibber village. Ki gompa is a Gelugpa sect monastery. Its hilltop position points to a post-thirteenth century construction. The three storied structure consists largely of storage rooms at the bottom level, while the middle floor houses the Dukhang- the assembly hall- and the uppermost floor has another temple and the head Lama’s quarters, on one side of an open terrace. The greatest wealth of Ki Gompa lies in its collection of ‘Thangkas’ salvaged with difficulty from the devastating raids of the Dogars and the Sikhs in the 19th century.
From here a scenic drive takes you into the pasture country of Kibber. The pastures are spread over hundreds of square kilometers. Kibber is small village and is the take off point for the popular trek to Tso Moriri in Ladakh. Further up six kilometers from Kibber, we drive up to a still smaller village of Gete. Consisting of just six houses, it boasts of being the highest village in Asia connected by road. Drive back to the retreat for a late lunch and spend rest of the day at leisure.
- Day 7: KAZA – DHANKAR – TABO - KALPA - 210 KMN / 7 HR Post-breakfast drive down to Dhankar Monastery. Dhankar, the traditional capital of Spiti, sits pretty on a hilltop. The fort here overlooks the Spiti valley and it was used as a jail in olden days. Today, more than 160 lamas reside here. A statue of Dhyan Buddha where four complete figures of Buddha sit back to back is the main attraction of this more than seven-century old monastery. Move on to visit the glorious Tabo Gompa; reputed to be the oldest (an inscription on a wall here indicates, it was founded in AD 996) continuously functioning Buddhist monastery in India and the Himalayas, with its original decoration and iconographic program intact. Finish off with your packed lunch and drive on to reach Kalpa late in the evening. Famous for its apple and chilgoza plantations, this place also offers the best panoramic view of the 6,000m high Kinner-Kailash range. Night stay in Kalpa.
- Day 8: KALPA – THANEDHAR - 155 KM / 6 HRS Drive to Banjara Orchard Retreat, Thanedar. Overnight stay at the retreat.
- Day 9: THANEDHAR Visit Hatu Peak and Tani Jubbar Lake. Overnight stay at the retreat.
- Day 11: Drop at Chandigarh 250 kms/8-9 hrs Post breakfast, drive to Chandigarh to get dropped at the airport/railway station.