Banjaracamps
Kinnaur – Spiti – Leh – Srinagar Safari
Kinnaur – Spiti – Leh – Srinagar Safari
Duration 17 nights 18 days
August 10 to 27 2019

This road safari is among the finest drives anywhere in the Himalayas. Observe the captivating transition in landscape as you move from the evergreen Shimla & Kinnaur hills to the stark, high altitude mountain desert terrain of Spiti-Lahaul & Ladakh, and finally emerge in the verdant vales and meadows of Kashmir. Equally fascinating is the transformation in culture & traditions that goes hand-in-glove with the changing landscape: Hinduism to Tibetan Buddhism to Islam. Breathtakingly beautiful scenery and warm hospitality would be a constant throughout this trip.

    <strong>AUG 10: CHANDIGARH – THANEDAR</strong> (2350 m / 7700 ft) 196 km / 6 hrs

    Day 1: AUG 10: CHANDIGARH – THANEDAR (2350 m / 7700 ft) 196 km / 6 hrs

    Arrive at Chandigarh Railway Station by the morning Shatabdi from Delhi or at the airport by noon. Drive up into colder climes via Shimla and Narkanda; reach Thanedar in the evening. Check into your hotel rooms. Spend late evening relaxing besides a bonfire. Overnight stay in the Banjara Orchard Retreat.

    <strong>THANEDAR – Sarahan – SANGLA</strong> (2700 m / 8860 ft) 180 km / 7 hrs

    Day 2: THANEDAR – Sarahan – SANGLA (2700 m / 8860 ft) 180 km / 7 hrs

    Post breakfast we start our drive from the Shimla region to Kinnaur. En route take a detour to see the ancient Bhimakali Temple in Sarahan with the Shrikand Mahadev Peak in the backdrop. Reach Sangla Valley in the evening. Check into tents at a campsite. Rest of the evening at leisure around a bonfire. Overnight stay in the Banjara Camp & Retreat.

    <strong>SANGLA</strong> – visit Chitkul & hike to Nagasthi

    Day 3: SANGLA – visit Chitkul & hike to Nagasthi

    Today you drive to Chitkul, it is a fascinating drive of about 45 mins; Pine trees gradually give way to Bhojpatra / Birch and then the tree line disappears. The valley opens out into meadowland beyond which you see the snow capped Greater Himalayas that separate India from Tibet. Perched on one side of the valley below a ridge is the quaint village of Chitkul. Go for a stroll through the village and then hike up along the river to Nagasthi, the border outpost beyond which civilians are not allowed. On the drive back we stop for a picnic lunch in the enchanting forest of Mastrang. Be back at the camp late in the afternoon. Evening by a bonfire. Overnight stay in the Banjara Camp & Retreat.

    <strong>SANGLA – TABO</strong> (3280 m / 10,760 ft) 185 km / 7 - 8 hrs

    Day 4: SANGLA – TABO (3280 m / 10,760 ft) 185 km / 7 - 8 hrs

    Leave after breakfast and set off towards Spiti. En route we stop at Nako in upper Kinnaur to take a look at the picturesque Nako Lake. Carry on and reach Tabo by late afternoon. Check into your rooms in a hotel. Evening at leisure. Overnight stay in Dewachen Retreat.

    <strong>TABO – Dhankar – KAZA</strong> (4400 M) 66 km / 3 hrs

    Day 5: TABO – Dhankar – KAZA (4400 M) 66 km / 3 hrs

    Early morning we will visit the over 1000 yr old gompa in Tabo – a world heritage site; and be a part of the morning prayers. After breakfast at the hotel we start our drive going up into the higher reaches of Spiti. En route we will take a short detour and reach the majestically perched Dhankar Gompa. From here we will hike (3 kms each way) to reach a small but exquisite lake; the views of Spiti Valley from the trail are simply unforgettable. Later we will continue our drive and reach Kaza by early evening. Check into rooms at a hotel. Evening at leisure. Overnight stay in Sakya Abode or Hotel Snow Lion.

    <strong>KAZA</strong> – excursion to Ki, Kibber – Gete & Langza – Hikkim – Komic

    Day 6: KAZA – excursion to Ki, Kibber – Gete & Langza – Hikkim – Komic

    Post breakfast we visit Ki Gompa and then the picturesque pastureland hamlets of Kibber & Gete. Be back at your hotel for a hot lunch. Post the meal we visit the high altitude villages of Langza, Hikkim & Komic. Overnight stay in Sakya Abode or Hotel Snow Lion.

    <strong>KAZA – CHANDRATAL</strong> (4300 m / 14,100 ft) 99 km / 4 hrs

    Day 7: KAZA – CHANDRATAL (4300 m / 14,100 ft) 99 km / 4 hrs

    Today post breakfast we embark on a drive through some amazing Spitian terrain to reach Kunzum La (4600 m); cross the pass and enter the Lahaul region. At Batal we leave the main road and do a hair raising drive of about 13 km along the gorge of the Chandra River to reach a meadow that is about a km from the lake.  Check into your tents at a campsite, freshen up and hike about 30 mins to reach the gorgeous Chandratal Lake. Spend a couple of hours enjoying the turquoise hued lake and also magnificent views of the glacier and peaks of the Mulkila & Chandrabhaga ranges. Overnight stay in Parasol Camps.

    <strong>CHANDRATAL – JISPA</strong> (3150 m / 10,300 ft) 121 km / 7 – 8 hrs

    Day 8: CHANDRATAL – JISPA (3150 m / 10,300 ft) 121 km / 7 – 8 hrs

    Leave after breakfast and drive via Batal to reach Gramphoo where we join the Manali – Leh highway and proceed to reach Jispa. Check into tents/rooms at a lodge besides the Bhaga River – go for an evening stroll to facilitate acclimatization. Overnight stay in Padma Lodge.

    <strong>JISPA - LEH</strong> (3505 m / 11500 ft) 310 km / 10 hrs

    Day 9: JISPA - LEH (3505 m / 11500 ft) 310 km / 10 hrs

    Have an early breakfast and start by about 0730 hrs on the grandest drive of the trip.  Reach Baralacha La (4890 M), just before the pass stop for a look at the small but bewitching Suraj Tal. Drive on over the pass and then via Serchu, negotiate the hair rising Gata Loops – 21 back to back switchbacks, cross Naki La (4740 m) & Lachalung La (5019 m) to reach Pang. You then drive through the amazingly desolate Moray Plains before ascending to reach the third highest motorable pass in the world; Tanglang La (5390 M). Carry on over & reach Leh in the evening. Overnight stay in Oriental Hotel or Zion Ladakh.

    <strong>LEH</strong>

    Day 10: LEH

    After a leisurely breakfast visit Shey Palace & Monastery as well as the eye-catching Thiksey & the grand Hemis monasteries. Drive back and before Leh take a detour over the Indus to reach Stok Village. Enjoy a traditional Ladakhi meal in a village home and also see Stok Palace & Museum. Later we visit Leh Bazaar; check out the palace, shop for Thangkas, chunky antique silver jewelry with turquoise embellishments, mementos, apricots & apricot based beauty products… Spend sunset at Shanti Stupa for unforgettable views of Leh Valley & town. Overnight stay in Oriental Hotel or Zion Ladakh.

    <strong>LEH</strong> - Pangong Tso – LEH 150 km / 4 ½ hrs each way 

    Day 11: LEH - Pangong Tso – LEH 150 km / 4 ½ hrs each way 

    Leave early morning by say 0530 - 0600 hrs on the drive to Pangong. After crossing Chang La (5360 m) we will reach Tangse where we will stop for breakfast at a Ladakhi style restaurant cum guest house. Reach the lake around noon and spend an hour or two enjoying the magnificent vistas and driving by the lake shore. Later drive back, at Tangse we will stop for a latish but hot lunch; carry on and reach your hotel in Leh by late evening. Overnight stay in Oriental Hotel or Zion Ladakh.

    <strong>LEH</strong> - <strong>Nubra Valley at TURTUK</strong> (avg. alt. 3048 M / 10300 ft) 220 km / 7 hrs

    Day 12: LEH - Nubra Valley at TURTUK (avg. alt. 3048 M / 10300 ft) 220 km / 7 hrs

    We leave after breakfast on a stunning drive over the mighty Khardung La (5602 m) into the verdant Nubra Valley. We reach the base of the valley at Khalsar where we will have lunch at a restaurant. Setting off from here the road forks & the broad valley get divided into two distinct parts by the Shyok & Nubra Rivers. Of course, the road forks too; the RHS branch goes all the way to Siachen Glacier and we move on the LHS branch, via Deskit & Hunder, past the Thoise Airfield. The wide open Nubra Valley starts closing in dramatically with the rocky mountain face getting darker & darker, finally bursting out into the verdant & vibrant Turtuk area at the north western end of the valley which borders the Balti province of Pakistan -this area & the twin villages of Turtuk Youl & Pharol were annexed by India during the 1971 war. In fact the village gives the look & feel of being in Pakistan/Afghanistan. However, you may rest assured that the locals are very patriotic towards India. Check into safari tents at a verdant campsite amidst fields & orchards, sprinkled with clumps of wild & vibrantly colored blooms. Relax for a while, have your evening cuppa, and go for a short stroll to enjoy the sunset. Overnight stay in Turtuk Holiday Resort.

    <strong>TURTUK</strong>

    Day 13: TURTUK

    Post breakfast spend 2-3 hrs walking in & around the villages, interacting with the warm & hospitable locals sporting European looks. The cherubic kids are especially adorable. We get back to the campsite & enjoy a traditional Balti meal – so tasteful, nutritious and salubrious a diet that even 80-90 yr olds in the villages are active & full of life. Later go for a hike & explore the fantastic, totally pristine natural beauty all around. Overnight stay in Turtuk Holiday Resort.

    <strong>Turtuk - Nubra Valley</strong> at HUNDER 83 kms / 2 ½ hrs

    Day 14: Turtuk - Nubra Valley at HUNDER 83 kms / 2 ½ hrs

    Leave after a leisurely breakfast, and drive back to reach Deskit around noon. Check into your hotel rooms. Relax in the sylvan surroundings your property is set in.  Late afternoon go to the sand dunes of Hunder, here those interested can enjoy a ride on the Double Humped Camels or a ride on an ATV.  Early evening do a 10 min drive to Deskit and reach the vantage point with a huge outdoor statue of the Sakhyamuni Buddha near Deskit Gompa to enjoy great sunset views. Overnight stay in Hotel Stendel.

    <strong>HUNDER – ULLEYTOKPO</strong> (3040 M / 10040 ft) 195 km / 6 hrs

    Day 15: HUNDER – ULLEYTOKPO (3040 M / 10040 ft) 195 km / 6 hrs

    After an early breakfast we head back to Leh and then carry on along the Srinagar Highway. Stop to take a look at a look at the Hall of Fame (Army Museum), Patthar Sahib Gurudwara, experience the curious phenomenon of the Magnetic Hill and also see Nimmu (the confluence point of Zanskar & Indus Rivers). We reach Ule Village in the picturesque Sham Valley of Lower Ladakh. Check into your huts at a resort which is set in an Apricot Orchard just above the Zanskar River, freshen up and enjoy a hot lunch. Rest of the day at leisure – you could do a short walk down to the Zanskar River and spend some time there. Overnight stay in Ule Eco Resort.

    <strong>ULLEYTOKPO – KARGIL</strong> (2676 M / 8800 ft) 155 km / 5 hrs

    Day 16: ULLEYTOKPO – KARGIL (2676 M / 8800 ft) 155 km / 5 hrs

    Leave after breakfast on a beautiful drive along the Indus till Khalsi. Going ahead, we reach the moonscapes of Lamayuru where we also stop to see the ancient gompa. Carry on over Namika La & Fotu La and reach Kargil in time for a latish but hot lunch at your hotel. Those interested can go on a walk to Goma Kargil for nice views at sunset. Overnight stay in Zojila Residency.

    <strong>KARGIL – SONAMARG</strong> (2800 M / 9200 ft) 130 km / 4 - 5 hrs

    Day 17: KARGIL – SONAMARG (2800 M / 9200 ft) 130 km / 4 - 5 hrs

    Leave after an early breakfast and start off an exciting drive that will take you via Drass (stop here to take a look at the Kargil War Memorial) and then over Zoji La. Coming down from the pass observe the transition from the mountain desert terrain of the Ladakh region to the verdant vales of Kashmir, reach Sonamarg and your hotel in time for a latish but hot lunch. Later go for a long stroll in the meadows and the surrounding forests. Overnight stay in Hotel Glacier Heights.

    <strong>SONAMARG – SRINAGAR</strong> AIRPORT 80 km / 2 ½ hrs

    Day 18: SONAMARG – SRINAGAR AIRPORT 80 km / 2 ½ hrs

    Post breakfast transfer to Srinagar Airport to board your return flight.

Trip Cost On Request.

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